Monday, July 31, 2017

My Stamp Collection : IVORY COAST

Historical Background

Located on the coast of West Africa, the region that would become known as the Ivory Coast was, like most modern African nations, a mosaic of different ethnic communities in the era before European colonization. The southern coast was mainly composed of mangrove swamps, dominated by local peoples today called "Lagunieres" (people of the lagoons) while the northern regions were dry savannah lands more integrated with trade routes leading northward to the Niger Valley, exporting kola nuts and some gold in exchange for salt from the Sahara.

In the eighteenth century two major political transformations would occur.  In the north, a group of Muslim Mande traders would carve out a trade emporium at Kong that would grow to dominate the region between the tropical forest and the Niger valley, culminating in an attempt to seize control of access to the upper Niger River valley. The effort failed, and the Kong Emirate would eventually fracture by the early nineteenth century.   Further to the south, a mass migration of Akan-speaking peoples would migrate westward from what is now Ghana to escape domination by the rapidly expanding Asante Empire at Kumasi, leading to the rise of numerous small-scale states dominated by peoples who would become known as the Baule, today the largest single ethnic community in the Ivory Coast.

European interest in the coast of West Africa developed in the wake of Portuguese exploration starting in the late fifteenth century. However, a lack of good harbors and abundant gold deposits would restrict European interest in the region, which would come to be known as the Ivory Coast as ivory was the dominant trade good with Europeans. By the mid-eighteenth century the French would establish a small tradepost at Assinie, but compared to the wealth of the trading centers further to the east and lacking good harbors for sailing ships, European interest would remain minimal in the region, and by the mid-nineteenth century the French had abandoned Assinie.

With the growth of French interest in West Africa in wake of their expansion in Senegal, the French would return to the Ivory Coast, more with a view to approaching the percived riches of the Niger Valley (and blocking interest from other European powers) from a new direction than for any real economic interest in the Ivory Coast itself.  By the 1890s the French would establish a series of posts along the coast, and negotiations with the British and Liberians would fix the borders of France's zone of influence.  However, compared to Senegal the Ivory Coast would remain a backwater of France's West African empire, with very little French control over the interior.

All that would change in 1908 under to governorship of Gabriel Angoulvant, who believed that the colony could become economically self sufficient provided the French implemented more direct control over the native population.  The result would be a series of violent "pacifications" against the various native states of the interior that would secure French domination.  The indigeant legal code was introduced, heavy taxes were levied, and any signs of resistance were crushed.  By the end of his governorship in 1916 French control was secured at the price of a great deal of bloodshed and native resentment at French rule.

It would only be in the 1920s however that the Ivory Coast would find the commodity that would create the kind of economic growth the French desired. In cacao the French found salvation for their administration.  Working with native leaders willing to cooperate with the French administration, cacao plantations would rapidly expand in the southern two thirds of the colony. The use of tariffs, forced planting and low prices paid to producers by the French colonial monopoly ensured a healthy profit for the colonial regime, and by the late 1930s the Ivory Coast was rivalling Senegal as the "jewel" in the crown of French West Afica.  Expansion was further stimulated by encouraging labor migration from neighboring French colonies to work the cacao plantations, culminating in the decision to partition the colony of Upper Volta and ceding to the Ivory Coast the most populous parts of the formal colony in 1933, creating a labor pattern that would persist into the present day.

With the trauma of World War II, a new generation of colonial leaders, some educated in French schools with the goal of becoming lower level functionaries of the French administration, some becoming leaders of the workers in various areas of the export economy, would begin to demand political reform, including the right to vote, an end to the hated indigeant laws, and greater investment by France to develop the colony. Leadership would soon emerge under the son of a Baule chief who had done well in the cacao economy, Felix Houphouet-Boigny.  At first following the more radical socialist politics of Senegal's Leopold Senghor, by the early 1950s Houphouet would come to favor a less radical, more cooperative political stance with the French that would protect the interests of the elite of native cacao producers.  Houphouet would soon break with Senghor over the question of creating an independent French West African federation, fearing Senegalese domination and the loss of the Ivory Coast's wealth to prop up poorer regions of the proposed federation.  At first hoping to maintain the link with France in a "French Community," in 1960 Houphouet-Boigny would lead the Ivory Coast to independence from France.

While political independence would be gained in 1960, Houphouet-Boigny would ensure that his links with France and the West in general were close and cordial, to the point that the French were allowed to maintain military bases in the Ivory Coast.  French and other Western capital was encouraged to invest in the new nation, and enjoying a boom in the price of cacao and other exports, the Ivorian economy would grow rapidly, with some commentators praising the "Ivorian Miracle" that maintaining close ties with the West seemed to bring. Infrastructure was improved, especially in the southern two-thirds of the country, while French and other Western imports filled the shops of cities such as the capital, Abidjan. Plans were made to construct a new capital at Yamoussoukro (coincidentally Houphouet-Boigny's home town) complete with a Catholic basilica larger than St Peter's in Rome. Tourism, as in Senegal, was heavily encouraged, as an alternative source of Western currency.  Houphouet-Boigny however did not encourage economic development outside the export sector, believing that the country's population was too small to make industrial development a success. Thus the Ivory Coast would remain a classic case of "monoculture" export economic development, which tended to favor those with control over export production, at the expense of other areas of the economy.

