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Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

This section deals with the continent of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Australia was the last continent to be discovered and explored. It was not until 1519 that Magellan first crossed the Pacific and even in the 19th century the whole area was not fully mapped. In the 16th century, frequent services across the Atlantic maintained links between the Americas and Europe, initially between Spain and South America but shortly after between the North American colonists and Britain. At the time that the American colonies were breaking away, Australia was being explored by Cook and many of the Pacific islands were still unknown or underdeveloped.

In the 19th century, the Western powers began to create the spheres of influence which were to form the basis of their colonial empires in the Pacific. No regular postal service existed between the Philippines and America until the late 18th century and China was not linked postally with the outside world until the 1840s.

The vast area of the Pacific with its myriad small islands and its many different ethnic groups is difficult to treat in a logical fashion whether from the point of view of geography or postal history. The method used has been to deal first with Australia and New Zealand, followed by New Guinea. The Pacific islands have been grouped into three segments. The dividing lines employed are the Equator between north and south, and the International Dateline between south-east and south-west, giving south-eastern, south-western and northern groups which are treated in turn. Two sections have also been included on the mailboats of France and Germany and of America to show how these routes were developed in line with the colonial interests of the nations involved.

Although there was little fighting in the Pacific during World War I, it did change the map of the area. The German colonies were taken over by the Australians and the New Zealanders in the south and by the Japanese in the north. This, in turn, laid the foundation for the Japanese hold on the Pacific which gave them some of the bases they needed for the attack on American, Dutch and British territories in 1941.

Since World War II, the gradual change from territories dependent on or protected by the European powers has accelerated and, now, with the exception of some of the French islands, the Pacific islands are largely independent.

Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands from 1945
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Select a country:

British New Guinea
British Solomon Islands
Caroline Islands
Cook Islands
French Polynesia
German New Guinea
Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Mariana Islands
Marshall Islands
New Caledonia
New Hebrides
New Zealand
North West Pacific Islands
Palau Islands
Papua New Guinea
Penrhyn Island
Pitcairn Islands
Solomon Islands
The Commonwealth of Australia
Tokelau or Union Islands
Wallis and Futuna Islands
Western Samoa

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  • ANTIGUA & BARBUDA - BARBUDA 1922 overprint set complete, SG 1/11, very fine mint. (11 stamps)

    ANTIGUA & BARBUDA - BARBUDA 1922 overprint set complete, SG 1/11, very fine mint. (11 stamps)

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