A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Somaliland Protectorate (British Somaliland)

1912 Scott 58 8a light blue & black "George V"
Quick History
The Somaliland Protectorate (British Somaliland) bordered on the Gulf of Aden in eastern Africa, and for much of its existence, was surrounded by Italian Somaliland, French Somaliland, and Ethiopia.

British Somaliland
The British established a protectorate in the region after signing treaties with the local Somali Sultans, including the powerful Warsangali Sultanate, in 1884. The protectorate was administered from British India until 1898, and then the British Foreign office until 1905, when the administration was assumed by the Colonial Office.

Stamps of British India, overprinted "British Somaliland" were introduced in 1903.

Somaliland Protectorate stamps proper were issued in 1904.

The capital was Berbera, and the population was 153,000 in 1904.

British Somaliland
Note "Taleh" (right lower quadrant), center of  the Dervish state
The British really did not have much interest in the territory, other than, by occupying the barren land, the other "Scramble for Africa" colonial powers could not. ;-) Administration did not reach beyond the coast in the early 20th century.

Castle Ruins at Taleh 
But between 1899-1920, the British had to contend with the Somali Sunni Islamic Dervish state, centered in Taleh, who was lead by the "Mad Mullah", Muhammad Abdullah Hassan. 

Somaliland Camel Constabulary, attacked by 2000 dervishes in 1913
After the defeat of the Camel Constabulary in 1913, the 700 mounted rider Somaliland Camel Corps was established to maintain order within the protectorate in 1914.

Italian Invasion of British Somaliland, August, 1940
During the East African Campaign in WWII, British Somaliland was occupied by Italy for six months, when British forces recaptured the protectorate.

In 1960, the protectorate gained independence from Britain, and quickly united with the Italian administered Trust Territory of Somaliland (the former Italian Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic.

Political Situation Map of Somalia, 2014
In 1991, the Somali civil war destroyed the infrastructure, and postal services were suspended, There was no effective central government, and Somalia became a "failed state".

In 2013, International postal services began to resume with the help of the Universal Postal Union.

1935 Scott 77 1a carmine & dark blue
Silver Jubilee Issue
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Somaliland Protectorate 1903-1951, 142 major number descriptions. Of those, 35 are CV <$1-$1+, or 25%. If one looks at just the issues to 1938, 18 are CV <$1-$1+ out of 111, or 16%. Raising the CV bar to $4+ for issues up to 1938, yields 56 stamps total, or 50%. The WW collector might find it necessary to spend a bit more for a representative selection.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
16 Annas = 1 Rupee
100 Cents = 1 Shilling (1951)
1903 Scott 22 1a carmine rose 
Stamps of India 1902-03, Overprinted
The first issue of 1903 used the Victorian era 1882-1900 British India stamps, and "British Somaliland" was overprinted on the top (13 stamps) or the bottom (7 stamps) of the stamp. I happen not to have any, but eight stamps are only CV $2-$4+.

The next 1903 issue of six stamps are found on the 1902-03 British India "Edward VII" issue, and are likewise overprinted "British Somaliland". An example is illustrated above. CV ranges from <$1-$2+.

All of the 1903 issue stamps are a specialist's delight, as there were many mistakes produced on the spelling of the overprint. These misspelled overprints (minor numbers) are generally in the CV $ hundreds valuation.

1905 Scott 40 1/2a dull green & green "Edward VII"
Watermark 3
Somaliland Protectorate stamps proper with the "Edward VII" vignette were issued in 1904 (13 stamps- Wmk 2, Wmk 1) and 1905 (9 stamps- Wmk 3). (If you need a refresher on British Colonial watermarks, check out the Gibraltar post.)

The 1905 issue is further divided into ordinary paper (major numbers) and chalky paper (minor numbers). I sometimes find it somewhat difficult to tell the difference. Chalky paper has a glazed shiny look. The problem is, if one soaks these stamps in water, they tend to lose the chalky appearance. ;-)

I should mention that, in 1909, there was a color change for the 1/2a (from dull green & green to bluish green) and the 1a (from carmine & black to carmine).

