General issues: French colony 1920-1932, French overseas territory, self government 1959-1960, Republic 1960-1984
Country name on general issues: Haute Volta
Currency: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes 1919-1960, 1 (CFA) Franc = 100 Centimes 1960-1984
Population: 2 711 000 in 1920, 7 688 000 in 1984
Political history Upper Volta
Upper Volta is located in western Africa. In the second part of the 19th century the future Upper VoltaKnown as Burkina Faso since 1984. is home to four large and a number of smaller kingdoms – the smaller kingdoms being tributaries to the larger kingdoms. The most important kingdom is the centrally located Mossi kingdom of Ouagadougou. The Mossi are the largest population group in Upper Volta and a Niger-Congo people, as are the other population groups in Upper Volta.
The French first make contact with the kingdoms in the 1880’s and 1890’s. In 1895, the Yatenga kingdom is the first to become a French protectorate. In 1896, Ouagadoudou becomes a French protectorate. In subsequent years, all of Upper Volta is brought under French rule as part of French Sudan. French Sudan is split up in 1899 and Upper Volta, successively, is part of Upper Senegal & Middle Niger, Senegambia & Niger and Upper Senegal & Niger. Part of Upper Volta, from 1899 until 1907, is transferred to Dahomey, the current Benin. The border with the British Gold CoastThe current Ghana. is defined in a treaty with the British in 1898.
In 1919, Upper Volta is established as a separate colony within French West Africa with the goal to protect the Mossi identity. A border adjustment with Niger is effected in 1927. In 1932, it is decided to split up Upper Volta. The reason being that by doing so the larger part of Upper Volta, that is to become part of Ivory Coast, will benefit from the stronger economic development in Ivory Coast. Upper Volta is – effective as of 1933 – divided between Ivory Coast, French Sudan and Niger. The reorganization of the French colonial empire, after WWII, triggers the Mossi to lobby for the reestablishment of a Mossi state. The lobby is successful: in 1947 Upper Volta is reinstated – now as a French overseas territory.
Postal history Upper Volta
Until the establishment of Upper Volta, the stamps used in Upper Volta are those of French Sudan, then Senegambia & Niger and then those of Upper Senegal & Niger. Upper Volta has issued stamps from 1920 until 1932. The first issues are overprints on the stamps of Upper Senegal & Niger – the overprint reading ‘Haute-Volta’. The first definitives are issued in 1928. Aside from being inscribed ‘Haut-Volta’, the stamps of Upper Volta are, until 1932, inscribed ‘Afrique Occidentale Française’‘French West Africa’. . After Upper Volta has been divided in 1933, the stamps of French Sudan, Ivory Coast and Dahomey have been used in the parts transferred to those countries. All these to be superseded by the issues of French West Africa from 1944 until 1959. Upper Volta again issues stamps from 1959, these to be superseded by the issues of Burkina Faso from 1984.