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Katanga is a rich copper mining region is the south-eastern portion of Zaire. An unusual form of money, consisting of large, heavy, copper crosses was used in the region in the 19th and early 20th century. The crosses, about 8 or 9 inches across and weighing about 2 pounds were cast by native coppersmiths. A single cross might buy 10 kilos of flour or 6 axes. 2 crosses could purchase a gun.

The Katanga region declared its independence from The Congo (now Zaire) shortly after Belgium granted the region its independence in 1960. In 1961 Katanga issued its first coins, a copper 1 Franc and 5 Franc for circulation. A gold version of the 5 Franc was also issued as a non-circulating commemorative. As an homage to it's heritage, the coins pictured the Katanga Cross. After years of fighting Katanga was forcibly reunited with The Congo in 1963.

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