So long as the price of its exports remained vibrant, the Ivorian Miracle would continue. However by the mid-1970s economic shocks caused by oil embargoes and overproduction of cacao in the global market would lead to severe economic problems.  These economic problems would focus attention on the political shortcomings of Houphouet-Boigny.  Having been raised in a chiefly family, the president did not brook any challenges to his authority.  An attempted coup in 1963 would be crushed with French help, and the Ivory Coast would become a one party state under the guiding light of the president, who was portrayed as the "father of the Ivory Coast." Corruption was also a growing problem, and by the mid-1980s it was estimated that the president had a personal fortune in the billions, with homes in France as well as the grand construction of the new capital at Yamoussoukro. In 1982 growing frustration with the faltering economy and the perception of corruption would erupt into anti-government protests, which Houphouet-Boigny would crush.  From then until his death in 1993, Houphouet-Boigny would maintain his dominant position in Ivorian life, and while small political concessions would be made after 1990, real power lay with the President.

The death of Houphouet-Boigny in 1993 would mark the end of political and economic stability in the Ivory Coast.  In 1994 the currency lost half its value, sparking severe economic hardship.  Politically, tensions between those communities who had done well during the Ivorian Miracle (mainly peoples in the southern, Christian half of the nation) and those who saw little improvement (mainly peoples in the Northern, Muslim half of the nation and migrant laborers, again mainly Muslim, from neighboring nations) would lead to a great deal of conflict, culminating in civil wars in 2002 and 2010 between the peoples of the North and the South.  This only served to further weaken the economy, and today the Ivory Coast is much poorer, per capita, than it was during the economic heyday of the late 1960s and early 1970s, though there has been some recovery in the past few years. Since 2012 the political situation has stabilized to a degree under the leadership of Alassane Ouattara, but reports of human rights violations, political repression and outbreaks of communal conflict continue to haunt the nation.

The Philatelic Legacy Of History

The philatelic history of the Ivory Coast mirrors that of many former French colonies in Africa.  Post offices using French colonial stamps were opened in the late 1880s at Assinie, and in 1892 the Ivory Coast would have its first custom stamps using the Commerce & Navigation keyplate types.  The growth of the export economy would lead to the overprinting of French colonial postage due stamps of the Duval type for use as Parcel Post stamps, creating some of the rarest issues of the French colonial era. The formation of the French West Africa federation in 1905 would result in the release of a new set of stamps based on the Faidherbe-Oil Palm-Ballay keyplates common for all the colonies of the federation. In 1913 the Ivory Coast would get its own pictorial definitives depicting the Lagoon at Ebrie, which would serve as the main design for Ivory Coast stamps until 1935, undegoing various color changes and new values, as well as many surcharges to reflect changes in postal tariffs, especially in the 1920s.

In the 1930s the Ivory Coast would partake in several of the French Colonial omnibus issues, starting with the 1931 Colonial Exposition.  In 1936 a gorgeous new engraved pictorial definitive series was released, the low values depicting a woman of the Baule nation, the middle values depicting the mosque at Bobo-Dioulasso (today in Burkina Faso but after the partition of Upper Volta in 1933 part of the Ivory Coast) and a coastal lagoon scene, with the top value depicting women gathering water at the rapids on the Comoe River. Airmail stamps would be produced in 1940 based on the common West African type.  World War II would be reflected by the surcharges for national aid in 1941 and the issuance of charity issues by the Vichy regime.  The decision by the Free French to further consolidate French West Africa into a single coherent economic and political unit would result in the general issues of French West Africa replacing Ivory Coast stamps in 1945.

The Ivory Coast would resume its philatelic history in 1959 with the granting of first Autonomy and then independence from France.  During the 1960s the Ivory Coast followed a very conservative stamp issuing policy, averaging around twenty to twenty-five stamps until the mid-1970s.  Many issues feature Houphouet-Boigny, and the natural beauty of the Ivory Coast.  Only after the beginnings of economic instability in the mid-1970s would the Ivory Coast begin to pursue a more prolific stamp production, and by the early 1980s the country was producing around fifty stamps a year, many of them featuring topicals of international interest. Compared to many of its neighbors, however, the Ivory Coast remained relatively conservative, and since the mid-1980s the country's philatelic output has been reduced and more reflective of Ivorian themes or themes of international interest, averaging twenty to thirty stamps per year.

Unfortunately for collectors, in 2014 the Ivory Coast would "fall off the philatelic wagon" and become a client of Stamperija, a philatelic agent based in Lithuania which issues stamps purportedly in the names of client states but which never seem to be used in those nations.  The Ivory Coast also produces stamps with more local interest and not connected to Stamperija, but these are being lost in the flood of wallpaper being released in the nation's name. I do not plan to collect the Stamperija issues, but issues that do seem to be "legitimate" I will collect, a policy I generally follow for most nations whose stamp production comes under Philatelic Agents at different periods.

My Stamp Collection

The structure of my Ivory Coast collection is roughly similar to that of Senegal, in that it will be split into three parts

I. The Era of the French Colony 1892-1944
II. The Heyday of the Ivorian Miracle 1959-1982
III. The Post-Miracle Readjustment and Its Tribulations since 1982.

Parts I and II will be in the first volume of my collection, while the second volume will focus on post-1982 issues.  At this point, however, my collection is mainly focused on the French colonial era and only has a few post-independence issues.

And now - the collection. Enjoy!

 Volume I Part I - Ivory Coast in the Colonial Era (1892-1944)  

Page 1 : No Stamps (1892 Navigation and Commerce series)

Page 2 : No Stamps (1903-1905 Parcel Posts)

)
Page 3 : 1906 French West Africa common keyplate definitives.


