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Gabon’s stamp history goes back to 1862, when France used its own colonial stamps, overprinted with GAB. Gabon became more officially connected to France when it became part of the French Congo in 1889. The French Congo had been operating since 1880, and would eventually include the Republic of the Congo (then called Middle Congo) and the Central African Republic (then Ubangi-Shari-Chad) in addition to Gabon. French Congolese stamps were used in Gabon for the next five years, and are beloved by some Gabonese stamp collectors.
1904 autonomy and FEA
Then in 1904, Gabon was awarded partial autonomy and started using its own stamps — these, again, are the focus of many Gabon stamp buyers. This postal period was short-lived though, and beginning in 1910 (and lasting several decades), Gabon was administered by France as part of French Equatorial Africa, which was made up of the same areas as French Congo had been.
During Gabon’s time in French Equatorial Africa (1910 — 1958), there were two main periods of stamp-issuance: the first, from 1910 until 1936, Gabon-specific stamps were issued; these stamps were inscribed CONGO FRANÇAIS GABON for a brief time in 1910, and AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE GABON afterward. The second era began in 1936, when Gabon (in concert with the other countries) used French West Africa stamps. (Technically, from 1946 to 1958, Gabon was an Overseas Territory of France.)
Like many French colonies in Africa, in 1959 Gabon briefly became an autonomous state within the French Community, and then for a short time joined its former FEA partners in the Union of Central African Republics. This lasted only a year though; in 1960 the Gabonese Republic (still its official name) declared its independence.
Collecting Gabonese stamps today
Collecting Gabonese stamps today generally includes pieces from the time of Gabon’s lengthy French colonization, and of course GABON-inscribed stamps are the most targeted stamps and covers to try to find. Whatever Gabon stamps you like, why don’t you add a comment below and start a conversation about your Gabonese stamps and philatelic wants. The collecting world wants to know your opinion!
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