Postage stamps and postal history of Togo
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Togo is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately 57,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) with a population of approximately 6.7 million.
The first posts in Togo were established by German traders in the 1880s who operated from the coastal towns and used German West African mail boats. Mail entered the German postal system at Hamburg. There were 17 German post offices before the 1914 invasion.
The first stamps used in Togo were unoverprinted stamps of Germany used at "Klein-Popo" from 1 March 1888 and at "Lome" from 1 March 1890. They may be recognised by the cancellations used. Beginning in June 1897, mainland German stamps with a "Togo" overprint were made available. In November 1900, the key type stamps known as the Yacht issue were introduced. Water-marked versions of "Yachts" became standard in 1909, and they remained in use until the First World War.
In August 1914, Togo was invaded by British and French troops who occupied the country until 1919. The German post office was closed and the occupying forces used German stamps at first, with "Anglo-French Occupation" overprints. From 1915, overprinted British stamps of the Gold Coast were used and French stamps of Dahomey, overprinted TOGO, were in use from 1916. The country was divided into two zones during the occupation with the east bordering Dahomey, a French territory, being run by the French and the west, bordering the British Gold Coast, being run by the British.
In 1922 The League of Nations confirmed the division of the territory into two with the west of Togo being ceded to Gold Coast for ethnic reasons, making Togo the tall, thin, country it is today, and enlarging the current Ghana. Postal arrangements followed accordingly.
In the Second World War, Togo declared for the Vichy Government in France. In 1955 it was made an autonomous republic within the French community.
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