Page 4 : 1906 Postage Dues, 1912 Surcharges, Chalky Paper Varieties of 1913 Ebrie Lagoon Defins


Page 5 : 1913 Ebrie Lagoon Pictorial Definitives, 1915 Cross of Agades Postage Dues


Page 6 : 1915 Red Cross Surcharge, 1917-1925 Additions to the Ebrie Lagoon Series, 1922-1924 Surcharges for Increased Postal Tariffs


Page 7 : 1926-1930 Additions to Ebrie Lagoon Series, 1931 Colonial Exhibition


Page 8 : 1933 Overprints on Upper Volta Pictorial Issue for use in Ivory Coast, 1933-1935 Ebrie Lagoon additional values and surcharges


Page 9 : 1936 Pictorial Issue, 1938 Commemorative honoring General Binger, 
first governor of the Ivory Coast Colony


Page 10 : 1937 Paris Expo issue, 1938-1939 additions to the 1936 Pictorial Definitives, 1939 omnibus issues for Rene Caillie and New York World's Fair.


Page 11 : 1939 Omnibus Issue for the French Revolution Centennial, 1940 additions to the 1936 Pictorial Issue (part I)


Page 12 : 1940 Additions to 1936 Pictorial Issues (Part II), National Aid surcharges, Vichy
Charity Issue for Native Child Care and the Imperial Fortnight

 Volume I Part II - Independent Ivory Coast during the Ivorian Miracle Era


Page 1 : 1959 Autonomy issues and new Airmail Pictorials, 1960 Mask Definitive and Postage
Due Series


 Page 2 : Issues of 1961-1962 including Independence Annversaries, Construction of Dam at Ayame, Membership in the UN, Stamp Day


Page 3 : Issues of 1962-1963 including International Fair at Bouake, UN Freedom From Hunger Campaign, Bingerville Art School Postage Due Series


Page 4 : Issues of 1963-1965 including UNESCO campaign to preserve Nubia monuments and honoring the Ivorian Red Cross.

And that concludes my collection of Ivory Coast for now. Plenty of work to still do on it!

Questions, comments, please feel free to post!!
















Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Stamp Collection : SENEGAL

Historical Background

Much as Algeria would be the lynchpin to the French colonial empire in North Africa, the lands that would become Senegal would serve a simlar role for the French in West Africa. In the period between the eleventh and twelfth centuries the Takrur polity arose in the valley of the Senegal River, becoming one of the first sub-Saharan regions to adopt Islam and spawning a Muslim revival movement, the Muwahhidun, that would conquer much of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula as the Almoravids. The following two centuries would witness the region's incorporation into the great Mande Empire of Mali, serving as that inland Empire's "window to the water" when Portuguese explorers made their voyages down the coast of West Africa in the late fifteenth century.

During the following century the dramatic growth in trade between Africans inland and Europeans at trade posts along the coast, first in gold, later in slaves, would cause the power of Mali to recede back to the interior, and loosely organized as a confederation under the ruler of Jolof, would come to dominate the lands between the Senegal and the Niger, while a Mande offshoot would come to dominate the lower Gambia river, and the Senegal River valley would come under the dominance of the Muslim Fula. On the coast, the Europeans struggled with each other to dominate the main trade post on Goree Island, just off the western tip of Senegal, with the Portuguese, Dutch, British contolling it in turn until the French finally secured their control, a control further enhanced with the establishment of the French trade post at Saint-Louis at the mouth of the Senegal River, tolerating a British presence at the mouth of the Gambia river at Bathurst, and laying the foundation for the odd geographic relic of Gambia surrounded by Senegal.

French control over the trade posts would provide the French with the basis for further expansion, which would be taken up in the 1850s with the appointment of General Louis Faidherbe as governor of Senegal.  Fearing French influence was being diverted by the greater economic influence of the British in Gambia, Faidherbe came to believe that the only way to secure France's control of the trade of the Senegal Valley was through direct rule.  This was reinforced by the rise a powerful new Muslim state in the Upper Senegal, Tukulor, whose influence began to spread downriver as well as challenge the rule of native non-Muslim states in the interior of Senegal.  A series of wars in the 1850s would result in the Tukulor recentering their power to the Upper Niger river, and France gaining dominance in the Senegal Valley.  To further French aims, In 1859 Faidherbe would also shift the center of French power in Senegal from Saint-Louis on the Senegal to a new base at Dakar, opposite Goree Island.

The shift to Dakar would be the first step in the eventual full conquest of what is now Senegal by the French. Western industrialization had led to a massive demand for vegetable oils to keep machines running, and Senegal was found to be the perfect place to grow peanuts for industrial use.  At first local Senegalese rulers welcomed the new economic activity, but in the 1880s, when the French proposed building railways, local leaders such as Lat Dior feared the result would be complete French domination. For the remainder of the decade the French would turn to military options against local African states to "secure" Senegal, which soon came to be seen by some in Paris as the springboard from which France could create an empire in Africa "From the Atlantic to the Nile."  By 1888 the French conquest in Senegal was complete, the military frontier against local African states had moved inland to the Niger Valley, and negotiations with Britain and Portugal would establish the colonial frontiers. A mosaic of ethnic groups would come to inhabit the colony, with the Wolof being the largest single group but also including Serer, Fula, Mande and several other peoples. In 1905, to "rationalize" its growing empire in West Africa, the French would create a colonial federation - French West Africa - with the Governor-General and federal administration based in Dakar.

