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French Colonies

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Written on April 30, 2019 • Last edit: June 8, 2019
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Europe

Saar Protectorate and German territories occupied by France (1919-1935 | 1945-1955)

The Saar territory was administered by France under the Treaty of Versailles for 15 years until the 1935 plebiscite handed it back to Germany, as part of WWI reparations. No coins were minted in this first period of occupation, but in the 1945-1955 period of occupation after WWII, the coins in 10, 20, 50, and 100 Franken, with trial versions, were minted in 1954/55.
They have industrial designs and 'Saarland' on their reverses, and the denomination on the obverse.

For territories occupied by France after the World Wars in Germany, the Ruhr (1923-1925) and the Rhineland (1919-1930) did not see any French coins minted there, just notgeld issues. Nor did the French occupation zones of Germany and Austria (1945-1949, and 1945-1955 respectively) see any coinage minted there, only the circulation of official occupation banknotes like in the Saar in 1947.

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Americas

Saint Pierre and Miquelon (1536-date)

These tiny islands located off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada) are the last remnants of the vast 17th-18th century expanse of French territorial acquisitions in North America known as New France, that was lost to Britain and Spain in the 1763 Treaty of Paris following the Seven Years War.
It was returned to France by the same treaty.

No coins were minted there for most of its history; either foreign coins circulated, or the French colonial coins used for New France, marked Colonies Françaises, did. During WWII, a remarkable expedition by order of Charles de Gaulle to recapture the islands from Vichy was undertaken in 1942 by Free French servicemen with success. The first coins minted specifically for Saint Pierre and Miquelon were issued in 1948, as part of the CFA Franc created post WWII to minimize financial damage dealt to the French colonies after the devaluation of the French Franc in the 1944 Breton Woods conference. These were aluminium 1 and 2 Franc coins, featuring a design with a sailboat prominently displayed. Trial versions of these dated 1948 also exist.

Guadeloupe and its dependencies (1674-date)

The Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe are located in the Leeward island, and consist of Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre and its dependencies (Saint Barthélemy, and half of Saint Martin, now their own autonomous territory since 2007, and the Îles des Saintes, Marie-Galante and La Désirade).

Settled in 1674 by French settlers, the island briefly revolted against the French Republic in 1791, leading to a monarchist takeover until 1802. The territory was enlarged with the 1878 purchase of Saint Barthélemy from Sweden-Norway, but coinage during all this time was restricted to the coins of New France, the Colonies Françaises coins of 1816-1848, and other foreign coins' clippings and countermarks' circulation. The first Guadeloupe coins were minted in 1903 in 50 Centimes and 1 Franc values, minted again in 1921, of which trial versions exist. During WWII it was officially pro-Vichy until 1943. It has used the Euro ever since France adopted it in 1999.

Martinique (1635-date)

The Caribbean island of Martinique is located in the Lesser Antilles chain of islands. It has no dependencies of its own, in contrast to Guadeloupe's collection of lesser islands.

First claimed in 1635 by a French explorer, the island was frequently used by Protestant Huguenots to escape the Catholic persecution of their faith in France under Louis XIV. Following the French Revolutionary Wars' outbreak in 1792-1793, Britain occupied the islands for a few years; then in 1815 it was formally returned to France. Coinage used during all this time was restricted to the coins of New France, the Colonies Françaises coins of 1816-1848, and other foreign coins' clippings and countermarkings. The first Martinique coins were issued in 1897 in the denominations of 50 Centimes and 1 Franc, of which trial versions exist. In WWII, it was officially pro-Vichy until 1943. It has since used the Euro following France's adoption of it in 1999.

French Guiana (1604-date)

This territory in South America bordering Dutch Guyana (Suriname), and Brazil is currently France's largest overseas possession, and department. It houses the European Space Agency's Ariane rocket launching sites, and is famous for Cayenne's creole heritage.

