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What did money look like under colonial rule in West Africa?

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Cultures +3 Age Level High School (16 to 18 years old)

How did colonialism affect the lives and livelihoods of Africans? The kinds of money people used can provide some clues. This collection contains coins and notes introduced by the colonial powers which  Africans received in return for the sale of produce and used for paying taxes. It also includes cowrie shells, kissi pennies and manillas, which Africans often used to buy everyday goods in local markets despite colonial government policies banning them. 

10 Shillings, British West Africa, 1934

National Museum of American History

1 Shilling, British West Africa, 1939

National Museum of American History

Manilla

National Museum of American History

Cowrie Shells, Nigeria, 19th - 20th century

National Museum of American History

Kissi Penny

National Museum of American History

5 Marks, German Cameroon, 1914

National Museum of American History

10 Escudos, Portuguese Guinea, 1952

National Museum of American History

5 Francs, French West Africa, 1904

National Museum of American History

100 Francs, French West Africa, 1936

National Museum of American History

5 Francs, French West Africa, 1883

National Museum of American History

50 Centavos, Portuguese Guinea, 1933

National Museum of American History

1 Penny, Sierra Leone, 1791

National Museum of American History