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FIRST STAMPS Mauritius 1861.



1890, 100 cents = 1 rupee.

Group of islands known to the Portuguese, explored by the French 1742-4, annexed by them in 1756, and settled (after an abortive attempt in 1768) in 1770. After changing hands in the Napoleonic Wars, they were administered from 1811 by Britain as a dependency of Mauritius. The islands, after intermediate stages, became a Crown Colony on 31 August 1903. Seychelles became independent on 29 June 1976.

Before 1861, mail was forwarded by a mail agent and bore no postal markings. The first PO opened at Victoria in 1861.

Seychelles was served by Ligne T packet-boats of Messageries Maritimes in 1864-95. Eight sub-POs were opened in 1901: on Mahe, AnseRoyale, Cascade (closed after 1916), Takamaka (closed c. 1907), Anse-Boileau (closed c. 1907), and Bel-Ombre (canceller supplied; not known in use); also Praslin Bay St Anne, Praslin Grand Anse, and La Digue. Later offices include La Misere (1968); Silhouette I. (1902-04; 1961); and Coetivy I. (1963).

Used stamps of Mauritius 1861-90. These can be recognized by oblit. B64 or Seychelles datestamp.

British Indian Ocean Territory

For Zil Elwagne Sesel see after British Indian Ocean Territory.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED (locally) 17 January 1968 (released in London 15 January)


100 cents = 1 rupee.

A Crown Colony created on 8 November 1965 from territory previously administered by Mauritius (Chagos Archipelago; principally Diego Garcia) or Seychelles (Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches). The Chagos Islands came into prominence in 1942 when they were occupied to forestall the Japanese. Sparsely inhabited and visited from the parent island only two or three times a year, the islands again had strategic value when Aden became independent. In 1973 the civilian population of Diego Garcia was evacuated and the island leased to the USA as a naval air base. The other three groups were returned to Seychelles at its independence in June 1976.

Stamps of Mauritius or Seychelles were in theory valid before 1968 (though no postal facilities seem to have existed). POs opened at Aldabra, Farquhar, Desroches, Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos, and Salomon I.

Since 1969 mails have been carried by m.v. Nordvaer, with a TPO.

British Royal Navy personnel at the US base on Diego Garcia had no free privilege; their mail before June 1976 was franked with stamps of BIOT cancelled with the Diego Garcia hand-stamp. It was initially routed by USAF to Bangkok and thence by air to London; after the closure of US bases in Thailand, mail was routed to Clark AFB, Philippines, thence by air to San Francisco for London. Since 1976 all mail has been wholly military.

Since 1976 stamps of Seychelles have been used in Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches.

Zil Elwagne Sesel (Seychelles outer islands)

After 1976, the islands of British Indian Ocean Territory which were transferred to Seychelles used the stamps of that country. On 20 June 1980, stamps were issued inscribed ZIL ELOIGNE SESEL. These were sold from the m.v. Cinque Juin which operated as a TPO. From 22 July 1982 stamps were inscribed ZIL ELWAGNE SESEL.

Seychelles pre 1901
Click map for larger view

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