It was first settled by France in 1604, but not until the late 18th century was the present territory fully explored or settled. Known as the Colonies of Cayenne until the mid 19th century, coins were issued under Louis XVI in 1780-1790 of 2 and 3 Sous under the livre tournois of the Ancien Régime.
It was briefly conquered in 1809 by Portuguese Brazil, but returned after Napoléon's defeat in 1815. Billon coins under the Franc were issued in 10 Centimes in 1816 and 1846, inscribed with Guyane Française and a monogram but to little avail.

It was a slave colony until the abolition of slavery in France in 1848, by which time its infamous Devil's Island penal colony had grown to house France's worst offenders, also famously Captain Alfred Dreyfus from 1894. There was a half-hearted attempt to introduce more coinage to Guiana in 1887, but for the rest of its modern history it used the French franc. In WWII, French Guiana backed Free France officially from 1943 onwards. Nowadays it uses the Euro as its official currency following France's 1999 adoption of it.

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Africa

Algeria (1830-1962)

French Algeria was administered as a part of metropolitan France from the 1840s onwards, and corresponds with the modern state of Algeria, where French influence in colonial era architecture can still be seen in Oran and Algiers. It was completely surrounded by other French territories at the height of the empire, with the Protectorates of Morocco and Tunisia on its left and right respectively, and the vast territories of French West Africa to the south.

First invaded by French forces after an incident with the Bey of Algiers in 1830, the fall of Constantine in 1837 completed the first phase of French colonial expansion into Algeria, initially policed by the Foreign Legion. It used French francs for much of its history, as would any other metropolitan French department. In the 1860s, citizenship was extended there to the local people. A sizeable European expatriate community grew up in the coastal towns, and Algeria became a launching point for the French in the 1880s' Scramble for Africa. By the time of WWI, a coin shortage meant it was necessary to issue aluminium Chambers of Commerce issues for Oran in 1915.

A particularly dark chapter of French Algeria's history was written in 1940 with the Fall of France, and the British 'betrayal' of the French fleet moored at Mers-el-Kébir, then in the hands of Vichy France. Charles de Gaulle's Free France eventually regained control over Algeria in late 1942/early 1943, following the Allied invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch). After the war, Algerian coins were issued in denominations of 20, 50 and 100 Francs in 1949-1950 for the first time, unlike in most other colonies where the CFA Franc was introduced. By then, French Algeria had become a hotbed of political intrigue; it was on the streets of Algiers that the French Fourth Republic had its death knell sounded in 1958, and it was here too that clashes between Gaullist European settlers in Algeria and the local OAS societies that eventually culminated in a bitter war of independence, with France withdrawing in 1962.

Morocco (1912-1956)

Morocco today is a nation on the north-western corner of Africa, on the Straits of Gibraltar. It avoided European colonization for the whole of the 19th century, with the exception of some concessions to Spain, but was eventually turned into a French protectorate.

Moroccan coins had been minted well before the French protectorate was established following the 1911 Agadir crisis (also known as the Second Moroccan crisis). Those coins had been minted since the 16th century, under the influence of Ottoman coinage (with Arabic script). The first coins minted under French influence were in the late 19th century, with issues in Dirhams struck in 1893 with modern machinery imported from Paris, as French influence encroached on Moroccan internal affairs increasingly in the latter half of the 19th century. The 1905 Moroccan crisis failed to dislodge France from the region, and in the aftermath of the 2nd Moroccan crisis in 1911, France, with international consensus, established the French Protectorate over Morocco. An Internationally Neutral Zone was established at strategic Tangier in 1924 that was reunited with Morocco in 1956.

