Pound sterling in the South Atlantic and the Antarctic

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The United Kingdom possesses a number of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean as well as a section of the Antarctic continent. These territories are St. Helena with Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and the British Antarctic Territory. The official currency in these territories is either Pound sterling or a local currency that evolved from sterling and is at a fixed one-to-one parity with sterling.

Until 1929–1930, when the Australian pound and New Zealand pound ceased to be at parity with sterling, sterling was the currency of much of the Antarctic continent, including the Australian Antarctic Territory and the Ross Dependency.

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha[edit]

St. Helena used sterling currency as in the United Kingdom until 1976 when it began to issue its own banknotes at par with the pound sterling. In 1984, this territory also began to issue its own coinage, similar to the coinage of the United Kingdom but with different designs on the reverse. The St. Helena currency also circulates on Ascension Island, but not in the other part of the territory, Tristan da Cunha, where UK currency circulates.

The Falkland Islands[edit]

Until 1971, United Kingdom currency was used, but since decimalization the Falkland Islands have used their own distinctive coinage similar to that of the UK. See the Falkland pound for more information.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands[edit]

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has a very small population, with no permanent residents. Government officials there use UK currency.

British Antarctic Territory[edit]

Although nominally British, the British Antarctic Territory is subject to international agreements which limit British authority there and allow other countries to maintain scientific research bases there. The official currency is the Pound sterling. In the London Gazette of 9 October 1970 a notice appeared under the heading of "State Intelligence". It was a proclamation by the Queen calling in all farthings, halfpennies and half-crowns in the Falkland Islands, the Dependencies of the Falkland Islands and the British Antarctic Territory. It stated,

Elizabeth R. We, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 11 of the Coinage Act 1870, do hereby, by and with the advice of Our Privy Council, call in, in the Falkland Islands, the Dependencies of the Falkland Islands and the British Antarctic Territory, all farthings, halfpennies and half-crowns by 31st day of October 1970, and direct that after that date those coins shall not be current or legal tender within those territories.

In the United Kingdom, these coins had already been demonetized, and in the case of the farthing, as long ago as 1960.

References[edit]

  • Chalmers, R., "A History of Currency in the British Colonies" (1893)
  • The Australian yearbooks from 1921
  • The New Zealand yearbooks from 1921