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British Territories Past and Present

Started by Deeman, November 24, 2021, 07:43:08 PM

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South Africa

Basutoland became a British protected state in 1843 (for protection against the Boers) and a protectorate in 1868. Three years later was annexed to the Cape Colony. Cape Colony rule proved unpopular and Basutoland became a Crown Colony in 1884. It became independent as Lesotho in 1966. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Throughout its history, Lesotho has used the monetary system of South Africa. The official currency is the loti (plural maloti), divisible into 100 lisente (singular sente), but are used interchangeably with the South African rand. A set of commemorative coins was issued for Lesotho in 1966 and the first coins for circulation were issued in 1980. The South African rand is legal tender in Lesotho.

Bechuanaland was a British protectorate established in 1885 after the discovery of gold nearby. It gained self-government in 1965 and became independent Botswana in 1966. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
British coins circulated until 1920 when the South African pound was introduced. The South African pound became legal tender in 1932 and South African coins replaced British coins in 1933. Rhodesian coins circulated in the northern part of Botswana until the 1950s. The South African rand replaced the South African pound in 1961. Botswana issued its own currency, the pula divisible by 100 thebe, for circulation in 1976.

Northern Rhodesia was formed in 1911 by the amalgamation of Barotseland, North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia as a joint protectorate of the British South Africa Company (BSAC). Became a British Protectorate in 1924 when the government took over administration from the BSAC. It was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (present-day Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe) from 1953 until the federation was dissolved in 1963. Northern Rhodesia became independent Zambia in 1964, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
South African coins circulated between 1923 and 1933, and beginning in 1932 the Southern Rhodesia Currency Board issued coins for Northern Rhodesia. British pound sterling coins circulated and remained legal tender until 1954 when coinage of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland went into circulation. The Zambia pound was introduced in 1964. The kwacha, divisible into 100 Ngwee, replaced the pound in 1968.

Nyasaland was formed from the Nyasaland Districts protectorate and the British Central Africa protectorate in 1907. In 1953 it became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (present-day Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The Federation dissolved in 1963 due to the white minority rule of Rhodesia. Renamed Malawi on gaining independence in 1964, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
South African coins circulated between 1923 and 1933, and beginning in 1932 the Southern Rhodesia Currency Board issued coins for Northern Rhodesia. British pound sterling coins circulated and remained legal tender until 1954 when coinage of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland went into circulation. The Malawi pound was introduced in 1964. The kwacha, divided into 100 tambala, replaced the pound in 1971.

Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa, established in 1923, consisting of British South Africa Company territories of Mashonaland and Matabeleland. When the protectorate of Northern Rhodesia no longer existed in 1964, Southern Rhodesia reverted to the name Rhodesia. In 1965, Rhodesia unilaterally declared itself independent. UDI ended in 1979 and Rhodesia reverted to the status of a British colony. Independence was gained in 1980 and the country was renamed Zimbabwe. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
No coins were produced locally until the 1880s when British coins were introduced. South African coins circulated between 1923 and 1933, and beginning in 1932 the Southern Rhodesia Currency Board issued coins. British pound sterling coins circulated and remained legal tender until 1954 when coinage of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland went into circulation. The Rhodesian pound was introduced in 1965, replaced by the Rhodesian dollar (in 1970. The Zimbabwean dollar replaced the Rhodesian dollar in 1980.

Swaziland was annexed by the British in 1877. Swaziland became a British protectorate in 1902. It gained autonomy in 1967, and independence in 1968. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Renamed Eswatini (land of the Swazis) in 2018.
Being completely surrounded by South Africa, Swaziland has been linked to South Africa's monetary system since it was established as a British protectorate. Swaziland issued some commemorative coins in 1968, but the first circulating coins weren't issued until 1974. The South African Rand ceased to be legal tender in 1986. The Swaziland currency is lilangeni, divisible into 100 cents.

Cape Colony was founded by the Dutch, in 1652, around present-day Cape Town. The British occupied the Cape in 1795 and it was affirmed a British possession with the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. In 1853, the Cape Colony became a British Crown colony and became self-governing in 1872. From 1878, the colony also included the enclave of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands, both in what is now Namibia.
The British introduced their own currency, although a shortfall in change meant that various foreign currencies were allowed to circulate. This changed in 1826 when sterling coinage became the sole legal tender.

Orange Free State, Transvaal (South African Republic) and Natal were subsequently founded by the Dutch settlers of the Cape who had moved further east, away from British rule. Natal was annexed by the British to the Cape Colony in 1843, and an attempt by the British for the other republics failed when they lost the First Boer War in 1880. In 1899 the Second Boer War broke out, which Britain won. The Orange Free State was annexed in 1900, Transvaal in 1902, both merging with Cape Colony.
Transvaal started issuing its own currency named the pond in 1892 (equal to British pound and used by Cape Colony). Orange Free State never minted its own coins.

Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 becoming an independent dominion of the British Empire with the unification of British colonies - Cape Colony, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal. It became a republic in 1960 and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
British coins circulated in South Africa until 1920 when South Africa established the South African pound as a separate currency. The South African rand, divisible into 100 cents, replaced the South African pound in 1961.


North Africa

Cyrenaica and Tripolitania regions of Libya were under British military administration of Libya from 1943 until Libyan independence in 1951. It was part of the Allied administration of Libya.
During the British military administration, lira was used in Tripolitania and Egyptian pounds in Cyrenaica.

Egypt came under was the short-lived protectorate that the UK imposed over Egypt in 1914, formed as a result of the Ottoman Empire entering WWI. A revolt led the UK government to issue a unilateral declaration of Egypt's independence in 1922 and it then became a British protected state until 1936.
The currency was the Egyptian pound.


Central Africa

British Cameroon was a mandated territory. Cameroon was established as a German protectorate in 1884. The French and British began occupying Cameroon in 1916 and German Cameroon was divided into British Cameroon and French Cameroon in 1919. Most of the Cameroon became a French mandate in 1922 under the League of Nations and in 1946 under the UN. French Cameroon was part of French Equatorial Africa, and it gained its independence as the Republic of Cameroon in 1960. In 1961, the northern part of British Cameroon united with Nigeria, and the southern part of British Cameroon united with the republic of Cameroon (formerly French Cameroon).
The British pound circulated in British Cameroon until northern British Cameroon joined Nigeria in 1961 and the Nigerian pound began to circulate.

Fernando Po (now Bioko) is an island of Equatorial Guinea. Portugal transferred control of Equatorial Guinea to Spain in 1778. After the British abolition of the slave trade in 1807, bases were required by the Royal Navy for its antislavery patrol. Fernando Po was unoccupied and lay in a strategic situation from which the Niger mouths and the portion of western Africa known as the Slave Coast could be watched for slavers. Unfortunately, it's ideal strategic position was still very much in the highly diseased equatorial zone that had earned West Africa the nickname of 'White Man's Grave'. The Spanish leased the territory to the British in 1827. The population of the island increase substantially due mainly to numbers of freed slaves. The success in reviving the colony meant that the Spanish were keen to have a second look at their colony. From 1844, they stated their intention to resume control of the islands and lobbied hard for the British lease to be revoked. This was done in 1855.
Spanish coins became the predominant currency after 1778.
During the period of British administration, British coins were in use.


Middle East

Aden Colony was a British protectorate established in 1869 in South Arabia (now South Yemen). In 1839, the British East India Company landed marines to occupy the territory. The British Empire progressively built the Aden protectorate by signing agreements with various emirates, sheikh states and sultanates. In 1877, the government of India was transferred to the British Crown. Aden protectorate was a part of the British Indies until 1937 when it became a Crown colony by itself. In 1940 it was divided into Western and Eastern administrative regions. Independence happened in several steps. From 1959 to 1962, the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South was created, which initially included six states and later extended to the West. It became the Federation of South Arabia in 1962. Four states refused to join and created the Protectorate of South Arabia. The Federation and Protectorate united in 1967, creating the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen).
Indian rupees were issued by the British East India until 1862, when the monarch's portrait replaced the BEI arms. East African shillings were introduced from 1951 because India was no longer under British rule. The South Arabian dinar replaced the East African shilling in 1965.

Bahrain signed a treaty with Britain in 1820 and became a British protected state in 1861. Britain's decision to withdraw all of its forces from the gulf in 1968 led to Bahrain's independence in 1971.
Indian rupees circulated in Bahrain until 1959, when the Persian Gulf rupee was created with equivalence to the Indian rupee. India devalued its rupee in 1966 which affected the value of the Gulf rupee, forcing the states using the Gulf rupee to introduce their own currency. In 1965, the Bahraini dinar, divisible into 1000 fils, replaced the Persian Gulf rupee.

The Kingdom of Iraq was formed in 1921 following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Mesopotamian campaign of the WWI. Under a League of Nations Mandate it remained under British administration until 1933 when formal independence was granted.
The Indian rupee became the currency under mandatory Iraq.

Kuria Muria Islands were ceded to Britain by the Sultan of Muscat in 1854 as a present for continued British security in the region. The British accepted these islands but duly transferred their administration to the East India Company (EIC) which also administered Aden at this time and provided the paramount British presence in the Indian Ocean. After the Indian Mutiny of 1857 the EIC was wound up, and responsibility for the islands transferred to the Bombay Presidency in the British Raj. Administration was transferred to Aden (which Bombay also administered) from 1886. They were returned to Oman in 1967.
The islands used the currency of Aden until their return to Oman.

Kuwait became a British protected state in 1899 and an independent nation in 1961.
The Gulf rupee became the currency in 1959-61 replacing the then circulating Indian rupee. The Kuwaiti dinar was introduced in 1961.

