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Stamp-issuing status: inactive. An island off the northwest coast of Borneo. Labuan was ceded by Brunei to Britain in 1848 and administered by the British North Borneo Company from 1890 to 1906. In 1907, Labuan was attached to the Straits Settlements and, after 1945, to British North Borneo (Sabah).
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A territory in south Nigeria. Lagos was occupied by Great Britain in 1861 and, during 1886-1906, was a separate protectorate. The territory merged with the Southern Nigerian Protectorate in 1906.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 5,116,959. A state in northwestern Indochina. Formerly a kingdom of some influence, by the early 19th century Laos was under Siamese rule. In 1893, Siam renounced its claims, and in 1899, Laos became a French protectorate. During 1941-45, Laos was occupied by Japan. After World War II, Laos was reestablished as a kingdom (1947), under French protection. In 1953, it became independent within the French Union, and in 1956, it became fully independent. During the Vietnamese War, Laos maintained a precarious neutrality, with troops of both sides active within the country. With the U.S. withdrawal from Indochina, the neutralist regime collapsed, and in May 1975, the Lao Democratic People's Republic was established. During the past decade Laos has received substantial amounts of foreign investment and in 1997 joined ASEAN.
Las Bela (1897-1907)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 63,000. A former feudatory state of India, now a part of Pakistan.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 280,000 (1936 estimate). This area, originally called Alaouites, was a district of western Syria under French mandate. Its stamps were replaced by those of Syria in 1937, after its merger with Syria in December 1936.
Latvia (1918-41, 1991-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 2,437,649. A republic on the Baltic and the Gulf of Riga. Although the majority of Latvians are Slavic, the area was long dominated by a German land-owning class, descendants of the Knights of the Tuetonic Order, who conquered the region during the Middle Ages. Latvia was ruled by Poland and Sweden until Russia occupied the territory in the 18th century. During 1917-18, Latvia was occupied by Germany, and in 1918 it declared its independence from Russia. During 1919, the Latvian government fought both the Red Army, which sought to reestablish Russian control, and the Army of the West, which sought to maintain German influence. By the end of 1919, Latvia was able to secure its independence. In 1939, as part of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, the Soviet Union established military bases in Latvia. In June 1940, Soviet forces seized the country, and in July it was absorbed into the Soviet Union. In July 1941, Germany occupied the country, and many cities overprinted their stocks of Russian stamps for provisional use. In November, German "Ostland" issues were introduced, replacing the many local issues. During 1944-45, Soviet forces again occupied Latvia, and ordinary Russian stamps were again placed into use. Latvia declared its independence on August 21, 1991, and in September, Russia recognized its sovereignty. The last Russian troops were withdrawn in 1994.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 3,858,736. A republic in western Asia, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. Under Turkish rule until 1918, Lebanon was occupied by the French after World War I under a League of Nations mandate. It was declared independent in 1941, and in 1944, its independence was implemented. Lebanon's population is 57 percent Muslim and 40 percent Christian, and from 1943, the two groups co-existed through a constitutional apportioning of key government posts. During 1969-75, Palestinian commando groups became increasingly powerful in Lebanon, which they used as a base for raids against Israel. Efforts of the government to restrain Palestinian activities, with which many Lebanese Muslims sympathized, and after 1970 Israeli counterattacks against Palestinian bases in southern Lebanon destabilized the Lebanese government. During 1965-76, these tensions erupted in civil war. Generally, Arab nations supported the Palestinians and leftist Muslim factions, while Israel supported the various Christian groups. In 1976, Syria intervened, suppressed PLO activity and attempted to mediate the conflict. The civil war resumed in 1981, and the country disintegrated into chaos between numerous Muslim and Christian groups, variously backed by Syria and Israel. In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon in an effort to finally suppress Palestinian terrorist activities, withdrawing, under U.S. pressure, to a security zone in the south in 1983. Continuing terrorist operations in southern Lebanon brought Israeli raids in 1993 and 1996.
