German East African rupie

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German East African rupie
Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Rupie (German)
1904 Deutsch Ostafrika 1 Rupie Revers.JPG
1 Rupie coin
Central bank Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank
User(s) Flag of the German East Africa Company.svg German East Africa


(prior to 1904: 64 pesa = 1 rupie)
Coins ½, 1, 5, 10, 20 Heller, ¼, ½, 1, 2 Rupien
Banknotes 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 500 Rupien
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The Rupie was the currency of German East Africa between 1890 and 1916, continuing to circulate in the Tanganyika Territory until 1920.


The Indian rupee was the dominant currency used along the East African coast during the second half of the 19th century where it had marginalized the American gold dollar and the Maria Theresa thaler. The German East Africa Company acquired rights to mint coinage in 1890 and issued rupies which were equivalent to the Indian and Zanzibar rupee. The Company retained its coinage rights even after the takeover of German East Africa by the government later in 1890. In 1904 the German government took over currency matters and established the Ostafrikanische Bank.

The Rupie was initially equivalent to the Indian rupee. Until 1904, it was subdivided into 64 Pesa (equivalent to the Indian pice or paisa). The currency was decimalized on 28 February 1904, with 1 Rupie = 100 Heller. At the same time, a fixed exchange rate of 15 Rupien = 20 German Mark was established.

In 1915 and 1916, a large series of emergency issues of paper money were issued. 1916 also saw a final issue of coins including gold 15 Rupien coins which contained an equivalent amount of gold to 15 German Mark. Later in 1916, German East Africa was occupied by British and Belgian forces. In Tanganyika, the Rupie circulated alongside the East African rupee (to which it was equal) until 1920, when both were replaced by the East African florin at par. In Burundi and Rwanda, the Belgian Congolese franc replaced the Rupie in 1916.

During the First World War, gold from the Sekenke Gold Mine was used to mint coins to pay German troops fighting against the allied forces in the Belgian Congo.[1]


In 1890, copper 1 Pesa and silver 1 Rupie coins were introduced, followed the next year by silver ¼ and ½ Rupie and in 1893 by silver 2 Rupien coins. The silver coins were minted to the same standard as the Indian rupee.

As a consequence of decimalization, bronze ½ and 1 Heller were introduced in 1904, followed by bronze 5 Heller and holed, cupro-nickel 10 Heller in 1908. In 1913, holed, cupro-nickel 5 Heller were introduced. In 1916, crude, brass 5 and 20 Heller coins were issued, together with the gold 15 Rupien mentioned above.


In 1905, the Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank introduced notes for 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 Rupien. Between 1915 and 1917, emergency notes were issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 200 Rupien.

Complete denomination set of World War I German East African Rupie (1915-17 emergency issue series)
Value Year Image
1 Rupie 1915
GEA-9Ab-Deutsch Ostafrikanische Bank-1 Rupie (1915).jpg
5 Rupien 1915
GEA-32-Deutsch Ostafrikanische Bank-5 Rupien (1915).jpg
10 Rupien 1916
GEA-41-Deutsch Ostafrikanische Bank-10 Rupien (1916).jpg
20 Rupien 1915
GEA-45a-Deutsch Ostafrikanische Bank-20 Rupien (1915).jpg
50 Rupien 1915
GEA-46a-Deutsch Ostafrikanische Bank-50 Rupien (1915).jpg
200 Rupien 1915
GEA-49-Deutsch Ostafrikanische Bank-200 Rupien (1915).jpg



  1. ^ Modern Gold Coins accessed: 25 July 2010

External links[edit]

Preceded by:
Indian rupee
Ratio: at par
Currency of German East Africa
(Tanganyika, Burundi, Rwanda)
1890 – 1916 in Burundi and Rwanda, 1920 in Tanganyika
Note: German East Africa was occupied by British and Belgian forces in 1916
Succeeded by:
East African florin
Location: Tanganyika
Reason: given to United Kingdom by Treaty of Versailles
Ratio: at par
Succeeded by:
Belgian Congolese franc
Location: Burundi, Rwanda
Reason: given to Belgium by Treaty of Versailles