Coastal Senegal would occupy a special place in the French sub-Saharan Empire in Africa.  Four communities - Dakar, Goree, Saint-Louis and Rufisque - were considered full French communes, and its inhabitants full French citizens, regardless of race. While the rest of the inhabitants of the French colonial empire in sub-Saharan Africa were treated as sujets, subjects who like the native population of Algeria had few rights whatsoever in face of the power of French colonial administrators, the inhabitants of the Quatre Communes had full political rights, and by the early twentieth century they began to use those rights to encourage a more equal relationship between France and the colonies. In 1914 Blaise Diagne would be elected from Senegal as the first African to sit in the French Chamber of Deputies.  Political parties and Labor Unions soon arose. With the establishment of the Ecole William Ponty, Dakar would become the center for education of a new generation of Africans, the "evoules" (evolved) who would join the French administration and, it was hoped, would create a new generation of "imperial Frenchmen" tied to the glory of France.

Unfortunately for the French, the hopes that the creation of an assimilated minority of Africans would permanently wed the Empire to France would fail in face of the rise of African nationalism, which resented continued European French domination of the levers of power in Africa and the economic development of African resources for the benefit of French commercial interests. France's defeat in 1940, and the resulting civil war between Vichy and the Free French (brought right to Senegal's doorstep when the British and Free French attempted but failed to seize Dakar from the pro-Vichy colonial regime in the autumn of 1940), futher diminished the belief that French leadership was needed to "guide" Senegal and the rest of the French Empire in Africa to "civilization."  For most of the colonial period, French colonial rule had been based on the principle that development would come from the natural evolution of the market economy, while the colonies themselves were expected to pay for social improvements like education. This benefitted the French colonial rulers, but did little for the mass of peoples, and with the end of World War II calls for a "new relationship" were increasingly made.

The French did make some attempts at this, ending the implementation of the "indigenat" law code in 1946 and making all sujets "citizens" of the colonies they lived in (but NOT of France - in both the colonies and in France the idea that colonial subjects could be transformed into "Frenchmen" had been replaced with the idea of "Association" and "Cooperation").  The colonies gained representation in the French Parliament, and although the right to vote was at first limited to a small elite it did allow for the creation of a new generation of African political leaders who would work within the system to improve colonial conditions. An economic fund to develop France's colonies paid for by the French State, FIDES, was launched in the early 1950s.  But in terms of politics, the French colonial administrators believed they needed to remain in firm control, and African political leaders who were seen to challenge that idea faced political persecution.

Indochina and Algeria changed all that.  The defeat at Dienbienphu and the anti-French insurgency in Algeria led to increasing demands among sub-Saharan African political leaders that the time had come for political power to be handed over.  In Senegal, the principal leader was Leopold Sedar Senghor, an academic who had been elected to represent Senegal in the French Parliament in the first postwar elections of 1946. A moderate socialist who promoted the ideas of negritude - pride in the historical and cultural attainments of Africans and peoples of African descent - Senghor had a close relationship with the French intellectual establishment, and greatly respected French culture.  Senghor would come to believe that Senegal's future lay in cooperation with, but not dominance by, France, while working to "nativize" the political and economic system for the benefit of all Senegalese, and worked hard to convince other French colonial African leaders of the same and promoted the idea of transforming French West Africa into a single federated state.  The leaders of the other colonies of French West Africa however, feared Senegalese political domination, while wealthier areas such as Senegal and the Ivory Coast feared the financial cost of supportig economically less well off regions.  After a brief attempt at forming a federation with the French Sudan as the Federation of Mali in 1960 failed, Senghor led Senegal to full independence.

Since 1960, Senegal has been one of the few African nations to maintain a relatively democratic political system.  In part this may be due to the legacy of the traditions of local government practiced in the original Quatre Communes and the experience of voting for a Senegalese delegate to the French Parliament after 1871. A large part is also due to Senghor. Although in the 1960s Senegal would in effect become a one-party state, legally the right to form political parties remained valid during Senghor's rule, and the press in Senegal remained generally free from poltical influence.  Senghor also was generally pro-Western (and especially pro-French) in his foreign policy, and encouraged an economy that was relatively open to foreign investment. Traditional industries such as peanuts and mining were joined by tourism as engines of economic development, while the generally tranquil political enviroment in Dakar would make it a center for regional organizations. In 1980 Senghor resigned due to advanced age (one of the first sub-Saharan African leaders to give up power of their own will), and his successor, Abdou Diouf, continued his policies, and would go further than Senghor in terms of economic liberalization.  While not all of the economic policies have been successful (in part due to the colonial inheritance of relying on the export of peanuts as the main engine of economic growth when a new generation of synthetic lubricants was replacing natural oils), Senegal's economy has grown at a rate more dynamic than many other African nations.

With the end of the Cold War, sub-Saharan Africa would experience a political "awakening" that would lead to further democratic reforms and by the early 1990s new political parties challenging some of the economic and cultural policies of the Senghor-Diouf era began to emerge.  While Diouf at times could employ a heavy hand towards his political opponents (and would face an insurgency in the southern Casamance region, a region culturally and ethnically very different from the rest of Senegal and resentful of what many in the region pereceive is Wolof domination of Senegalese politics and society), in general Senegal maintained its democratic institutions, and in 2000 this culminated in Diouf's defeat for a third term as president and the election of Abdoulaye Waye.  Further solidification would come in 2011 when Waye was defeated for president by Macky Sall.   While it still faces many economic challenges, Senegal remains one of the more successful post-colonial States in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Philatelic Legacy of History

Philatelically, the history of Senegal represents the impact of the establishment, flourishing and demise of the French colonial era and its replacement with the post-colonial State.  The Quatre Communes used stamps of France starting in the 1850s, and usage of these stamps in Senegal can be determined by cancellations. By the 1880s, however, the establishment of a full French colonial regime in Senegal outside the communes and the growth of commerical activity would lead to the creation of a separate postal system with its own postage stamps.  The first stamps were provisional surcharges on Imperial-Wide French Colonies stamps issued in 1887, and in 1892 the first regular issue of postage stamps inscribed "Senegal" was placed on sale.

