Postage stamps and postal history of South Africa
The Republic of South Africa, previously The Union of South Africa, is a country located at the southern tip of Africa, with a coastline on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. To the north lie Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland; while Lesotho is an independent country wholly surrounded by South African territory.
Before South Africa was united in 1910, each part of South African issued their own stamps. These were:
- British Bechuanaland (1885–1895)
- Cape of Good Hope (1853–1904)
- Griqualand West (1874–1879)
- Natal (1857–1909)
- New Republic (1886–1887)
- Orange Free State (1868–1897)
- Orange River Colony (1900–1909)
- South African Republic (1869–1877 and 1882–1897)
- Stellaland (1884–1885)
- Transvaal (1877–1880 and 1900–1909)
- Zululand (1888–1896)
During the Second Boer War, some cities issued their own stamps. These were:
- Lydenburg (1900)
- Mafeking (1900)
- Pietersburg (1901)
- Rustenburg (1900)
- Schweizer Renecke (1900)
- Volksrust (1902)
- Vryburg (1899–1900)
- Wolmaransstad (1900).
Union of South Africa (1910–1961)
The first stamp of the Union of South Africa was a 21⁄2d stamp issued on 4 November 1910. It portrayed the monarch King George V and the arms of the four British colonies which formed the Union: Cape Colony, Natal, Orange River Colony and Transvaal. Most South African stamps issued between 1926 and 1951 were in pairs. One was inscribed 'SOUTH AFRICA' and the other 'SUIDAFRIKA' or 'SUID-AFRIKA'.
Republic of South Africa (1961-)
The first set of the Republic was issued on 31 May 1961. From 1961 to 1966, stamps were inscribed "REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA REPUBLIEK VAN SUID-AFRIKA". However from 1967 stamps were simply inscribed "RSA". Modern issues are just inscribed "South Africa".
South African Homelands
The South African homelands of Bophuthatswana (1977–1994), Ciskei (1981–1994), Transkei (1976–1994) and Venda (1979–1994) also issued their own stamps.
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