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India



FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 July 1852 (the so-called Scinde Dawk' issue, made by the commissioner of Sind province, the first adhesive postage stamps in Asia).


CURRENCY

1852, 12 pies = 1 annas: 16 annas = 1 rupee.
1957, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1964, 100 paisa = 1 rupee.



The sea route to India via the Cape of Good Hope was pioneered in 1498 by the Portuguese, who founded a colony at Goa. By 1580 the Portuguese had settled much of the coast belonging to the sub-continent of the Moghul empire. These possessions, with few exceptions, were lost in the early 17th century to Dutch and British merchants.


The East India Company received a royal charter from Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600. The city of Madras was founded in 1639 on land purchased; Bombay came to the English Crown in 1660; Calcutta was founded in 1668. The Seven Years War (1756-63) gave Britain mastery over the French and Dutch, and the control of the East India Company was extended to the innumerable separate states, large and small, by successive governors and governors-general. A general rising ('Indian Mutiny') in 1857 was suppressed and on 1 November 1858 the government of India was transferred to the Crown under a viceroy.


In 1947 India was partitioned into a predominantly Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan and both were granted independence within the British Commonwealth. In May 1949 India became a republic, but remained a member of the Commonwealth while acknowledging non-allegiance to the British throne.


Postal History
Though an overland route operated in the 17th and 18th centuries (most successfully in 1636-68 and 1769-83) through various consular forwarding agencies in Marseille, Leghorn, Venice, Aleppo and Basra, the principal mails to India were carried via the Cape. An organized system regulating carriage of letters by sea between England and the presidencies of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, with POs at those places, was established in 1688. Regular overland communication between Madras and Calcutta began in 1720 and to Bombay in 1775. Handstruck marks are known on mail from the 1770s.


When the British GPO extended its steam packet from Malta to Alexandria in 1835, Thomas Waghorn operated an overland mail service by camel to Suez to connect with an East India Company's steamer. On 1 October 1837 the Indian Post Office was established under the governor-general, the East India posts and the former official King's Post being combined. The Bombay-Suez packet became regular (British India Steam Navigation Co.); the Alexandria packet passed in 1842 to the Peninsular and Orient line, which also took over the Egyptian overland mail.


Use was made from 1839 of European mail routes to the Mediterranean (Marseille, Trieste or Brindisi) which improved as coach and river- steamer gave place to the railway. The Egyptian section was improved by successive rail openings in 1856, 1859 and 1868. Though the Suez Canal was opened in 1869, mail was not passed through without transhipment until 1888 (though it was often put back on the same steamer). The P & 0 and BISN shipping lines amalgamated in 1914.


Airmails reached India on a weekly basis from Croydon in 1929, though experimental flights started in India in 1911.


The vast scope of India has always been a challenge to collectors. The basic stamps are common and have never attracted advanced specialist interest beyond the first issue. The catalogue listings have remained simple. The existence of 114,000 POs, including many rail and river steamer TPOs using only numbered cancellers, make a daunting challenge for collectors of postmarks. Certain aspects of the postal history have a large following, particularly letters to Britain stamped INDIA LETTER and the place of landing, military campaign mail, and 'India Used Abroad'.


Indian Native States


CURRENCY

1886, as India.



Many native feudatory states (some with their own currencies) set up or continued local postal systems which carried mail within the state. Certain states signed a 'convention' with British India which allowed them to difference the stamps and postal stationery of India by an overprint bearing their name (unlike the feudatory states' issues, these stamps were valid throughout the Indian Empire). Faridkot and Jind had periods as both feudatory and convention states. All surviving separate issues were replaced by stamps of the Republic of India on 1 April 1950, though convention stamps remained valid to 31 December 1950 (others 30 April).


Chamba


FIRST STAMPS 1886.



A convention state.


Gwalior


FIRST STAMPS 1885
Hindi inscription:



Largest convention state, with 120 POs.


Nabha


FIRST STAMPS 1885.



A convention state.


Patiala


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1884.
Overprinted variously PUITIALLA, PATIALA.



