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Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 502,325. A Chinese port occupied by Portugal since 1557. In 1849, Portugal assumed full sovereignty over the territory, which includes two small, adjacent islands. In 1976 Macau was given considerable autonomy. In 1987, Portugal agreed to return the territory to China in 1999, under conditions similar to those accompanying Hong Kong's 1997 return to China by the United Kingdom.
Macedonia (1944, 1991-)
Stamp-issuing status: active. A republic in the central Balkans, Macedonia became part of Serbia after 1913, and so became part of Yugoslavia when Serbia merged into that nation. Bulgaria annexed the territory in 1941. On Sept. 8, 1944, Macedonia declared its independence from Bulgaria. After withdrawal of German troops in November 1944, the area was returned to Yugoslavia. Overprinted Bulgarian stamps were in use for a few weeks before the collapse of the German puppet government. On September 8, 1991, Macedonia declared its independence and in 1993 was admitted to the United Nations. A United Nations peace-keeping force, including U.S. troops, remains in Macedonia to prevent the spread of instability from other areas of Yugoslavia. Relations with Greece, which refused to recognize Macedonia's right to use its name, were normalized in 1995, and relations with Yugoslavia were normalized in 1996.
Madagascar (Malagasy Republic) (1889-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 10.28 million (1986 estimate). A large island in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa. During the 19th century, most of the island was united under the Hova tribe, which was placed under French protection in 1885. In 1896, the native monarchy was abolished and Madagascar became a French colony, at times administering French island possessions in the area. In 1958, Madagascar, renamed the Malagasy Republic, became autonomous within the French Union. In 1960 it became fully independent. French influence remained strong until a 1972 coup brought a socialist regime to power. The new government nationalized French holdings, closed down French military bases and a U.S. space-tracking station, and obtained Chinese aid. In 1990, multiparty politics, banned in 1975, were again legalized. France and the United States remain the country's chief trading partners.
Madeira (1868-98, 1928-29, 1980-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 290,000. A group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean northwest of Africa. Madeira's stamps were replaced by those of Portugal in 1898. In 1928-29, a special series of stamps was issued for use on certain days, when their use was obligatory. On Jan. 2, 1980, separate issues again appeared for Madeira.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A small island off the coast of German East Africa, occupied by the British in December 1914. In January 1915, 32 German East African stamps were overprinted for use on the island. Later, German fiscal stamps and Indian issues overprinted "I.E.F." were overprinted "Mafia" or "G.R.I.-Mafia" for local use. In August 1918, the island was transferred to Tanganyikan administration, and issues of Tanganyika (Tanzania) have since been used.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A sultanate in the Aden Protectorate in southwest Arabia. Mahra briefly issued stamps before its absorption into the People's Republic of Southern Yemen.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The largest of the Balearic Islands, in the western Mediterranean Sea. Two sets of overprinted Spanish stamps were issued in 1936 and 1937 under the authority of the Nationalist Civil Governor of the Balearic Islands.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Province and seaport on the coast of Madagascar. Stamps of France provisionally surcharged were used briefly in February 1895.
Malacca (Melaka) (1948-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 318,110 (1960 estimate). Formerly part of the British colony of Straits Settlements. Malacca was under British control since the early 19th century, except for Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945. The area is now a part of Malaya within the Malaysian Federation. Stamps currently issued for use there are inscribed "Melaka."
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A province of southern Spain, located on the Mediterranean Sea. Two sets of stamps, overprinted on Spanish issues, were issued by the Nationalist Civil Governor in 1937.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 9,609,081. A republic in south-central Africa. Until it became independent on July 6, 1964, Malawi was the British Nyasaland Protectorate. Malawi is closely linked economically with Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Malaya, Federation (1957-63)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 7.4 million (1961 estimate). A formerly independent federation comprising the Malayan states in the southern part of the Malayan Peninsula. The federation merged with Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah to form Malaysia in 1963.
Malaya-Federated Malay States (1900-35)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A group of native states in the south portion of the Malayan Peninsula in southeast Asia, under British protection. The federated states were Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang. In 1935, the federation issues were replaced by those of the individual states. In 1945, the Federated Malay States were incorporated into the Malayan Union.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 20,376,235. Federation within the British Commonwealth. Malaysia was formed Sept. 16, 1963, with the union of the former British territories of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore (until 1965), Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo). Malaysia is rich in natural resources and has enjoyed substantial industrial development since independence.
