Currencies of the Indian Ocean World

  • Steven Serels
  • Gwyn Campbell

Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)

About this book


This book is the first to trace the unique monetary history of the Indian Ocean World. Long-distance trade across the region was facilitated by a highly complex multi-currency system undergirded by shared ideas that transcended ethno-linguistic, religious and class divisions. Currencies also occupied key roles in local spiritual, aesthetic and affective practices. Foregrounding these tensions between the global/universalistic and the local/particularistic, the volume shows how this traditional currency system remained in place until the middle of the twentieth century, and how aspects of the system continue to inform monetary practices throughout the region. With case studies covering China, India, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, East Africa, Zanzibar, Madagascar and Mauritius from the thirteenth to the twenty-first centuries, this volume explores the central role currencies played in economic exchange as well as in establishing communal bonds, defining state power and expressing religious sentiments.


monetary history multi-currency system Indian Ocean World economy mediums of exchange Indian Ocean World trade Indian Ocean World development circulation of goods in the Indian Ocean World early modern monetary systems early modern currencies Asian currencies commodity currencies East African trade imperial Madagascar structural poverty Red Sea littoral colonial Mauritius Sterling Area Arabian Sea

Editors and affiliations

  • Steven Serels
    • 1
  • Gwyn Campbell
    • 2
  1. 1.Martin Luther Universität Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany
  2. 2.Indian Ocean World CentreMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-20972-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-20973-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site