In the 19th century, European currencies increasingly infiltrated the region to the detriment of local currencies, which steadily devalued despite governmental monetary reforms.
Intensified trade with Europe as well as wars, epidemics and fiscal difficulties put considerable pressure on Middle Eastern and North African currencies in the 19th and early 20th centuries. European currencies increasingly infiltrated the region to the detriment of local currencies, which became increasingly devalued despite governmental attempts at monetary reforms along European lines. When the global silver price dropped dramatically in the 1870s, many countries adopted the international gold standard, further tying them to European financial systems. In the British-controlled region of the Lower Gulf, local currencies were all but supplanted by European coins such as the Maria Theresa thaler and, after 1857, the imperial British Indian rupee. By the early 20th century, partly imposed and partly unavoidable, European-style currency systems prevailed, including the use of paper money and carefully controlled exchange mechanisms.