Stamp Issuing Entities Of The World

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Abkhazia (1995-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 537,000 (1989). An autonomous region of the republic of Georgia, located on the Black Sea. Since 1995, many pictorial sets and souvenir sheets, offered as local issues, have appeared on the market. These are bogus, issued by private individuals for sale to collectors.

Abu Dhabi (1964-72)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 25,000 (1971 estimate). A sheikhdom in the former Trucial States in eastern Arabia, bordering on the Persian Gulf. Under British protection 1862-1971, Abu Dhabi joined with the other Trucial States to form the independent United Arab Emirates on Dec. 2, 1971. Long undeveloped, with few resources, Abu Dhabi's medieval existence began to change dramatically with the discovery of oil in 1958. By the 1970s, it had become a major oil exporter and today enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.

Aden (1937-65)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 220,000 (1964 estimate). Former British colony and protectorate in southwest Arabia. The colony of Aden was attached to India 1839-1937, and Indian stamps were used. Stamps of the colony were first issued in 1937, being used in most of the Aden protectorate area, as well as within the Aden colony itself. In 1963, the two districts, except for the eastern Kathiri and Qu'aiti states, united to form the Federation of South Arabia. Aden stamps were replaced by those of the Federation on April 1, 1965.

Aegean Islands (individual islands' issues) (1912-32)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A number of Italian issues were overprinted with names of the various Aegean islands, including Calchi, Calino, Caso, Coo, Fero, Fisso, Nisiro, Patmo, Piscopi, Rhodes (Rodi), Scarpanto, Simi and Stampalia.

Aegean Islands (Dodecanese) (1912-47)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 130,855 (1931). A group of 14 islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Under Turkish rule since the early 16th century, the islands declared their independence in 1912, during the Italo-Turkish War, but were soon occupied by Italy. Greece recognized Italian control of the islands in 1920, and Turkey formally ceded them to Italy in 1923. The Aegean Islands were occupied by Germany from 1943-45 and by British forces from 1945-47. In 1947 they were annexed by Greece. Italy issued a large number of stamps for use in the islands from 1912-43, while the Germans overprinted a few issues from 1943-45. During 1945-47, stamps of the British Middle East Forces were used. In 1947, specially overprinted Greek stamps were used, and regular Greek issues have been used since 1947.

Afars and Issas, French Territory of the (1967-77)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 150,000 (1974). A French overseas territory in northeast Africa bordering on the Gulf of Aden. Formerly the Somali Coast, a French colony. On June 27, 1977, the territory became an independent republic, and its name was changed to Djibouti.

Afghanistan (1871-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 22,664,136 (1996). A republic in central Asia, bordering on Iran, India and Turkestan. Long divided and ruled by neighboring states, Afghanistan emerged as a unified state in the mid-18th century. During the 19th century, Afghanistan became a battleground in the competition between Russia and Great Britain for influence in Central Asia. During 1881-1919, the country was dominated by the British. Afghanistan regained its autonomy in 1907 and its independence in 1919. In 1973, the monarchy was replaced by a republican government. The republic was overthrown in a pro-Soviet coup in 1978. The new regime was unable to unify the country or to quell conservative resistance in the countryside. In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, establishing what it hoped would be a more effective government. The resulting civil war lasted a decade, as U.S.-supported rebels and the Soviet-supported regime fought to a bloody stalemate. During 1989-92, the Soviet Union and the United States withdrew their support, and by mid-1992, the Marxist regime had been ousted, and the various rebel groups began fighting among themselves. One of these groups, the Taliban, gained predominance during 1996 and by 1997 had occupied most of the country. Former seminarians, the Taliban have established a fanatically Islamic regime in Afghanistan. Although Afghanistan began issuing postage stamps in 1871, it did not join the Universal Postal Union until 1928. Until then, Afghani stamps were valid only within the country and required British Indian stamps to be carried abroad.

Aguera, La (1920-24)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. District in the western Sahara on the Atlantic coast of Africa. A Spanish possession, La Aguera issued its own stamps until 1924, when it was attached to the Spanish Sahara.

Aitutaki (1903-32, 1972-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 3,000. One of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand. A dependency of New Zealand, Aitutaki issued its own stamps until 1932, when these were replaced by those of the Cook Islands. In August 1972, Aitutaki resumed issuing its own stamps.

