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FIRST STAMPS ISSUED March 1895 valid within borders only.


1895, Cowrie shells (c. 200 = 1 rupee).
1896, 16 annas = 1 rupee.

The rival native kingdoms west of Lake Victoria were reached by Arab caravans in 1844 and by Europeans seeking the source of the Nile in 1862 (Speke and Grant). Following the almost simultaneous arrival in 1875 of Stanley from the south-east and Gordon's lieutenants (in Egyptian service) from the north, King Mtesa asked for missionaries from England. The first came in June 1877. Catholic White Fathers arrived in 1879. From the moment Bishop Hannington, arriving from the north-east, was murdered by order of Chief Luba in 1885, British intervention became inevitable. After trouble between warring factions, King Mwanga accepted the protection of an Imperial British East Africa Company flag in 1890. Lugard led an expedition in 1891-2 to sort out further religious- colonial strife. The British flag replaced that of the company in 1893. A formal British protectorate was proclaimed in 1894 and extended in 1896. A mutiny of Sudanese ffoops in 1897-8 caused disruption. In 1902 the eastern province was transferred to British East Africa. Control of Uganda passed from the Foreign to the Colonial Office in 1905. The border with Sudan was adjusted in 1914.

Postal History
Explorers' and missionary letters, carried by slavers' caravans, are known from 1862. In 1874-80 Gordon's Sudanese posts provided an outlet via the Nile, and after 1878 regular runner services via Bagamoyo or Saadani and Tabora were set up by Zanzibar forwarding agents for missionaries. This lasted till 1892 when Bishop Tucker transferred the Church Missionary Society service to the British East Africa route. Mail can sometimes be identified by initialled envelopes given stamps in Zanzibar or Mombasa. In March 1895 an internal service was started, but external mail still went unfranked by runner or caravan to Mombasa until 1896. In September 1896 prepayment to the frontier (Kikuyu) was made compulsory. The building of the Uganda Railway in 1896-1902 and the placing of steamers on Lake Victoria from Kisumu to Entebbe reduced the journey to the coast from eight weeks to eight days. The postal system was amalgamated with that of British East Africa from 1901 and run from Mombasa. This brought Uganda fully into the UPU.

Stamps of 1896 (valid internally and to the coast) were used on overseas mail in combination with stamps of British East Africa from 1896 to March 1899.

Specimen stamps of the November 1898 issue were supplied to Berne and correspondence franked with this issue was accepted almost everywhere though Uganda was not a member of the UPU until April 1901. For accountancy reasons separate stamps continued until 1903 and differential rates were charged for parcels.

East Africa and Uganda Protectorates

FIRST STAMPS Common to both protectorates August- September 1903.


1907, 100 cents = 1 rupee.
1922, 100 cents = 1 shilling.

Stamps in British East Africa were issued slightly earlier than in Uganda.

The intention to adopt a currency based on forms rather than shillings in 1920-1 confused the postal rates; the change of name to Kenya about the same time led to many abandoned essays and proofs for new stamps and reprints of the old.

East Africa 1904
Click map for larger view

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