Portuguese India Coins and Currency – Facts and History

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Seeing India’s prosperity, there was already a desire in western countries to do business with India. The discovery of sea routes by European sailors was the result of these longings. Columbus reached America in 1492 to find India. While a sailor named Pero da Covilha first reached Malabar on the coast of India in 1487, Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India when he first reached the coast of Calicut on 20 May 1498.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish their kingdom in India. The Portuguese started trading after taking permission from the Zamorin, the king of Calicut. Soon they also established their dominance in Kuan, Diu, Daman and Bombay.

During the nearly 450 years of their rule, the Portuguese issued many coins and notes. Such as the pardeo of gold and copper and the Jutenag, Baearuco of silver and copper, Reis of silver, Tanga of silver and Xerafim of gold.

Silver Rupiya Copper Nickel Centavos and Escudo Over the years, the Portuguese issued about 510 types of coins and notes.
The Portuguese currency system was started on March 10, 1510, by Alfonso de Albuquerque, who became the governor of the Estado da India, ie Portuguese India.

The Portuguese made Goa their capital and opened the first coin factory there. First of all, the Portuguese started minting gold and silver coins at the Goa Mint. The gold coin was named Manuel, the name of the then Portuguese ruler Dom Manuel I.

This coin was compared to the Pagoda, the most important coin of Southern India at that time. The size, weight and value of these coins were exactly equal to the pagoda. The coins made of silver were known as Espera because the Portuguese belonged to the Christian community. He painted the holy cross of Isa Masih on one side of Manuel and Espera and on the other side the ringed sphere which was the means of making cosmic announcements of the time. The Portuguese also produced coins of lesser value, known as Bazaruco. These coins were mostly made of copper, but another form of Bazaruco was also issued, which became known as Jutenag. Jutenag was an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel. The Portuguese also made mints in Daman and Bassein i.e. Vasai in 1611. But for some reason around 1739 it also stopped. The Portuguese also opened a mint in Chaul in 1644 and minted coins here for about ninety-five years.

In 1740, Chaul fell to the Marathas and the Portuguese had to leave their mint.

He also made some gold coins in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, but coins of Kopar, Teutonic, Zinc etc. were made only in India. The coins minted by the Portuguese exhibited diversity during the period of rule of different rulers. During the reign of Maharaja D. Sebastien, silver coins with a value of 300 reis were issued, which were known as Bastiaad or Xerafim. The figure of Saint Sebastian used to remain in these.

In the same period, another silver coin Tanga also came into circulation, on which an arrow was made as a tool on the main part. At that time the value of five Bazarucos was equal to four Reis. 60 Reis was equal to one Tanga and five Tanga together made a Xerafim. These Portuguese India Coins are very rare.

During the reign of Dom Philip, only a Tanga and a half Tanga were issued and Philip’s portrait was inscribed on these coins.

In 1614 2 tanga, 1 tanga and 1/2 tanga were issued and after some time Bazaruco were issued in denominations of 30, 20, 10. The picture of the Cross of Calvary was inscribed on these coins. The Cross of Jerusalem was minted in silver coins during the reign of Philip III and the figure of St. John was inscribed towards the end of his reign. In 1650 cent coins were phased out and replaced.

These silver coins from the Cross Of The Order Of Christ ie the coins of the Holy Cross were maintaining their hold on the market till about 1726.

During the reign of the Portuguese King Joao VI, the Tanga of great value was changed once again, replacing the cross with the introduction of the Bust of the King.

In 1775, the Portuguese started writing Rupia on coins and kept the value of 1 Rupia equal to 2 Xerafim. Since then, the value of Portuguese currency started being measured in rupees. In 1869, the Goa mint was closed and the Portuguese India Coins were minted at the British Mint, Bombay. Another significant change occurred when in 1781 the portrait of the then Portuguese king D. Pedro III and his wife Rainha Maria I were inscribed on the silver rupee. Before this, the king and the queen did not appear together on any Portuguese India coins. Value of this coin.

At that time it was equal to 60 Reis. Another copper coin made its place in the midst of all these coins. This coin was known as Atia. The value of these coins, which started being made from the middle of the 18th century, was fixed in the ratio of twice the local coins running in Daman and Diu. Four Dugani was equal to one Atia. When Luis Filipe became the new ruler of Portugal in 1861, there was a change in the standard rate of the Portuguese Indian currency. In 1880, the Uma Rupee became the new currency under the British-Portuguese agreement.
The Uma Rupee coin was made of pure silver and weighed 11.66 grams. In addition to 1 rupiah, half a rupee, a quarter rupee and an eighth part of a rupee were also brought into circulation. Although the Portuguese had issued paper currency in 1883 itself, but in India in 1906, the responsibility of printing notes was entrusted to the Banco Nacional Ultra Marino. Initially these notes came in denominations of 4 Tanga, 8 Tanga, 1 Rupia and 1/2 Rupia. But in 1924 it started appearing in a five and 10 Rupiah note and by 1938 monopolized the denominations of 20 and 50 as well. After the rule, when the Republic of Portugal was established in 1910, there was a change in the currency once again. Republica Portuguesa was written instead of the coins or notes on which the government’s picture or name was written. When India gained independence from the British in 1947, the Portuguese refused to merge with India and changed their currency from Rupee to Escudo, but this currency did not last long. In 1961, the Indian Army invaded Portuguese-ruled Goa and Goa became part of the Union of India, thus ending the 456-year-old rule.

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