MAURITIUS Paper Money,
Oriental Bank Corporation 1858-90



  Next Page>Next Country>

20.1.1837 - 22.1.1901

Sir William Stevenson
20.9.1857 -  9.1.1863

Printer: Unknown

Mauritius Banknotes, 東藩滙理銀行 Oriental Bank Corp., 1858-90 Issues

Colony of Mauritius

 GBR colony 1810

Oriental Bank Corporation

P.S141  £1 = $5  1858 Images Needed
P.S142  £5 = $25 1858


P.UNL  4,150 Pounds 12.11.1872
 Sight Bill
P.UNL  4,300 Pounds 12.11.1872
 Sight Bill
P.UNL  £23 8/-  14.10.1862
Early check of the
Oriental Bank Corporation,
Shanghai Office


P.UNL  25 Pounds 2.5.1865
Early stock certificate of the
Oriental Bank Corporation,
issued to Mary Henderson
P.UNL 100 Shares 1890
The New Oriental Bank stock certificate

* This certificate may be available for sale from


Founded in 1842, as a joint stock bank, the Bank of Western India was reconstituted in 1845, changing its name to the Oriental Bank and moving its head office from Bombay to London. It was a move that appeared to cause some consternation in Bombay, where, according to an article in The Times, the shareholders were dissatisfied with the expense and conduct of their London directors. However, it was an issue that appeared to fade, largely, it would seem, not only because control resided in London rather than Bombay, but also because there was much more available investment capital in the former than the latter.

Of more importance, around this time was the Oriental Bank’s take-over, in 1849, of the Bank of Ceylon, which had been established in 1841, incorporating the rights that went with joint stock banking in Ceylon. More generally, it could be seen as part of a movement towards joint stock banking in India, that both followed in the footsteps of joint stock banking that began to emerge in England from around the middle of the 1820s, and that challenged the old agency houses in India.

Eventually, in 1851, it was granted a royal charter that enabled it to undertake international exchange banking in the trading region east of the Cape of Good Hope. In response to this new status it changed its name, yet again, to the Oriental Bank Corporation. As the first of the Eastern Exchange Banks to centre its activities on India, it would provide a reference point for the other exchange banks that followed. Over the next twenty-two years, in the wake of what was a long economic boom, in which the Indian economy grew at a fairly rapid rate, it managed to establish a very successful exchange banking operation that linked India to Britain and to other parts of the globe. In so doing, it survived what was a major crisis in credit in the middle of the 1860s.

In 1873, however, when the global economy began to turn downwards, the Oriental Bank Corporation began to encounter new conditions that were emerging as a result of the transformation in the world economy, which was manifested by a fall in prices, a decline in the growth rate of foreign trade, and a changing and at times unstable system of international currency, that was highlighted by a series of international conferences that sought to address the question of bimetallism. As the world sank deeper into recession, the inability of producers to realize the value of their commodities on the world market, saw machines lie idle and industrial capital stagnate.

Indeed, it was not until the 1890s – somewhere between 1893 and 1898 depending on the country – that the global economy began to move once more into an upward swing. Ironically, however, the Oriental Bank Corporation was unable to profit what would prove to be a rapidly growing economy. Indeed, while it had succeeded in building a very sound banking operation through until the 1870s, it began to struggle from around 1878, ceasing to operate in 1884 and then revived as the New Oriental Banking Corporation in the same year. With the growth of other banks such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai and the Chartered Bank the new organisation was never succesful and it finally closed its doors in 1892.

* History courtesy of the AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY via


© Garry Saint, Esquire 1999-2010