Money in Jamaica

After the emancipation in 1838 the slaves now began to earn wages, this now created greater need for more cash in the smaller value. There were some copper coins that the British brought into circulation but the former slaves rejected them and did not use them at all.

Jamaican money

Therefore coins were introduced this time made from a cupro-nickel metal and this gained popularity.

In the year 1869 a law was passed locally that the new cupro-nickel which was in denominations of half penny and penny was now the first Jamaican money. The British coins in silver were accepted so a higher denomination was not needed at the time.

The money that was to be used in Jamaica was the same weight and value as the English coins, but had the Jamaican coat of arms depicted on the back.

There was further extension in the denominations in 1880 with the introduction of the farthing. There was a change in the material from metal to nickel-brass in 1937, this time there was no rejection associated with this new look.

The farthing lasted in circulation until the year 1952. When Jamaican gained independence in 1962 further alterations were made to the Jamaicans first coins, there was a reduction in size and the coat of arms was updated.

In the middle of the 19th century the first banks to issue bank notes in Jamaica were private commercial banks. The Colonial Bank incorporated with another from England and started operating in 1837 in Jamaica; they issued notes that were payable in Spanish dollars, local currency and British pound.

Another bank was also established called the Planters Bank in 1839 and served the planters on the island; they also issued notes.

However, it was not long before the Planters Bank and other banks stopped operating on the island. This makes the Colonial Bank the player in the banking sector and in 1925 they teamed up with Barclays Bank in London and numerous other corporations.

Soon after these mergers the bank emerged with a new name and the notes that were distributing was now in the name of Barclays Bank, D.C.O.

In the late 1800’s Jamaica and Canada increased their trading relations and Canada established banks in Jamaica. The first to open was the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1889, but they did not issue bank notes until a year later.

Then the Royal Bank of Canada established a branch in the year 1911 and in 1920 the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; they too started issuing their own notes. However, in the year 1940 these notes were taken out of circulation.

The Bank of Jamaica was established in the year 1960 and was now the sole issuer of coins and notes on the island. The first note which was introduced in 196l was in denominations of one, five and ten pounds. These notes had the portrait of the Queen and the signature of the then Governor of the Bank. They retained the colors as the notes that were previously in circulation.

There was an important difference that was reflected on these notes, there was no date. The only significant changes that would be made were when there was a change in the Governor at the bank. It was not until the year 1969 when the Jamaican money changed to decimal system that these bank notes stopped circulating.

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