Stamp Issuing Entities Of The World

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Icaria (Nicaria) (1912-13)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. An island in the Aegean Sea. In July 1912, Icaria declared its independence from Turkey. In November, the island was occupied by Greece, and Icarian issues were replaced by overprinted Greek stamps, which, in turn, were replaced by regular Greek stamps.

Iceland (1873-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 272,550. A large island in the North Atlantic. Iceland was colonized from Norway after c. 870, and after 1380 was under Danish rule. In 1918, Iceland became independent, united with Denmark only in the person of the Danish monarch. In 1944, Iceland severed this last tie with Denmark and became a republic. Since 1949, Iceland has been a member of NATO, and the United States maintains a sizable base on the island.

Idar (1939-44)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 262,660. A former feudatory state in western India.

Ifni (1941-69)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 52,000 (1968 estimate). A Spanish enclave on the western coast of Morocco. Ceded to Spain in 1860, Ifni was occupied in 1934. In 1969, Spain returned the area to Morocco, whose stamps replaced those of the colony.

Ili Republic (1945-49)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A short-lived state established by the Uighurs in northwestern Sinkiang. At the end of 1949, the state was integrated into the Chinese People's Republic.

India (1854-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 967,612,804. Republic in south-central Asia, occupying the greater part of the Indian subcontinent between the Himalaya Mountains and the Indian Ocean. One of the world's earliest civilizations was located in the Indus valley after c. 4000 B.C. This culture was overrun by the Aryans who conquered India 2400-1500 B.C. During most of its history, India has been divided into many independent, frequently warring states. In 1498, the Portuguese reached India and quickly began building a commercial empire that dominated the coastal areas for a century. The Portuguese were supplanted by the Dutch in the early 17th century, who in turn were succeeded by the British in the late 17th century. Anglo-French rivalry for influence over the local princes was intense until Britain's military defeat of the French forces in 1760. During the next 100 years, the British East India Co. constantly expanded Britain's holdings in the subcontinent. In 1857, the British government took over the governing of India directly. In 1877, the empire of India was proclaimed with Queen Victoria as empress. In the early 20th century, Indian nationalism became an increasingly powerful force. After World War I, Mohandas K. Gandhi organized the All-India Congress Party, which assumed the leadership of the Indian independence movement. Later, the Moslem nationalists withdrew from the predominantly Hindu Congress Party to form the Moslem League under Mohammed Ali Jinnah. After years of agitation and negotiation, the British gave up control of India on Aug. 15, 1947, and the country was partitioned into Hindu (India) and Moslem (Pakistan) states. Religious riots and war between the two nations began almost immediately. Settled only with great difficulty, war has erupted several times since, most recently in 1971-72. Tensions among India's many racial and religious groups remains high, especially between Hindus and Muslims and between the Hindus and the Sikhs. India absorbed the remaining French holdings in 1956 and seized Portugal's Indian territory in 1961. In 1962, communist Chinese forces occupied disputed areas in the north.

India Convention States (1884-1950)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. During 1864-86, six Indian states joined their postal services to that of British India, using overprinted Indian stamps. The states entering into such postal conventions were Chamba, Faridkot, Gwalior, Jhind, Nabha and Patiala. The stamps of the convention states were valid throughout India. They were replaced by those of the Republic of India on Jan. 1, 1951.

India-Feudatory States (1864-1951)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. After 1862, many rulers of the semi-autonomous native princely states began to establish modern public postal systems, utilizing their own stamps. These systems existed alongside that of British India, with the stamps normally valid only within the state where they were issued. The Indian feudatory states issuing their own stamps were: Alwar (1877-1902); Bamra (1888-94); Barwani (1921-48); Bhopal (1876-1950); Bhor (1879-1902); Bijawar (1935-39); Bundi (1894-1920, 1940-48); Bussahir (1895-1901); Charkhari (1894-1950); Cochin (1892-1949); Dhar (1897-1901); Duttia (1893-1921); Hyderabad (1869-1950); Idar (1939-44); Indore (1886-1950); Jaipur (1904-49); Jammu and Kashmir (1866-94); Jasdan (1942-50); Jhalawar (1887-1900); Jhind (1874-85); Kishangarh (1899-1949); Las Bela (1897-1907); Morvi (1931-50); Nandgaon (1892-95); Nawanagar (1875-95); Orchha (1913-50); Poonch (1876-94); Rajasthan (1948-50); Rajpeepla (1880-86); Saurashtra (1864-1950); Sirmoor (1879-1902); Travancore (1888-1949); Travancore-Cochin (1949-51); and Wadhwan (1888-95).

