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Issues of the British South Africa Company

Arms of the British South Africa Company Issue
All issues of the British South Africa Company
until 1905 depicted the company coat of arms.

Cecil Rhodes received a Royal Charter for the British South Africa Company in 1889. Its mandate was to trade with African Kingdoms, manage and distribute land, establish a banking system and establish a police force while respecting existing African laws and freedom of trade and religion. In 1890 the company issued its first stamps for use in its territories.

Victoria Falls Zambezi Bridge
The opening of the bridge across the Zambezi at Victoria Falls, commemorated on the 1905 issue,
reflects the rapid development of rail and telegraph infrastructure in the territory.

On May 3, 1895 the company's territories were officially renamed Rhodesia. It was not until 1909 that this name appeared on stamps when the issue of 1898-1908 was overprinted.

Victoria Falls Zambezi Bridge
The name "Rhodesia" first appeared on stamps in April 1909.

In 1923 the company's charter was not renewed. The final stamp issue bearing the company's name was the definitive issue of 1913-1919 depicting King George V in an admiral's uniform. When the company lost administrative control over its territories, Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing colony and Northern Rhodesia became a protectorate.

King George V and Queen Mary Definitive
King George V and Queen Mary on a stamp intended to honour royal visitors.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were supposed to visit Rhodesia in 1910 but their trip was cancelled when King Edward VII died. Stamps prepared were honour this event were subsequently issued to coincide with a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. Instead of featuring visiting royalty, they were featuring the new king and queen.

King George V Admiral Definitive
King George V is pictured in an admiral's uniform on the
final definitive issue of the British South Africa Company.


Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 1951, 1997.

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



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