Postage stamps and postal history of Zambia

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1953 stamps of Northern Rhodesia
A 1967 stamp of Zambia

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Zambia, formerly known as Northern Rhodesia.

Northern Rhodesia was created in 1911 from territory administered by the British South Africa Company, becoming an official British protectorate in 1924, and achieving independence as Zambia in 1964.

Northern Rhodesia[edit]

In the 1890s, mail from North-Western Rhodesia was carried by runner to Bulawayo, while North-Eastern Rhodesia mail went via British Central Africa until 1895.[1]

Before and after its creation, Northern Rhodesia used the stamps of Rhodesia. The change to protectorate included a change of stamps, and on 1 April 1925, Northern Rhodesia issued its first stamps. Inscribed "NORTHERN RHODESIA", the seventeen values all depicted a wilderness scene with elephants and a giraffe, surmounted by a profile of King George V. The same design was adapted for King George VI in 1938.

Upon the death of King George VI in February, 1952, Elizabeth II came to the throne, and a new set of Northern Rhodesia stamps was issued with her portrait. Only a few months later, these NR stamps were withdrawn, and Federation stamps were issued in their place, i.e. NR QEII stamps are relatively rare.

Northern Rhodesia's first commemorative stamps were a set of five on 30 May 1953, marking the birth centennial of Cecil Rhodes, along with another stamp issued on the same day for the Rhodes Centenary Exhibition. As Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was already on the throne, the stamps included her profile, even though the official coronation stamp did not come out until 2 June. This was followed in September by a definitive series using the same design as before, with the monarch's profile updated once again.

Northern Rhodesia joined the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953, and used the Federation's stamps until it was dissolved in 1963. On 10 December 1963, a new definitive series depicted the Queen and the territory's arms, but these were withdrawn on 23 October 1964 when Zambia became independent.


The first stamps of independent Zambia were issued on 24 October 1964. They consisted of a set of three commemoratives. On the same day, a set of 14 definitives was issued, with depictions of various professions and scenes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, p.296. ISBN 0-356-10862-7