French Indochinese piastre

French Indochinese piastre

Overview
The piastre de commerce was the currency of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 between 1885 and 1952. It was subdivided into 100 cent, each of 5 sapeque.

Prior to the arrival of the French in Indo-China in the second half of the 19th century, cash coins
Cash (Chinese coin)
A cash was a type of coin of China and East Asia from the 2nd century BC until the AD 20th century. The photograph to the right shows replicas of various ancient to 19th century cast coins in various metals found in China and Japan.-Terminology:...

 similar to those used in the provinces of China circulated in the area that is nowadays known as Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. There was also a silver milled dragon coin and associated subsidiary coinage in circulation.
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Encyclopedia
The piastre de commerce was the currency of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 between 1885 and 1952. It was subdivided into 100 cent, each of 5 sapeque.

History


Prior to the arrival of the French in Indo-China in the second half of the 19th century, cash coins
Cash (Chinese coin)
A cash was a type of coin of China and East Asia from the 2nd century BC until the AD 20th century. The photograph to the right shows replicas of various ancient to 19th century cast coins in various metals found in China and Japan.-Terminology:...

 similar to those used in the provinces of China circulated in the area that is nowadays known as Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. There was also a silver milled dragon coin and associated subsidiary coinage in circulation. The dragon coin is believed to have been in imitation of the Spanish
Spanish dollar
The Spanish dollar is a silver coin, of approximately 38 mm diameter, worth eight reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform in 1497. Its purpose was to correspond to the German thaler...

 and Mexican silver dollars which also circulated widely in the region at that time, however the dragon dollars were worth less because the fineness of the silver was less than that in the Spanish and Mexican dollars. In the region that is nowadays Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

 and Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, the Siamese coinage circulated and Cambodia had its own regional varieties of the Siamese Tical
Thai baht
The baht is the currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang . The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand.-History:The baht, like the pound, originated from a traditional unit of mass...

 (Thai Baht
Thai baht
The baht is the currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang . The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand.-History:The baht, like the pound, originated from a traditional unit of mass...

).

The French began their Indo-Chinese empire in 1862 with Cochin-China which is the area around the Mekong delta
Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of . The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.The...

 and Saigon, and which is nowadays the extreme southern part of Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. This empire very quickly expanded to include Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

 which had been a vassal state of the Kingdom of Siam. In 1875, the French introduced a Cambodian franc
Cambodian franc
The franc was the currency of Cambodia between 1875 and 1885. It was equal to the French franc and was similarly subdivided into 100 centimes. It circulated alongside the piastre with 1 piastre = 5.37 francs. It replaced the tical and was replaced by the piastre...

 to Cambodia. Although these francs were minted in Belgium between 1875 and 1885, they always bore the date 1860. The French also began to introduce a subsidiary coinage in 'cents' into Cochin-China in the late 1870s. These cents were actually subsidiary coinage of the Mexican dollar unit as opposed to being subsidiary coinage of the French franc.

In 1884, the French Indo-Chinese empire further expanded to incorporate Annam and Tonkin-China
Tonkin
Tonkin , also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is the northernmost part of Vietnam, south of China's Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces, east of northern Laos, and west of the Gulf of Tonkin. Locally, it is known as Bắc Kỳ, meaning "Northern Region"...

. The following year, in 1885, the French introduced a new silver Piastre de commerce and associated subsidiary coinage throughout the entire Indo-Chinese colonies in order to increase monetary stability. The piastre was initially equivalent to the Mexican peso
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

. The piastre was therefore a direct lineal descendent of the Spanish pieces of eight
Pieces of Eight
Pieces of Eight is the eighth studio album and second concept album by Styx, released September 1, 1978.The album was the band's follow-up to their Triple Platinum selling The Grand Illusion album....

 that had been brought to the orient from Mexico on the Manila Galleon
Manila Galleon
The Manila galleons or Manila-Acapulco galleons were Spanish trading ships that sailed once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines, and Acapulco, New Spain . The name changed reflecting the city that the ship was sailing from...

s. It was initially on a silver standard of 1 piastre = 24.4935 grams pure silver. This was reduced to 24.3 grams in 1895.

French Indo-China was one of the last places to abandon the silver standard
Silver standard
The silver standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of silver. The silver specie standard was widespread from the fall of the Byzantine Empire until the 19th century...

. The piastre remained on the silver standard until 1920, when due to the rise in the price of silver after the First World War, it was pegged to the French franc
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

 at a varying rate hence putting it unto a gold exchange standard. The silver standard was restored in 1921 and maintained until 1930, when the piastre was pegged to the franc at a rate of 1 piastre = 10 francs. During the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese occupation, an exchange rate of 0.976 piastre = 1 Japanese yen
Japanese yen
The is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro. It is also widely used as a reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, the euro and the pound sterling...

 operated, with the pre-war peg to the franc restored after the war. However, in December 1945, to avoid the French francs devaluation, the peg was changed to 1 piastre = 17 francs.

