Lithuania: Rise and Fall of Empires

Historically, the fortune of Empires has rested on the outcome of war. The Ottoman Empire crumpled after World War I, as did many of the western European empires following World War II. In other examples, wars have united states as demonstrated by the unification of Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal under the state ofContinue reading “Lithuania: Rise and Fall of Empires”

Egypt: Egyptian Ports

In the nineteenth century, international trade relied heavily on ships and so ports became important places through which that trade flowed. Strong trade links required effective communication systems and with telephony and radio still to be discovered and electrical telegraphy still in its infancy, this demand fell to the postal system. Established trading nations suchContinue reading “Egypt: Egyptian Ports”

Thematics: UK Postmark (Cancellation) Slogans

From the earliest adoption of adhesive postage stamps, postmarks have been used as an indication that the postage costs have been paid. Once postmarked, the postage stamp was ‘cancelled’ and could not therefore be reused. The use of postmarks to convey messages and slogans was initially reserved for the use of national institutions such asContinue reading “Thematics: UK Postmark (Cancellation) Slogans”

Egypt: Dating by Country Denotation

In 1958 Egypt and Syria formed the United Arb Republic (UAR) to protect common interests in the Middle East. From that year, postage stamps issued by the union countries carried the letters ‘UAR’ as well as the country where the stamps were issued. These denotations were to change in the following years and, in theContinue reading “Egypt: Dating by Country Denotation”

Australia: A Tale of Hell and Paradise

Norfolk Island is a remote island located in the Tasman Sea, mid-way between Australia and New Zealand and is named after Captain Cook’s patron, the Duke of Norfolk. Cook had discovered the island in 1774 during a voyage of discovery to the Pacific and Australia. The island has high cliffs and reefs and the landingContinue reading “Australia: A Tale of Hell and Paradise”

Egypt: Writing Home

The featured image is of an envelope posted in Cairo on 24 February 1936 to an address in Canterbury, England and carries a red prepaid postage stamp. On the back of the envelope is a 1 piastre letter seal beneath the emblem of the Royal Horse Artillery, an arm of the Royal Regiment of Artillery thatContinue reading “Egypt: Writing Home”

Pitcairn Islands: Mutiny on the Bounty

The Mutiny on the Bounty is a well know tale of insurrection on the Royal Navy vessel HMS Bounty in the South Pacific on 28th April 1789. The mutineers seized control of the ship from their captain, Lieutenant William Bligh, setting him adrift in a launch with 18 loyalists. The story of Bligh’s navigation moreContinue reading “Pitcairn Islands: Mutiny on the Bounty”

Sudan: A Conflict Remembered

An extended 19th Century conflict between the Sudan and Egypt is remembered in the postal issues that supported vital military communications channels and subsequently commemorated the conflict and its protagonists including General Gordon, the British Army officer and former Governor-General of the Sudan. In the 19th Century, the Khedivate of Egypt was officially a provinceContinue reading “Sudan: A Conflict Remembered”

Sarawak: Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak – a life story worthy of film

Sarawak – a place name that has an exotic ring to it and its history is none the less interesting. British trading rights had been established in countries such as India and Malaysia and by the beginning of the nineteenth century, Singapore had become a major trading port. However, further east the influence was lessContinue reading “Sarawak: Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak – a life story worthy of film”

Papua New Guinea: A Pantomime Tale

The East Indies were first visited by Europeans in 1606 when the explorer Luiz Vaz de Torres passed through the Straits that now carry his name, between New Guinea and Australia. The native inhabitants of New Guinea consisted of numerous close-knit tribes that were wild, feudal and cannibalistic. The island was and still is coveredContinue reading “Papua New Guinea: A Pantomime Tale”