Zanzibari Coins

August 26, 2007

Prior to 1884, Zanzibar and the mainland used Riyal coins issued by the sultan of Zanzibar under the Sultan of Oman.




After 1884, Zazibar uzed a combination of coins. There were the Maria Theresa thaler coins, the Indian Rupee Coins and the Indian Rupees.

 Maria Theresa Thaler


Indian Rupee Coins

1 Rupee


1/2 Rupee


1/4 Rupee


1 Anna


After the end of world war 1, Zanzibar used the East African coins just like the other her neighboring states under the british rule:kenya Uganda and Tanganyika.


Tanzania Money: Part III (Coins-Post Independence)

August 25, 2007

In 1966, the East Africa Currency Board was dissolved resulting in three independent central banks: The Bank of Tanzania, The Bank of Kenya and The Bank of Uganda.

The bank of Tanzania issued the Tanzanian Shilling coins in denominations of 5 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents and 1 shilling. The 5 cents coins was in bronze, the 20 cents in nickel-brass while the 50 sents and 1 shilling coins were in cupro-nickel. These coins ccarried a portrait of Mwalimu Nyerere and continued in circulation for almost 20 years while President Nyerere was in power. Images of these coins are shown below.

5 Cents


20 Cents


50 Cents


1 Shilling

In 1972, a 5 shillings coin was introduced also with a portrait of Nyerere. At that time its wa popularly known as the “Scania.” This coin was also in cupro-nickel and its image is shown below. It is believed that the first 5 Shillings coin was released as comemorative coin to mark 10 years of independence, however, the first version did not stay long in circvulation. At one time, it was believed to have been cast in precious matela that far exceeded the face value of the coin and became an object of interest to many fortune hunters.

5 Shilling

In 1974, very few coins of 25 shillings and 1000 shillings were released, I think, mainly for collectors. Many people never saw them. The apperance of the 25 coin is shown in the following image.

As the shilling value continued to decline, the 5 cents coin became almost useless, and in 1977 just after the birth of CCM, a 10 cents coin was introdued as an eventual replacement of the 5 cents coin. This coin was just like the 20 cents coin in nickel-brass: its image is shown below.


Following the FAO regional conference for Africa that was held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 18  to 28 September 1978, commemorative coins were released in 5 Shillings as showin in the following picture.

It is believed that several commemorative coins were released duing Nyerere’s era, but electronic records for most of them are missing. The last coin to be released under Nyerere’s watch was the 20 shilling coin that was released in 1982 to commemorate 20 years of independence. Its image is shown below.

After Nyerere had stepped down in 1985 and the presidency taken by Mr Mwinyi, the coins were redesigned into different material and dimensions; they were relatively smaller in size with the portrait of Mwinyi. Following massive devealuation of the shilling by Mwinyi, the 5, 10 and 20 cents became useless: they were retired from circulation. The first release of coins under Mwinyi in 1987 were in denominations of 50 cents, 1 shilling,  5 shillings and 10 shillings. They had the portrait of Mwinyi except the 10 shilling coin which carried the portraint of Nyerere as the founding father of the nation. The 50 sents and 1 shilling coins were minted in nickel-clad while the 5 shilling and the 10 shillin coins were in cupro-nickel. These coins are shown below, note that the the 5 shilling coin is octagonal in shape instead of the old decagon.

50 cents


1 shilling


5 shillings


1o shillings


However, as the shilling continued to decline, the Bank of Tanzania responded 1990 by minting the 5, and 10 shilling coins in nickel-clad-steel, and released a new 20 shiling coins shown below. At one time, a commemorative 5 Shilling coin was issued to mark the opening of the new Bank of Tanzania building; I could’t get its image.

Towards the end of Mwinyi reign, new 100 brass coins were released in 1994 with the portrait of Mwalimu Nyerere as a replacement of the 10 coin which had become almost useless in circulation. At that time the 50 cents,  1 shilling and the 5 shilling coins were also retired from circulation.