Indian Expeditionary Forces (1914-22)

During and after World War I, Indian forces fighting with the Allies used 10 stamps of British India overprinted "I.E.F." An "I.E.F. D/i" overprint was similarly applied to eight Turkish stamps used by the British during the occupation of Mesopotamia.

Indochina (1889-1949)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 27 million (1949 estimate). Former French administrative unit in southeast Asia, comprising Cochin-China, Cambodia, Annam and Tonkin, and Kwangchowan. The area broke up in 1949 to form the states of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, within the French Union, with the issues of the separate states replacing those of Indochina.

Indonesia (1945-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 209,774,138. A republic occupying most of the Malay Archipelago in southeastern Asia; formerly the Netherlands East Indies. Portugal dominated this region during the 16th century but was supplanted by the Dutch after 1595. Except for a period of British occupation during the Napoleonic wars (1811-16), the area remained under Dutch control until its occupation by Japan in 1942. After the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Indonesian nationalists under Achmed Sukarno proclaimed the independent Republic of Indonesia in central Java and throughout most of Sumatra. The ensuing civil war was finally ended by the withdrawal of the Dutch in December 1949. In 1950, Indonesia was unified as a republic. In 1963, Western New Guinea (West Irian), which had remained under Dutch control, was seized by Indonesia. During the early 1960s, Indonesia was aligned with the Soviet Union, but an abortive communist uprising in 1965 brought massive retaliation by the military. President Sukarno, who had ruled as a dictator since 1960, was deposed, and some 300,000 communists were executed. The new regime, under Gen. Suharto, restored peaceful relations with Indonesia's neighbors, restored popular elections and has actively promoted economic development. Oil exports drove the country's economic growth during the 1970s and '80s, and Indonesia became one of the most dynamic Pacific Rim economies. The corruption centering around President Suharto's family and friends, and the regime's authoritarian rule, brought increasing opposition. Matters came to a head with the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Violent domestic unrest forced Suharto's resignation in 1998, after the collapse of the rupiah in January. The Indonesian economy, always vulnerable because of a weak banking system and widespread corruption, remains battered, while ethnic and religious unrest further divides the country. In 1975, Indonesia invaded the Portuguese colony of Timor and in 1976 annexed the territory. Since that time, Timorese nationalist resistance has been brutally suppressed. The current economic and political turmoil in Indonesia has brought the issue of Timorese independence back into the headlines.

Indore (Holkar) (1886-1949)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A former feudatory state in west-central India. Indore used its own stamps from 1886 to 1949. With its merger into Rajasthan, stamps of that state were used from 1949 to April 1, 1950. Stamps of India are now in use.

Inhambane (1895-1914)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 248,000 (1917 estimate). A district of southern Mozambique. Its stamps were superseded by those of Mozambique.

Inini (1932-46)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 5,024 (1941 estimate). The interior of French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America. During 1930-46, this area was separated from French Guiana, being reunited when the area was reorganized as an Overseas Department of France in 1947.

Ionian Islands (1859-64, 1941-43)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A group of islands off the western coast of Greece. Occupied at various times by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Turks, French, Russians and British, the islands were united with Greece in 1864. Three stamps were issued by the British (1859-64), and an additional 13 during World War II by the occupying Italian forces (1941-43).

