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...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Upper Senegal & Niger

1917 Scott 23 15c chocolate & orange
"Camel with Rider"
Quick History
Upper Senegal and Niger (Haut Senegal et Niger) was part of French West Africa, and developed from Senegambia and Niger in 1904. Stamps were issued from 1904-1917. The territory from upper Dahomey was added in 1907. Niger was a separate military district after 1911, and a separate colony after 1922. The Upper Volta was removed in 1919 and became a separate colony. The remaining lands had a name change in 1920 to French Sudan, and stamp production continued under that inscription in 1921.
Upper Senegal & Niger
French West Africa Map circa 1911
The capital was Bamako, named in 1907, after the Dakar- Bamako railway was completed in 1906.

The population was 2,400,000.  (Reference Scott catalogue- unknown date and source)

Colonial West Africa
Note "Upper Senegal & Niger"
The dates and renaming for French West Africa "colonies" in general are confusing, because often they are only name changes with swapping of some territories between administrative entities.

The Stamp World History site has more information and a synthesis map of Upper Senegal & Niger for those that would like to dive further into the geography. There is also a nice overview and maps of French West Africa available. Thanks Gerben!

So what eventually happened to Upper Senegal & Niger? Well, as mentioned, the lands remaining in 1920 were renamed French Sudan ("Soudan Francaise"). (There was an earlier "French Sudan" colony, also, that issued stamps between 1894-1900.) 

In 1959, French Sudan (known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal, and achieved independence as the short lived Mali Federation on June 20, 1960. But Senegal withdrew from the Mali Federation in August, 1960, and the Sudanese Republic then became the Republic of Mali on September 22, 1960.

1906 Scott 5 10c carmine 
Name of Colony in Blue
"Gen. Louis Faiderbe"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has, for Upper Senegal & Niger 1906-1917, 50 major stamp descriptions. Of those, 11 are CV <$1-$1+, or 22%. Raising the bar to CV $3+ adds 14 stamps for a total of 25, or 50%.

The stamp output for Upper Senegal & Niger was relatively short, both in terms of number and years issued.

The general designs and formats should be quite familiar if one is acquainted with French Colony stamps.

Let's review the French West Africa colonies, and their stamp issues......

* French Sudan 1894-1900; Capital Bamiko
In 1899, French Sudan was abolished as a separate colony, and was divided among Dahomey, French Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Senegambia & Niger.

* Part of the territory of former French Sudan was known as Upper Senegal & Niger from 1906-1921. Capital Bamiko.  In 1921, the name of the colony reverted to French Sudan. 

* French Sudan resumed in 1921, with the overprinting ("Soudan Francaise") on the 1914-17 "Camel with Rider" stamps of Upper Senegal & Niger. A part of Upper Volta was added in 1933.

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1906 Scott 3 4c brown/blue gray
Name of Colony in Red
"Gen. Louis Faiderbe"
In 1906, the French West Africa omnibus issue, featuring Louis Faiderbe", "Oil Palm", and "Eugene Ballay" was released for Upper Senegal & Niger on seventeen stamps.

Louis Leon Cesar Faiderbe
The six lower denominations show "General Louis Faidherbe", Governor of Senegal between 1854-1861 and 1863-1865.  CV for the seventeen stamp set Is $2-$6+ for ten stamps.

Senegalese Tirailleurs in 1914
While Governor, He had founded and developed the colonial Senegalese Tirailleurs.

1906 Scott 10 35c black/yellow
"Oil Palms"
The eight middle denominations of the 1906 set show the African "Oil Palm" (Elaeis guineensis), source of palm oil, and a native of west and southwest Africa.

Oil Palm Planatations
The species, because of its economic importance, has been transplanted to Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Sumatra, Central America, and the West Indies.

Biodiversity loss, because of clearing large swaths of threatened tropical rain forest, is a serious negative effect of oil palm cultivation.

1914 Scott 21 5c yellow green & blue green
"Camel with Rider"
The 1914-17 seventeen stamp set has one  pictorial design: "Camel with Rider".

1914 Scott 29 45c blue & olive brown
CV ranges from <$1-$3+ for all stamps in the set, save one.

1906 Scott J2 10c red brown "Natives"
The French West Africa countries also shared this postage due design of 1906. 

The major native ethnic groups of (now) Mali include Mande (50%-predominately Muslim), Fula (17%-nomadic), and Tuareg-(10%- Berber, nomadic).

Deep Blue
1914-17 "Camel with Rider" Issue in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner), for Upper Senegal & Niger 1906-17, has four pages. All of the major Scott numbers have a space.

1906 Scott 7 20c black 7 red/azure
"Oil Palms"
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on two pages, has 40 spaces for the stamps of Upper Senegal & Niger. Coverage is a remarkable 80%.

The coverage includes twelve spaces for the seventeen stamp 1906-07 issue, twelve spaces for the 1914-17 seventeen stamps issue, the 1915 semi-postal, and all of the 1906 (seven stamps) and 1914 (eight stamps) postage due issues.

Certainly, if BB had this generous coverage for every country, the complaint would not be "not enough", but "too much". ;-)

With the generous coverage, naturally, there are some expensive (CV $10+) stamp spaces. There are six expensive spaces: one (1906 Scott J7 1fr black/pinkish ($40)) is "most expensive", and two others are CV $20+. Details are listed under "comments", following the checklist.




Next Page


Postage Due



A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1906 Scott 11 40c carmine/azure ($10)
1906 Scott 12 45c brown/greenish ($10+)
1906 Scott J3 15c dark blue ($10+)
1906 Scott J5 50c violet ($20+)
1906 Scott J6 60c black/buff ($20+)
1906 Scott J7 1fr black/pinkish ($40)
B) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1914 Scott 28 40c gray & carmine rose
"Camel with Rider"
Out of the Blue
Another French Colony, now dead (as a name), that, according to Wikipedia, perhaps only stamp collectors care about now. ;-)

But the French legacy lives on in Mali. primarily through the French language (and culture).

Note: Maps and image pics appear to be in the public domain.

Comments Appreciated!


  1. Think of Upper Senegal & Niger as "The Ever-Shrinking Colony". The French did not have huge numbers of civil bureaucrats to administer the various territories in their West African empire, so left it to the Army to administer the interior until such time as civil government could be extended. Hence why different regions break off into other colonies or become new civil colonies and what is left of US-N becomes "French Sudan" when civil administration arrives in the early 1920s.

  2. Gene- I appreciate your historical knowledge -especially about the French colony development in Africa.

    What you say certainly is a credible explanation- Thanks!