Postage stamps and postal history of Zimbabwe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A 1980 stamp of Zimbabwe.

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

Zimbabwe, formerly Southern Rhodesia is a landlocked country located in the southern part of Africa between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east.


Stamp of British South Africa Company.
1913 stamp of British South Africa Company also inscribed "Rhodesia".
1964 definitive issue of Southern Rhodesia.
1966 issue of same design inscribed "Rhodesia".

Early European explorers, missionaries and traders, in the area that became Zimbabwe, hired private couriers, or made other arrangements to have their mail carried to the nearest post office which first meant one in the Cape of Good Hope Colony, and later included the post offices in the South African Republic (Transvaal).[1]

British South Africa Company[edit]

The first post was established in 1888 by the British South Africa Company (BSA) consisting of a route from Gubulawayo in Matabeleland to Mafeking in Bechuanaland,[2] with post offices in Tati and Gubulawayo.[3] Mail was initially carried by police riders[4][5] and franked with the stamps of British Bechuanaland.[2] In fact the post offices in Bulawayo and Tati remained under the control of the Bechuanaland Protectorate until 1894.[6]

The post was introduced to Mashonaland and western Manicaland in 1890 by the BSA[4] who had sent occupying forces there, the Pioneer Column accompanied by the company's police force.[7] By 1894 Matabeleland was fully included within the company's postal system following the First Matabele War.

BSA had stamps printed in London in 1890, and they arrived in the colony on 1891. Although there was some revenue use of the stamps in 1891, the first postal use began in January 1892 when the postal route through Beira on the east coast was opened up.[2] Over the next couple of years the area controlled by the BSA grew and land north of the Zambezi River was added.[8] The name "Rhodesia" first appeared on BSA stamps in 1909 when four stamps were overprinted with new values.[2] The stamps of the BSA were not, at first, recognized for international postage, and letters going through Bechuanaland were franked with additional Bechuanaland stamps until Rhodesia joined the South African Postal Union in mid 1892, while mail sent via Beira required additional Mozambique stamps until 1894.[2][9]

The area continued to use the stamps of the BSA until 1923 when it became the Crown Colony of Southern Rhodesia.[2] The area north of the Zambezi River remained under the BSA, and later became Northern Rhodesia.[2]

Southern Rhodesia[edit]

Southern Rhodesia issued its first stamps on 1 April 1924. In 1953, Southern Rhodesia joined the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. During a short interim period, stamps from Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland could be used in any of the three countries.

The Federation dissolved in 1963 and the 10th Anniversary of Federation stamps designed for December release were not issued. In 1964, the country issued a definitive series under Southern Rhodesia. This remained until the Unilateral Declaration of Independence after which it released its stamps under the name of the Rhodesia. [10]


Rhodesia unilaterally proclaimed independence in 1965 and issued stamps until 1978.[11] No stamps were issued in 1979 during the Rhodesia-Zimbabwe period.[citation needed]


The first stamps with the name Zimbabwe were issued on 18 April 1980,[12] they were a set of definitives and featured the same designs as the previous definitive stamps of Rhodesia.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Proud, Edward B. (1997). The Postal History of Southern Rhodesia. Heathfield, East Sussex, England: Proud-Bailey Co. Ltd. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-872465-22-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Rhodesia". Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue: Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840-1952 (107th ed.). London: Stanley Gibbons. 2005. pp. 298–300. ISBN 978-0-85259-564-0.
  3. ^ Proud 1997, pp. 36–39
  4. ^ a b Keppel-Jones, Arthur (1983). Rhodes and Rhodesia: The White Conquest of Zimbabwe 1884–1902. Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 317. ISBN 978-0-7735-0534-6. JSTOR j.ctt816ph.
  5. ^ Kemp, Samuel (1932). Black Frontiers; Pioneer adventures with Cecil Rhodes' mounted police in Africa. London: George G. Karrap. pp. 177–178. OCLC 18400658.
  6. ^ Proud 1997, p. 39
  7. ^ Keppel-Jones 1983, pp. 151–188
  8. ^ This included Barotseland and lands that came under the British Central Africa Protectorate. In 1891, the company issued separate stamps for the British Central Africa Protectorate consisting of the original company set overprinted "B.C.A." Kloetzel, James E.; et al., eds. (2008). "British Central Africa". Scott 2009 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. Volume 1 (165th ed.). Sidney, Ohio: Scott Publishing Co. p. 1098. ISBN 978-0-89487-417-8.
  9. ^ Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  10. ^ Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  11. ^ Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  12. ^ Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, p.295. ISBN 978-0-356-10862-9
  13. ^ Retrieved 12 August 2018.

External links[edit]