This torque currency was designed and crafted by the Yoruba People of present day, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Copper ore is a highly prized commodity in West Africa, and was acquired through trade from Europeans, who arrived on the continent beginning in the 16th century. The Portuguese colonizers forged bracelet-shaped weights called “manillas” from copper, which served as a main form of currency to trade with the indigenous Yoruba. Eventually, Yoruba People began to re-melt these manillas down and recast them into larger currencies, sometimes worn as a body ornament.
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