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History of Kenyan Currency

13 Feb

1800-1850 A Mediterranean influence with a European twist

Maria Theresa Thales were introduced in the Kenyan coast. The Thales were the 18th and 19th century silver coins used by Indian, Greek and European merchants at the Eritrean and Kenyan Coasts. Despite the supposedly popularity, The Thales were unable to penetrate upcountry

1896 Indians

During the building of the Kenya-Uganda railway the Indian rupee was used to pay the Indian workers. And this currency managed to move inwards and became acceptable by the African population who in their various mother tongues called it different names such as the “Rupia” or “Pesa”

1897 The British

Harry Jackson, the leader of the British East Africa Protectorate (B.E.A.P.) introduced a new currency called the “Specie” and “Pice” this currency did not last very long

1905 Indians again

Indian Rupee was made the official currency of Kenya and Uganda

1920 Indians almost taking over

Indian Rupee was abolished after Kenya became a crown colony. The East African Protectorate Rupees were adopted under the advisory of the bank of England however it was short-lived as the East African Florins were introduced instead

1922 True sovereignty

The shilling equivalent was introduced in all the 3 East African countries namely Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika now Tanzania. After independence interim currencies were introduced, the bank notes were referred to as Lake Victoria money because of the background of Lake Victoria on the notes. A number of coins were also minted and were referred to as the “Uhuru” coins since they too had no head or monarch on them.

1966 Advent of the Kenyan Shilling

Kenya began printing ad minting its own currency in 1966 under the mandate of the central bank of Kenya in the Central bank of Kenya Act cap 491.The initial issue of Kenya Shilling notes were in the denominations of 5,10,20,50 and 100shilling, but has progressively changed.

Denominations in circulation are as follows:

Coins:- 5cent, 10cent,50cent,1 shilling,5shilling,10 shilling,20 shilling,40 shilling

Notes :-50 shilling, 100 shilling,200shilling,500shilling,and 1000shilling.


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