A convention state.

Alwar


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1877



A feudatory state in Rajputana.
Separate stamps discontinued in 1902.


Bamra


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1888



A feudatory state of the Central Provinces. Separate stamps discontinued in 1894.


Barwani


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1921



A feudatory state. Separate stamps discontinued on 1 July 1948.


Bhopal


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1876



A Muslim feudatory state. Separate stamps went out of use in 1903, but after 1 July 1908 further issues were made for use on official mail. These continued to 30 April 1950. Inscription until 1903: H. H. NAWAB SHAH JAHAN BEGAM.


bhor


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1879



A feudatory state south-east of Bombay. The state POs were closed in 1895, but a stamp 'issued' in 1901 was supplied to collectors (mint or used!).


Bijawar


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1935



A feudatory state in Central India. Separate stamps discontinued in 1939.


Bundi


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED May 1894



A feudatory state in Rajputana. In 1948 joined Rajasthan. Separate stamps discontinued in 1948.


Bussahir


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 20 June 1895



A feudatory state of the Punjab. There were three POs: Rampur, Rorhu, and Chini. Stamps were declared obsolete on 31 March 1901 and remainders (cancelled Rampur 19 MA 1900) sold to the stamp trade. There are also later clandestine reprints.


Charkhari


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1894



A feudatory state in Central India. Separate stamps discontinued on 30 April 1950.


Cochin


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 April 1892. Most have characteristic Umbrella watermark. Note: ANCHAL Postage.


CURRENCY

1892, 6 puttans = 5 annas.
1911, as in British India.



A feudatorv state in south-west India, united with Travancore on 1 July 1949.


Dhar


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1897



A feudatory state of Central India. Separate stamps discontinued on 31 March 1901.


Duttia (Datia)


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1893



A feudatory state in Bundelkhand. The last stamp appears to have been issued c. 1920.


Faridkot


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1879



A Cis-Sutlej Sikh feudatory state, which in 1887 signed the convention. Used convention issues 1 January 1887 - 31 March 1901.


Hyderabad (Deccan)


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1869.
Stamps inscribed in native script or H.E.H. THE NIZAM'S GOVERNMENT.



A large feudatory state in south central India. (occ. Indian troops 1948). Separate stamps discontinued on 30 April 1950.


Idar


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 21 Febuary 1939



A feudatory state in western India. Separate stamps discontinued on 30 April 1950.


Indore (Holkar)


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1886



A feudatory state in central India, known as Holkar before 1904. Separate stamps discontinued on 30 April 1950.


Jaipur


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1904



A feudatory state in Rajputana. In 1948 it joined with other states (including Bundi and Kishangarli) toform Rajasthan. Separate stamps discontinued in1949.


Jammu and Kashmir


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED March 1866.



A feudatory state of two provinces in north-west India. A post existed as early as 1820. This was carried by runners. The provinces had both joint and separate stamps on issue concurrently in 1866-77. All issues are inscribed in native scripts only. Separate stamps discontinued on 1 November 1894.


Jasdan


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1942.



A feudatory state merged on 15 February 1948 with Kathiawar. Used stamps of Soruth 1948-50.


Jhalawar


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1887.



A feudatory state of Rajputana. Separate stamps discontinued on 1 November 1900 when the state P0 was taken over by the Imperial government


Jind


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1874.



A Sikh feudatory state and from 1885 a convention state. Convention stamps overprinted variously JEEND, JHIND, JIND, and (in error) JEIND. Stamps invalidated on 1 January 1951.


Jind


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1874.



A Sikh feudatory state and from 1885 a convention state. Convention stamps overprinted variously JEEND, JHIND, JIND, and (in error) JEIND. Stamps invalidated on 1 January 1951.


Kishangarh


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1899



A feudatory state in Rajputana. In 1948 it joined Bundi and Jaipur to form Rajasthan. Separate stamps discontinued in 1949.


Las Bela


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1897.



A feudatory state in Baluchistan. Separate stamps discontinued in March 1907.


Morvi


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 April 1931.



