1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Rupee

RUPEE (Hindustani rupiya, from Sanskrit rupya), the standard coin of the monetary system in India. A silver coin of 175 grains Troy, called tanka, approximating to the rupee, was struck by the Mahommedan rulers of Delhi in the 13th century; but the rupee itself, of 179 grains, was introduced by Sher Shah in 1542. The English at first followed various indigenous standards; but since 1835 the rupee has uniformly weighed 180 grains, containing 165 grains of pure silver. The weight of the rupee (one tola) is also the unit upon which the Indian standard of weights is based. Down to about 1873 the gold value of the rupee was 2s., and ten rupees were thus equal to £1; but after 1873, owing to the depreciation of silver, the rupee at one time sank as low in value as 1s. In order to provide a remedy the government of India decided in 1893 to close the mints, and in 1899 to make the rupee legal tender at fifteen to £1. This policy proved successful, and since 1899 the exchange value of the rupee has practically remained at 1s. 4d. Therefore a lakh of rupees, which before 1873 was worth £10,000, is now only worth £6666, and a crore of rupees, which was formerly a million sterling, now only amounts to £666,666. The rupee is divided into sixteen annas, now worth 1d. each, and the anna is subdivided into 12 pies. (See India, and Money.)