Abstract

Abstract:

In 1797 King Bodawpaya became the first Konbaung king to introduce a national coinage by issuing copper and silver coins minted in both Calcutta and Amarapura. A British envoy, Hiram Cox, delivered the Calcutta coins and additional minting equipment to Amarapura and witnessed first-hand the roll-out of the new monetary system. Deriding the effort as incompetent and avaricious, Cox's account has served as the basis for all subsequent historical and numismatic treatments. This paper examines this effort in a new light, and with the support of additional evidence uncovered in the 20th century, paints a picture far less negative than British accounts. The kingdom's efforts, arguably inadequate to the task, nonetheless demonstrated a certain degree of planning and logical action. And despite Cox's characterizations, the new coinage was apparently based upon an existing system of monetary value, resulting in coinage that continued to circulate throughout most of the 19th century.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2010-314X
Print ISSN
1094-799X
Pages
pp. 253-283
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-13
Open Access
No
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