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 by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Inini - Bud's Big Blue

The jungle grows back
Remains of the Crique Anguille camp
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
The art of remembering comes naturally to stamp collectors. Studying and arranging our paper bits often grows into imaginative and creative self-expression.

Remembering becomes art when it recollects forgotten pasts that shape, or ought to shape, the present. Artful remembering, being more than hearts and flowers sentimentality, has sharp vision into both past and future. It can be painful. Stamps provide this omni-focal view. Even “dead countries" stamps tell stories well worth remembering for their poignance and contemporary relevance.

Take Inini’s stamps. What kind of stamp collector wants to specialize in Inini? Who even knows what or where Inini was? Who cares?

·         Maybe a collector who cares about the plight of political convicts whose labor was exploited for hare-brained development schemes.
·         Maybe one searching for early predictors of the Viet Nam wars.
·         Maybe one tracing the fall of the French Colonial Empire.
·         Maybe one exploring South-East Asian cultural influences in South America.
·         Maybe one who remembers, or wants to.

Created by French authorities, Inini, the Amazonal hinterland of Guiana, was meant as a solution to three colonial problems: 1) saving the dwindling gold industry by improving infrastructure, 2) using the forced labor of political convicts from around the empire (mostly Indochinese) thereby neutralizing their dreams of independence, and 3) shielding the coastal areas of French Guiana from being known solely as a penal colony. None of it worked out well. Inini was a short-lived stamp-issuing territory (1930-1946). The jungle has quickly reclaimed the camps built for the Vietnamese prisoners (see above), but not the stamps. So we remember.

Census: 48 in BB spaces, one tip-in, four on supplement page.

Jim's Observations
Stamps of French Guiana were overprinted from 1932-1940. The Vichy government printed stamps in 1941 and 1944 without the "RF" inscription, but they were never placed on sale in Inini.

Was the attempt to build a railroad and colonize the interior a success? No. But the ruins of three prisons are still visible.

Despite the failed experiment, and lack of demand (to say the least) by the Ininians for post office services, the stamps of Inini are widely found in WW albums. The packet trade must have been busy. ;-)

Inini Blog Post and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!


  1. Nice post. I have to admit I never new where or why Inini was or why it existed! I would have never thought that it was used as a penal colony taking people of Indo-China to South America for incarceration. My goodness the sense of loss the convicts must have felt!

  2. Thanks for your remarks. I have to admit, too, that I didn't know about the Indo-China connection to Inini until I did a bit of research for the above article. Appalling, isn't it, what sometimes turns up when we peek beneath the stamps on our album pages.