This did not change the coinage system in place since 1882 (the Moroccan Rial), as the local Sultan continued to rule in the name of France, but in 1921 the new currency of the Franc on par to the French Franc was introduced, with the words Empire Chérifien inscribed over a Moroccan star. These were issued in denominations of 25 and 50 Centimes, 1 Franc, and 2 Francs, with the denominations rising in accordance with the French Franc's devaluation, to which the Moroccan Franc had been pegged to at a 1:1 standard. In WWII the protectorate was under Vichy control, but famously refugee-packed, as seen in 1942's Casablanca. Following the Allied landings in 1942, the territories came under the jurisdiction of Free France. By the 1950s, the Moroccan Franc, which had not been tied to the CFA Franc following WWII, had denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Francs. The French Protectorate was finally dissolved in 1956, and Morocco became an independent nation.

Tunisia (1881-1956)

Tunisia today is a small nation on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, with a majority Berber population. It was a French Protectorate, similar to Morocco, until its war of independence (1952-1956).

Tunisia had been an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century onwards, but it had become somewhat autonomous by the mid-19th century. Italy had its eye on it as a potential colony, but it was taken over by France in 1881 following British diplomatic agreement at the 1878 Congress of Berlin. Unlike in Morocco, where the pre-existing currency continued to circulate and be minted years after the acquisition by France, just 10 years after the protectorate was established, Tunisian Francs were introduced, pegged to the French Franc at a 1:1 standard. These were issued in 1891, like the French franc, in similar dimensions and divisions of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 Centimes, and 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 Francs coins.
These were minted in Paris with the A mintmark, and featured the Sultan's name on the reverse of the coins.

During the interwar years the coinage metals shifted as the French franc devalued accordingly, and during WWII coins were made in zinc as in Occupied and Vichy France. Tunisia was initially under Vichy administration, until a German occupation in 1943 was driven out by the Allies, who transferred it to Free France. Following the war, Tunisia did not use the CFA Franc, and minted a new series of 5, 20, 50 and 100 Francs coins in the 1950s, when a war of independence broke out in 1952 and continued until French withdrawal in 1956.

French West Africa (1895-1958)

This was the largest of the French colonies of the 19th century Empire, spanning from the Atlantic coast to the border of Tchad (French Equatorial Africa). Organized in 1895 out of various French colonial territories in North Africa, it was widely known by the acronym AOF until its dissolution following decolonization of the area.

The first French settlements in West Africa were founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, namely Port Saint-Louis in Senegal, and Grand-Bassam. Major French colonial expeditions were mounted only in the mid-19th century, around 1875. Following France's acquisition of the Upper Volta, French Sudan, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Dahomey regions in the years between 1884 and 1893, the territories were administratively united into French West Africa in 1895. Circulating coinage was limited to French Francs, until the first coins specifically for French West Africa were minted in 1944, after the territory's switch in allegiance to Free France in 1942. They were 50 Centimes and 1 Franc coins, identical to the Morlon issues in France in 1931-1941, made in aluminium-bronze and with Morlon's design of Marianne, but with Afrique Occidentale Française where Liberté Egalité Fraternité[i] should be.

French West Africa used the CFA Franc following the end of WWII, in which AOF supplied many Pied-Noir troops to the Free French Forces (similarly in WWI), and 1 and 2 Francs in aluminium were issued in 1948, with trial versions existing. 5, 10, and 25 Franc coins were issued in 1956 in aluminium-bronze, all featuring the gazelle and wreath design. Precipitating the 1957 independence referendums, 10 and 25 Francs in the same alloy were minted for Togo with [i]Institut d'Émission
on them. The 1960 independence and subsequent split-up of AOF into 9 independent West African states saw most of them continue to use the CFA West African Franc (XOF, BCEAO) guaranteed by France, up until today.

French Equatorial Africa (1910-1958)

The second largest French colonial territory following its neighbour AOF, this territory was organized in 1910 out of various colonial acquisitions of France in Equatorial Africa. It was widely known by the acronym AEF until its dissolution following decolonization of the area.

The first French settlements here were done at the mouth of the Congo river in the 1870s and 1880s, following exploration by the French-Italian explorer de Brazza, for whom Brazzaville is named after. By 1910, the areas of Tchad, Oubangi-Shari, Gabon, and Middle-Congo had all been explored and colonized by France, whereupon they were united into one administrative area, French Equatorial Africa. Like AOF, AEF supplied Pied-Noir troops to France in both world wars, and is notable for being the first major French colony to defect from Vichy control to General de Gaulle's Free French in July 1940, under governor Félix Éboué. During all this it used the French Franc, with banknotes being periodically issued (like in AOF).

The first specifically created coins for AEF were minted in 1942-1943, in denominations of 5, 10, 25 and 50 Centimes, and 1 Franc coins in brass, later bronze, with either RF and the Phrygian cap, or the Croix de Lorraine and the Gallic cockerel, minted by Free France. Following the conclusion of the war, the CFA Franc was used by AEF, with 1 and 2 Francs being issued in 1948 in aluminium, with trial versions existing. These all featured the gazelle and wreath design. These remain the only coins issued for French Equatorial Africa in the CFA Franc, until it was dissolved into 5 independent states following the 1957 referendum for independence. In 1960, these states continued to use the CFA Central African Franc (XAF, BEAC) which is still in circulation today.

Togo and Cameroun territoires under French mandate (1919-1960)

These two colonial possessions in West Africa were initially colonized in 1884 by Leo Caprivi for the German Empire, not France, and known respectively as Togoland and Kamerun. They were overrun by Allied troops in 1914-1915 during WWI, and the 1919 Treaty of Versailles partitioned them between Britain and France, with France getting the lion's share of both colonies. Coins specifically for use in those colonies were never minted by the Germans, but denominations of 50 Centimes, 1 and 2 Francs were issued in aluminium-bronze in 1924-1925 with the inscription Territoires sous le mandat de la France (Territories under the mandate of France). The Togo and Cameroun coins for both were identical apart from the name of each, inscribed under a plant motif.

During WWII, Cameroun was quickly overrun by Allied troops, and switched sides to Free France, where 50 Centimes and 1 Franc coins were minted in bronze with the Croix de Lorraine and the Gallic cockerel in 1943. There is a variant in the legend Cameroun Français (Libre). It minted its own 1 and 2 Francs in aluminium in the CFA Franc in 1948, of which trial versions exist. 5, 10, 25 and 50 Francs would follow in 1958-1960. These all featured the gazelle and wreath design. Following independence in 1960, Cameroun continued to use the CFA Franc under with lettering État du Cameroun, as it still does today.

During WWII, Togo switched hands to Free French control in 1942, and the CFA Franc was established there in 1948. It minted its own 1 and 2 Francs in aluminium in the CFA Franc in 1948, of which trial versions exist. 5, 10, and 25 Francs would be minted as well, but only the former saw circulation before independence in 1960. These all featured the gazelle and wreath design. Countries continue to use the CFA Franc under the CBWAS, but mint their own commemorative coins today.

French Somaliland, Territories of the Afars and Issas (1862-1977)

Possibly the most complicated of the French colonies, the territory now known as Djibouti was first colonized by France in 1862 after years of Ottoman and indirect Egyptian rule. Located at the mouth of the Red Sea, it countered British Aden effectively. The first coinage issued for use in Djibouti was in 1920-1921, where Chambers of Commerce notgeld was issued in aluminium and zinc/bronze.

During WWII, the territory was Vichy-aligned, even after the collapse of neighbouring Axis' Italian East Africa in 1941. In November 1942 it joined Free France, and after the war the CFA Franc was imposed upon it, with coins in 1, 2 and 5 Francs denominations being minted in aluminium in 1948 with trial versions existing.
These had the gazelle and palm fronds design, but was replaced in the 1950s and 1960s by a dhow inspired design, when 10 and 20 Francs were introduced in brass.

Following several independence referendums which all failed, the territory's name became Territoires Français des Afars et des Issas which continued minting coins of 1 to 20 Francs with the old designs, and added 50 and 100 Francs coins in 1970 with camel designs. The colony finally became independent in 1977 as Djibouti, which never used the CFA Franc, but a Franc of its own today.

