A romanization of the Arabic word often romanized as uqiya, derived from the Latin uncia, as is the English word “ounce.” In Latin “uncia” meant one-twelfth as well as the unit of mass which was 1/12th of a libra. The ratio often survives in the word's descendants: uncia: libra; troy ounce: troy pound; uqiya: ratl.
In Kenya, ? – 20ᵗʰ century, a unit of mass, = 1 ounce avoirdupois, approximately 28.3495 grams. (UN 1966) In Zanzibar, 19th century
For gold, silver, silk, scent, and other costly articles, the unit is the wakia, or weight of an Austrian silver dollar, almost exactly an ounce.
A Handbook of the Swahili Language as Spoken at Zanzibar. 3rd ed.
London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1884.
The Austrian silver dollar referred to is the Maria Theresa thaler, standardized in 1750 at a weight of 10 thalers to the mark of Vienna. All the Maria Theresa thalers minted after 1780 are dated 1780. It weighs 28.0668 grams, which is concidentally about 0.99 avoirdupois ounce. Its reliable weight and silver content made the coin popular in North Africa and the Middle East from the 1750's to the present. Many mints produced them, including that of the United States. For more information consult Wikipedia or www.theresia.name/en/
In Timbuktu, ? – late 19ᵗʰ century, a unit of mass, about 27.5 grams. This is the North African trade ounce.
Monographie de Tombouctou accompagnée de nombreuses illustrations et d'une carte de la région de Tombouctou, dressée d'après les documents les plus récents.
Paris: Société des études coloniales & maritimes, 1900.
Romanized as vakia, mid 19ᵗʰ century, at Mocha in Yemen, a unit of mass, about 31.7 grams.¹ Another romanization: wageka.
This particular uqiya standard is based on the Roman gold coin called the aureus, first minted by Augustus. The Arabs took 1 uqiya (of this type) to be equal to 6 2/3 aurei.
1. Waterston, 1855)
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Last revised: 11 October 2001.