Leeward Islands (1890-1956)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 109,000 (1954 estimate). A group of islands in the West Indies, southeast of Puerto Rico. The Leeward Islands was a former administrative unit of British island possessions in the Caribbean — Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Dominica (until 1940). Leeward Islands issues were used throughout the colony, while the issues of the individual presidencies were valid only within their own territories.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Lemnos utilized 38 overprinted Greek stamps during its occupation by Turkey.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. One of the Dodecanese Islands in the eastern Aegean Sea. Leros was claimed from Turkey by Italy in 1912, at which time Italian stamps overprinted "Leros" were issued. In 1929, these were superseded by general issues for the Aegean Islands, although two sets overprinted "Lero" were released in 1930 and 1932.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 2,007,814. A kingdom in southern Africa, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. Until it became independent as Lesotho in 1966, this territory was the British crown colony of Basutoland. Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, and the majority of its work force is employed in that country.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 2,602,068. A republic on the west coast of Africa, Liberia was colonized after 1822 by freed slaves from the United States. In 1847, Liberia was proclaimed independent. Liberian political and economic life was long dominated by the descendants of these freed slaves, who constitute less than 3 percent of the country's population. In 1980, a military coup led by Sgt. Samuel Doe overthrew the establishment government. Doe's harsh rule prompted an assassination attempt in 1985 and rebellion in 1989. In 1990, he was captured and executed. A chaotic civil war lasted until 1996, claiming more than 150,000 lives.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 5,648,359. A republic in northern Africa, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. Occupied until 1912 by Turkey, the area that is now Libya passed to Italy after its victory in the Turko-Italian War of 1912. The colonies of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were united into Libya in 1934. During World War II, the colony was occupied by the Allies with Tripolitania and Cyrenaica under British administration, using "M.E.F." stamps (Middle Eastern Forces), while Fezzan-Ghadames was under French administration, using its own issues. On Dec. 24, 1951, the independent Kingdom of Libya was established. In September 1969, the monarchy was overthrown, and the Libyan Arab Republic was established. The new regime, under Col. Muammar al-Qadaffi, espoused a pan-Arab, socialist and Muslim fundamentalist philosophy that has led to ongoing conflicts with Libya's neighbors. During 1977, it fought several clashes with Egypt, and during 1977-87, it occupied portions of Chad, until driven from that country. Libya has been an active supporter of terrorist organizations throughout the world. In 1986, the United States imposed economic sanctions and froze Libyan assets in the United States. In 1992, the United Nations imposed limited economic sanctions, strengthened in 1993, in retaliation for Libya's refusal to extradite two terrorists believed to be responsible for the bombing of airplane flights over Scotland and Niger.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 31,461. A principality in central Europe between Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein, founded in 1719, became a sovereign state in 1806, and became independent in 1866. Until 1918, it retained close ties with Austria, which until 1920 operated the Liechtenstein postal service. Since 1920, it has been associated with Switzerland, its post office having been under Swiss administration since 1921. In 1868, Liechtenstein abolished its army and has since remained free of foreign entanglements. Liechtenstein is one of the major tax havens of the world, and many international corporations have headquarters there. The country's major exports include postage stamps and plastic postage stamp mounts.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. One of the Dodecanese Islands in the eastern Aegean Sea. Lisso was occupied by Italy in 1912, at which time Italian stamps overprinted "Lipso" were issued. In 1929, Lisso's issues were superseded by the general issues for the Aegean Islands, although two sets overprinted "Lisso" or "Lipso" were released in 1930 and 1932.
Lithuania (1918-40, 1990-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 3,635,932. A country of eastern Europe, northeast of Poland and south of Latvia. Lithuania ruled a large empire in the later Middle Ages, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Seas. In 1385 it was united with the Kingdom of Poland. Initially the dominant partner, Lithuania was gradually eclipsed by Poland. It was absorbed by Russia in 1793 and remained under Russian control until World War I. In 1915, the country was occupied by Germany, which supported its declaration of independence from Russia in 1918. German troops remained in Lithuania until the end of 1919. In 1920, the border district of Central Lithuania was lost to Poland, but this was somewhat offset by Lithuania's seizure of the German port of Memel from the Allies in 1923. In October 1939, Lithuania reoccupied Central Lithuania, in return for which it allowed the Soviet Union to establish military bases. In June 1940, Lithuania was seized by Soviet forces and in July was annexed to the Soviet Union. In June 1941, German forces occupied the country, and a number of local overprints on Russian stamps were used, as well as general overprints for Lithuania as a whole. From November 1941 to 1944, German issues overprinted "Ostland" were used. In 1944, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Lithuania was one of the first nations to declare its independence, on March 11, 1990. This independence was recognized by Western nations in August 1991, and by Russia in September. The last Russian troops were withdrawn in 1993. Lithuania has since pursued membership in the European Union.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in Liguria, Italy. On May 11, 1930, Mussolini visited Livorno, and a local stamp, valid only on that day, was issued by the municipal authorities to commemorate Il Duce's visit.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A Russian city near St. Petersburg. The German military commander surcharged two stamps of Germany and Ostland for use in the area.
Ljubljana (Lubiana, Laibach) (1941-45)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Western Slovenia, separated and established as an Italo-German puppet state during World War II.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The capital of the province of Logrono in north-central Spain. In 1937, a set of stamps was issued by the local Nationalist authorities.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom was created in 1815, comprising northeastern Italy, under the Austrian emperor. In 1859, Milan was conquered by Sardinia, and in 1866, Austria relinquished Venetia to the Kingdom of Italy. The Austrian administration issued separate stamps for this state, inscribed in Italian currency, which were also used in Austrian post offices in the Ottoman Empire. Since 1866, Italian stamps have been in use.
Long Island (1916)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. An island (Cheustan or Makronsi) in the Gulf of Smyrna. Long Island was occupied by British forces in 1916, at which time the British commander issued Turkish fiscal stamps overprinted "G.R.I. Postage" and provisional typewritten stamps, used until the British withdrawal from the island.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. In February 1945, 27 French stamps were overprinted by the German military authorities for local use.
Lourenco Marques (1895-1920)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 474,000. A district of southern Mozambique. Its stamps were replaced by those of Mozambique in 1920.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 136,413. A former Free City and State in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea. Lubeck's stamps were replaced by those of the North German Confederation.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in southern Poland. The local authorities issued a series of stamps during the German occupation. This issue was very speculative and may be found with many so-called errors.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in northwestern Russia, south of St. Petersburg. Surcharged Russian stamps were issued by the German military commander.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 422,474. A grand duchy in western Europe, strategically located between Germany, France and Belgium. Until 1890, Luxembourg was ruled by a succession of foreign powers, although from 1815, it was technically independent, joined in personal union with the Netherlands. With the death of William III, king of the Netherlands and grand duke of Luxembourg, the country became completely independent. Luxembourg was occupied by Germany in both world wars. In 1949, it abandoned its traditional neutrality to become a charter member of NATO. It is a member of the Common Market and is an enthusiastic promoter of European cooperation. Luxembourg is a prosperous, highly industrialized nation.
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