Palestine Territories (Gaza Strip, West Bank, East Jerusalem) was formed by a League of Nations mandate for British administration for territories which had been conceded by the Ottoman Empire following the end of WWI. The mandate ended in 1948 at which point Israel declared its independence. The Egyptian army took control of the Gaza Strip in 1948 and the West Bank was annexed by Jordan in 1950.
Egyptian currency circulated until 1927 when the Palestine pound was introduced.

Persian Gulf Residency was a colonial subdivision of the British Raj in the Persian (now Iranian) port of Bushire (Bushehr) from 1763 to 1946 when it was relocated to Bahrain.
Indian rupees became an accepted currency alongside Persian currency.

Qatar became a British protected state in 1916. Britain's decision to withdraw all of its forces from the gulf in 1968 led to Qatar's independence in 1971.
The Gulf rupee became the currency in 1959-66 replacing the then circulating Indian rupee. The Qatar and Dubai riyal succeeded the Gulf rupee.

Socotra is an island in the Indian Ocean southeast of Yemen. In 1886 it became a British protectorate. The sultanate came to an end in 1967 in the wake of the departure of the British from Aden and southern Arabia and Socotra became part of independent South Yemen. Same currency as the Aden protectorate.

Transjordan was a British protectorate from 1921 (being added to their mandate for Palestine) until independence in 1946, becoming Jordan. It was established under a League of Nations mandate after the Ottoman defeat in WWI.
The Palestinian pound, divisible into 1000 mils, was introduced in 1927 (to 1948) to replace circulating Ottoman lira and Egyptian pounds.

The Trucial States were British protected states - a collection of various sheikhdoms that allied themselves permanently to the British through a series of treaties. Following the withdrawal of British forces from the Persian Gulf by late 1971, the United Arab Emirates was formed comprising all the Trucial States with the exception of Muscat & Oman. They were:
Abu Dhabi (1820–1971); Ajman (1820–1971); Dubai (1835–1966); Fujairah (1952–1971); Ras Al Khaimah (1820–1971); Sharjah (1820–1971); Umm al-Qaiwain (1820–1971); Muscat and Oman (1892–1970). (Oman was formed after a bloodless coup in 1970. Muscat, the capital of Oman, which had long given its name to the country, had its name dropped after the coup.)
The Trucial States common currencies were the Ottoman Lira (1820–1899), Indian Rupee (1899–1959) and the Gulf Rupee (1959–1966). Most of the Trucial States then adopted the Qatar and Dubai riyal (briefly adopting the Saudi riyal during the transition from the Gulf rupee to the Qatar and Dubai riyal). The Qatar and Dubai riyal was the result of a currency union as a response to the devaluation of the rupee. The dirham became the official currency of the United Arab Emirates in 1973. Abu Dhabi adopted the Bahraini dinar but changed to the dirham in 1973.


Indian Ocean

Andaman & Nicobar Islands were used as a British penal colony. The British first surveyed the Andaman Islands in 1789 and established a penal colony in 1790 but was abandoned it just a few years later. In the mid-19th century, concern over native attacks on shipwrecked crews and the need for a penal settlement after the Indian Mutiny (1857–58) led the British to return and in 1858 founded a new penal colony. Meanwhile, the Danish, who had been the claimants of the Nicobar Islands relinquished their rights to the territory to the British in 1868. Administration of the islands was passed to India when it gained independence in 1947.
No coins have been issued. The currency is the Indian rupee.

The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) comprises the islands of the Chagos Archipelago. The islands became a British territory in 1814 when they were ceded to Britain Treaty of Paris after Napoleon's defeat. Administered from Mauritius until they were detached to become the BIOT in 1965. Only occupied by US and British military personnel.
Coins are available to collectors but not in general circulation.

Christmas Island was annexed by the British Crown in 1888. The island was administered through the Straits Settlements, and later the Crown colony of Singapore. At Australia's request sovereignty was transferred to Australia in 1958. In 1984, together with the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, they became the Australian Indian Ocean Territories.
Straits Settlements dollars were used until 1946 and Malayan dollars from 1946 to 1958. Australian pounds were used from 1958 until the Australian dollar was introduced in 1966.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands were found in 1609 during one of the early East India Company voyages when Captain Keeling was blown south, off course, making his way back to the Indies. They were settled in 1826 and declared a British possession in 1857 and administered from Ceylon in 1878. They were administered from the Straits Settlements (under Singapore) between 1886-1903 and between 1903-42 administered from the Straits Settlements as a dependency of Singapore. From 1942-46 they were put under military administration from Ceylon. From 1946-55 became a dependency of Singapore and, in 1955, became territory islands of Australia. In 1984, together with Christmas Island, they became the Australian Indian Ocean Territories.
The islands used whatever currency was in use by that country in possession. This included Indian rupees when under Ceylon, Straits Settlement dollars, Malayan dollars (1946-1955), Australian pounds (1955-1966) and Australian dollars from 1966.

Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. Gained independence in 1965 and became a republic in 1968. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
At the start of the protectorate, the laari was the coinage in circulation, followed by the Ceylonese rupee and then the laari redesigned. In 1983 the rufiyaa coin was introduced, divisible into 100 laari.

Mauritius now belongs to the eastern region of the African Union. The islands became a British territory in 1814 when they were ceded to Britain Treaty of Paris after Napoleon's defeat. Became a Crown Colony in 1903, gained independent in 1968 and became a republic in 1992. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
In 1820, at the colony's request, Britain introduced the Mauritius dollar (anchor money), though Indian rupees and British pounds continued to circulate alongside the dollar. In 1876, the Mauritian rupee was established as the official currency unit.

Seychelles now belong to the eastern region of the African Union. The islands became a British territory in 1814 when they were ceded to Britain Treaty of Paris after Napoleon's defeat. Administered as a dependency of Mauritius until 1903 when it became a separate British crown colony and gained independence in 1976. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Mauritian rupee was used in the Seychelles until 1914 when Seychellois rupees became the national currency.


Indian Subcontinent

Portcullis Money was introduced in 1600 by Elizabeth I. She chartered the 'Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies,' and granted it a monopoly. Known as the East India Company (EIC), it largely traded on the Indian subcontinent. By the mid-18th century, the EIC was the most profitable company in the world and the most powerful private company ever known.
The unit was the dollar, divisible by 8 testerns. As trade coins they were too little and too late; the Spanish dollar was the accepted standard for the area.

The British East India Company transformed from a trading company to a political and military powerhouse and in 1757 was established as the ruler of eastern India. The East India Company (EIC) was formed after London merchants presented a petition to Elizabeth I for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean. In 1600 a Royal Charter was awarded giving the newly formed company a monopoly on trade with all countries east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of the Straits of Magellan. In an act in 1670 aimed at strengthening the power of the EIC, Charles II granted the EIC the rights to autonomously acquire territory, mint money, command fortresses and troops and form alliances, make war and peace, and exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas. These decisions would eventually turn the EIC from a trading company into de facto an administrative agent with wide powers granted by the British government. Following the Seven Years' War (1756–63) and the defeat of France, French ambitions on Indian territories were effectively laid to rest, thus eliminating a major source of economic competition for the EIC.
They issued the East India Company (EIC) rupee from 1770 to 1862. They had three administrative subdivisions in early British India, each having a separate coinage and monetary system - Madras Presidency (Madras rupees 1672-1834), Bombay Presidency (Mughal style rupees 1717-1834) and Bengal Presidency (Sicca rupees 1765-1834). The EIC discontinued this system in 1835 and adopted a unified system of coinage throughout British India. Coins issued after 1857 were under the authority of monarch as India became part of the British Empire.

Afghanistan became a British protected state in 1879 under a treaty with the Afghan Emir. A buffer zone between the British Raj and the Russian Empire, encompassed by areas of Afghanistan and Balochistan (now part of Pakistan), was established by Britain who were concerned with the Russian advancement to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. The Emir retained sovereignty over the rest of Afghanistan. The various states within Afghanistan unified in 1881, and the nation gained independence in 1919.
Coinage in use were Durrani rupees, superseded by the Kabuli rupee (1891-1925).

Bhutan was a British protected state from 1910 until 1947 when the British Empire left India and direct ties ended.
The Bhutani rupee was the currency during British attendance.

Burma was part of the British run-state in India from 1824 and made a province of India in 1886. It separated from the Indian Empire in 1937 and gained independence in 1948 and decided not to join the British Commonwealth. Renamed Myanmar in 1989.
Indian coinage was used to 1945 when the Burmese rupee, divisible into 16 pe, 64 pyas, was introduced (to 1952).

Ceylon became a British colony in 1802 by the Treaty of Amiens with France, but was not taken over until 1815. In 1948, Ceylon was granted independence and a republic within the Commonwealth in 1972, changing its name to Sri Lanka. It is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
British silver coin was made legal tender in 1825, replacing the Ceylonese rixdollar. The Indian rupee was made Ceylon's standard coin in 1836. In 1963, a new coinage was introduced which omitted the monarch's portrait, depicting instead the armorial ensign of Ceylon.

India was gradually annexed by the East India Company (EIC), a chartered company acting on behalf of the British government, from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. Dissatisfaction with company rule led to the 1857 Indian Rebellion and the eventual dissolution of the company in 1873. India was afterwards ruled directly by the British Crown, in the British Raj. India gained its independence in 1947, becoming a republic in 1950. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
India was unaffected by the imperial order-in-council of 1825, which attempted to introduce British sterling coinage to the British colonies. In 1835, William IV introduced a uniform coinage within the territories of the EIC. The rupee continued as the currency of India through the British Raj and beyond.