Maldive Islands (1906-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 280,391. A group of islands in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Ceylon. The Maldives came under British protection in 1887 and were attached to the Ceylon colony until 1948. During 1948-64, the islands were closely associated with Great Britain, becoming completely independent in July 1965. In 1968, the 800-year-old sultanate was abolished, and a republic was established. Although the Maldives have issued some 2,000 stamps since independence, the country is not economically developed and is among the world's poorest nations.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 9,945,383. A republic in West Africa. Formerly the French Sudan, Mali joined Senegal in 1959 to form the independent Federation of Mali. Senegal withdrew from the federation in 1960, and Mali, which called itself the Sudanese Republic during its union with Senegal, proclaimed its independence as the Republic of Mali. Mali maintained a carefully neutralist policy until 1968, accepting economic aid from both the Western and communist blocs. After 1968, Mali followed a pro-communist foreign policy under President Amadou Toumani Traore, until his ouster in 1991. Famine in 1973-74 and drought in the 1980s have plagued the country.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 379,365. A group of islands in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily. Strategically located, Malta has been ruled by a long succession of foreign powers, from the Phoenicians through the British, who occupied the islands during the Napoleonic Wars. Malta became independent in 1964 and a republic in 1974. In 1979, the last British military personnel were withdrawn.
Man, Isle of (1973-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 74,504. An island in the Irish Sea, west of Britain. A self-governing crown possession, the Isle of Man used British stamps, along with its own regional issues after 1958, until July 5, 1973, when its postal administration separated from that of Britain.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A dependency of the sheikhdom of Ajman in the Trucial States of eastern Arabia.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 43.2 million (1940 estimate). A former Japanese satellite, comprising Manchuria and Jehol. Established in 1932 under Henry Pu-yi, who as Hsuan Tung had been the last Manchu emperor of China. In 1934, Pu-yi became Emperor Kang Teh of Manchukuo. The area was occupied by the Soviets in July 1945, and was turned over to the Chinese communist regime in May 1946. Nationalist forces held the southern portion of Manchukuo until November 1948, and during 1946-48 issued stamps for this area (North-Eastern Provinces).
Mariana Islands (1899-1914)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 40,000 (1919 estimate). A group of islands in the western Pacific. Under Spanish rule from 1668-1898, when, except for Guam, they were sold to Germany. Japan occupied the Marianas in 1914, and Japanese stamps replaced those of the German colony. In 1945, U.S. forces occupied the islands, which were mandated to the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A former Prussian district, which was occupied by the Allies after World War I. A plebiscite in 1920 returned the area to Germany. It was occupied by Poland after World War II.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A district of northeastern Venezuela, which was controlled by a revolutionary group for a short time during 1903.
Marshall Islands (1889-1916; 1984-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 15,000 (1916 estimate), 60,652 (1997). The easternmost island group in Micronesia, consisting of two roughly parallel chains of coral-capped islets and atolls in the western Pacific. Totaling only 70 square miles, the principal atolls are Majuro, Jaluit and Kwajalein. Spain sold the Caroline Islands in 1898 to Germany, which renamed them the Marshall Islands and issued stamps for use there. The islands were seized by the Japanese during World War I and administered by them under a 1919 League of Nations mandate. Invaded and conquered by United States forces in World War II, the Marshall Islands were made part of the United Nations-mandated U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific in 1947. On May 1, 1981, the Marshall Islands received its own constitution, president and legislature. Stamps ascribed to the island appeared that October, but these originated privately in Japan. The Marshall Islands began issuing its own stamps in May 1984, although its mail continued to be handled by the U.S. Postal Service. The Marshall Islands became fully independent in 1991.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 261,595 (1946 estimate). A former French island colony in the West Indies, southeast of Puerto Rico. The island became an integral part of the French republic on Jan. 1, 1947. French stamps are now used.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The capital of the state of Monagas in northeastern Venezuela. A revolutionary group in control of the region issued stamps for a short time during 1903.
Mauritania (1906-44, 1960-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 2,411,317. A republic in northwestern Africa, bordering on the Atlantic Ocean. A former French colony, Mauritania was part of French West Africa from 1904 to 1958 and used French West African stamps 1945-49. In 1958, Mauritania, as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, became autonomous within the French Union, and in 1960 it became fully independent. At one time, the territory of Mauritania was ruled by Morocco, and Morocco claimed the area until 1970. In 1976, the mineral-rich Spanish Sahara was divided between the two countries. In 1980, Mauritania, after four years of war with the Polsario Front, renounced its share of the former Spanish Sahara, which was then occupied by Morocco.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 1,154,272. An island in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius was a British colony after 1810 and became independent in 1968. Mauritius enjoys a free political life and a high literacy rate. The country's economy has expanded since independence.
Mayotte (1892-1914, 1997-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 14,000 (1912 estimate), 104,715 (1997). One of the Comoro Islands, Mayotte was occupied by France in 1841 and attached to the colony of Madagascar in 1911. The Comoros were separated from Madagascar in 1947 and began issuing their own stamps in 1950. Mayotte is claimed by the Comoros but administered by France. In 1976, the territory voted to become a territorial collectivity of France.
Mayreau Island (1976-)
Stamp-issuing status: active. One of the Granadines of St. Vincent, a group of small islands in the Lesser Antilles, north of Trinidad and South America.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A former grand duchy in northern Germany, bordering the Baltic Sea. In 1868, issues of the North German Confederation came into use.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A former grand duchy in northern Germany, divided into two parts by Mecklenburg-Schwerin, with which it was joined until 1701. Its stamps were replaced by those of the North German Confederation in 1868.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A port in northern Morocco. Occupied by Spain since 1470, Melilla was a military stronghold administered separately from Spanish Morocco, which was not occupied by Spain until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Melilla, along with Cueta, remains a part of metropolitan Spain. In 1936, the military authorities in Melilla overprinted two Spanish stamps for local use.
Memel (1920-24, 1939)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A district in northern Europe, on the Baltic Sea. German until after World War I, when the area was occupied by the French, who issued 123 surcharged and overprinted stamps. In 1923, frustrated by the League of Nations' failure to decide the disposition of sovereignty over the area, Lithuania seized Memel. They created 11 occupation issues. In 1924, this was approved by the League of Nations. In 1939, Germany reoccupied Memel, and briefly, four Lithuanian stamps overprinted "Memelland/Ist/frei" were used. After World War II, the area was reincorporated in the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Meng Chiang (Inner Mongolia) (1941-45)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Regular Chinese stamps were overprinted by the Japanese in 1941, and separate issues for this area continued until the end of World War II. This area was held by the communist forces at the end of the war and was included in the North China postal district, which issued stamps from 1946 to 1949. Regular issues of the central government came into use after 1950.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in northern Italy, formerly under Austrian rule. Local stamps were issued by the authorities in 1918, while the area was still a part of Austria.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The capital of the state of Yucatan in southern Mexico. A single issue received a 25-centavo surcharge for local use there in 1916.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population 2.85 million (1920 estimate). Former Turkish province in western Asia. Mesopotamia was occupied by British forces during World War I. It became the kingdom of Iraq under British mandate in 1921.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 97,563,374. A republic in North America, situated between the United States and Central America, bordering on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Mexico was the center of a number of Indian cultures dating from c. 800 B.C. By the 15th century, the central portion of the country was ruled by the Aztec Empire, which was conquered by the Spanish in 1519-21. Mexico, as the viceroyalty of New Spain, was the center of Spain's North American Empire for 300 years. The Mexican revolution against Spain began in 1810 and finally succeeded in 1821. The Mexican Empire of 1822-23 included Central America, but this area soon became independent. The republican government that succeeded the empire was marked by instability and strife. The weakened condition of the country cost it Texas (1836) and the large northern area that now comprises the southwestern United States (1848). An additional area in the north was sold to the United States in 1853. During 1861-67, Mexico was torn by a civil war between the aristocracy, supported by France, and the lower classes, led by Benito Juarez. The French were finally expelled from Mexico, and Juarez came to power. During most of the period between 1877 and 1911, the country was ruled by the dictator Porfirio Diaz, who restored stability and secured foreign investment. After Diaz's death, Mexico entered a period of civil war, which lasted from 1913-20. During this period, the United States intervened in Veracruz (1914) and sent a punitive expedition into northern Mexico (1916-17). Since 1929, Mexico has been ruled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party. The PRI is a broad-based political confederation, encompassing a wide political spectrum. Mexico has rich natural resources, including what may be the world's largest petroleum reserves, but its rugged topography and arid climate have been major obstacles to economic development. Considerable economic and social progress has been made since 1940. The Mexican economy has improved greatly, although setbacks in the 1980s have left continuing employment and banking problems. In the 1990s, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), which has controlled the country since 1920, saw gains from hitherto powerless opposition parties. Nevertheless, the PRI elite continues to maintain a tight hold on political power in Mexico.
