Multiple Monies in Senegambia (1815–1901) — Indian Cotton, Silver Coin, and Paper Money
29 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 28, 2016
This study elucidates multiple monies and its interaction with the formal banking system in the Senegambia region for the period of 1815–1901. In particular, it focuses on the area from the Senegal River to Gambia River. Senegambia is comprised of both a French and British colony, today known as the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of the Gambia. However, at that time, France was able to maintain its territorial rights over Albreda, a small post on the right bank of the Gambia River until 1857. This facilitated a strong economic relationship between France and Gambia, despite the latter being under the British control.
In 1853, the French established an issue bank, Banque du Sénégal (Bank of Senegal), whereas it was only in the twentieth century that the British introduced the Western Africa Currency Board to control currency supply. Apart from the formal banking system, several means of exchange, such as Indian cotton, iron bars, and silver coins, were used in Senegambia. Particularly, guinée cloth and silver coins were circulated in addition to paper money issued by Banque du Sénégal in the nineteenth century. Against this socioeconomic background, this study details the characteristics and roles of these three means of payment and draws a tentative conclusion on how people chose a means of payment and the conditions underlying their choice.
Keywords: guinée (Indian cotton cloth), silver coin, Banque du Sénégal
JEL Classification: N17, N27
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation