The rupee was the major silver coin in India and on the Indian subcontinent. Being a popular trade coin the rupee reached the shores of East Africa in the 18th century. When the German colonial armies came there in 1884, they found a well-established rupee currency. Initially the administration of German East Africa lay in the hands of the German East African Company. The company did not change the existing currency but, quite contrary, started to issue rupees itself. These German colonial coins were minted in Berlin and shipped to Africa. The obverse depicted the German Emperor Wilhelm II (1888-1918), while the reverse bore the coat of arms of the German East African Company; a lion under a coconut tree.