Iran (Persia until 1935) (1870-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 67,540,002. Islamic republic in western Asia. Iran was the seat of the ancient kingdom of Elam (c. 3000-640 B.C.), which competed with the Mesopotamian states to its west. The area was settled by the Iranians, an Aryan people, c.1800 B.C., from whom arose the Medes, Persians and Parthians. At various times from the 7th century B.C. to the 7th century A.D., Persian states dominated the Middle East, at times ruling territory from Egypt and Thrace to India. Debilitating wars with Rome weakened Persia, making it easy prey to the Arabs in the 7th century. With the decline of the caliphate after 1040, Persia was torn by centuries of war and anarchy, complicated by Turkish immigration and Mongol invasions (13th-15th centuries). National unity was re-established under the Safawid dynasty (1502-1722), and Persia re-emerged as a dominant power in the region. After the mid-18th century, Persia weakened, losing its outlying provinces (Afghanistan, the Caucasus, etc.) and gradually fell under European influence. Russia and Britain carved out spheres of influence in the 19th century and occupied portions of the country in World War I and World War II. In 1921, Riza Pahlavi, a military chief, led a coup and assumed virtual control of the government, becoming shah in 1925. He began to radically modernize Persia, a program continued by his son and successor, Mohammed Riza Pahlavi. Mohammed Riza Pahlavi attempted to modernize Iran rapidly and used the country's substantial oil revenues toward this end. While his policies brought a social and economic transformation of Iran, the shah ruled absolutely, and political opposition was suppressed. Increasing dissatisfaction with the regime brought the coalition of many disparate elements in Iranian society. Anti-government riots brought martial law in September 1978, but the government's position deteriorated rapidly. On Jan. 16, 1979, the shah left Iran, and in mid-February, the caretaker regime of Shahpur Baktiar, a longtime opponent of the shah, was overthrown amid popular demonstrations by supporters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. On April 1, the Ayatollah declared Iran an Islamic republic and immediately set about creating a theocratic regime, reflecting staunchly conservative Islamic values. Khomeini accused the United States, which had strongly supported the shah, of being the source of most of the country's problems. Relations between the two countries quickly deteriorated, and in November 1979, student demonstrators seized U.S. embassy personnel in Tehran. The embassy staff was held hostage, pending the return of the shah to Iran, where he was to be tried by revolutionary courts. The death of the shah in July 1980 did not bring a resolution of the problem, which continued until the captives' release in January 1981. In September 1980, Iraq attacked Iran, beginning a bitter war that drained the resources of both nations, until a cease-fire ended hostilities in 1988. Political and economic instability became the norm in Iran. Political terrorism and government repression, as bad or worse than under the shah, were institutionalized by the Muslim clerics. In the 1990s there has been some movement toward liberalization, driven by increasing popular discontent with the repressive fundamentalist regime. In 1997, Mohammed Khatami, a moderate Shiite Muslim cleric was elected president, leading many in the West to hope for a gradual moderating of the Iranian government's policies.

Iraq (1923-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 22,219,289. A republic in western Asia, occupying the Tigris and Euphrates valley, north of Arabia. Mesopotamia, which corresponds with the modern area of Iraq, was the center of the Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations for thousands of years, until its conquest by Persia in the 6th century B.C. For the next 24 centuries, the region was ruled by a succession of foreign powers: Persians, Greeks, Parthians, Romans, Arabs, Mongols and Turks. In the early 16th century, it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, and its first stamps were those of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. During World War I, Mesopotamia was occupied by British forces, and it became a British mandated territory in 1920. In 1921, a kingdom was established under Faisal I, son of King Hussein of Hejaz and leader of the Arab Army in World War I. Britain withdrew from Iraq in 1932, although it intervened during World War II to overthrow a pro-Axis ministry. In 1958, the monarchy was deposed, and a pan-Arab, pro-Soviet republic was established. The new regime nationalized most Iraqi industry and broke up large land holdings. Iraq maintained close ties with Syria, which is ruled by another branch of the same Baathist political party that overthrew the monarchy and with the Soviet Union. In 1973, Iraq sent troops to support Syria in its war with Israel. In 1975 it brutally repressed Kurdish nationalist agitation in the north. In 1978, relations with the Soviet Union cooled, and a number of communists were executed. In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president, quickly establishing his power in a bloody purge. In September 1980, Iraq, prompted by a long-standing border dispute and by the new Iranian regime's attempts to foment revolution among Iraq's Shi'ite minority, invaded Iran. Strong Iranian resistance soon brought the war to a standstill, despite periodic heavy fighting. Both nations suffered terrible losses, both human and financial, in the course of an eight-year war. In 1988, a cease-fire was negotiated. Determined to establish Iraqi preeminence in the region, Saddam attacked and quickly occupied its oil-rich southern neighbor, Kuwait, in August 1990. This prompted an international crisis and the rapid creation of a coalition of nations, led by the United States, aligned against Iraq. A massive allied build-up followed, and in January 1991, heavy strategic bombing of Iraq began. In February, allied forces liberated Kuwait and invaded Iraq, which was soundly defeated within four days. To the surprise of most Americans and Westerners, the allied force stopped short of deposing Saddam. In the months following his defeat, Saddam was faced with numerous revolts throughout the country. These were suppressed ruthlessly, especially those of the Shi'ites in the south, who have traditionally sought union with their co-religionists in Iran, and the Kurds in the north. The two groups, given half-measures of protection by the allies, have continued to be the victims of Iraqi persecution, including poison gas attacks against civilians in rebellious areas. In 1993 and 1996, the United States targeted Iraqi sites for missile attacks, following Saddam's involvement in a plan to assassinate President Bush and in retaliation for his attacks against Kurds in a protected neutral zone in the north. As a part of the cease-fire agreement, the Iraqi government agreed to discontinue its nuclear weapons program, which was only a few years away from development of effective nuclear devices. It also agreed to halt its huge chemical and biological weapons program. Since then, it has almost certainly continued chemical and biological weapons development, and has prevented United Nations teams from inspecting its research and storage sites. This prompted a crisis in early 1998, as the United States moved forces into the region and threatened military enforcement of the agreement. An eleventh-hour agreement to allow U.N. inspectors free access to all sites halted U.S. military action for the time being. The Iraqi economy has been hurt by an embargo linked to the regime's honoring of the 1991 cease-fire, and the Iraqi people have suffered badly, as food and medical supplies are often in short supply. The Iraqi government has continued to maintain large military budgets, however, and Saddam has managed to erect many presidential palaces throughout the country.