Madagascar and dependencies of the Comoros (1897-1960)

Madagascar is a large island nation located off the coast of Southeast Africa, originally ruled by the despotic Merina monarchy, whose independence was encroached upon by centuries of local French influence, culminating in the Lambert Charter's protectorate of 1882. The French Hova wars deposed the Malagasy queen in 1897, who was exiled, and Madagascar became a French colonial state. Notgeld coins in aluminium were issued in 1920 by the Societé des Mines d'Or de l'Andavakoëra.

The Vichy regime in Madagascar was deposed after the battle of Madagascar in 1942, when Allied troops stormed the island, and Free French forces minted the first coins to be issued for Madagascar specifically, the 1943 bronze coins of Free France in 50 Centimes and 1 Franc denominations, with the Croix de Lorraine and a Gallic cockerel featured as designs. The end of the war saw the CFA Franc established in 1948, with a triple bull-head as an obverse design. The initial 1 and 2 Franc coins were joined by a same design 5 Francs in 1953, and 10 and 20 Francs in aluminium-bronze in 1953 with an indigenous design around the island of Madagascar prominently featured. Trial versions of these exist too. Madagascar left the CFA Franc in 1963 for its own currency, the Ariary.

The many dependencies around the island of Madagascar have mostly remained French after Madagascar's 1960 independence from France, with the Comoros islands remaining French until a 1975 referendum saw all but Mayotte vote for independence. Mayotte remains French today, but between the Madagascar independence in 1960 and its own in 1975, the Comoros used the CFA Franc, in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 Francs with tropical designs on the obverses. Comoros had in 1891 some of its own coinage in 5 and 10 Santïmät, and a rare 1891 5 Francs in silver, plus some notgeld issues in 1920 in aluminium, after the protectorate over the islands was abolished and it became part of the administrative district of Madagascar. It continued to use the CFA Franc until the 1975 independence, after which it used its own Franc.

Other dependencies that were not significant enough to issue their own coinage following Madagascar's independence, and continued to use the Franc, include Mayotte (attached to Comoros in 1946-1975), Bassas da India, Europa island, Juan de Nova island, and Glorioso islands, some of which are now under the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, or in the prefecture of Réunion.

La Réunion (1665-date)

The island of La Réunion remains a French overseas territory, and has been so ever since the French East India Company's colonization of Mauritius island in the 1660s. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British landed on Maurice and it became the British colony of Mauritius. The Isles de France and Bourbon, as it was then known, was returned to France in 1815 after Napoléon's defeat. They had been briefly renamed in 1801 as the Isles de France and Bonaparte during which time a famously rare 10 Livres coin was minted in 1810. Franc coins were minted on the Isle de Bourbon in 1816 under Louis XVIII, a rehash of the first coins of these islands under the Ancien Régime in 1779-1780 in the form of Sols.

The island was renamed La Réunion in 1848, when slavery was abolished there. The first coins minted for the island were in 1896, when a 50 Centimes and 1 Franc depicting Mercury were issued, under the Colonial Treasure's authority. Notgeld coins of hexagonal 50 Centimes, 1 and 2 Francs were issued in 1920 in aluminium. The islands became Free French in 1942, and the CFA Franc was adopted in 1948 following the end of WWII. Denominations in aluminium 1 and 2 Francs were released with the design of tropical leaf fronds, and joined by a similar 5 Francs in 1955, as well as 10 and 20 Francs that year, as well as 50 and 100 Francs in the 1960s that bore the island's coat of arms. The island has used the Euro ever since France adopted it in 1999.

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Asia, Middle East and Far East

Lebanon and Syria (1919-1945)

Originally territories of the Ottoman Empire for five centuries, the Empire's capitulation in WWI left the victorious Allies to partition the Middle East along arbitrary borders in the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1917, which was ratified by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, and still continues to cause unrest in the local area today.
The coinage for these mandates given to France was first issued in 1924; coins issued for both being virtually identical.

