The Straits Settlements were a cluster of British territories in Southeast Asia, initially established in 1826 under the British East India Company, but came under British Raj control in 1858 and direct British rule as a Crown colony on April 1, 1867. After the Second World War and Japanese occupation, the colony was dissolved in 1946 as part of Britain's reorganization of its Southeast Asian dependencies. The settlements were originally Penang, Singapore, Malacca, and Dinding. Later, the group of territories was joined by Christmas Island, the Cocos Islands, and Labuan.
The Straits dollar served as the currency of the Straits Settlements from 1898 to 1939. The Government of Straits Settlements was authorized to issue banknotes in 1898. Though dated 1 September 1898, these notes were put into circulation on May 1, 1899, and coexisted with banknotes from Chartered Bank and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.
In 1899, the Board of Commissioners of Currency started issuing paper bills, replacing the notes from private banks In 1939. When Edward VII became king in 1901, the 5-dollar note was reduced in size for improved recognition.
During George V's reign, currency notes were expanded to include denominations up to one thousand dollars for inter-bank clearing. In 1915, a complete redesign was decided for the 50, 100, and 1000-dollar notes, which were first issued to the public in October 1919, May 1917, and February 1920, respectively. A 10,000 dollar note which was exclusively for inter-bank transfers was also introduced in October 1922.
In George VI's era, a commission led by Sir Basil Phillott Blackett recommended a pan-Malayan Currency Commission to issue currency, resulting in the enactment of the Straits Settlements Currency Ordinance in 1938. In 1939, the currency was replaced with the Malayan dollar.