Dollar, Sovereign and Rupee: Money in Mauritius
This chapter explores the monetary history of Mauritius in order to examine the legacy of colonialism on this island nation. The economic and symbolic use of currencies became a site of resistance to, in succession, the Dutch, French and British colonizers. This resistance was encoded in two symbolic uses of money—auctioneering and jewellery. The retention of the Spanish dollar as the unit of account for auctions reflected the ambivalent position of the Franco-Mauritian elite under British rule. Similarly, Indian indentured labourers symbolically subverted their subaltern position by refashioning British coins into the “guirni necklace”. Both of these practices have been continued in altered forms into the post-colonial period.