They were denominated in Piastres/Girush, in 1/2, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 Piastres, with 100 Piastres for 1 Livre. In 1939 a new Pound was introduced. Zinc coins were issued during the war years, during which the Vichy-aligned Mandates were invaded and occupied by British forces in 1941 to protect the Middle East, and occupied until they were made independent by the British in 1945, to much French protest. Lebanon and Syria both continue to use the Pound today.

French India (1668-1954)

Establishments along the Indian coast by French merchants under the French East India Company in the 17th century competed with British influence in the area for local hegemony. The British victory in the Seven Years War in 1763 saw the French driven out of most of India with the exceptions of a few ports, most notably Pondicherry. The British occupied the ports of French India many times during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, but five ports were returned to France in 1816 under the Congress of Vienna - Pondicherry, Chandernagnore, Mahé, Karikal, and Yanon.
They remained of purely sentimental value to France, and remained generally less well-developed than the surrounding British Indian Empire. The territory declared its allegiance to Free France in 1940. Following the end of WWII, the independence of British India saw parts of French India returned to the Indian Union, with a 1954 plebiscite overseeing the return of the ports to India. Today they remain their own administrative district of India.

The only coins minted for French India were those in the 18th and early 19th centuries, at regional mints, in copper and silver and in various non-uniform denominations such as Dokdos, Rupees, and Fanams. French India from the mid-19th century onwards used either countermarked foreign coins, or banknotes and coins from French Indochina.

French Indochina (1858-1954)

France's largest Asiatic colonial possession by far, French Indochina comprised the modern day corresponding territories of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, as well as a small port in Southern China (now Zhanjiang). It was first settled in 1858 by French missionaries, in Saigon, which was expanded in 1862 to include parts of Cochinchina, at the expense of Dai Nam. By 1875 the first coinage that circulated here were the Sapèque coins made from holing 1 Centime Cérès coins from Metropolitan France. By 1879, coins for French Cochinchina were being manufactured in denominations of 2 Sapèques, 1, 10, 20, 50 Centimes, and 1 Piastre, with the same designs of Marianne/Liberty that would be used on coins of French Indochina.

In 1884 the Sino-French war broke out over France's expansion in Annam and Tonkin, and the Chinese Qing Dynasty accepted French dominion over the area. These acquired territories were unified with the existing French possessions in the area to create French Indochina in 1887, and coinage for the colony began, in the same denominations as the Cochinchina coins were in. Laos was incorporated into the colony following the Franco-Siamese war in 1893, and Cambodia in 1904, with further small acquisitions such as Kouang Tchèou Wan from China in 1898, and an alteration of the Siamese border in 1907. A transitional period zinc coin from Tonkin in 1905 is interestingly 1/600th of a Piastre. 5 Cent coins were introduced in 1923, and 1/2 Centimes in 1935 - both holed coins, like the new 1896 1 Centime, all with allegorical figures and phrygian caps with RF initials, and sometimes Chinese characters. The Piastre was given a new design in 1931 too, featuring an Arabesque reverse and a Marianne on the obverse.

During WWII, the Vichy government allowed Japanese passage through French Indochina, which was eventually occupied by the Japanese, who issued military money in the stead of the silver Piastres, which had become a common trading coin in the area. Zinc coins were issued in denominations of 1/4, 1/2 and 1 Centime, as well as aluminium 1 and 5 Centimes in 1941-1943. Thailand too moved to reclaim some of its lands in the Franco-Thai war of 1941. Towards the end of the war, Japan established short-lived puppet states in the territory. The rise of nationalist sentiments, bubbling since the Yên Bái mutiny of 1930, saw the First Indochina War erupt in 1946, with the reassumption of the French mantle in Indochina under the French Union.