Nepal was a British protected state from 1816 to 1923 when it became an independent and sovereign state.
The mohar was the currency of Nepal until the Nepalese rupee was introduced in 1932.

Pakistan was created in 1947 following the partitioning of British India. The name is an acronym formed from the names of the homelands of Muslims in northwest India - 'P' for Punjab, 'A' for Afghania, 'K' for Kashmir, 'S' for Sindh, 'Tan' for Balochistan - thus forming 'Pakistan'. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. After the partition of Bengal in 1947, East Bengal became the eastern wing of Pakistan and was renamed East Pakistan in 1956, became independent in 1971 and renamed Bangladesh. Both Pakistan and Bangladesh are members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Indian coinage was used until 1947. The Pakistani rupee has been the official currency since 1948. The Bangladeshi currency became the taka in 1972.


Malay Archipelago

The Banda Islands are within the Maluku (aka Moluccan) Archipelago that were famed for nutmeg and mace. In 1608, the English settled their first overseas colony on the Island of Run. In 1667, an extraordinary deal was struck when England officially ceded Run under the Treaty of Breda for a swampy Dutch colony once known as New Amsterdam - now New York. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy was happy to take control of the colonial possessions of any European countries conquered or forced into submission by Napoleon. Hence the British took control of the islands from 1796 to 1800 and then again from 1810 (precursor to the invasion of Java in 1811) and finally restoring them to the Dutch in 1817 under the Treaty of Paris.
A variety of Dutch, Spanish and Asian coins were in official and common usage.

Benkulen (or Bencoolen), a port on the south-west coast of Sumatra, was an East India Company (EIC) trading post where they built Fort Marlborough in 1714. The trading post was ceded to the Dutch in 1824 in exchange for the Dutch territories in India and Malacca.
Struck in EIC's Madras mint for use in Benkulen, fanams and 'cash' coins were minted between 1693-1700. The Sumatran dollar, divisible into 4 suku each of 100 keping, became the currency from 1783 and 1824. Kepings were the first coins made by Matthew Boulton's Soho Mint in Birmingham.

British North Borneo was a protectorate from 1888. The starting of WWII with the arrival of Japanese forces brought an end to protectorate administration, with the territory placed under a military administration and then designated as a Crown Colony in 1946 incorporating the former Straits Settlement of Labuan. Gained self-governance and renamed Sabah in 1963 and later that year became federated into Malaysia.
The currency was the British Borneo dollar from 1882 to 1953.

Brunei (one of the four northern parts of Borneo that comprised British Borneo) was a British protectorate from 1888, gaining its independence in 1984. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The extensive use of Spanish dollars led to the eventual adoption of a dollar system of currency in Brunei. The Straits dollar, introduced in 1904, was used until 1939, when it was replaced by the Malayan dollar or ringgit. From 1953 until 1967, the Malaya and British Borneo dollar was used until it too was replaced by Brunei's current unit of currency, the Bruneian dollar, after the formation of Malaysia and the independence of Singapore.

Java was captured by the British in 1811 during the Napoleonic Wars by the British East India Company (BEIC). The city of Batavia fell on 8 Aug, and within 6 wks the whole of Java had been conquered. It was returned to the Dutch in 1816.
Initially Stamford Raffles, appointed as Governor-General, re-established the 8 Real (rather than the rijksdaalder) as the standard coin. Subsequently the BEIC issued a Java rupee, bearing Javanese and Arabic text and dates, during their administration and activity continuing for a couple of years after return to Dutch authority. A shortage of copper currency was found and copper duits were produced in 1811–1812. A lack of raw copper led to a request by Raffles to Calcutta mint to produce 50 million duit could not be met, and so the British produced 50 million tin duits in 1813 and 1814. These coins were not widely accepted and over a million were returned, and on the return to Dutch control, the Dutch refused to recognise the coins.

Malacca, which was occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars, transferred to the BEIC in 1824 when the Dutch finally renounced all claim to any part of the Malay Peninsula.
The Spanish dollar then became the standard unit of value, with Dutch silver and copper coins, together with the copper tokens issued by Singapore merchants, as fractional units. During the second half of Ihe 19th century, these were gradually superseded by the currency of the Straits Settlements.

Federated Malay States was established in 1896 and lasted until 1946. It was a federation of four British protected states in the Malay Peninsula - Selangor (1874–95), Perak (1874–95), Negeri Sembilan (1888–95) and Pahang (1888–95) - administered collectively.
The currency was the Straits dollar until 1939, then the Malayan dollar (to 1953).

