Frayed Manilla

IMG_3539
Manillas. That’s the word for the bangle currency that came out of West Africa. It’s derived from the Spanish manella (bracelet) and Portuguese (hand-ring).

Inspired by the above Fray comic (those 3 bangles on her wrist? Sils, a type of currency in the Fray universe) I was planning to write an interesting post about the history of bangles being used for currency. Thus, some wiki-style research introduced me to manillas. But it turns out this history is fucking depressing and sad as shit.

Manillas are horse-shoe like bangles. Manillas, also referred to as “slave trade money”… 8 to 10 of which purchased a slave.

In Burkina Faso they used these beauties below.

In the Cote d’Ivoire:

Man, I don’t even have any kind of decent insights. This just makes me sad.

I found all the manilla images at Hammill Gallery and the photos are credited Tim Hammill. The top image is from the Fray comic put out by Dark Horse.

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