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: n.d.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: AfricaAssociated Place: Africa

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


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: H.L. Diamond

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: NU.NU82646Catalog Number: NU82646Accession Number: 257687

Object Name: Manillaalternative currency

Physical Description: iron (overall material)cast (overall production method/technique)lead copper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 6.05 cm x 5.93 cm x 1.9 cm; 2 3/8 in x 2 11/32 in x 3/4 in


Record Id: nmah_910480

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