Saturday, February 27, 2010

Angolan Stamps: Telling the Story of the Nation

More than just gummed paper used to confirm postal payment, Angola's postage stamps tell a story about the nation's politics, nation, and culture.  During the 140 years since the first Angolan stamp appeared, the message that the subsequent Angolan governments have wanted to send through the stamps has changed through the transition from monarchy through to empire, to a focus on the heroes, diversity and beauty of an independent and resurging Angolan nation.

The first Angolan stamps were issued in July 1870 displaying a crown, when Angola was a colony of Portugal, which was still a monarchy.   After the fall of the monarchy in 1910, most Angolan stamps showed the head of reigining king, starting with Luis, then Carlos and then Manoel II.

The subsequent political tranistion to independence in 1975, produced stamps that showed the leaders of the revolution and depictions of the struggle for freedom during the civil war.

Rising from a need to satisfy stamp collectors, an increasing number of Angolan stamp issues from the 1990s onward were aimed at supplying specialist collectors.  Some of these stamps showed the unusual birds, moths, butterflies and animals of the nation as well as the celebration of the national arts and crafts that are unique to the land.  (Adapted from the Sonangol 2009 Universo magazine)

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