The decision by the French to create a Federation of their colonial holdings in West Africa would be reflected shortly thereafter.  Each colony retained its own identity and local administration (including postal service), but was subsumed under the administration of the Federation based in Dakar.  This resulted in the issuance of stamps in 1906 with both the colony name (Senegal) and the Federation Name (French West Africa, Afrique Occidental Fran├žaise) on the stamps.

 In 1914 this series (which depicted General Faidherbe on the lower values) was replaced in Senegal by the long-running pictoral series depicting a Fula market in the Senegal Valley. This series would run until 1933, and because of Senegal's larger volume of commerce and coorespondence,would be the subject of several reprints that can be categorized into one of three types depending on the length of the central vignette. (This is where having a specialized catalog really becomes useful. Neither Scott nor Michel, nor even Yvert & Tellier mention these types, but they are fully documented in the excellent Catalogue Maury Timbre de l'ex-empire Fran├žais d'Afrique).

A new pictorial series debuted for Senegal in 1935, and omnibus issues for the Paris exhibitions of 1931 and 1937, and the New York Exhibition of 1939, were released.   World War II and the tribulations of France are reflected in Senegal's philately more clearly than other areas, as the Vichy-printed Child Welfare and Imperial Fortnight issues actually would be placed on sale for use in French West Africa.

After the war, the new emphasis of the French on "cooperative development" would lead to a further "rationalization" of government in French West Africa, and the individual colonial postal administrations were replace by one Federation-wide system in 1945.  For the next fifteen years stamps were produced to highlight France's efforts at development while at the same time highlighting the diverse cultural and geographic panorama of the Federation.  The failure of political leaders such as Senghor to transform the colonial federation into a single independent Federal state would be documented in the one year of stamps released by the Federation of Mali and then the celebration of Senegal's independence in 1960.

Since 1960, Senegal's postage stamps have reflected, as they do in most newly-decolonized nations, the trials and tribulations of nation building and carving a place for itself in the world.  Unlike some African nations, Senegal's philatelic output has been reasonably conservative and focused on depicting themes relavent to local society (although there have been lapses when Senegal would go on the "philatelic agent" wagon, such as in 1991 and 1999, but these have tended to be brief flirtations and in the end Senegal would return to a more sober philatelic program).  In the 1960s and 1970s many of Senegal's stamps were printed by engraving in France, and some of them really are masterworks of the engravers' art. The natural beauty of Senegal is highlighted often, as the Senegalese State has made tourism a priority for economic development.  The diversity of Senegalese society - both ethnically and religiously (a majority of Senegalese are Muslim, but there are Christian minorities and Senghor himself was a Christian.  Officially like France, Senegal is a secular state) - is well reflected.  For the collector, overall Senegal is a wonderful nation to collect.

My Stamp Collection

Currently my collection runs up to the late 1960s, but Senegal is definitely a country whose later issues I plan to collect as well.  As far as organziation, my Senegal collection will be in two volumes

I. Senegal - Colonial Era (1887-1959) and the Senghor Era (1959-1980)
II. Senegal - The post-Senghor era (1980-present)

I have posted PDF files for the first volume in 4 parts - Colonial Senegal, French West Africa, the short-lived Federation of Mali (which I include with Senegal as the capital of the Federation was Dakar) and the Senghor Era.  I have not yet had a chance to do album pages for the post-1980 era, these will be posted at a later date.

And now - the collection. Enjoy!

 Volume I Part I - Senegal in the Colonial Era (1887-1944)  

Page 1 : No Stamps (1887 Surcharges)


Page 2 : 1892 Type "Groupe" (aka Navigation and Commerce)


Page 3 : 1900 Additional Values to Type "Groupe" and 1906 First AOF Issue


Page 4 : 1912 Surcharges on Type "Groupe" and Chalky Paper versions of 1914 Fula Market Series


Page 5 : Series of 1914 Issues (type I - central vignette 22mm long) and 1915 WWI Charity Issues


Page 6 : Series of 1915 Postage Dues, 1918 WWI Charity Issue and 
1920 reprint of 1914 Series, type II (central vignette 22.5mm long)


Page 7 : 1922 New Values & Colors to series of 1914, types I and II, 1922 Surcharges


Page 8 : 1923-1926 new values and colors to series of 1914, new print type III 
(central vignette 23mm long), surcharged issues for new postal rates.


Page 9 : 1926-1927 new values and colors to series of 1914, types II and III, surcharged issues


Page 10 : 1927-1929 new values and colors to series of 1914, types II and III, surcharged issues, 1931 Paris Colonial Exhibition issue


Page 11 : 1930-1933 new values and colors to series of 1914, types II and III, and Series of 1935 Postage Due Stamps


Page 12 : Series of 1935 Pictorials - Faidherbe Bridge over Senegal River and the Grand Mosque of Jurbel


Page 13 : Series of 1935 Airmails (Plane over River, Plane over Camel Caravan), 1937 Paris International Exhibition, 1938 New Design addition to Series of 1935 (Native Woman)


Page 14 : 1939 Rene Caillie Centenary Issue, 1939 new values and colors to Series of 1935-1938, 1939 New York World's Fair and Bicentennial of French Revolution


Page 15 : 1940 Redesign of Airmail Series of 1935, additional values and new colors for series of 1935 pictorials.


