Postage stamps and postal history of Burma

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A 1937 postage stamp of India overprinted for official use in Burma.
A 1942 stamp from the Japanese occupation of Burma during World War II.
A block of four of the 1945 British Military Administration stamps of Burma used in Rangoon for registered mail.

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of the Union of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

Burma is the largest country by geographical area in Indochina (mainland Southeast Asia). The country is bordered by China on the north-east, Laos on the east, Thailand on the south-east, Bangladesh on the west, India on the north-west and the Bay of Bengal to the south-west with the Andaman Sea defining its southern periphery.

Indian stamps[edit]

Starting in 1854, Burma used the stamps of British India without any form of overprinting. The stamps may be identified by the postmarks used which, after 1856, were specially prepared for Burma post offices.[1]

Overprinted stamps[edit]

The first stamps of Burma were stamps of British India overprinted BURMA from 1 April 1937.[1]

Stamps inscribed Burma[edit]

The first stamps inscribed Burma in the design, rather than simple overprints, were definitive stamps of King George VI issued between 1938 and 1940. On 6 May 1940 a commemorative stamp was issued to celebrate the centenary of the first postage stamp. The stamp was created by overprinting a regular 2 Anna, 6 Pies, definitive stamp with a special design.[1]

Japanese occupation[edit]

During World War II, Burma was occupied by the Japanese between 1942 and 1945. Stamps were issued by the Japanese Army and by the Burma Independence Army in 1942. In 1943 and 1944 stamps were issued by the Burma Government with the permission of the occupying forces.[1]

British Military Administration[edit]

After the liberation of Burma, normal postal services were gradually restored under a British Military Administration. Pre-war stamps of Burma from 1938 were overprinted MILY ADMN in 1945.[1]

Civilian administration[edit]

When civilian administration of Burma was restored, new stamps were issued in the designs of the stamps from 1938 but in different colours. In 1946 a set of four Victory stamps were issued and in 1947 the 1946 set was overprinted Interim Government in Burmese characters.[1]

Independent republic[edit]

On 4 January 1948 Burma became an independent republic as the Union of Burma and stamps were issued in that name until 1973. From 1974 stamps were marked Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, and from 1990 Union of Myanmar.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue: Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps 1840-1970. 110th edition. London: Stanley Gibbons, 2008, pp.135-138. ISBN 0-85259-653-7
  2. ^ Scott 2004 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue Vol.1. 160th edition. Sidney, Ohio: Scott Publishing Co., 2003, pp.1065-1073. ISBN 0-89487-311-3

Further reading[edit]