The story behind Kionga stamps

04 Apr 2020  Sat

Kionga is a tiny scrap of real estate on the east coast of Africa between the German colony of East Africa and the British colony of Tanzania. In the scramble for Africa, Portugal got a slice of this area as Portuguese East Africa and then later in 1916 issued stamps there under the country name of Kionga which was the town of some 4,000 people that existed there.

The best news is that there are only four stamps issued in the entire history of the country.

Of all the European Colonial possessions, the Portuguese and the Spanish maintained some of the dodgiest. They often set up little claims near larger commercial claims of Great Britain, France, and Germany hoping to gain some long term benefit but often really doing no more than issuing postage stamps. The Spanish had some real colonies in the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, not to mention the African colony of Spanish Morocco. And the Portuguese maintained some major colonies too such as Mozambique and Angola.

Both of these Iberian European powers were poor players in the colonies game, and many of their colonies were really just attempts to extort money from other European players in exchange for relinquishing claims and as vehicles for stamp issues. Portugal has thousands of stamps that they issued for areas in Africa that they scarcely had moved into beyond the docks of a few primitive ports.

And Kionga is a way for collectors today to own a complete piece of this unhappy period of world history.

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

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