Page 16 : 1942 Vichy Charity issues for Native Welfare, 1944 Surcharges on Series of 1935 (listed in Scott under French West Africa).

Volume I Part II - French West Africa (1944-1959)


Page 1 : Imperial Cooperation, Memorial to Felix Eboue (first colonial governor to rally to Free France), "Free French" Series of 1945 (printed in London) depicting Senegalese Tirailleur and North African Harki, Airmail Series of 1945.


Page 2 : Allied Victory in World War II, General LeClerc's March from Chad to the Rhine, Series of 1947 Postage Dues


Page 3 : Pictorial Series of 1947 Regular Issues and Airmail Stamps (one missing stamp is a shade variety of the 10c stamp)


Page 4 : Issues of 1947-1954 - reinscribed values from 1947 series (legend "TOGO" removed as Togo was a UN Mandate, not part of FWA), UPU 75th anniversary, Opening of Vridi Canal in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, colonial development, Airmail Series of 1954, Fiftieth anniversary of creation of Federation.


Page 5 : Issues of 1955-1957 - Wildlife, Rotary, promotion of FIDES work, Coffee production, centenary of creation of the French African army by General Faidherbe.


Page 6 : Issues of 1957-1958 - Infrastructure development, African Tourism Conference, Establishment of new capital for Mauritania at Nuwakshut, Centenary of founding of Dakar by the French, Series of 1958 Official Stamps


Page 7 : Issues of 1958-1959 : Flora, Banana Exports, UN Declaration of Human Rights, Restoration of the Colony of Upper Volta

Volume I Part III - Federation of Mali (1959-1960)


Page 1 : Issues of 1959-1960 - 300th Anniversary of founding of Saint-Louis, UN Technical Cooperation Agency for Africa, Series of 1960 Fish Definitives, Series of 1960 Bird Airmails.

Volume I Part IV - Independent Senegal : The Senghor Era (1960-1980)

Page 1 : No Stamps - Series of 1960-1961 Fauna of Senegal Regular and Airmail Issues, Series of 1961 Postage Dues, First Anniversary of Senegal's Independence


Page 2 : Issues of 1961-1962 - Traditional Festivals, Series of 1961 Official Stamps, Senegal in the United Nations, Formation of African-Madagascar Union



Page 3 : Issues of 1962-1963 - African-Madagascar Postal Union, Senegal in the UPU, Professor Gaston Berger, UN Freedom From Hunger and 1963 Friendship Games in Dakar.


Page 4 : Issues of 1963-1964 - Butterflies, Senegalese Red Cross, UN Campaign to save Nubian Monuments, Twin Cities Congress in Dakar, UN Declaration of Human Rights Anniversary


Page 5 : Issues of 1964 - Development of Senegal's Mining Industry, Memorial to John F Kennedy, 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Europe-Africa Cooperation, Religious Architecture in Senegal, French Satellite Launch


Page 6 - Issues of 1965- Anti-Leprosy Campaign, Postal History, Tourism Promotion, Development of Agriculture, International Cooperation Year, Centenary of International Telecom Union, Traditional Canoes

Page 7 - no stamps, issues of 1965-1966 - Fruits & Nuts, Traditional Dolls from Goree Island, World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Fish, French Satellites


Page 8 - issues of 1966 - Satellite launches, national coat of arms, Series of 1966 Official and Postage Due Stamps, Anniversary of Death of Aviation Pioneer Jean Mermoz

Page 9 - No stamps - issues of 1966-1967 - UN Hydrological Decade, Tourism Promotion, New International Airport at Dakar-Yoff, 1967 International Exposition in Montreal, Lions Clubs


Page 10 - Issues of 1967-1968 : African-Madagascar Postal Union, African Congress on Prehistory, Dakar, Memorial to Konrad Adenauer, International Human Rights Year, New values in Fauna of Senegal series


Page 11 - Issues of 1968-1969 : Rinderpest Campaign, World Health Organization, 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, 1969 Year of African Tourism, Philexafrique '69 Stamp Exhibition, New values in Fauna of Senegal series

Volume I Part V - Souvenir Sheets


Page 1 - 1937 Paris International Exhibition Souvenir Sheet and 
1959 Centenary of Dakar Souvenir Sheet

and that completes my collection of Senegal....for now!

Comments, questions, please ask!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Stamp Collection : TUNISIA

For centuries the focal point of interaction between North Africa and the wider Mediterranean basin, Tunisia by the early nineteenth century was in many ways the most "advanced" society in the Maghrib.  Under the leadership of the Husaynid Beys (technically regents for the Ottoman sultans in Istanbul but de facto independent rulers) commercial ties between Tunisia and the West were deepened, as Tunisia's economy began to focus on exports of goods to the West, particularly olive oil and grain.

The influence of "modernization" as implemented in Egypt under Muhammad Ali and his heirs also found resonance in Tunisia, and the Beys attempted similar legal, educational, military and economic reforms, often with the advice and financial assistance of European powers and banks.  Much like Egypt, though, problems of mismanagement would soon lead to massive debt, and the European powers began to interfere in Tunisian affairs.  The French in particular, sensitive to their possessions in Algeria, were greatly interesting in establishing their dominance in Tunis, and by the early 1880s deals with the British and the newly unified Italians allowed the French to establish its dominance, secured in 1888 with the proclamation of a French protectorate.  While technically the Beys would still reign with the help and advice of French advisors, in reality it would be the French who after 1888 would govern Tunisia.