During the last years of French Indochina, coins in aluminium similar in dimensions to the CFA Franc coins were issued in 1945 as 10 and 20 Centimes; there were also 5 Centimes in aluminium with the 1939 Turin design of Marianne, and 50 Centimes (1946) and 1 Piastre (1947) coins in cupronickel. Kouang-Tchèou Wan was returned to China in 1946. Ho Chi Minh and his guerilla forces outmanoeuvred French troops, and the capitulation of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 ultimately signalled the end of French Indochina. The signing of the Geneva Accords saw France pull out of Indochina, which became the states of Cambodia, Laos, and North and South Vietnam, abrogating a decades-long conflict.

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Oceania

New Caledonia (1853-date)

New Caledonia was first discovered by Captain James Cook, but it was only settled by French colonists in 1853. The island's capital of Noumea was founded in 1854, and it became a French penal colony until 1897. No coins were minted for the colony throughout most of its history - it used the French Franc -, and during WWII, the council of New Caledonia voted unanimously to support Free France, which it did, serving as an aircraft base to the Allies until 1945.

Following the end of the war, the CFP Franc was introduced to the island, as with many other French Pacific territories, in 1948. The overseas territory status newly granted in 1946 helped increase migration. The CFP Franc acted like the CFA Franc in many ways- it was aimed at minimizing financial consequences following the French Franc's devaluation after the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. In 1948-1949 coins were issued depicting a seated Marianne bearing a torch and cornucopia, with a bird-of-paradise on the obverse, in denominations of 50 Centimes, 1 Franc, 2 Francs, and also 5 Francs (1952). In 1967, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Francs coins bearing images of local wildlife and attractions, with a capped Marianne on the reverse, were issued, and they continue to be in use today.

New Hebrides (1887-1980)

The New Hebrides islands were first settled by both British and French colonists in 1887, and it eventually took a joint agreement between the two countries, after the 1904 Entente Cordiale to settle the decision, taken in 1906 to split the territory into an Anglo-French Condominium. During WWII, in 1940 it was the first colony to declare allegiance to Free France, partly due to British shared influence.

No coins were minted for the condominium by either the British or French before WWII, but from 1967 onwards denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Francs were gradually introduced under the CFP Franc, with a special 1966 silver 100 Francs, with gold Piedfort and Trial versions, and a 1979 special 500 Francs in gold for the year of the child. The CFP Franc was used until 1983, after the nation's 1980 independence as Vanuatu, when the Vatu became the nation's currency.

Wallis & Futuna and French Oceania (1888-date)

The islands of Wallis and Futuna were first settled by French missionaries in 1837, and they became a French protectorate in 1888. Formally annexed into France in 1917, they never issued coins of their own. In WWII, the Free French reclaimed the islands from Vichy in 1942.

Following the war, however, the islands used the CFP Franc, with aluminium coins issued under the name Établissements Français de l'Océanie, which were also used by other smaller territories scattered around the Pacific Ocean, such as by the New Hebrides before the 1967 coins were minted there. Coins in aluminium were issued in denominations of 50 Centimes and 1, 2, and 5 Francs in 1949-1952. Today they still use the coins of the CFP Franc, but those used by nearby French Polynesia, and the CFP's banknotes.

French Polynesia (1889-date)

French Polynesia is a group of French islands scattered in the South Pacific Ocean, and is the largest French overseas collectivity by territorial waters. It is renowned as a famous resort destination, featuring the world-class resorts of Tahiti. The islands were first documented by Captain James Cook, but French missionaries there kept being harassed, so in 1842 France declared a protectorate over the islands of Tahiti. The capital of Papeetë was founded in 1843. Not until expansion of French influence in the region to include other island chains was the official protectorate granted in 1889.

The islands sided with Free France in 1940, following the fall of France. But no coins were minted for the island, only emergency banknotes called Bons de Caisse, until the introduction of the CFP Franc in 1948-1949. Coins were issued under the name Établissements Français de l'Océanie. In 1965 this was changed to Polynésie Française. Nuclear tests were conducted there, and in 1972 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Francs coins were minted there, and have been ever since. The CFP Franc remains legal tender there even today.

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