For the entire 1904-09 24 stamp major number output, there are 12 stamps with CV $1+-$5.

1912 Scott 59 12a ocher & black "George V"
Watermark 3
Likewise, the "George V" issues are divided by Wmk 3 (1912-19: 13 stamps) and Wmk 4 (1921: 13 stamps) paper.

CV ranges from <$1-$4+ for 17 stamps for all the "George V" issues.

1938 Scott 85 1a carmine "Blackhead Sheep"
The British Commonwealth 1938 "George VI" issues usually offer some pictorials, and the Somaliland Protectorate is no exception.

The 1938 issue has 12 stamps and three designs. CV is <$1-$4 for five stamps.

Somali sheep (Berbera Blackhead) are native to Somalia. They are white with a black head, and are a fat-tail type. They are a hair sheep (not wool- so tolerates heat better), and they are raised for meat.

A domestic descendant of the Somali Sheep breed was developed in South Africa, and is called a Blackhead Persian.

1938 Scott 91 12a orange "Greater Kudu"
The Greater Kudu is a woodland antelope found in eastern and southern Africa.

Greater Kudu Subspecies Range
The chora subspecies can be found in the western section of Somalia.

1942 Scott 96 1/2a green "Blackhead Sheep"
In 1942, a similar 12 stamp issue was released. Note the "George VI" is facing directly forward rather than partially to the side as seen with the 1938 issue.

1942 Scott 102 8a gray "Greater Kudu"
CV is <$1-$1+ for nine stamps for the 1942 issue.

1949 Scott 110 1a scarlet
Silver Wedding Issue
I usually don't show the "Common Design Type" stamps for a British possession, as, what is the point? ;-)  But I don't believe I have scanned the 1949 "Silver Wedding Issue" stamp before, so here it is.

1949 Scott 115 12a on 1sh red orange
UPU Issue
Likewise, the 1949 four stamp UPU issue is a "Common Design Type". Of interest, the Somaliland Protectorate changed their currency to Cents/Shilling in 1951. However, the Cents/Shilling denomination shown for the 1949 UPU issue was too early- and therefore the stamps had to be surcharged to the then current Annas/Rupee. ;-)

Deep Blue
1912-19 Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has nine pages for Somaliland Protectorate 1903-1951, and includes a space for all the major Scott numbers with one exception. The 1909 Scott 49 1/2a bluish green "Edward VII" stamp, for some reason, is not given a space. Perhaps it is a "recent" addition to the Scott catalogue, because I note that my 1947 Scott has no number "49", and has the 1/2a blue green color listed as minor number 40a.

1937 Scott 82 2a black
Coronation Issue
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 30 spaces for the stamps of Somaliland Protectorate. The coverage is located between Shanghai and Siam (Thailand). 

Total album coverage for the issues up to 1938 is 27%.

The coverage is the same for the 1940s BB editions, except the page is located between Siam and Sierra Leone.

There are only two spaces that require a stamp with CV $10+.

For the 1912-21 "George V' issue spaces, as usual, BB offers only one space for the wmk 3 and wmk 4 stamps.


1,2,3,21,22,27 or 40,28 or 41,


51 or 64, 52 or 65, 53 or 66, 54 or 67, 55 or 68, 56 or 69,





A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1938 Scott 87 3a ultramarine ($10)
1938 Scott 91 12a orange ($10+)
B) *1902-05- choices are wmk 2 vs wmk 3.
C) * 1912-21- choices are wmk 3 vs wmk 4.

1946 Scott 108 1a carmine
Peace Issue
Out of the Blue
Somalia is a bit of a mess right now. Not all former colonial colonies or protectorates have had happy endings.

Note: Maps, and Taleh and Camel Constabulary pics appear to be in the public domain.

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