After Mkapa came to power, he abolished the system of casting images of reiging presidents on the currency; he wanted images of founding fathers to remain on the currency permanently. However, he did not want dowangrade the contribution of President Mwinyi ni building the nation, so new coins did not carry the portrait of Mkapa, instead they carried images of the founding fathers of the nation, Mwalimu Nyerere and Sheikh Karume as well as President Mwinyi. The first release was in 1996 where denominations of 50 shillings and 100 shillings coin were released.  The 100 Shilling coin did not change from its preveious design; howevere, the 50 Shillings coin was new in circulation, minted in brass carrying the portrait of Mwinyi as shown below.


In the same year, coins in 200 shillings were released to commemorate the 35th of independence and the 26th olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. These coins were bimetallic in copper and   nickel.




In the year 1997, two comemorative coins were released in 200 shilling and 500 shilling denominations. The 200 Shiling coins was released to mark the wild life of africa daya, and the 500 shilling coin was released to mark 75 years since the East African tour of Queen Elizabeth, the quee’s mother Elizabeth and her husband in 1923. Their images are as shown below.

200 Shillings


500 Shillings

In 1998, all 200 Shilling comemorative coins were replaced by a brass 200 Shiling coin that carried the portrait of Sheikh Karume as shown below. Along with it was a 500 coin released to promote Wildlives of Serengeti.

200 Coin


500 Coin


Since then, no new coins have been released. Coins in circulation have remained to be 50, 100 and 200 shillings only with portraits of Mwinyi, Nyerere and karume respectively. However, all retired coins are still legally accepted in all finacial transactions.

Tanzania Money: Part II (Coins-British Rule)

August 24, 2007

After the world war I in 1919, German East Africa was occupied by British and Belgian forces. In Tanganyika, the Rupie circulated alongside the British East African rupee, which had been in existence in Kenya and Uganda, until 1920 when both were replaced by the East African florin at par. The florin was divided into 100 cents. Coins were minted in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and 1 florin but, according to the “Standard Catalog of World Coins” (C. L. Krause & C. Mishler, Krause Publications), the 50 cents coins were not released for circulation and only 30% of the 1, 5 and 10 cents coins produced were issued for circulation before the East African florin was replaced by the East African Shilling in 1921. One Shilling was equal to half a florin or equivalently one East African florin equaled two East African Shillings. Because of its short period in existence, few of the coins minted were actually issued and are consequently scarce today.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to get images of those coins.

The East African Shilling was decimalized into 100 cents. Coins were issued in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 50 cents and the 1 Shilling. Coins of 1, 5 and 10 cents were holed bronze, while coins of 50 cents and 1 shilling were solid faced cupronickel. Of all coins in history of this country, these coins were the most stable in  design as they never changed for the whole period of over fourty years of british rule; they continued in circulation even after independence untill 1966. As the British rulers changed, the coin faces were also changed ro reflect the reigning British ruler without changing the coin design; coins with faces depicting past rulers continued in circulation. From the period from 1921 to 1936 when the British empire was ruled  by King George V, coin faces appeared as follows.

Bronze coins




After the death of King George V and the start of the rein of King Edward VIII, who ruled for a little less than a year from January 1936 to December 1936 before being abdicated from the throne for his controversial marriage to an American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Only bronze coins were released during his reign and were inscribed as follows.


King EdwardVIII was replaced by King George VI who ruled until his death in February 1952. During the reign of King George VI, two designs of coin faces were issued. Coins released in the period from 1936 to 1946 were inscribed GEORGIVS VI as shown in the following pictures.





After 1946,  coins were inscribed GEORGIVS SEXTVS as shown in the following picture.





King George VI died in 1952 leaving the throne to his daughter, the current Queen Elizabeth II. Coins released under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II were inscribed as shown in the following picture.





The back face of the coins never changed, all were as shown in the
following pictures.Back Bronze


Back Cupronickel


After independence, these coins continued in circulation as shown in the following picture.


However, in 1964 new coins were released without inscription of the British ruler. Typical coins released in 1964 were as shown in the following pictures.


