Manillas were regularly used in exchange in West Africa, especially along the coast of modern-day Nigeria, from at least the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Cast from various metals, including copper, brass, and iron, they are crescent-shaped and resemble an open bracelet. They were produced by Portuguese, British, Dutch, and French merchants specifically for trade in West Africa. Manillas were used in everyday purchases at markets. They were also a central currency of the transatlantic slave trade.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.