British Somaliland

British Somaliland

British Somaliland





Quick reference

General issues: British protectorate 1903-1960

Country name on general issues: British Somaliland, Somaliland Protectorate

Currency: 1 Rupee = 16 Anna, 1 Anna = 12 Pies 1903-1951, 1 Shilling =100 Cent 1951-1960

Population: 346 000 in 1911, 500 000 in 1953

Political history British Somaliland

Postal history British Somaliland

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British Somaliland is located in eastern Africa. The country, until 1884, is administered by Egypt and thus de jure part of the Ottoman empire. The British settle in Berbera in 1884. From Berbera, the British sign treaties with a number of smaller individual sultanates in the region. In 1886, a treaty is signed with the most important sultanate – the sultanate of Warsangali. In 1887, the British establish the protectorate of British Somaliland. British Somaliland will, until 1898, be administered from Aden as part of British India. Direct British rule is at first limited to the coastal region around Berbera.

In 1897, Great Britain signs treaties with Ethiopia and Italy to define the borders with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland, thus dividing the central part of the land of the Somali people between three countries. The region is subsequently confronted with the rise of the Dervish State – a Somali state that, among other things, aims at the establishment of one state for the Somali people. The Dervish State quickly expands into British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia. It will take the British until 1920 to defeat the Dervish State. With the defeat of the Dervish State, all of British Somaliland comes under direct British rule. From 1940 until 1941, British Somaliland is occupied by the Italians and administered as part of Italian East Africa.

In 1960, British Somaliland gains independence as the State of Somaliland that, within a few days, will join with the former Italian Somaliland to form the republic of Somalia. When, from the 1980’s, Somalia is engaged in civil war, parts of Somalia claim self government or independence. In what once was British Somaliland, the republic of Somaliland is proclaimed, a republic that exists to this day. Although the republic of Somaliland has not gained international recognition, it has provided relative stability in that part of Somalia during the years of continuing civil war.

Postal history British Somaliland

Postal history British Somaliland

1903 – British India overprinted

While under Egyptian administration, stamps from Egypt are known to have been used from 1881 until 1884 in Berbera and Zeila. The British opened post offices in which stamps from British India were used in 1887 – also in Berbera and Zeila. Stamps for British Somaliland were issued from 1903, the first issues being stamps of British India overprinted ‘British Somaliland’. The first definitives are issued in 1904 and are inscribed ‘Somaliland Protectorate’. British Somaliland will issue stamps until 1960, when the issues of British Somaliland are superseded by the issues of the State of Somaliland and Somalia.

The republic of Somaliland, as proclaimed in 1991, has issued many stamps aimed at the thematic collector market. These are not recognized by the leading catalogs.

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