Postage stamps and postal history of Zanzibar

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A 1944 stamp of Zanzibar

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises most of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres (16–31 mi) off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, informally referred to as Zanzibar), and Pemba.

The islands were once governed by the Zanzibar Sultanate, a sovereign state with a long trading history within the Arab world. In 1964 it united with Tanganyika to form Tanzania.

First stamps[edit]

Any Indian stamps or covers used in Zanzibar between 1854 and 1876 are rare. A post office under Indian administration provided postal services from late 1868 through early 1869. This was re-opened October 1, 1875 as a foreign post office having special relations with the Indian Post Office, and the use of Indian stamps was required.[1][2]

By treaty in 1862, Great Britain, France and Germany had agreed to respect the independence of Zanzibar. However, in 1890 the Sultanate, including Pemba and a ten-mile wide strip of land along the coast, placed itself under the protection of Great Britain. On November 10, 1895 the post office was transferred to British East African administration. Indian stamps overprinted "Zanzibar" were issued in 1895.[2] In addition to the Zanzibar post office, there were six other post offices on Zanzibar and three offices on Pemba. A French post office operated from January 16 1889 to July 31 1904, and a German postal agency operated from August 27 1890 to July 31 1891.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Robson Lowe, Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps, Volume II: The Empire in Africa (1949), pp.219-221.
  2. ^ a b Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, p.282-3. ISBN 0-356-10862-7

Further reading[edit]

  • Proud, Ted. The postal history of Uganda and Zanzibar. Heathfield, Sussex: Postal History Publications Co., 1993. ISBN 1-872465-08-0
  • DuBro, Gary. Zanzibar's Postal History Legacy. Hampshire, UK: BPA Expertising Educational Charity, 2012, ISBN 0-9542032-3-2

External links[edit]