Ireland (1922-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 3,555,500. An island in northwestern Europe, west of Britain. After the Celtic conquest of the British Isles in the 4th century B.C., Ireland was a center of Gaelic culture in Western Europe. After its conversion to Christianity by St. Patrick in the 5th century A.D., it was a center of Christian scholarship and an outpost of Christian culture, amidst pagan German and, later, Norse, incursions in Northwest Europe. In the 12th century, England began invasions of Ireland and eventually conquered the island. The Irish never accepted the harsh English rule, and there was constant pressure for independence. Open revolution during 1916-19 brought freedom to most of the country in 1921, as the Irish Free State, a dominion within the British Commonwealth. In 1937 the name Eire was adopted and independent sovereignty was proclaimed, following a national plebiscite. In 1948-49 full independence was proclaimed and recognized by Great Britain. A continuing source of tension is the status of Ulster, the six counties of Northern Ireland, which has remained part of the United Kingdom. There, the Protestant majority resists union with the Catholic Irish republic, and centuries of antagonism between Protestants and Catholics continue in bloody terrorist acts from extremists on both sides. Negotiations on the future status of Ulster are ongoing.

Israel (1948-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 5,534,672. Republic in western Asia, comprising the former British mandated territory of Palestine. Under the British mandate, Jewish and Arab elements in Palestine came into bitter conflict over the future of the nation. The Jews wished to create a homeland for their people, while the Arabs advocated the creation of a secular Palestinian state in which the rights of the Jewish minority would be respected. On May 14, 1948, British troops were withdrawn from Palestine, and the Jewish National Council immediately proclaimed the state of Israel in areas of the country under Jewish control. Israel was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors but defeated their forces, emerging from the 1949 cease-fire with its territory approximately 50 percent larger than that initially allocated for it by the U.N. partition plan. In 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal and barred Israeli shipping. Israel invaded Egypt and occupied Gaza and the Sinai. After U.N. intervention, Israel withdrew. In 1967, after a year of Arab guerrilla raids from Jordan and bombardment of Israeli settlements from Syria, war again broke out. Israel defeated Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War, occupying the West Bank from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and Sinai and Gaza from Egypt. On Oct. 6, 1973, after several years of failure to negotiate a settlement, Arab forces attacked Israel again, re-occupying some lost territory in the Sinai. After initial Arab gains, Israel counterattacked quickly, occupying territory on the west bank of the Suez Canal and advancing in Syria. A cease-fire was negotiated Oct. 24. Peace negotiations proceeded very slowly during 1973-77, but began to move rapidly after November 1977, when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visited Jerusalem in an attempt to break the deadlock. On March 26, 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a formal peace treaty, ending hostilities and establishing diplomatic relations. Under the terms of the peace treaty, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt. Relations between Israel and its neighbors continue to be strained, although a 1993 agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which led the terrorist resistance to Israel, makes an eventual settlement possible. Israel and the Palestine authority, the autonomous Palestinian state created under PLO direction, maintain a strained negotiation for the eventual creation of an independent Arab Palestine alongside a Jewish Israel, recognized by its Muslim neighbors.