A feudatory state, incorporated into Saurashtra on 15 February 1948. After 1948 used stamps of Soruth.


Nandgaon


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED February 1892.



A feudatory state in central India. Separate stamps discontinued in July 1895


Nawanagar


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1877.


CURRENCY

1877, 6 docra = 1 anna.



A feudatory state. Separate stamps discontinued in 1895.


Orchha


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1913.



A feudatory state in central India. Stamps were prepared for use in 1897 but never issued. Separate stamps discontinued on 30 April 1950.


Poonch


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1876.



A feudatory state tributary to Jammu and Kashmir. Separate stamps discontinued in 1894.


Rajasthan


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1949.



A union of several Rajputanan states. Separate stamps discontinued on 30 April 1950.


Rajpipla


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1880.



A feudatory state near Bombay. Separate stamps discontinued in 1886.


Travancore


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 16 October 1888. Most have characteristic conch shell watermark.
Note: ANCHEL = Postage.


CURRENCY

1888, 16 cash = 1 chuckram.
28 chuckrams = 1 rupee.



A feudatory state, united with Cochin on 1 July 1949.


Travancore-Cochin


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 July 1949



The united states of Cochin and Travancore after 1 July 1949. Separate stamps discontinued on 30 June 1951.


Wadhwan


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1888.



A tiny feudatory state on the Bombay-Baroda Railway. Separate stamps discontinued c. 1894.


Indian Army POs

Stamps of India have been used by troops of the Indian Army serving abroad all over the world where these have not been specially differenced by surcharges. Those differenced for particular locations will be found under the appropriate country. General surcharged issues, see below.


Indian Expeditionary Forces

Indian troops serving abroad in 1914-22 used stamps of India overprinted I.E.F. Places of use in Near East, Egypt, East Africa, etc. can be located only by the FPO cancellation numbers.


China Expeditionary Force


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED As India.



The international Chinese Expeditionary Force sent to relieve Peking in 1900 suppressed the Boxer Rebellion and policed northern China until 1906. Thereafter a smaller contingent remained.


FPOs maintained in China used stamps of India overprinted C.E.F. from c. August 1900 to 25 November 1923.


India Used Abroad

Stamps of India have also been used at civil POs outside India. See particularly: Burma, Aden, British Somaliland, Zanzibar, Persian Gulf, Persia, Iraq, and Straits Settlements.


French Indian Settlements (Etablissements Francais dans l'Inde)


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED November 1892.


CURRENCY

1892, 100 centimes = 1 franc.
1923, 24 caches = 1 fanou;
8 fanous = 1 rupee.



Of the large French Empire in India, which opposed the British in the Seven Years War, only five settlements remained after 1814: Pondicherry and Karikal, Chandernagore, Mahe, and Yanaon (Orissa). After referenda, Chandernagore was transferred to India on 2 May 1950; the other four on 1 November 1954.
Possibly used stamps of France from 1849.


Used French Colonies General issues 1859-92 (oblit. various lozenges of dots with or without indication of place, e.g INDE.


There were also British Indian POs and sub-POs in the settlements in which stamps of India were used 1854-1947.


Portuguese India (India Portugueza)


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 October 1871 (after 1877 these were valid for overseas postage via Bombay).


CURRENCY

1871, 1000 reis = 1 milreis.
1882, 12 reis = 1 tanga; 16 tanga = 1 rupee.
1959, 100 centavos = 1 escudo.



Three settlements, Goa, Damao (Damaon), and Diu, flourished from the 16th century until 17 December 1961, when they were invaded by Indian troops and annexed to India.


Little is known of an early Portuguese post, though regular mails were exchanged with Lisbon from 1825. The Portuguese had mail conventions with Britain and probably used British packets. In the 19th century mail seems to have been routed mainly via Bombay, both before and after Portuguese colonial stamps were available. From 1854, Portuguese handstamps and in 1871-7 stamps were used in combination with stamps of British India, which were sold at the Portuguese POs.


Used stamps of India from 29 December 1961.



India & Burma 1852-1942
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