Here’s something not many people outside of Australia (and many Australians for that matter) would know – in 1808, thanks to the value of rum, the government was overthrown in what was called The Rum Rebellion!
Rum was used as a form of currency in Australia in the early 1800’s, now that’s an idea worth pursuing! While the Governor was the designated ruler of the convict colony, in reality the NSW Corps, the military arm, ruled the roost. As traditional money like notes and coins was in short supply, a barter system was invented which was run by the Corps. People were paid and traded in rum! Rum was a great form of currency- if all else failed you could drink your savings!
The Rum Rebellion
But as is always the case, all good things can come to an end. A new governor William Bligh was appointed who didn’t take kindly to rum being used for trade. He tried to stop the use of rum as a currency, and consequently was overthrown by the Rum Corp on January 26th 1808 in Australia’s first and only military coup, which came to be known as the Rum Rebellion.
The Rum Corp
The NSW Corps was given the name the “Rum Corp” due to their monopolization of the liquor trade. The rebellion started when the governor tried to arrest one of the senior corps lieutenant John MacArthur for illegal importation of brewery equipment. After starting a petition to withdraw Bligh as governor, the corps stormed government house to find him hiding under a bed!
According to internet sources he remained under house arrest until 1810 when the British sent in a new Governor to regain control and Bligh was sent back to England!
Of course, Wikipedia has all the details for those who are interested, you can check them out here.