Stamps From a Land of Corruption and Cotton

Countries don’t get more corrupt than Chad.  Or more poor.

Chad Stamp

Most stamp collectors dismiss Chad as one of those faceless French Colonies that fell into philatelic disrepute with the wave of independence that swept across Africa in the 1960s.

A closer look reveals a sad and fascinating story.

If you were a French civil servant in the first half of twentieth century, Chad was the worst place to be posted.  It was terribly managed from the day it was first established as the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad in 1900.

Five years later, the first legitimate post office opened in Fort-Lamy. Additional offices were opened at Ati and Abeche in 1909, Amm et Timan, Bousso, Mandjafa, and Tchekna in 1910, and then Fada and Faya-Largeau in 1920.

1920 was the year the French gained control of unruly Chad.  Their motivation was economic, driven by the opportunity to grow and export cotton.  In 1920, the colony became part of French Equatorial Africa.

Following World War II, Chad became a French Overseas territory.  Independence was granted in 1960, and ever since, Chad has been home to an endless series of coups, civil wars, rampages of corruption, terrors of refugee camps, and dysfunction.

For the first fifteen years of the French Colonial postal service in Chad, the stamps were from the French Congo.  Then the stamps of Ubangi Shari were used, and overprinted “OUBANGUI-CHARI-TCHAD.”

In 1922 issues of Middle Congo were overprinted “TCHAD” and put in service.   Another overprint came along in 1924, “AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE FRANCAISE”.   All sorts of stamps were released to quench the thirst of collectors, mostly in France, during the 1920s and 30s.

At the dawn of independence in 1959, Chad began to issue stamps minus a reference to being a French Republic.  The independence that came in 1960 was not reflected in postage stamps until 1961.

if you would like to take a look at some Chad stamps, I keep a stock in my online store.

These days, Chad stamps are likely to depict any topic:  Frank Sinatra, Bela Lugosi, and The Three Stooges have all appeared on the nation’s stamps.

The Scott Postage Stamp Catalogue does not list any Chad stamps issued after 2005.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: