In the middle ages, cowrie shells became one type of currency used all over West Africa, including the Benin kingdom. They were valuable because they came from far away. Because they were small, they were easy to use like coins. The Oba displayed his cowrie shells to show off his wealth. Cowries remained a form of currency into the 18th century. Today cowrie shells remain an example of the resilience of African people and the richness of African history. Now you can make a bracelet out of money cowrie shells, just like people would have in the kingdom of Benin!