Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stamps of Jamaica

Jamaica, an island situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres south of Cuba, is spread over an area of 10,990 square kilometres. Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water", or the "Land of Springs.

Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it became an English colony in 1655, known as "Jamaica". It achieved full independence in 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. The capital city of Kingston is also largest city of the country.

The postal history of Jamaica dates back to 1671 and became the first British colony to operate its own postal service. For overseas postal matters, the local planters typically preferred to entrust their letters directly to merchant ship captains.


The actual use of stamps began on 8 May 1858, with stamps of Great Britain. In 1860, Jamaica started issuing its own stamps when De La Rue was commissioned to produce stamps for Jamaica, featuring Queen Victoria. The first issue consisted of five values ranging from one penny to one shilling, each with a different frame, inscribed "JAMAICA POSTAGE", and were watermarked with a pineapple design. They were first issued on 23 November 1860. Jamaica joined the Universal Postal Union on 1 April 1877. Upon independence in 1962, the 1956 stamps were overprinted "INDEPENDENCE" and "1962".

I am sharing three stamps of Jamaica; the one on the extreme left is the independence issue with the overprint. The centre one too issued on 6th August 1962 is an independence stamp.


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