Mexico-Revolutionary Overprints (1914)
With the seizure of power in 1913 by Gen. Huerta following the assassination of President Madero, a group of Madero's former supporters launched a revolution. This group, led by Carranza and including such leaders as Obregon, Villa and Zapata, called themselves the "Constitutional Government." During 1914, a number of Mexican cities and states under Constitutionalist control, provisionally overprinted stocks of regular Mexican stamps — Acambaro (Guanajuato State); Aguascalientes (Aguascalientes); Chihuahua (Chihuahua); Colima (Colima); Culiacan (Sinoloa); Guaymas (Sonora); Juarez (Chihuahua); Leon (Guanajuato); Lower California; Coahuila; Gonzales (Guanajuato); Matehuala (San Luis Potosi); Monterrey (Nuevo Leon); Queretaro; Salamanca (Guanajuato); San Juan de Allende (Coahuila); San Luis Potosi (San Luis Potosi); San Pedro; Sinaloa (Sinaloa); Sonora; Torreon (Coahuila); Tuxtla; Viezca; Yucatan; and Zacatecas.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 127,616. A group of more than 600 islands totaling only 270 square miles, located in the western Pacific Ocean north of the equator. These islands, along with what is now Palau, were part of the Spanish Caroline Islands until 1899, when they were sold to Germany, which issued stamps for use there. The Caroline Islands were seized by the Japanese during World War I and administered by them under a 1919 mandate of the League of Nations. Invaded and conquered by United States forces in the Pacific campaigns of World War II, the islands were made part of the United Nations-mandated U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific in 1947, using U.S. stamps since that time. The islands were proclaimed the Federated States of Micronesia and began issuing stamps in July 1984. Mail continues to be handled by the U.S. Postal Service. Micronesia became fully independent in 1991.
Middle Congo (1907-36)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive: Population: 747,000 (1933 estimate). Former French colony on the northern side of the Congo River. Created from existing French territory in 1907, it was confederated with Gabon, Ubangi-Shari and Chad to form French Equatorial Africa. After 1936, issues of French Equatorial Africa replaced those of the individual colonies.
Middle East Forces (1942-50)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. During World War II, British and New Zealand forces occupied Italian colonies in East Africa, North Africa and the Aegean Sea. British stamps overprinted "M.E.F." were used in these areas until 1950, after which the remainders were used in Great Britain.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A city in northern Italy. For a time, local stamps were issued by the municipal authorities.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. One of the Balearic Islands, in the western Mediterranean Sea. Locally typeset stamps were used provisionally after the occupation of the island by the Nationalists in February 1939.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Former duchy in northern Italy. In 1859, the duchy was overthrown, and in 1860 the area merged with Sardinia, whose issues came into use.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 4,000 (1916 estimate). One of the Comoro Islands in the Mozambique Channel near Madagascar. Moheli was attached to Madagascar in 1911 and was again separated, as one of the Comoro Islands, in 1947. Comoro stamps have been in use since 1950.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. Former principality in northeastern Romania. Under Turkish suzerainty after the 16th century, Moldavia united with Wallachia in 1861 to form the Kingdom of Romania.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The united principalities that came to form Romania.
Stamp-issuing status: active. Historically the eastern half of the Grand Duchy of Moldavia, the territory that is now the republic of Moldova was under Ottoman Turkish control from the 15th century, until its annexation by Russia in 1812. In 1918, it was reoccupied by what had become Romania. It was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939, and in 1940 was organized as the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. Moldova was again rejoined to Romania 1941-44, but in 1944 passed back to the Soviets. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Moldova declared its independence on August 27, 1991. During 1992-97 a civil war raged in the Trans-Dnestr Region, between the Moldovan government and ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, who feared that the Moldovan majority would unite the country with Romania. In 1994, a national plebiscite supported independence, and in 1997 a peace accord was signed.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 31,892. A principality on the southern coast of France. Long autonomous under the protection, at various times, of France, Spain and Sardinia, Monaco is independent, except for the right of France to approve the successor to the throne. By the treaty of 1918, Monaco will be annexed by France should the ruling Grimaldi family fail to provide an heir. Monaco has long been a popular tourist resort, and its beautiful postage stamps have given it a prominence among collectors much greater than one might expect from its small (1.95 square miles) size.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 2,538,211. A republic in central Asia, located between China and Siberia. The homeland of the Mongol Empire that in the 13th-14th centuries stretched from Poland to Korea. By 1689, Mongol power had declined to the point where the region came under Chinese control. In 1911, Mongolia declared its independence but, in 1921, was occupied by Soviet troops. In 1924, a pro-Soviet republic was established, and in 1945, after China renounced all claims in the country, the Mongolian People's Republic was established. From the 1970s, the Mongolian government carried out an active program to transform the country's economy from nomadic to a more modern, settled form. In 1990, the communist government gave up its monopoly on power, and the country has moved quickly to democratize and to liberalize its economy.
