Manilla, Nigeria, 19th century


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.

Date Made: 19th century

Location: Currently not on view

Place Used: NigeriaAssociated Place: Ghana: Gold CoastNigeria

See more items in: Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection, West African Currency


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: The Chase Manhattan Bank

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: NU.79.112.OC137AAccession Number: 1979.1263Catalog Number: 79.112.OC137A

Object Name: alternative currencyManilla, CopperRing MoneyOther Terms: Manilla, Copper; Ring Money; Africa; Gold Coast, Lower Nigeria

Physical Description: copper (overall material)brown/gold (overall color)green patination (overall color)cast (overall production method/technique)Measurements: overall: 8.24 cm x 7.4 cm x 1.79 cm; 3 1/4 in x 2 29/32 in x 23/32 in


Record Id: nmah_1069117

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