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...

Friday, July 12, 2019

Jordan - Bud's Big Blue

League of Nations Trans-Jordan Mandate to Great Britain 
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
BB’s Jordan stamps might be thought of as League of Nations stamps. Here’s why.
World War I and its aftermath ransacked the relative calm of philately’s earlier classical era. Some nations disappeared, new ones cropped up, still others appeared briefly then faded away. BB provides a serviceable roadmap for tracking these convulsions. Behind its stamps lie barely hidden the war’s wreckage and the struggles to put things right again, maybe even to make things better. It was, after all, “the war to end all wars.”

Such idealism met with dogged reality in Jordan and Palestine. Before the War, Transjordan was not a single administrative entity. Following the war and, more particularly, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Transjordan lacked cohesive government, much less any stamp-issuing authority. So, the League of Nations provided a stop-gap: WWI’s winners would temporarily govern where the defeated formerly held sway until such time as the people living there were able decide what to do on their own. Transjordan was mandated to Great Britain. (See cover of the mandate document above.)

Article 19 reads, in part: “The Mandatory [Britain, in this case] shall adhere on behalf of the Administration of Palestine [including Transjordan] to any general international conventions already existing, or which may be concluded hereafter with the approval of the League of Nations, respecting … postal, telegraphic and wireless communication ….”

As the result, BB’s Jordan begins with make-do (British) Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) stamps overprinted in Arabic "Arab Government of the East." These served while the Ottoman postal service was being dismantled and replaced. Overprinted stamps of Hejaz served a similar purpose (see supplement page). Progress toward independence, which eventually came in 1946, is marked by the 1928 series with the likeness of Abdullah I bin Al-Hussein.

Census: 37 in BB spaces, 25 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations
Under the general Palestinian Mandate, the British carved out a separate administration east of the Jordan River, and had the House of Hashemite, Emir Abdullah, the eldest son of British ally Sharif Hussein of Mecca and the Kingdom of Hejaz, become the titular head. 

Abdullah's government was established in April, 1921.

And actually the first (overprinted) stamp set for the Jordan territory was issued in November, 1920.

Emir Abdullah's brother was briefly the King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria, before being expelled by the French in 1920. He, however, then became King Faisal of Iraq in 1921, another British mandate.

Jordan Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!


  1. Jordan is a prime example of an "artificial country" created with more or less arbitrary borders by the great powers in the aftermath of wars and de-colonization. British diplomats even joked that it should have been named "Trans-pipeline-ia" as a key pipeline was one of the reasons for its existence in its current form. Years later its British creators even expressed amazement that people expressed pride in being Jordanian, not because there was anything wrong with being Jordanian of course, but because it was such an artificial creation to begin with. The often arbitrary nature of borders drawn by occupiers and colonizers upon withdrawing has been a great source of the world's conflicts over the last century, in the Middle East and elsewhere.

  2. Thanks, Steve, for continuing the conversation. Issuing Jordanian stamps, I suppose, may have unexpectedly fostered national identity of a sort, and ultimately national pride, at least for some of the people living there. But, no doubt, there were also those who were displeased with British intervention.