Unfederated Malay States were British protected states with autonomous administration. They were five states in the Malay peninsula - Johore (1914–46), Kedah (1909–46), Kelantan (1909–46), Perlis (1909–46), and Terengganu (1919–46). In 1909 the Siamese kingdom was compelled to cede Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Terengganu over to the British. Johor joined in 1914.
The currency was the Straits dollar until 1939, then the Malayan dollar (to 1953).

Federation of Malaya was a British protected state formed in 1948 (previously known as the Malayan Union 1946-48) when the Federated Malay States, the Unfederated Malay States and two of the former Straits Settlements (Malacca and Penang) came together. Achieved independence in 1957.
The currency was the Malayan dollar to 1953, then the Malayan and British Borneo dollar (ringgit).

Malaysia was formed in 1963, Malaysia was formed by the merger of the Federation of Malaya with the British crown colonies of British North Borneo (present-day Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Malaysian dollar replaced the Malaya and British Borneo dollar.

Maluka was a small independent state in southern Borneo established in a land concession acquired by the Englishman Alexander Hare in 1812 through a grant from the local Sultan. The state existed from 1812 to 1818 when the area was repossessed by the Dutch.
Coins called duits were made at a mint in the state in 1812 and 1813.

Penang was just an island (off the northwest coast of the Malayan Peninsular) when it was acquired by the British East India Company (BEIC) in 1786. It was their first foothold in Malaya. It expanded to include some onshore territory of Kedah.
The BEIC dollar was the currency between 1786 and 1826 when the Indian rupee was declared legal tender. The BEIC dollar became the currency of Penang again with the introduction of the Straits dollar in 1898.

Sarawak (one of the four northern parts of Borneo that comprised British Borneo) was a British protectorate from 1888. The starting of WWII with the arrival of Japanese forces brought an end to protectorate administration, with the territory placed under a military administration and then designated as a Crown Colony in 1946. Gained self-governance in 1963 and later that year became federated into Malaysia.
The Sarawak dollar was the currency to 1953 until it was replaced by the Malayan and British Borneo dollar.

Singapore became a Crown colony in 1946, gained self-governance in 1959 and became federated into Malaysia in 1963. Ideological differences led to Singapore being expelled from the federation two years later and it became an independent republic in 1965.
Singapore continued to use Malayan and British Borneo dollar upon to joining Malaysia in 1963, but only two years after Singapore's expulsion and independence from Malaysia in 1965, the monetary union between Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei broke down. Singapore established its own dollar in 1967.

Straits Settlements was a British crown colony on the Strait of Malacca, established 1826, comprising four trade centres - Penang, Singapore, Malacca, and Labuan - formerly under the control of the British East India Company (BEIC). The British settlement at Penang was founded in 1786, Singapore in 1819 and Malacca, which was occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars, transferred to the BEIC in 1824. The three territories were established as a crown colony in 1867. Labuan, which became part of Singapore settlement in 1907, was constituted a fourth separate settlement in 1912. They were occupied by Japanese during WWII and broken up in 1946 when Singapore became a separate crown colony.
The first coins issued for the Straits Settlements in 1845 were issued by BEIC - ¼, ½ and 1 cent denominations in copper, but did not bear any indication of where they were to be used. In 1858, administration of the Straits Settlements was transferred from the EIC to the Crown under the government of British India. A second issue of the same denominations was struck in 1862 bearing the inscription 'India - Straits'. The currency unit became the Straits dollar from 1899 to 1939 and then the Malayan dollar (ringgit).



The British Trade Dollar was just the second coin minted by the British purely for international trade, after the 'Portcullis Money' or Testern silver coin of 1601, issued by Queen Elizabeth I for The East India Companies first voyage to the East. With the extension of British trading interests in the East, especially after the founding of Singapore in 1819 and Hong Kong in 1842, it became necessary to produce a special dollar so as to remove the reliance of a British colony on the supply of foreign silver coins. In 1895, the British Trade Dollar was introduced for Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements depicting Britannia standing onshore, holding a trident in one hand and balancing a British shield in the other, with a merchant ship under full sail in the background. The reverse had an arabesque design with the Chinese symbol for longevity in the centre, and the denomination in two languages - Chinese and Jawi Malay. After the Straits dollar was introduced to the Straits Settlements in 1903, the Trade dollar became exclusively a Hong Kong coin produced until 1935. Those with the mint mark 'B' were produced at the Bombay Mint; others, marked 'C', were struck in Calcutta. Those with no mint mark were produced in London.

Hong Kong, initially, was just of the island of Hong Kong. In the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Qing government agreed to make Hong Kong a Crown colony, ceding it 'in perpetuity', following British victory in the First Opium War. Following the British victory in the Second Opium War, Britain gained a perpetual lease over the Kowloon Peninsula. Further territories were sought on the Kowloon peninsula, and the much larger New Territories were leased for 99 years in 1898. In serious negotiations in the 1980s it was seen as impractical to separate the ceded territories and return only the New Territories to China. Hong Kong ceased to be a British dependent territory in 1997.
The proclamation in 1842 made Spanish, Mexican and other silver dollars, the rupee of the East India Company and copper cash legal tender. The Chinese preference for silver kept Hong Kong outside of the sterling area and in 1863 Mexican and other dollars the only unlimited legal tender. The British introduced their own Hong Kong dollar to compete with the Mexican dollar in 1895. During Japanese occupation 1941-46 the Japanese issued military yen declaring it the only legal tender currency in 1943. Although Hong Kong is now a special administrative district within China, it continues to use the Hong Kong dollar.

