Postal Independence Stamps: Palau and Marshall Islands


I recently got two great stamps sets marking the postal independence of Palau and the Marshall Islands. You can see their location on the map of Oceania below.

via Wikimedia

Map via Wikimedia

I already have a decent collection of stamps from the Solomon Islands with a few appearances of Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Tonga but these were my first ever stamps from Palau and the Marshall Islands – so, very excited!

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is basically a bunch of atolls and islands in the North  Pacific Ocean, in a region commonly referred to as Micronesia. Their postal history starts in 1897 while under German dominion with German stamps overprinted with the words “Marschall Inseln”. You can see one here.

The Marshall Islands were under occupation by the Japanese from 1914 to 1944 during which time Japanese stamps were used. Next came the Americans who ran the postal service until 1984 using American stamps with no special markings.

This set issued on 2 May 1984 thus indicates the beginning of an independent postal service in the Marshall Islands. They indicate an outrigger boat, fishing net with fish, stick map (used for navigation and an island. Aren’t they absolutely fucking gorgeous?

1984 Marshall Islands, Inauguration of Postal Independence

1984 Marshall Islands, Inauguration of Postal Independence

Palau is also situated in Micronesia and its fortunes seem to follow a similar trajectory to the Marshall Islands with the Germans kick-starting their postal service in 1901 followed by the Japanese and then the Americans. The issue of their own stamps started with this set in 1983. I also love stamps with just words on them!

1983 Republic of Palau, Inauguration of Postal Service

1983 Republic of Palau, Inauguration of Postal Service

For anyone who’s interested, this site has a good overview of the Marshall Islands including its postal history and this one provides lots of details about the postal service during German and Japanese occupations. For Palau history, see here.