Postage stamps and postal history of Somalia

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A 1907 stamp of Benadir, surcharged in 1926.

The following is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Somalia.


First stamps[edit]

The first stamps of Somalia were issued for Benadir by the Italian authorities in 1903.[1]

Governor Maurizio Rava created the first system of postal service stations in Italian Somalia, that was fully enlarged in 1937.[2]

British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland[edit]

Oltre Juba stamp from 1926.

From the late 1800s to 1960, northwestern present-day Somalia was administered as British Somaliland, while the northeastern, central and southern part of the country were concurrently administered as Italian Somaliland. In 1960, the two territories were unified as the Somali Republic.

Stamps were issued for the British area first as British Somaliland, and later as the Somaliland Protectorate. Until independence, stamps were issued for the Italian area as Italian Somaliland.

Somali Republic[edit]

Following the establishment of the Somali Republic, the first stamps of the nascent country were issued on 26 June 1960.[3]

After the 1969 military coup, the country and its stamps were renamed the Somali Democratic Republic.[3]

Traditional postage[edit]

In early 1991, the Somali Postal Service had 100 post offices, with a total staff of between 1,665[4] to 2,165 personnel.[5] The national postal infrastructure was later completely destroyed during the civil war, with Somali Postal officially suspending operations in October 1991.[6] Residents subsequently had to turn to traditional methods of dispatching parcels and letters.[7] They also communicated via handwritten letters sent through acquaintances and mobile and email messaging services.[8]

Postage stamps continued to be produced illegally internationally during the war, although their subject matter suggests they were designed for external collectors.[9]

Somali Postal Service[edit]

In November 2013, international postal services officially resumed. The Universal Postal Union is now assisting the reestablished Somali Postal Service to develop its capacity, including providing technical assistance and basic mail processing equipment.[10] In October 2014, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications also relaunched postal delivery from abroad. The postal system is slated to be implemented throughout the country via a new postal coding and numbering system.[11] According to the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Mohamud Ibrihim Adan, the relaunch's next phase will enable local residents to send letters to acquaintances overseas.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, pp.281-2. ISBN 0-356-10862-7
  2. ^ Map of postal service stations in 1937 Somalia
  3. ^ a b Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue Part 14 Africa since Independence N-Z. 1st edition. London: Stanley Gibbons, 1981, pp. 90-100. ISBN 0852591810
  4. ^ Reconstruction of Somalia Post, Presentation to the U.P.U., Berne, Somali Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, 2 March 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012. Archived here.
  5. ^ "Union Postale - June 2013" (PDF). Universal Postal Union. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Royal Mail - Service update - International". Royal Mail. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Somalia to revive its Postal cooperation next year, says minister". 
  8. ^ a b "Somalia's government launches postal service". BBC. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  9. ^ The Changing Politics of Textiles as Portrayed on Somali Postage. Heather Marie Akou, 9-1-2012, pp. 6-7
  10. ^ "International mail services officially resume in Somalia". Universal Postal Union. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Weekly Statement: Progress of the Somali Government". Diplomat News Network. 11 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bianchi, Paolo. Storia dei servizi postali della Somalia Italiana dalle origini al 1941: con catalogo dei francobolli degli annullamenti = The postal history of Italian Somaliland to 1941, with a catalogue of the cancellations. Vignola: Edizioni Vaccari, 1992 ISBN 88-85335-04-7, 302p.
  • Circolo Filatelico della Somalia. I francobolli della Somalia emessi dall'Amministrazione Fiduciaria Italiana. Mogadishu: Circolo Filatelico della Somalia, 1955, 24p.
  • Migliavacca, Giorgio. The stamps of Somalia and their story: the first monograph in English entirely devoted to the stamps of a former Italian colony. St. Thomas: Laurel Publications International, 1996, 112p.
  • Sirotti, Luigi and Nuccio Taroni. Le Occupazioni Britanniche Delle Colonie Italiane 1941-1950: storia postale = Postal History of the British Occupation of Italian Colonies 1941-1950. Rome: Sassone S.R.L., 2006, 363p.

External links[edit]