Montenegro (1874-1918, 1941-45)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 516,000 (estimated). A former kingdom in the Balkans, situated north of Albania. Montenegro became independent in 1452 and for centuries successfully resisted the Turks, who held the rest of southeastern Europe. In January 1916, the Austrians occupied Montenegro, and the government fled to Bordeaux, France, where overprinted French stamps were used for a time. In November 1918, King Nicholas was deposed in a pro-Serbian coup, and Montenegro was united with Serbia. During World War II, Montenegro was re-established as an Italian protectorate. In 1943-44, it was occupied by Germany, which overprinted Yugoslavian stamps and issues of the Italian administration. After the German defeat, Montenegro was again occupied by Yugoslavia, which initially overprinted issues of the Italian Montenegrin regime. Since 1945, regular Yugoslavian stamps have been used. With the breakup of the Yugoslav state in the 1990s, Montenegro has remained in partnership with Serbia as part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, declared in 1992.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 4,200. An island in the Leeward group in the West Indies, southeast of Puerto Rico. Montserrat was under British control after 1632 and attached to the Leeward Island colony until 1956, when it became a separate crown colony.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 30,391,423. A kingdom in northwestern Africa, bordering on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Once a powerful state embracing much of Spain and North Africa in the 12th century, Moroccan power declined thereafter. European encroachment led to the division of the country into French (southern) and Spanish (northern) protectorates in 1912, although tribal resistance continued for two more decades. In 1956, the two zones were reunited and Morocco again became independent. Morocco has since expanded by absorbing Tangier (1956), Ifni (1969), the northern two-thirds of the Spanish Sahara (1976) and the southern portion of the Spanish Sahara in 1980. Morocco waged a bitter war in the former Spanish Sahara against the Polisario Front, which claims independence for the region, until 1990. A United Nations-sponsored referendum on self-determination for the region has not yet taken place.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A former feudatory state in western India. Morvi's issues were replaced by Indian stamps in 1950.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. A town in southern Albania. Stamps were issued by local authorities during the Greek occupation of the area.
Mount Athos (1909-13)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The holy mountain of the Orthodox Church, located in northern Greece, near Salonika. In 1909-13, 17 Russian Levant stamps were overprinted "Mount Athos" in French or Russian for use in the Russian consular post office at Daphne, the seaport at the foot of the mountain. This post office was closed when Greece occupied the area in 1913.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 18,166,476. A republic on the southeast coast of Africa. Portuguese settlements began in the 16th century, and the colony remained a Portuguese possession until June 25, 1975, when it became independent as the People's Republic of Mozambique. The pro-communist Frelimo Party, which controlled Mozambique after independence, was handicapped by the flight of white Mozambicans, a South-African supported guerrilla war and, in the 1980s, a drought that, with the civil war, brought heavy loss of life. In 1989, Frelimo renounced communism and accepted a multiparty, free-market system. In 1992, the civil war was ended, and in 1995, nearly two million refugees were repatriated.
Mozambique Company (1892-1942)
Stamp-issuing status: inactive; Population: 368,000 (1939 estimate). A private company that, by royal charter, acquired extensive rights in the Mozambique districts of Manica and Sofala. Most rights, including the direct administration of the territories and the issuing of stamps, reverted to Portugal in 1942.
Mustique Island (1976)
Stamp-issuing status: active. An island in the Grenadines of St. Vincent, a group of small subsidiary islands in the Lesser Antilles, north of Trinidad and South America.
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 46,821,943. In 1989, the military government renamed Burma the Union of Myanmar. In 1990, the country's first multiparty elections in 30 years resulted in a clear victory for the opposition, but the military refused to step down. The regime has continued to harass its opponents and is under U.S. economic sanctions.
Stamp-issuing status: inactive. The chief port of the Greek island of Lesbos in the eastern Aegean Sea, off the coast of Turkey. The Russian post office in Mytilene used stamps of the Russian Levant overprinted "Metelin" after 1909. In 1912, Mytilene was occupied by Greece, and 20 overprinted Turkish stamps were used, being superseded by regular Greek issues in 1913.
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