By the middle of the 1830s there was a desperate need for a banking system in the West Indies. All necessary banking transactions had to be conducted in Britain.
Following pressure from sugar planters and merchants, the Colonial Bank was established by Royal Charter on 15th May 1837, in the British colonies of Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, British Guiana and St. Thomas. The headquarters of the bank was in London. By the end of the year 13 branches and agencies had been established.
The Colonial Bank issued the first ever Jamaican banknotes in 1837. These banknotes were unique as they were denominated in three currencies : British Pounds, Spanish Dollars and local currency.
The Bank had a virtual monopoly on banking in the West Indies for the rest of the century. In 1916 the Colonial Bank had its charter extended to British West Africa and then worldwide a year later.
In 1925, the Colonial Bank, together with two other banks, were acquired by Barclays Bank of London. The new organisation was incorporated as Barclays Bank ( Dominium Colonial and Oversees ), which later became Barclays Bank D.C.O.
The Colonial Bank used a vertical type of overprint in the Victorian period, found on the 1d lilac postage stamp and the Foreign Bill stamps of this era. The King Edward VII Foreign Bill stamps see a switch to a horizontal style of overprint.