Ajman (1964-72)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 4,400. One of the Trucial States in eastern Arabia. A sheikhdom under British protection from 1892-1971, Ajman joined the independent United Arab Emirates on Dec. 2, 1971. During 1964-71, Ajman issued 6,000-7,000 different stamps, all designed with worldwide collectors in mind. UAE issues replaced those of Ajman in 1972. Subsequent Ajman issues came onto the philatelic market after 1972, but these were not recognized as valid by the government.

Aland (1984-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 21,211 (1978). A group of 6,554 tiny islands, with a combined area of 572 square miles, in the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden. On Feb. 5, 1982, the Finnish government gave the self-governing territory of Aland the right to propose stamps and denominations to Finnish postal authorities. The first Aland issues appeared on March 1, 1984. Although Finnish stamps remain valid for use on the islands, and mixed Finnish and Aland frankings do occur there, Aland stamps may not be used in Finland.

Alaouites (1925-30)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 278,000 (1930). A district of Syria, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. Alaouites was a Turkish territory until 1918, when it was occupied by the French. During 1920-41, it was ruled by France under mandate from the League of Nations. In 1930, the name of the province was changed to Latakia, and stamps so inscribed came into use. In 1941, Latakia was annexed by Syria, and its issues were replaced by Syrian stamps.

Albania (1913-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 3,249,136 (1996). A republic in southeast Europe, bordering on the Adriatic Sea. Under Turkish rule from 1478-1912, Albania became independent after the first Balkan War. Overrun by German, Serbian, Montenegrin, Greek, Bulgarian, Italian, French and Austrian troops during World War I, foreign forces remained in Albania until 1921. An Albanian state was established in 1920, existing first as a republic and, after 1928, as a monarchy. In 1939, the country was occupied by Italy and, later, Germany. In 1944, British-supported communist guerrillas, led by Enver Hoxha, drove the Germans from the country and established a provisional government. In 1946, a communist people's republic was proclaimed. At first it appeared that Albania would become a satellite of Yugoslavia, but it maintained its independence, under Hoxha's repressive regime. In 1960, because of the Soviet Union's de-Stalinization campaign, Albania broke with the Soviet Union and aligned its foreign policy with that of the People's Republic of China. In 1978 China's liberalization brought a break between that country and Albania. From 1978 to 1991, Albania was one of the most economically undeveloped nations in Europe and one of the most isolated nations in the world. Since 1991, with the collapse of communism in Europe, Albania has instituted a democratic republican government. Economic reverses in 1997 threatened the country with a return to the anarchy that has characterized so much of its history.

Alderney (1983-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 2,086 (1981 estimate). A small English Channel island just off the French coast, near the tip of the Cherbourg peninsula. Alderney is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, which has been a British crown territory since the mid-13th century. After it began issuing stamps in 1969, Guernsey handled Alderney's postal affairs. Alderney's request to produce separate issues was rejected by Guernsey in 1975, but a later compromise allowed Alderney to issue occasional sets of stamps. Alderney's issues – typically about one set each year – are produced under the aegis of the Bailiwick of Guernsey Post Office in consultation with Alderney's parliamentary finance committee.

Aledschen (Alsedziai) (1941)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in Lithuania. In 1941, the local German military commander overprinted Russian stamps "Laisva/Alsedziai/24-VI-41" for use in the area.

Alexanderstadt (Bolschaja Alexan-drowka) (1941-42)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in the Ukraine. During 1941-42, the local German military authorities issued Russian stamps surcharged with a "16.8.41/B.ALEX." swastika overprint and surcharged with new values for use in the district.

Alexandretta (1938)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A district of southern Turkey, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. Alexandretta was part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire for several hundred years, until its occupation by the French in 1918. It was administered as part of the French mandate of Syria until 1938, when it became autonomous from Syria, its name being changed to Hatay. Stamps of Hatay replaced those of Alexandretta. In 1939, the territory was returned to Turkey, and Turkish stamps have since been in use.

Alexandria (1899-1931)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 699,400 (1937 estimate). An Egyptian port on the Mediterranean Sea. The French Post Office in Alexandria operated from 1830 through March 31, 1931. Regular French issues were used until 1899, when separate issues were created for Alexandria.

Algeria (1924-58, 1962-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 28,133,082 (1996). A republic in Northern Africa. Algeria was a territory of the Ottoman Turkish Empire from 1518-1830 and during this period was one of the centers of the Barbary pirates. France seized the coastal region in 1830 and during the 19th century expanded its rule inland. After World War II, Algerian nationalism increased, and French efforts to retain control resulted in a bitter civil war. In 1958, Algeria became an integral part of France, and French stamps replaced those of the colony. This effort to maintain the territory's association with France failed, and in 1962 Algeria became independent and resumed issuing its own stamps. Since independence, Algeria has been ruled by socialist and military governments. The first democratic elections in 1991 produced a victory for Islamic fundamentalists, and the military acted to nullify the electoral results. This provoked a bloody terrorist campaign by the fundamentalists, which continues and has claimed tens of thousands of civilian lives.

