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FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 24 November 1894.


1894, 16 guerche = 1 Maria Theresa thaler or talari.
1905, 100 centimes = 1 franc.
1908, 16 piastres = 1 thaler.
1936, 100 centimes = 1 thaler.
1936, 100 centesimis = 1 lira.
1946, 100 cents = 1 Ethiopian dollar.

An independent sovereign state. Foreign embassies made sporadic contact with emperors and lesser warring chiefs in the 19th century. The imprisonment at Magdala of a British representative to King Theodore led to a celebrated rescue expedition in 1867-8. Various designs on Ethiopia by the Egyptians, French and Italians were resisted by diplomacy or force. It was attacked by Italy on 3 October 1935, invested and annexed on 9 May 1936. Transfers of territory from Ethiopia to Eritrea were made around Adowa, but all became part of Italian East Africa until liberated by Allied forces in 1941. The emperor was restored in January 1942. Further transfers of territory were made in 1948 near Gabredarre, but the Ogaden is still a point of conflict with Somalia. Eritrea was incorporated in 1952. A coup d'etat on 12 September 1974 deposed the emperor, and a military regime is in power.

Postal History
Italian annexation issue (inscribed ETHIOPIA) 22 May 1936.

In 1936-41 part of Italian East Africa (q.v.) when stamps of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland were also indiscriminately valid and on sale. First stamps on restoration of independence were issued on 23 March 1942.

French POs in Ethiopia

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1906-8 inscribed LEVANT but with values in French instead of Turkish currency.

These operated at Harar and Dire Dawas (reached by railway from Djibouti c. 1906) and at Addis Ababa, using stamps of Obock or French Somali Coast to frank mails going overseas. Registered mail is found with a triple combination including stamps of India applied at Aden. The French offices were closed in 1908 when Ethiopia joined the UPU.

External mail pre-1908 is also known via British Somaliland, bearing triple frankings Ethiopia/British Somaliland/Aden.


FIRST STAMPS Egyptian used in Massawa 1869-85 Italian POs abroad before 1883.



Pre-1952, Italian.
Post-1952, Ethiopian.

Territorial acquisitions by the Italians from 1869 around Assab and Massawa were consolidated by Ethiopian recognition in 1889 and the colony of Eritrea was proclaimed on 1 January 1890. It became part of Italian East Africa in1936-41. Eritrea was occupied by British forces in 1941 and administered by the British until it was federated with Ethiopia on 15 September 1952 (fully integrated ten years later). It still has a strong separatist movement.

Stamps in use in 1936 were equally valid throughout Italian East Africa and can be found used in Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland.

Used stamps of Italian East Africa in 1938-41.

British Occupation of Eritrea (1941-52)

Used stamps of Britain overprinted M.E.F. 2 March 1942.
Used stamps of Britain overprinted B.M.A. ERITREA in 1948-50.
Used stamps of Britain overprinted B.A. ERITREA 6 February 1950-14
September 1952.

Since federation in 1952 has used stamps of Ethiopia.

Stamps inscribed ERITREA purporting to come from 'areas liberated from Ethiopia' have been on the market in 1978 (mainly in Switzerland): it is not clear whether they are bogus, propagandist, or were prepared in hope of use. Evidence suggests that any mail from areas of Eritrea not under Ethiopian postal control is sent unstamped by unofficial runner into Sudan and posted there.

During the Federation with Ethiopia, Eritrea retained a high degree of political autonomy. The Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie incorporated Eritrea in 1962 and an armed campaign for independence began in the 1970s, first against Haile Selassie and later against the Communist regime of Mengistu. In May 1991, the Mengistu government was overthrown by the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In July 1991 the new EPRDF Government agreed to referendum on Eritrean independence. This wass held in April 1993 and recorded a vote of 99% in favour of secession from Ethiopia. Independence was declared on 24 May 1993.




Horn of Africa 1908
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