Wei-Hai-Wei, a port on the northeastern coast of China, was a leased territory of the United Kingdom from 1898 until 1930. Nicknamed by British sailors as 'Way High.' After Russia leased Port Arthur (now Lushun) from China for 25 years in 1898, the UK pressured the Chinese government into leasing Wei-Hai-Wei, with the terms of the treaty stating that it would remain in force for as long as the Russians were allowed to occupy Port Arthur.
No special coins or banknotes issued for circulation in Wei-Hai-Wei. The various currencies in circulation in China at the time were used.


Australasia (Oceania)

Australia began to be colonised by the British with the arrival of a fleet of ships at Botany Bay in 1788 to establish a penal colony, the first colony on the Australian mainland in the territory of New South Wales including Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) which became a separate colony in 1825. In the subsequent century the British established other colonies on the continent – Western Australia (1827), South Australia (1836), Victoria (1851), Queensland (1859) and the Northern Territory (1911) which was part of South Australia from 1863. The six quarrelling colonies formed a federation and the dominion of Australia was proclaimed in 1901. Independence was offered in 1931 and taken up in late 1942. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
During the 18th century, Australia relied on imported Portuguese, Indian, Spanish, Dutch and British coins. British currency became the official currency of the Australian colonies after 1825. The Australian pound was created in 1909 and decimalisation, in 1966, saw the introduction of the Australian dollar.

British New Guinea, or Papua (now part of Papua New Guinea), was located in the southeast of the island of New Guinea. It was constituted as a protectorate in 1884, became a colony in 1888, and responsibility of the island was transferred to Australia control in 1906. The colony was also renamed Papua Territory. Australian forces displaced the German authorities in the northeast of New Guinea (now part of Papua New Guinea) early in WWI and it came under Australian control in 1921 under a mandate by the League of Nations. Once WWII finished, the League of Nations mandate was converted to a UN one before amalgamating the two territories into the single territory of Papua New Guinea in 1949. This was still technically an Australian colony, but the British had retained certain judicial and diplomatic rights and responsibilities. Self-government was granted in 1973 and full independence in 1975. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
In 1975, the kina became the currency, divided into 100 toea, replacing the Australian dollar.

Cook Islands were a federation of scattered islands formed in 1891 under a British protectorate, and the federation was incorporated into New Zealand in 1901. In 1965 it gained internal self-government, though external affairs are handled by NZ. Niue is geographically part of the Cook Islands but administratively separate.
Initially, British coins were used in the Cook Islands, but after 1933, they used NZ's monetary system. The Cook Islands have issued coins for circulation as well as collector coins.

Gilbert & Ellice Islands were a protectorate 1892–1916, then a Crown colony until separation 1976.
During 1916, the Union Islands (Tokelau) were annexed to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony, but subsequently transferred to New Zealand. In 1919, Britain reasserted its claim to Christmas Island (Kiritimati) and annexed it to the colony. In 1974, ethnic differences within the colony caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Gilbert Islands. In 1976, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. The Gilbert Islands attained independence in 1979 under the name Kiribati (including Kiritimati) as a republic with Commonwealth membership.
The Australian pound was the currency in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands from 1892 until 1966 when Australia introduced the Australian dollars. Since gaining their independence, both Kiribati and Tuvalu continue to use the Australian dollar. Tuvalu began issuing its own coins in 1976, and Kiribati began issuing its own coins in 1979. Both issue collector coins.

Fiji was ceded by King Cakobau to Britain in 1874 when it became a British Crown Colony. Fiji gained self-government in 1965, and independence in 1970. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
With increasing European settlement, a potpourri of currencies made their appearance. Fiji's monetary affairs began to assume a degree of soundness following British administration and British coins were made the sole legal tender in 1881. Australian coins began circulating in 1910, and Fiji introduced its own coins in 1934. The Fiji dollar replaced the Fiji pound in 1969.

The New Hebrides was ruled jointly by an Anglo-French naval commission from 1887 until 1906 when the New Hebrides became a joint Anglo-French condominium. New Hebrides gained its independence as Vanuatu in 1980. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
British, Australian and French coins circulated in the New Hebrides. After independence, the vatu was introduced in 1981 (no subsidiary units). Collector coins are also issued.

