Guinea-Bissau’s earliest stamps were issued in 1881, when it was a colony of Portugal called Portuguese Guinea (in Portuguese, Guiné Portuguesa). The area was concentrated in the coastal towns of Bissau and Cacheu. (This Portuguese colonial relationship had been in place since the fifteenth century.) These first stamps were in fact stamps from Cape Verde, which at that time oversaw Portuguese Guinea, and were overprinted GUINÉ and later GUINÉ PORTUGUESA.
Decades of colonial stamps
Guinea-Bissau remained under the colonial control of Portugal for nearly one hundred years after its first stamps; Portuguese Guinea lasted until 1951 and quite a few stamps were issued for the colony during this time. Many depicted people and things related to the land of the colony, and these are quite popular with collectors and buyers these days who have or are building a Guinea-Bissau (or Portuguese!) stamp collection.