After 1888 the French undetook a whole variety of reforms to "modernize" Tunisia.  To tap the rich agricultural potential of the country, the French encouraged European settlement, although the existence of the Beys and the native Tunisian legal system meant that Tunisian peasants would be spared the complete loss of control over their lands as happened in Algeria. To promote economic development the French invested in infrastructure, including very shortly after the creation of the Protectorate the introduction of a postal service and use of postage stamps.

By the early twentienth century a native Tunisian Western-educated elite began to agitate for greater Tunisian control over its administration. French refusal to give up the reins of power would soon spark a nationalist movements, with anti-French agitation beginning in 1907 and coming to full development in the 1930s under the leadership of Habib Bu Raqibat, who worked with the nascent Tunisian labor movement to launch a full-scale anti-French resistance that required direct French intervention and the internment and exile of the nationalist leadership.  The Beys, for their part, tended to try and play both sides of the card, accepting the reality of French dominance, but supporting efforts of nationalists to end French control, while preserving the authority of the Beys as the effective ruler of Tunisia.

Philatelically, the French era in Tunisia follows similar patterns to other French colonies. Long series of pictoral definitives highlighting Tunisia's Islamic and pre-Islamic past (with the Pre-Islamic element becoming a prop to continued French dominance as Muslim Tunisian nationalists gained strength in the 1930s).  World War I and its aftermath would bring a plethora of charity issues, while Tunisia's strategic location would encourage the early development of an airmail service.

Tunisia's strategic location would make it a focal point of the Mediterranean campaign during World War II.  The French remained loyal to Vichy, however Bu Raqibat was very pro-Allies.  The imminent collapse of the Italians in Libya would lead to Rommel's famous intervention with the Afrika Korps, and the Allied launching of Operation Torch failed to secure Tunisia for the Allies. The result was a long bloody campaign between the two armies that culminated in the surrender of German and Italian forces at Tunis in the spring of 1943.

After World War II the French would make an effort to hold on to Tunisia, fearing the granting of independence to Tunisia would exacerbate the nationalist movement in Algeria. In the end though, Bu Raqibat's nationalist movement would force the French to negotiate, and Tunisia became an independent state in 1956.  The Bey at the time attempted to use the nationalist movement to preserve his power, much as the Moroccan sultan Muhammad V was doing further to the West, but Bu Raqibat would soon outmaneuver the Bey, and in 1957 a republic was proclaimed.

Since independence, Tunisia's postage stamps have reflected the nature of nation-building in the country and the political struggles that have resuled.  A nationalist with a socialist tinge, Bu Raqibat would come to dominate Tunisian political life, and in emulation of another Muslim modernizer, Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, attempted to transform Tunisia into a secular, Westernized state. The process often met resistance, and the Bu Raqibat era would soon evolve into a one-party state with a strong cult of personality around the president.  Old age and increasingly erratic behavior would lead in 1987 to Bu Raqibat being eased out of office and into a retirement, and the new regime of Zayn al-`Abidin Bin Ali would largely continue Bu Raqibat's policies.

By the late 2000's increasing frustration with the often corrupt government, poor economic management and enforced cultural Westernization would lead to calls for Bin Ali to resign.  Mass protests would lead to repression in 2010 that only caused the protests to grow, and in January 2011 Bin Ali resigned.  The Arab Spring, born in Tunis, soon spread to other Arab and Muslim nations, with varying degrees of success.  Tunisia, for the most part, has been the one successful shift towards a more pluralistic, democratic society and while conflict between Islamists and Secularists remains a major political issue, to date Tunisia retains a degree of political freedom and openness that few other Arab nations enjoy.  Whether that is a legacy of the long history of interaction between Tunisia and the West, or the impact of the major social reforms undertaken by Bu Raqibat to "modernize" Tunisia after 1956, is difficult to say.

Less complex than Morocco, my Tunisia collection will be split into three parts, although for right now my collection stops around 1965.

Volume I : Tunisia under the French Protectorate (1888-1955)
Volume II : Tunisia since Independence I : the Bu Raqibat era (1956-1987)
Volume III : Tunisia since Independence II : from Bin Ali to the Arab Spring (since 1987)

My plan is to post each page, just as the image.  For those wanting to know the identity of the stamps, I will post a PDF file of the layout for the pages in my Tunisia albums in a few days.

Hope you enjoy the images and if you have suggestions please let me know.

Volume I : Tunisia under the French Protectorate (1888-1955)


Page 1 :  First Issue of 1888 with filled background behind arms (25 centime stamp has nice "GASFA" circular date stamp.)

Page 2 - No stamps

Page 3 - No Stamps


Page 4 :  Issue of 1901, Type of 1888 with Clear Background, new values and colors (35 centime stamp with "TOZEUR" circular date stamp), Postage Due Series of 1901 - Duval Type of France inscribed "Regence de Tunis"


Page 5 : Pictorial series of 1906, woman in front of Kayrawan Mosque, Peasants in Field, Aqueduct of Hadrian at Zaghwan, Carthaginian Galley. (75c has "MEDENINE" circular date stamp, 35c has date stamp, location not clear, dated 8 November 1918).