Allenstein (1920)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 540,000 (1920 estimate). A district of East Prussia, Allenstein was one of those territories administered by the Allies until 1920, when a local plebiscite resulted in the area's return to Germany. German stamps overprinted for Allenstein were used during the plebiscite period. Since the end of World War II, Allenstein has been a part of Poland.

Alsace and Lorraine (1870-72, 1940-41)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Two districts lying between France and Germany. Long disputed between the two powers, Alsace and Lorraine were annexed by Germany in 1871, retaken by France in 1918, again occupied by Germany in 1939, and finally reoccupied by France in 1945. German occupation issues for Alsace and Lorraine were used throughout occupied France during 1870-71 and in the two provinces during 1870-72, after which regular German issues were used until 1918. Individual overprints on German stamps were produced for Alsace and for Lorraine in 1940. On Jan. 1, 1942, they were replaced by regular German stamps.

Altai Region (1993)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 2,820,000 (1989). A Russian territory in southwestern Siberia, bordering Kazakstan. Several local issues, consisting of overprints on Soviet stamps, appeared during 1993. They were not recognized by the Russian authorities and are probably philatelic creations.

Alwar (1877-1902)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A former feudatory state in Northern India, southwest of Delhi. Separate issues were used until 1902, after which they were replaced by Indian stamps.

Amiens (1909)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 93,207 (1914). A city in northern France. During a May 13-19, 1909, strike by postal employees, local provisionals were issued by the Chamber of Commerce.

Amur Province (1920)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Between February and April 1920, a People's Revolutionary Committee ruled at Blagoveschensk, in southeastern Siberia. The Amur Province was absorbed by the Far Eastern Republic, when that state was formed on April 6, 1920.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1942)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: about 21,000 (1936). Located in the Indian Ocean, these islands were first settled by the British in 1789. Subsequently, they fell under the administration of the governor-general of India and now form part of the Indian republic. During World War II, the islands were occupied by the Japanese. At this time, contemporary British Indian stamps were crudely surcharged for use in the islands.

Andorra (1928-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 72,766 (1996). An autonomous enclave in the Pyrenees Mountains, since 1278 jointly administered by France and the Spanish bishop of Urgel. Stamps are issued by both France and Spain for use in the principality.

Angola (1870-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 10,342,899 (1996). A republic in southwestern Africa. The Angolan coast came under Portuguese control in the 16th century, and the interior was conquered during the late 19th century. Angolan nationalist groups waged a guerrilla war against the Portuguese during 1961-74, and on Nov. 11, 1975, Angola became an independent nation. With the withdrawal of Portugal, the three largest of the nationalist groups quickly fell out over the composition of the new government. The ensuing civil war caused most of the whites remaining in Angola to emigrate and brought the economic collapse of the country. The Soviet-supported faction, with the aid of Cuban troops, controlled the central government and the western portion of the country, while a South African supported faction (Unita) controlled much of the interior. An agreement ending the civil war was implemented in 1997 but soon fell apart. Hostilities continue, with the Unita forces controlling much of the country.

Angra (1892-1906)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. An administrative district of the Azores, in the central Atlantic. Angra's stamps were replaced by those of the Azores in 1906. Since 1931, regular Portuguese stamps have been used in the district.

Anguilla (1967-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 10,424 (1996). A small island in the Caribbean, formerly attached to St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. In September 1967, Anguilla declared its independence from both that state and Great Britain. In 1971 direct British control was re-established.

Anjouan (1892-1914)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 20,000 (1912). One of the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. The sultanate of Anjouan came under French protection in 1886, and separate stamp issues began in 1892. Stamps of Anjouan were replaced by those of Madagascar in 1914. In 1950, issues of the Comoro Islands came into use.

Annam and Tonkin (1888-92)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 14,124,000 (1890). Roughly, the area of Tonkin and Annam Protectorates corresponds with modern Vietnam. From 1892, regular issues of French Indochina were used, although in 1936, Indochina issued a separate set for Annam. After 1945, stamps of the People's Democratic Republic of Vietnam were used in the north, while those of the republic of Vietnam were used in the south from 1954-75.

Antequera (1936)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in the province of Malaga, in southern Spain. Contemporary Spanish stamps were overprinted for local use on the authority of the Falangist military commander in October 1936.

