Postage stamps and postal history of Ubangi-Shari

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Ubangi-Shari, or Oubangui-Chari, was a French territory in central Africa which later became the independent country of the Central African Republic on August 13, 1960. It followed the establishment of the Bangui outpost in 1889, and was named in 1894.

Colonial history[edit]

The French did not establish a colonial administration until 1903, upon defeating Egyptian forces (the territory was claimed by the Egyptian Sultan). The Oubangui-Chari territory was merged with the Chad colony in 1906. In 1910, it became one of four territories of the Federation of French Equatorial Africa, (with Chad, Middle Congo, and Gabon), initially with Chad as "Oubangi-Chari-Tchad", and made into an autonomous civilian colony in 1915. Chad was separated in 1920.

This 1-centime stamp of 1924 has two different overprints.

Postal history[edit]

Military postal service began at Bangui in 1893, at Fort Possel in 1894, and was gradually extended along the Ubangi River and northwards into the country during the 1900s. Civilian mail used postage stamps of the "Middle Congo" (Moyen Congo) from 1907.

In 1915, Middle Congo stamps were overprinted "OUBANGUI-CHARI-TCHAD" to reflect the changed status, and then in 1922 just "OUBANGUI-CHARI". In 1924, the 1922 stamps were in turn overprinted "AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE FRANCAISE". A number of those were surcharged with new values between 1925 and 1927. In 1928, postage due stamps of France were overprinted "OUBANGUI-CHARI / A. E. F.", followed in 1930 by a set of 11 postage dues issued specifically for the colony; printed in two colors, the lower values depicted a landscape, and the higher values Émile Gentil. A 1931 issue of four stamps for the Colonial Exposition was the last to be produced for the territory; from 1936 on, French Equatorial Africa issued uniform sets of stamps used throughout its area.