Page 6 : 1906 Parcel Post Issue (75c with CDS "RAS AL DJEBEL", 1F with CDS "TOZEUR", 2F with CDS "CARTHAGE" and 5F with CDS "FOUM (EL GHERZA??)), 1911 Surcharge, 1914 and 1915 Red Cross Charity Stamps for War Victims


Page 7 :  Issues of 1916-1920 : Series of 1906 with new colors, wartime printings on Grand Consomme paper, surcharges for new postal tariffs, charity issues for war victims, first Airmail overprint issues


Page 8 : Issues of 1921-1923 : Series of 1906 with new colors, new values, and surcharges, series of 1922 showing youth playing pan pipes in front of Roman ruins at Duqqat, 1923 Postage Due series featuring Carthaginian goddess


Page 9 : Charity issues of 1923 and 1925 for War Invalids and Children in need


Page 10 : Issues of 1925-1926 : Series of 1906-1922 with new values and colors, new pictoral series of 1926 depicting woman carrying water from well, the Zaytuna mosque in Tunis, the Sahib al-Taba' mosque in Tunis, and the Roman Amphitheater at Ijamm.


Page 11 : Issues of 1926 -1927 : Series of 1926 Precancels and Plate Varieties, 1926 Parcel Post series depicting Date Harvesting, 1927 Airmail overprints


Page 12 :  Issues of 1928 : Charity Issue depicting Sahara expedition from Qabis to Chad, Airmail overprints to reflect new tariffs, surcharges and new color/value varieties on Series of 1926


Page 13 : Issues of 1928-1931 : New Values to Postage Due series of 1922, Airmail overprints for new tariffs, low values of the Series of 1931, engraved versions of Series of 1926

Page 14 - No Stamps


Page 15 :  Issues of 1937-1940, surcharges and new values and colors to Series of 1926.


Page 16 : Issues of 1940-1942. Surcharges on series of 1926, Series of 1926 Overprinted for National Relief, Vichy Regime New values and Colors of Series of 1926 without the "RF" Monogram, War Effort 


Page 17 : Liberation of Tunisia, War Effort Charity issues, Wartime definitive series of 1944, Postage Due issues overprinted for customs use


Page 18 : Charity issue for war veterans, overprints on 1923 Postage Dues for customs duty payments, postwar charity issues of France overprinted "TUNISIE" 


Page 19 : Issues of 1945-1946 - new values and colors of series of 1926 definitives and 1923 Postage Dues, Charity issues of France overprinted "TUNISIE," charity issue for Tunisian soldiers fighting in Indochina.


Page 20 : Issues of 1946-1947 - new values and colors of series of 1926 definitives, charity issues of France overprinted "TUNISIE," series of 1947 pictorials depicting head of Neptune from Mosaic at ruins of Utica, 1947 Child Welfare.


Page 21 : Issues of 1948-1949 Series of 1948 pictorial depicting arabesque design from the Jami` al-Kabir in Qayrawan and new values in 1947 Series Mosaic Head of Neptune, Charity Stamps of France overprinted "TUNISIE" and charity issues for Child Welfare, Tuberculosis Victims and Social Work of the French Military in Tunisia. 


Page 22 : Issues of 1949-1951. UPU 75th Anniversary, Air Mail Pictorial Series of 1950 depicting Carthaginian Eagle, 1950 Pictorial Series of Berber Statue of Hermes, Charity Issues for French-Tunisian Cooperation and Child Welfare, Charity Issues of France overprinted "TUNISIE" for various causes, Series of 1951 depicting Carthaginian Relief of Horse.


Page 23 : Issues of 1952-1954. Additional Values to 1950 Carthaginian Horse, Charity Issues for Children's Summer Camps and Army Social Work, Charity Issues of France overprinted "TUNISIE" for various causes, 1953 Airmail Series Pictorials Hi-Values, 1953 Tunis International Fair, 1954 Pictorials of Bey Muhammad al-Amin.


Page 24 : Pictorial Series of 1954 Regular issues and airmails depicting various sites in Tunisia, 1955 Commemorative and Charity Issues, 1955 Muhammad al-Amin definitive, 1955 Handicrafts of Tunisia.


Page 25 : 50th Anniversary of Lions International.

Volume II : Tunisia since Independence I : the Bu Raqibat era (1956-1987)

Page 1 - No Stamps


Page 2 : Issues of 1956-1957 - Full Independence of Tunisia, First Anniversary of Independence, Agricultural Export Pictorials and Postage Due series of 1957 


Page 3 : 1958 including proclamation of the Republic and commemoratives for the World's Fair in Brussels, 1958 and new UNESCO heaquarters in Paris


Page 4 : Issues of 1958-1959 including first anniversary of the Republic, Personal Status Law of 1958, and Part 1 of Pictorial Series of 1959. 


Page 5 : Issues of 1959 - balance of 1959 Pictorial Issue including high values, commemoratives for the UN and National Bank, Charity issue for the Red Crescent.


Page 6 : Issues of 1960 - Postage Due series of 1957 redesigned, commemoratives for World Refugee Year, Stamp Day, UN Day, Arab Scout Jamboree and 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.


Page 7 : Issues of 1960-1961 including commemoratives for Fifth Anniversary of Autonomy, Africa Day, Stamp Day and Memorial to UN Secretary-General Dag Hammerskjold


Page 8 : Issues of 1962 - Coat of Arms Definitives, commemorative issues for Labor Day, Malaria Eradication Program, UN Day, Sixth Anniversary of Independence, and President Bu Raqibat.


Page 9 : Issues of 1962-1964 including commemoratives for UN Freedom From Hunger Campaign, Centenary of International Red Cross, Preservation of Nubia, Labor Organizer Muhammad al-Hammi and formation of the Organization of African Unity.


Page 10 :  Issues of 1964-1966 including commemoratives honoring National Day, Centenary of the International Telecommunications Union, International Cooperation Year and construction of new dormitories at the University of Tunis.

I do have one outlier set - the 1974 UPU Centenial commemoratives, but will add that page when I get more of the intervening years filled.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Feel free to ask!