Quick reference

General issues: French colony 1892-1894

Country name on general issues: Obock

Currency: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes 1892-1894

Population: Town of Obock 800 in 1885

Political history Obock

Postal history Obock

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Obock is located in eastern Africa – the current Djibouti. The French gain a foothold in the region when Obock is bought by the French in 1862. The French intended to build a port of call on the trade routes through the Suez Canal. The French, however, do not actually settle in Obock until 1883, when they annex Obock and the ‘Territoire d’Obock’ becomes a French colony. The Territory of Obock is defined in a treaty, with the ruling sultan of Raheita, as being the coastal region from Cape Doumeira and Cape Ali.

The French, subsequently, extend their influence by signing treaties with other sultans in the region, thus forming a number of protectorates. In 1888, the French settle in Djibouti which offers better opportunities to build a port. Djibouti quickly surpasses Obock as the most important city in the region. In 1892, the French move their capital from Obock to Djibouti. The Territory of Obock and the different French protectorates in the region are joined in 1896, to form the French protectorate of the ‘Côte Française des Somalis’ or French Somali Coast. In 1902 the status of the country is changed from protectorate to colony.

The French Somali Coast will become a French overseas territory in 1946, change its name to Afars & Issas in 1967 and gain independence as the republic of Djibouti in 1977. Currently, Obock is a port town with some 20 000 inhabitants.

Postal history Obock

Postal history Obock

1894 – Design specific for Obock: Somali warriors. Note how the imperforate stamp has a perforation printed on it.

The first post office is opened in Obock in 1883. The first stamps used are the general issues for the French colonies. Stamps are issued specifically for Obock from 1892 to 1894. The first issues are overprints on the general issues for the French colonies – the overprint being ‘Obock’, and for a second set a new face value in addition. Next follows a set of the standard Navigation & Commerce design for the French colonies. In 1893 and 1894, stamp are issued with a design specific for Obock.

The post office in Obock is closed in 1894. Its function is taken over by the post office in Djibouti where stamps issued for Djibouti and the French Somali Coast are used. Some of the first issues for Djibouti are overprints on stamps of Obock.


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