Tanzania: Money Part 1 (Coins- German Rule)

August 20, 2007

The first currency in this country (then known as germany East Africa) was the rupie, which was introduced by Germans in 1890. It was it was subdivided into 64 Pesa. The swahili word “pesa” is a result of this fraction of a rupie. The fisrt money was all in coins at denominations of 1 Pesa copper coin and 1 Rupie silver coin.
1 Pesa Copper Coin


1 Rupie Silver Coin


 The silver quarter and half Rupie coins were introduced in 1891, and in 1893 the silver 2 Rupien coins were introduced. 

Quarter rupie silver coins


Half Rupie silver coins


2 Rupien silver coins

2 rupee

 These coins continued in circulation untill 1904 when the rupie was decimalized into 100 Hellers per one Rupie. The swahili word “hela” has its origin in this unit of a Rupie. At that time bronze half heller and one Heller coins were introduced.
half heller bronze coin

Half Heller

one heller bronze coin


New designs of the quarter rupie, half rupie and one rupie coins were released.

Quarter Rupee


Half Rupee



one Rupee


More coins were minted in 1908 introducing the bronze and 5 Heller and the holed cupro-nickel 10 Heller coin.5 heller holed broze coin


10 heller holde cupro-nickel coin


In 1913, the brass 5 heller coin was replaced by the holed cupro-nickel holed coin


During the world war in 1916, crude shaped, brass 5 and 20 Heller coins were issued, together with the gold 15 Rupien (also known as the Tabora Pound). The 15 Rupien is said to have been minted with excessive gold compared to the face value of the coin; these are the most favored collectrors coins to date selling as high as.

crude shaped 5 heller brass coins



crude shaped 20 heller coins


15 Rupien gold coins



After the  war, Germany lost this country to the British Empire. Although the German coins continued in circulation for about two years, it was replaced by britsh currency, to be discussed in the next issue.

Tanzania Flags: From 1800

August 16, 2007

Prior to German Invasion, the current Tanzania was part of the Sultanate of Zanzibar which was under control of the Sultan of Oman. The Sultanate Flag


Following Carl Peters treaties and the 1884 Berlin Conference, German colonized this country and called it Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa). They traded with the British giving them Zanzibar islands for Heligoland in North Sea. When  Britain took the islands they retained the Zanzibar Sultanate.

The flag of German East Africa


The flag of Britsh Zanzibar


The Sultanate of Zanzibar’s flag


After World War 1,  the mainland was kept under protection of the British. That is when the name Tanganyika was conceived as an extension of “TANGA”.

The Tanga Flag


The British Tanganyika Government is believed to have used several flags as shown below:




At that time, the governor used a different flag


Tangnyika gained self-government from Britain on 01 May 1961 and became independent on 09 December 1961.  For the period between may and 1961, it is not known clearly what  flag was used. It seems that along with British Tanganyika flag, there was another flag used by Nyerere’s government. It is believed to have been this one:


However many think that Nyerere used the TANU flag.


In 1961, Tanganyika became independent but remained under the British Monarchy; Nyerere became the first Prime Minister under Sir Richard Turnbull as the British Governor General

The first Flag of Independent Tanganyika:


Governor General’s Flag


After becomeing a republic in 1962, the governor general left, and Nyerere became the first president.  I have’nt been able to get a picture of the president’s flag just after being a republic

In 1993, Zanzibar also became independent under the sultan; the flag of the independent Zanzibar under the sultan (Sultanate of Zanzibar) is as follows:



After 33 days, the Governement was toupled under bloody revolution creating the Republic of Zanzibar instead of the sultanate. Two flags were used.

The first flag of the Republic of Zanzibar.


This design was later changed into the the following design


It is belived that immediately after the revolution, Pemba isalnd declared itself an independent territory known as the People’s Republic of Pemba with the following Flag. I think this republic was quashed by Field Marshal Okello in two or three days only.


In April 1964, Zanzibar reunited with the mainland again, creating the United Republic of Tanzania. The National flag has since then been this one.


And the presidential flag became


In 2005, Zanzibar created a new flag, which is a combination of the Union flag and the last flag of the Republic of zanzibar. The current Zanzibar flag is as follows  


The Zanzibar’s presidential flag is as follows: