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Definitives of the Crown Colony and Protectorates

Capture of Aden 1939
The capture of Aden is depicted on several definitives from the 1939-1945 King George VI series.

Britain occupied Aden in 1839 to secure a coaling station for steamships traveling between Suez and India. Postal and other governmental services fell under the jurisdiction of the Presidency of Bombay until 1937 when Aden became a crown colony. From 1854 until 1937, Indian stamps were used in Aden.

Aden Harbour
Aden's harbour had particular strategic value as a coaling station on the route from Suez to Bombay.

Dhow Definitive Designs
The addition of the image of King George VI to the 1939 definitives had political complications.

Protectorate Definitives
In 1942 local rulers were featured on new definitive issues for
protectorates which were interchangeable with those of the crown colony.

The first definitive issue for the crown colony of Aden was issued on April 1, 1937. The design featured a dhow. The second set of definitives, introduced in 1939, was problematic because it featured a picture of King George VI. This raised objections from local rulers in protectorates bordering Aden that were dependent on Aden's postal service. Despite delays resulting from the outbreak of World War II, the problem was resolved when separate issues for Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut and Kathiri State of Seiyun were issued in 1942. A postal union made the stamps of the colony and protectorate valid for use throughout the area.

Location of Aden
The Crown Colony of Aden and adjacent protectorates.


"Aden." Stanley Gibbons Stamps of the World 2002. 2001.

Kloetzel, James E. "Aden." 2009 Standard Stamp Catalogue. 2008.

Rossiter, Stuart and John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald and Co., 1986.

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