New South Wales had two periods when its own distinct coinage was minted. In 1813, to overcome a shortage of coins, the governor took the initiative of using £10,000 in Spanish dollars sent by the British government to produce local coins by punching out their centres and stamping the two resulting pieces with new values: 5 shillings for the outer rim pieces (now known as 'holey dollars'), and 15 pence for the central plug (now known as a 'dump'). Apart from doubling the number of physical coins in circulation, this also had the effect of making them unsuitable for export, so they stayed in the colony. The converted coins went into circulation in 1814. From 1822 the coins began to be recalled and replaced with Imperial sterling coinage, until the holey dollar was finally demonetised in 1829.
Between 1855 and 1870 the Sydney Mint produced gold sovereigns and half sovereigns, the obverse being 'localised' with a sprig of banksia added to the fillet in Victoria's portrait and, confusingly, 'Australia' on the reverse, even though Australia only came into being as a country in 1901. In 1870 it was decided that there should only be one type of sovereign and the Australian obverse and reverse were abolished.

New Zealand was claimed for Britain by Captain Cook during his visits of 1769 and 1777, but colonisation didn't begin until the 19th century. NZ became a separate British colony in 1841 under the Waitangi Treaty between the native Māori and British settlers. It became the Dominion of New Zealand in 1907, and gained independence in 1947. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Foreign coins circulated in NZ during the 19th century, and in 1850 the British pound was declared its official legal tender. However, because of a shortage of coins, hundreds of private tokens were issued during the last half of the 19th century. British and Australian coins circulated until 1933 when NZ issued its first coins, last of the self-governing dominions of the British Commonwealth to introduce its own coinage. British coin ceased to be legal tender in 1935. Decimal currency was introduced in 1967 with the introduction of the NZ dollar.

Niue was discovered in 1774 by Captain Cook. It became a British protectorate in 1900 and was annexed to New Zealand as part of the Cook Islands in 1901. The islands were separated from the Cook Islands in 1904 and became an associated state of New Zealand in 1974.
Niue uses the NZ dollar and has only issued collector coins.

Norfolk Island became the second British possession in the Pacific in 1788 and became a penal colony that was abandoned in 1814. Re-established as a penitentiary (1825–55) for the reception of the most desperate criminals from the British convict settlements in Australia, Norfolk Island became notorious. When convict transportation to New South Wales stopped, the settlement was wound down. In 1897 Britain vested administrative status on the governor of New South Wales, though the island remained a separate British colony. In 1913 the colony became a territory of the Australian commonwealth.
Australian currency is used on Norfolk Island which is prohibited from issuing its own currency.

Pitcairn Island was uninhabited when discovered in 1767. It was named after of the midshipman who first observed it. Pitcairn was settled in 1790 by British mutineers from the ship Bounty. It was theoretically annexed as a British colony in 1838 when the need for a proper government was realised. The visiting captain, Russell Eliott of HMS Fly, drafted a document referred to both as 'Pitcairn's Magna Carta' and its first 'constitution' that was signed aboard his ship on 30 Nov. The administration of the island is conducted from the British consulate in NZ.
Only collector coins have been issued.

Samoa (western islands) was ceded to Germany in 1899 after the British relinquished all claims to the island chain. In the first week of WWI, a New Zealand-run British military operation seized control of the islands. In 1920 the League of Nations allocated German Samoa to NZ as the mandate of Western Samoa. In 1962, Samoa regained its independence and joined the Commonwealth in 1970. (The eastern islands of Samoa are an unincorporated territory of the US.)
Following the NZ occupation of German Samoa, the pound sterling replaced the German mark. The NZ pound was introduced in 1933. After independence, the Samoan tala, divisible into 100 sene, became the currency.

Solomon Islands were discovered by the Spanish in the 16th century, though colonisation didn't begin until 1885 when the northern Solomon Islands were declared a German protectorate. In 1893, the southern islands became a protectorate known as the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. In 1900, Germany ceded the northern Solomon Islands to Britain, minus Buka and Bougainville. They became a self-governing dependency in 1976 and gained its independence in 1978 as the Solomon Islands. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Solomon Islands used the pound sterling from 1893 until 1920, and the Australian pound beginning in 1920, which was replaced the Australian dollar in 1966. After gaining its independence, the Solomon Islands introduced its own dollar.

Tonga was established as a kingdom in 1875, became a British protectorate in 1905 and gained its independence in 1970. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The British monetary system was introduced in Tonga after it became a British protectorate. Tonga pounds were introduced in 1921. When Australia decimalised its currency in 1966, Tonga introduced the Pa'anga, divisible into 100 seniti.

Union Islands (Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo) became a British protectorate in 1889 and became part of the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1916. In 1925 jurisdiction was switched to the Samoan islands. The Union Islands were transferred to New Zealand in 1926, but formally not until 1948. The Union Islands were renamed Tokelau in 1946.
Tokelau uses the NZ dollar and has only issued collector coins.