National first postal dates part 3: the 20th century and beyond

Postal services and adhesive stamps spread rapidly around the world.

As we enter the 20th century many of these dates are for new nations being founded rather than nations adopting new postal innovations.

Revolutions, independence, decolonialisation. And, war and conquest.

They all shape world maps and the postal history within and without those new boundaries.

Here’s our final part of notable postal firsts.

1900 Kiautchou, a German leased colony in China issues stamps. The territory is returned to China in 1914.

The Kiautschou Bay Leased Territory

A contemporary map of the Kiautschou Bay Leased Territory, where around 170,000 Chinese people lived under German rule. 

1903 Aitutaki, an island in the Cook Islands, issues stamps.

1903 Austrian post offices in Crete issue stamps. Many outside states opened post offices in territories of the Ottoman Empire in response to the apparently poor imperial posts. There were three Austrian Post Offices on Crete.

1904 Panama Canal Zone issues its own stamps. The zone was the territory of the United States government and was finally returned to Panama by treaty in 1979.

1906 Brunei’s first stamps are issued. They are overprints on Labuan stamps. Labuan is now a territory of Malaysia.

1908 Belgian Congo under Belgian administration stamps issued. The territory had previously been the private property of Belgium’s king, Leopold I.

1911 January 1: Gilbert and Ellice Islands stamps issued. The Ellice Islands became Tuvalu in 1978. The Gilbert Islands have been part of Kiribati since 1979.

1912 Anjouan’s final stamps are replaced with Madagascar issues.

1913 Australia issues its first national stamps after former colonies had issued their own. The first stamps were a 15-value range (½d to £2) with a “Kangaroo and Map” design. The government that commissioned them included republican politicians who didn’t want British royals on the new country’s official documents. When a liberal government replaced them they immediately issued stamps featuring King George V.

Australian Kangaroo and Map series stamps

Australia's first "Kangaroo and Map" stamps were deliberately free of UK royal imagery. 

1913 May 5. Albania issues its first stamps.

1913 First United States parcel post stamps for a new service.

1919 Armenia and Azerbaijan issue their first stamps.

1919 Batum issues stamps while under British occupation.

1920 French Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, issues first stamps, initially in the form of stamps from Upper Senegal and Niger with "HAUTE-VOLTE" overprints.

1920 La Aguera issues stamps. The tiny Spanish territory in the Spanish Sahara used overprints from the Rio de Oro colony. The territory, really just one town, is now abandoned and in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

1921 East Africa and Uganda Protectorates issues stamps, though the huge territories are soon to become Uganda and Kenya.

1921 France issues stamps for Cameroon.

1922 July 13: Barbuda stamps issued using overprints of Leeward Islands stamps. The Caribbean island territory is now part of Antigua and Barbuda.

1922 Karelia, a territory shared between and often disputed by Finland, Soviet Russia and Sweden, enjoys a brief spell of independence by issuing its own stamps.

1922 Karelia stamp

Much blood was shed over the territory of Karelia. This 1922 stamp relates the 1921 uprising in East Karelia.

1922 British Kenya and Uganda replace East Africa and Uganda Protectorates and issue new stamps.

1922 the first stamps from Ascension Island are issued. The territory in the South Atlantic is one of the most isolated places on earth and is largely populated by British military personnel. Stamps are still one of its prime exports.

1922 La Aguera stamps end.

1922 Irish Free State issues its first stamps. The first stamps were overprints of British stamps. The state lasted until the Irish constitution of 1937.

1923 British Mandate of Jordan issues its first stamps.

1923 Transcaucasian SFSR (Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic) stamps replace those those of Armenia. The state ceased to exist in 1936.

1923 Iraq issues its first stamps.

1923 First Kuwait stamps issued.

1924 French Algeria issues stamps.

1925 - first stamps of Alaouites, a French territory within what is now Syria.

1927 Civil administration in Palestine issues stamps. .

1928 Spanish Andorra stamps issued.

1931 French Andorra issues stamps.

1933 Bahrain stamps issued by the Indian postal administration.

1933 December 1. Basutoland issues stamps. It is now in Lesotho.

1935 November 15, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, a colony of the United States that existed until 1945.

1935 Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika respectively issue their own stamps.

1937 April 1. Aden issues stamps. A British colony, Aden is now in Yemen.

Aden 1937 “Dhows” ½a to 10r set of 12, SG1/12

1937 Aden Dhow stamps.

1937 April 1. Burma issues stamps that are overprints from Indian issues.

1938 April 14. Alexandretta issues stamps. It stops issuing stamps on November 10, 1938.

1938 Greenland issues stamps. They show the Danish king.

1938 Austrian stamps are phased out after the Anschluss that subsumes the country into the Nazi German Reich.

1940 Pitcairn Islands issue stamps.

1945 Austria provisional stamps issued.

1946 Independent Jordan issues stamps.

1948 May 16: Israel issues its first stamps. The Doar Ivri set means “Hebrew Post” and the stamps are issued just two days after the state’s declaration of independence. Stamps bearing the name of the new state (over which there was some debate) aren’t issued until September 26 that year.

1948 - Pakistan issues its first stamps. The 20-denomination set replaces British Indian stamps that had been overprinted with “Pakistan” since October 1947.

1949 July 18. Ryukyu Islands issues its first stamps. The islands are now part of Japan.

1951 Cambodia issues first stamps.

1959 The Republic of Upper Volta issues its first stamps. In 1984, the country (a “self-governing state within the French Community”).

1960 July Katanga secedes from Congo, it issues stamps until 1961 and is returned to Congo in 1963 after a war.

1960 UK trust territory of the Cameroons issues stamps until 1961.

1961 Independent Cameroon issues first stamps from October 1.

1962 Bhutan issues its first stamps. The postal system had limitations, and the first stamps were designed via an American businessman who helped make Bhutan a producer of collectible (if not always valuable), highly colourful and often novel stamps.

1962 Burundi’s first stamps.

1963 British Antarctic Territory issues stamps.

1963 December 12: Kenya issues its first stamps. Until 1976, Kenyan stamps could also be used in neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania

1964 Republic of Malta issues its first stamps as an independent state.

1964 Abu Dhabi issues stamps.

1964 20 June: Ajman issues its first stamps. Ajman is a city now in the United Arab Emirates.

1966 Botswana issues first stamps on September 30.

1966 Independent Barbados issues its first stamps on December 2.

1967 August 21: Afars and Issas, a French territory in what is now Djibouti, issues stamps.

1967 first stamps of Anguilla are issued on September 4.

1968 January 17. British Indian Ocean Territory issues stamps.

1968 Regular stamps issued in Barbuda

1971 July 29: Bangladesh issues its first stamps.

1973 June 1: Belize issues its first stamps.

1975 November 11: Angola releases its first stamps.

1975 December 8: Benin issues stamps under its new name.

1976 January 1: The Ellice Islands become Tuvalu and issue their first stamps under that name.

1976 January 1: Gilbert Islands (which become Kiribati in 1979) issue first stamps.

1979 July 12: Gilbert Islands become Kiribati and issue first stamps.

1986 January 1: Aruba stamps issued.

Fall of the Soviet Union

Momentous events like the fall of the Soviet Union are so often reflected in the stamp world. 

1992 March 20: Belarus first stamps following the fall of the Soviet Union.

1992 March 26, Azerbaijan issues stamps again after end of Soviet Union.

1992 Kazakhstan first stamps.

2011 July 13: South Sudan issues stamps.

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