Antigua (1862-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 65,647 (1996). A state in association with Great Britain, comprising the island of Antigua and several smaller islands in the eastern Caribbean, southeast of Puerto Rico. Under British rule since 1632, Antigua became a separate colony in 1956. In 1967 Antigua became self-governing and became the independent state of Antigua-Barbuda in 1981.

Arad (1919)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 63,166 (1914). A district of pre-World War I Hungary, occupied by France in 1919, at which time overprinted Hungarian stamps were issued. The district is now a part of Romania.

Arbe (Rab) (1920)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. An island in the Mali Kvarner, off the northwestern coast of Yugoslavia. During d'Annunzio's occupation of Fiume, issues were overprinted for Arbe.

Argentina (1858-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 34,672,997 (1996). A republic in southern South America. Independent from Spain in 1816, Argentina was torn by regional separatism through much of the 19th century. This is reflected in the issuing of separate stamps by several Argentine provinces during 1858-80. Large-scale European immigration and investment after the 1880s made Argentina the most economically advanced nation in South America. Since 1930, Argentina has, more often than not, been ruled by authoritarian military regimes. During World War II, the government was sympathetic to the Axis, and after the war, a large number of ex-Nazis found sanctuary in Argentina. In 1946, Juan Domingo Peron was elected president, and he dominated the country's political life until his death in 1974, although he was in exile 1955-73. Chronic, unresolved economic and social tensions erupted into virtual civil war during 1976-80. Both leftist guerrillas and the military government used terror and violence to further their ends, and thousands died in the conflict. During this period, the Argentine economy deteriorated badly. High unemployment and spiraling inflation provoked intense popular dissatisfaction with the ruling junta. Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands in early April 1982 was, at least in part, an attempt to unify the nation. Since 1983, Argentina has been ruled by a succession of civilian regimes. Since 1991, the government has been working to deregulate and stimulate the economy, with mixed results.

Argyrokastron (Gjinokaster) (1914)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in Southern Albania. Turkish stamps were surcharged for use during the area's occupation by Greece.

Armavir (1920)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in northern Caucasus, Russia. Two Russian stamps were surcharged by the local authorities.

Armenia (1919-23, 1992-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 3,463,574 (1996). The southernmost area of the Caucasus. Long under a vague Turkish suzerainty, Armenia was conquered by the Russians during the 19th century. During World War I, Armenia was occupied by Turkish and German forces. Between May 1918 and December 1920, and again between February and April 1921, it existed as an independent republic, issuing its own stamps. In 1923, it joined the Transcaucasian Federation of Soviet Republics. Transcaucasian issues were soon superseded by those of the Soviet Union. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Armenia again became an independent republic. A long-standing dispute with neighboring Azerbaijan over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory completely encircled by Moslem Azerbaijan but populated mostly by Christian Armenians, has led to hostilities between the two countries in recent years.

Army of the North (1919)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. During 1919, the Army of the North, under Gen. Rodzianko, fought against the Soviet forces in the Petrograd (St. Petersburg) area. The Army of the North was subsequently incorporated into Gen. Nikolai N. Yudenitch's Army of the Northwest.

Army of the Northwest (1919)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. An anti-Bolshevik force under the command of Gen. Yudenitch, which operated in northwestern Russia around the city of Pskov. Between June and November 1919, this army threatened the Soviets in Petrograd (St. Petersburg). In November it was defeated by the Red Army and dissolved.

Army of the West (1919)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The Western Army was formed in Courland in 1919 to maintain German influence in the Baltic States. It was primarily an instrument of the German High Command, which was forbidden to operate directly in the region. The Army of the West was concerned less with the threat of the Bolsheviks in Russia than with restoring the domination of German landholders, and so refused to cooperate with Yudenitch in fighting the Russians. In November 1919, the army attacked Riga but was thrown back by an Anglo-Latvian counteroffensive, which brought about the force's dissolution.

Artsaki (Karabakh Republic, Berg Republic)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 188,000 (1989). An Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, this area, also known as Nagorno Karabakh, has been the object of military hostilities between the two countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A number of local issues of undetermined status have appeared on the collector market.

Aruba (1986-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 66,404 (1996). Southwesternmost of the six islands in the Netherlands Antilles of which it was formerly a part, Aruba is an island of 69 square miles, located east of Curacao and north of Venezuela's Paraguayana Peninsula. Aruba enjoys a separate status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and began issuing its own stamps Jan. 1, 1986.