Istria-Slovene Coast (1945-47)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Former Italian provinces on the Adriatic Sea, occupied by Yugoslavia after World War II.

Italian Colonies (1932-34)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. During 1932-34, a series of general issues was released for use in all Italian colonies.

Italian East Africa (1938-41)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 12 million (1941 estimate). A former Italian colony in East Africa, formed from Eritrea, Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia. It was occupied by the British in 1941 and, after World War II, was dissolved.

Italian Offices Abroad (1861-1923)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Italy maintained many post offices abroad, utilizing a general overprint on Italian stamps (1874-90), overprints for specific cities or territories, and unoverprinted stamps distinguishable only by their cancellations. Italian post offices were maintained in Egypt, Tunisia, Tripolitania, Eritrea, China, Crete, and many cities in the Turkish Empire and Albania.

Italian Offices in Albania (1902-09)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. During the 19th century, Italy operated its own post offices in a number of Albanian cities, using regular Italian stamps. In 1883, the Turkish government suppressed these offices, but in 1902, they were reopened using Italian stamps overprinted "Albania" and surcharged in Turkish currency. In 1909, these issues were replaced by those of the various cities where Italian post offices were in operation.

Italian Offices in China (1917-22)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. During 1901-17, Italian troops in China, as well as legation and consular personnel, were permitted to use unoverprinted Italian stamps. From September 1917 to Dec. 31, 1922, Italian stamps overprinted for Peking and Tientsin were used.

Italian Social Republic (1943-45)

Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The Italian puppet state under Mussolini, which nominally ruled those areas under German occupation during the final days of World War II.

Italy (1862-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 57,534,088. A republic in western Europe. Italy was the center of the Roman Empire, which until the 5th century ruled southern and western Europe, North Africa and much of the Middle East. After the collapse of Rome, Italy was ruled by a succession of foreign powers: Ostrogoths, Lombards, Franks, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Spanish, Byzantines and French. By 1815, the country was roughly divided into several spheres: the Sardinian kingdom, which ruled the island of Sardinia and northwestern Italy; the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom, which was ruled by Austria, in the north; the Papal States, which controlled the central portion of the peninsula; and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in the south. During the 19th century, Italian nationalism grew in strength, and there was increasing sentiment for unification. During 1859-61, nationalist uprisings deposed local rulers and united most of Italy with Sardinia. On March 17, 1861, the united Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed under the House of Savoy. Italy acquired several African colonies during the late 19th century and, in the Italo-Turkish War (1911-12) and World War I, acquired territory from Turkey and Austria. Domestic unrest after World War I brought the Fascist party to power in 1922, although the monarchy was retained. The Fascists, under Benito Mussolini, built up Italy's military forces and pursued an aggressive foreign policy, conquering Ethiopia (1935) and Albania (1939). Italy entered World War II in 1940 as an ally of Germany, but military reverses brought German domination and, in 1943, the invasion of Italy by the Allies. Mussolini was deposed in 1943, although he was put in charge of the northern Italian Social Republic, a German puppet-state until its collapse in 1945. The royalist government, in the meantime, declared war on Germany and fought with the Allies to free Italy from German occupation. In 1946, the monarchy was abolished, and Italy became a republic. After World War II, Italy enjoyed dynamic industrial growth, and its standard of living improved greatly. A member of NATO and the European Union, Italy is prosperous and democratic, but has long been prone to a chronic political instability, with frequent changes in government.

Ivory Coast (1892-1944, 1959-)

Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 14,986,218. A republic in West Africa, bordering on the Gulf of Guinea. French influence was strong along the coast from 1700, and after 1842, France began to occupy territory in the area. The boundaries of the colony were fixed between 1892 and 1898, and native resistance was crushed by 1919. During World War II, the Ivory Coast remained under control of the Vichy regime until November 1942. After 1944, it used stamps of French West Africa. In 1958, the Ivory Coast became a republic, achieving independence in 1960. The Ivory Coast is the most prosperous of the tropical African nations, reflecting decades of a moderate economic policy emphasizing farming for export, the encouragement of foreign investment and continued close ties with France. In 1985, the official name of the country was changed to Cote d'Ivoire.

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