Why does the Star of David feature on these African coins from 1936 and 1959?


  • 2
    The answer is here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram#Usage_by_the_Abrahamic_religions
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 18:27
  • Chapter: "Usage by Muslims" in this article.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 18:28
  • 2
    @Alex I found the same link but I think that the relationship is weak enough that additional sources are needed; it is accepted as a religious symbol in Islam but it does not appear to be that important to be the only symbol in coinage
    – SJuan76
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 18:48
  • 2
    The link shows you pictures of similar coins, including ancient ones, minted in Muslim countries. The Hexagram, like other simple and nice geometric configurations (like the Pentagram, Swastika, etc.) were discovered in many civilizations, and widely used as symbols, what else do you want to know?
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 22:40
  • 2
    @Alex. Wrong. The only coin pictured was not minted in a Muslim kingdom; if you look for the data of the only photo of a coin it explains it was minted by the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem (which explains the importance given to a symbol linked to King David). As you said, many symbols have been reinvented / reused with different meanings by different cultures, so claiming that Nigerians use it because they are Muslims may be too much of a stretch (are you sure that symbol does not mean someone else in the context of Nigeria history/culture?)
    – SJuan76
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 7:25

2 Answers 2


The hexagram already appeared on the historical flag of nigeria (british colony and protectorate). Both coins date from that time, since Nigeria got independent in 1960. So, i think the question should be why the hexagram was associated with Nigeria during the epoch before 1960. Extensive information regarding this question can be found at http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ng-gb.html. According to that page, it may be due to jewish influence transmitted by the ethnic group of Igbo (Ibo), and/or it's a "traditional Ibo/Igbo symbol". To be honest, i can't judge if this explanation is accurate...

Anyway, since the hexagram was used to distinguish the colony of Nigeria by British authorities, it seems quite natural to use such a distinct and "easy-to-draw" symbol to distinguish coins from pre-1960 Nigeria from those coined in other British colonies in Africa.

  • Tudor Parfitt has researched African communities practicing some form of Judaism and investigated genetic origins for anyone interested. He's a respectable academic not a crank. Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 13:11
  • 2
    @TheMathemagician - I saw a special about his work a couple of decades ago. It is indeed very interesting, but it is also about a specific people in far SE Africa who had historical trading links with the levant down the east coast of Africa. Nigeria in NW Africa is a whole different kettle of fish.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:46

First of all this is NOT the Star of David, it's the Seal of Solomon.

The seal of Solomon has interlaced triangles unlike the so called star of David.

Secondly, the Hexagram is a very ancient symbol used throughout the world BEFORE Hebrews and Zionists.

Thirdly, the so called star of David was adopted quite late - no earlier than the 11th century as a Jewish symbol.

There are West African populations - Yoruba for example - with Canaanite roots which could serve as an explanation for the appearance of the seal on the coin.

  • 6
    This answer would be improved by sources.
    – MCW
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 16:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.