Ascension (1922-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 1,700. An island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Occupied by the British in 1815, Ascension was attached to the crown colony of St. Helena in 1922.

Asch (1938)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 22,943 (1937). A city in the Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia). Local authorities overprinted Czech stamps in 1938, upon the area's cession to Germany.

Aunus (1919)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Aunus, the Finnish name for Olonets, a Russian town, was occupied by Finnish forces in 1919. Finnish stamps overprinted with the town name were used during the occupation.

Australia (1902-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 18,438,824 (1997). An island continent between the Pacific and Indian oceans, southeast of Asia. British settlement began in the late 18th century, with six colonies developing — New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. Each of these states initially issued its own stamps. These colonies united to form the Commonwealth of Australia on Jan. 1, 1901, although each continued to issue its own stamps for a number of years. Australia has rich natural resources and, since World War II, has developed into one of the major economic powers of the region. It has maintained close ties with the United States since 1945, although in recent years Japan has replaced the United States as Australia's main economic partner. Australia administers a number of island groups in the South Pacific and plays a leading role in the region.

Australian Antarctic Territory (1957-)

Stamp-issuing status: active. A large portion of Antarctica is claimed by Australia, which maintains scientific research stations there. Stamps of the Australian Antarctic Territory are also valid for postage in Australia.

Austria (1850-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 8,047,000 (1997). A republic in central Europe, Austria was the center of the Hapsburg Empire, which during the 16th to 19th centuries controlled (at one time or another) Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, the Netherlands and large portions of Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Italy and Germany. After 1815, Austrian power declined with the growth of nationalism among its subjects. In 1867, the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy was created to appease Hungarian nationalists, but the government resisted similar concessions to other national groups. The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914, began the series of events that quickly led to World War I. During World War I, Austrian troops were active in the Balkans, Romania, Poland, Russia and Italy, but by October 1918, Austria's armies were routed, and the monarchy collapsed. The empire dissolved rapidly, and Austria emerged much reduced in size, representing the German-speaking area of the empire. In 1918 the republic of "German Austria" was formed, and there was considerable sentiment for union with Germany. By the Treaty of St. Germain (1922), such a union was expressly forbidden, and the country's name became simply "Austria." During the 1930s, an Austrian fascist regime attempted to maintain independence, but in March 1938, Germany invaded and quickly occupied the country, merging it into the Third Reich with only a token protest from the Allies. After Germany's defeat in World War II, the Austrian Republic was re-established, and the country was divided into zones of occupation by the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France. In 1955, foreign troops were withdrawn, and Austria proclaimed its political neutrality. Austria maintains close economic ties with much of western Europe.

Austrian Offices in Crete (1903-14)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Like several other European nations, Austria maintained its own post offices in Crete, using stamps valued in French centimes and francs. Although intended for use in Crete, these issues were available for use at Austrian post offices throughout the Turkish Empire.

Austrian Offices in the Turkish Empire (1867-1914)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Austria began using special stamps for its offices in the Turkish Empire in 1867, having previously used its issues for Lombardy-Venetia for these offices. Austrian post offices in the Turkish Empire were closed Dec. 15, 1914.

Avila (1937)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The capital city of the province of the same name, in central Spain. A Nationalist overprint was applied to contemporary Spanish stamps by the local authorities.

Azerbaijan (Iranian) (1945-46)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A province in northwestern Iran. Occupied by Soviet forces during World War II, a puppet government was established in May 1945, at which time contemporary Iranian stamps were overprinted for use. In March 1946, Soviet troops withdrew, and Azerbaijan became an "autonomous" government. In December 1946, full Iranian administration was restored.

Azerbaijan (Russian) (1919-24, 1992-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 7,735,918 (1997). The eastern portion of the Caucasus. Occupied by Russia in the 19th century, Azerbaijan declared its independence in 1917, after the Russian Revolution. Turkish and British occupation was followed by the establishment of a communist regime in 1920. Azerbaijan was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Federated Republic in 1923. Soviet stamps were used from 1924-91. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan again became independent and resumed issuing its own stamps. An ongoing war with neighboring Armenia has drained the country, but its large oil reserves promise eventual economic development and prosperity. These reserves, and its strategic location in the region make Azerbaijan the object of international attention, as it is courted by Turkish, Iranian and Western interests.

Azores (1868-1931, 1980-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 238,000 (1993 estimate). A group of islands in the North Atlantic. The islands used Portuguese stamps until 1868, when overprinted stamps came into use. Separate Azores issues were replaced by regular Portuguese stamps in 1931. In 1980 Portugal again began to issue separate stamps for the Azores.

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