The Last Coin of Portuguese India

05 Oct 2020  Mon

Throughout the long and complicated history of Colonial India, Portugal had the longest span of all the European colonizers. Beginning as early as 1498, colonial rule by Portugal continued in India until 1961 — a full 14 years past 1947, when British colonial control famously ended and India became an independent republic.

The coinage of Portuguese India is a long and diverse topic. However, the last coinage of Portuguese India before annexation is one that covers a span of only a few years. Prior to 1958, the coinage of Portuguese India was on the rupia system, which started around 1668 and lasted until 1958. It would take 16 tangas to make one rupia and a rupia was worth 60 reis. The last rupia was issued in 1952 and replaced in 1958 by the escudo system.

The Portuguese India escudo system was divisible by 100, with one escudo worth 100 centavos. The coins were issued and circulated in Diu, Damao, and Goa until annexation by India in 1961 and demonetization in 1962.

Shown above is the 10 centavos coin issued in the year 1961 and is among the last issues of Portuguese India. The obverse depicts the crowned coat of arms of Portugal with the year at the bottom. The reverse of the coin depicts the denomination value with the country’s name around.

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