In 1946, the North Vietnamese đồng was introduced, which replaced the piastre at par. In 1952/1953, the Lao kip
Lao kip
The kip "Currency Lao Kip") is the currency of Laos since 1952. One kip is divided into 100 att . The official name is: ເງີນກີບລາວ, lit. Other languages say: ; code: LAK; sign: ' or ', encoded .-Free Lao Kip:...

 (1952), Cambodian riel
Cambodian riel
For earlier Cambodian currencies, see Cambodian tical and Cambodian franc.The riel is the currency of Cambodia. There have been two distinct riel, the first issued between 1953 and May 1975. Between 1975 and 1980, the country had no monetary system. A second currency, also named "riel", has been...

 (1953), and South Vietnamese đồng (1953) were introduced at par with the piastre. Initially, the paper money bearing denominations both in the local currency and the piastre, but coins were denominated in the national units since the beginning. These initially circulated alongside the old piastre currency. The peg of 1 piastre = 10 francs was restored in 1953. The dual denominated notes circulated until 1955 in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 and Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, and 1957 in Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

.

Coins


The coin was first introduced in 1880 then 1883 then in 1885 as so on.
In 1885, bronze 1 cent and silver 10, 20 and 50 cent and 1 piastre coins were introduced. These were followed in 1887 by holed, bronze 1 sapeque. In 1895, the weights of the silver coins were reduced, due to the reduction in the silver peg of the currency. From 1896, the 1 cent was also a holed coin. In 1923, holed, cupro-nickel 5 cent were introduced, followed by holed, bronze ½ cent in 1935.

In 1939, zinc ½ cent and both nickel and cupro-nickel 10 and 20 cent coins were introduced. Coins in the name of the État Français
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 were issued between 1942 and 1944 in denominations of ¼, 1 and 5 cent. All three were holed, with the ¼ cent in zinc and the other two in aluminium. In 1945, aluminium 10 and 20 cent were introduced, followed by unholed aluminium 5 cent and cupro-nickel 1 piastre coins. The last piastre coins were issued in the name of the "Indochinese Federation".

The first Lao kip
Lao kip
The kip "Currency Lao Kip") is the currency of Laos since 1952. One kip is divided into 100 att . The official name is: ເງີນກີບລາວ, lit. Other languages say: ; code: LAK; sign: ' or ', encoded .-Free Lao Kip:...

 coins were dated 1952, while the first South Vietnamese đồng and Cambodian riel
Cambodian riel
For earlier Cambodian currencies, see Cambodian tical and Cambodian franc.The riel is the currency of Cambodia. There have been two distinct riel, the first issued between 1953 and May 1975. Between 1975 and 1980, the country had no monetary system. A second currency, also named "riel", has been...

 were dated 1953.

Banknotes


In 1892, the Banque de l'Indochine
Banque de l'Indochine
The Banque de l'Indochine was a minting and banknote-issuing bank established in Paris on January 21, 1875, for the territories of France in Asia.-History:...

introduced 1 piastre notes, followed the next year by 5, 20 and 100 piastres. Between 1920 and 1922, 10, 20 and 50 cent notes were also issued. In 1939, 500 piastre notes were introduced. In 1939, the Gouvernement General de l'Indochine introduced 10, 20 and 50 cent notes, followed by 5 cents in 1942. In 1945, the Banque de l'Indochine introduced 50 piastres, followed by 10 piastres in 1947.

In 1953, the Institut d'Emission des Etats du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam took over the issuance of paper money. A 1 piastre note was issued that year in the name of all three states. In addition, between 1952 and 1954, notes were introduced denominated in piastre and one of three new currencies, the Cambodian riel
Cambodian riel
For earlier Cambodian currencies, see Cambodian tical and Cambodian franc.The riel is the currency of Cambodia. There have been two distinct riel, the first issued between 1953 and May 1975. Between 1975 and 1980, the country had no monetary system. A second currency, also named "riel", has been...

, Lao kip
Lao kip
The kip "Currency Lao Kip") is the currency of Laos since 1952. One kip is divided into 100 att . The official name is: ເງີນກີບລາວ, lit. Other languages say: ; code: LAK; sign: ' or ', encoded .-Free Lao Kip:...

 and South Vietnamese đồng. For Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 100 and 200 piastres/riel were introduced. For Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, 1, 5, 10 and 100 piastres/kip were introduced. For South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

, 1, 5, 10, 100 and 200 piastre/đồng were introduced.

See also

  • Cochinchina Piastre
    Cochinchina Piastre
    In 1885, the French Indochina administration, governing the Protectorates of Annam, Cambodia, Tonkin, and the Colony of Cochinchina was created by the decree of 22 December....

  • Piastres Affair
    Piastres Affair
    The Piastres Affair also known as Piastres Scandal and Piastres Trade was a financial-political scandal of the French Fourth Republic that broke out in 1950 during the First Indochina War.-See also:*French Indochinese piastre*Generals' Affair*Henri Martin Affair*First Indochina...

  • French Indochina
    French Indochina
    French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

  • First Indochina War
    First Indochina War
    The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...


External links