Trudeau is outraged about Laporte’s kidnapping and murder, so the perps got 8 years in jail

A politician is kidnapped from his front yard and murdered and yet the confessed and convicted murderers get only 8 years in jail. We will explore today how this can happen. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The stamp today looks older than it is. By the 1970s, most stamps including Canada’s offered bold colors. The only hints that this stamp is newer is the font that Canada is written in and the fact that 7 cents is too much to mail a letter in the earlier period. Perhaps the bland grey portrait of Mr. Laporte was thought in keeping with a mourning period. I think this is wrong. Turning him into a bland grey figure lessens the loss of what was a brutal crime where a man was targeted based on his moderate political views and for the crime of being willing to serve his province and country.

Todays stamp is issue A285, a 7 cent stamp issued by Canada on October 20th, 1971. The stamp honors Pierre Laporte a year after he was murdered. It was a single stamp issue. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents whether it was mint or used.

Pierre Laporte was a journalist, lawyer, and politician from Quebec. As a journalist, his work was instrumental in alleging corruption in the regime of then Quebecois Premier Maurice Duplessis. Allegations of impropriety should always be taken with a grain of salt when they come from political opponents and that was the case here. Mr. Laporte was an active member of the rival Quebec Liberal Party and later served in the Quebec National Assembly and was provincial minister of Labor when the Liberal party was in power in the 60s. Though not as radical as some, the Liberal Party in Quebec broke away from the national Liberal party of Trudeau and set up separate Quebec pension and health systems and nationalized the electric utility in Quebec. What it also did was favor remaining in Canada. For this sin, Laporte had to pay with his life.

The Front for the Liberation of Quebec was a radical communist group that sought the succession of Quebec from Canada. Further they wanted to establish and independent Quebec that was francophone and only francophone and that the country be an ethnically cleansed communist worker’s paradise. They had much support from left wing types and engaged in 160 outbreaks of violence that killed eight people.

Mr. Laporte was playing football in the front yard of his home with his nephew when he was kidnapped at gunpoint. The FLQ declared him the Minister of Unemployment and Assimilation. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau feigned outrage at the kidnapping and enacted special police powers to find the cell of the FLQ responsible.

The remains of Mr. Laporte were found eight days later having been strangled. FLQ support dropped as a result of the violence but Trudeau was nowhere man when it was time to see that the perpetrators of the kidnap and murder pay for their crimes. The death penalty was not possible in Canada at the time but sentences of life and thirty years were handed out to the for men who confessed and were convicted. This was just for show. The men served an average of 8 years in jail  and were even allowed to write books afterward that justified their actions and allowed them to profit from their crimes. One of the books was made into a movie partially funded by the film board of Canada. ‘Pierre Trudeau failed his people in allowing this to happen. I am sure his supporters will want to pass the buck on this but the buck stops with him.

Well my drink is empty and so it is time to open the discussion in the below comment section. I wonder if the radical that was the young Pierre Trudeau led him to secretly sympathize with the FLQ or whether Laporte was too much of a like minded rival. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.


Electrifying the railroad, a miracle, a Taiwan miracle

In 1949, with a communist regime in mainland China, and a capitalist regime in Taiwan. It was an economic race to show which system worked the best in a Chinese context. We will explore how the outcome was a Taiwan miracle.  So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The stamp today was made by the time it was clear that the Taiwan economic system was working better than the communist system was on the mainland. It was also the time when Taiwan was turning inward having been ejected from the UN. So a set of stamps showing construction projects around Taiwan is instead designed for bulk domestic postage rather than preaching success far and wide.

Todays stamp is issue A365, a $2 stamp issued by the Republic of China in 1976. It shows a project to electrify railroads. It built on an earlier set of stamps from 1974 that showed other infrastructure construction projects around Taiwan. The later issues are identifiable by the denomination being in outline numerals instead of solid ones. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents whether it is mint or used. This is true for most of the stamps in this large issue over several years.

The capitalist versus communist struggle between the Chinas had several advantages in the favor of Taiwan. The leadership around the long term leader Chiang Kai-shek had managed to take with them the gold supply and the foreign currency reserves of China. China was not overly endowed with such reserves but now it was for a country of 20 million people instead of 600 million. It was enough to establish a solid fully backed local currency.

The second advantage was that many of the business and intellectual leaders of China came to Taiwan with Chiang. There was also the fact of fairly free flowing aid from the USA, not all of which went to Taiwan’s military. It allowed for a land reform in Taiwan similar to what was done in Japan that got the farmland  from absentee landlords and to the peasants that actually worked the fields. The results were big increases in output and a freeing up of much labor toward industrialization.

This industrialization was fast and successful. Free trade areas were set up that allowed Japanese firms to relocate electronics production to Taiwan to take advantage of low salaries and lax environmental laws. These were then allowed into the USA under favored nation trade status. What turned out even more important were the small factories set up privately within families with private money. By the time of this stamp, the average citizen of Taiwan was living a lifestyle comparable with developed nations, 20 times the average mainland Chinese. A Taiwan miracle.

Taiwan was still a one party state so not completely free. It was also suffering from the effects of the international exclusion and being separated on a personal level from their cousins on the mainland. The rising lifestyle also lead some of the manufacturing to seek even cheaper sources of labor.

Well my drink is empty so I will open the discussion in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

Trujillo builds a beach resort for Batista

Today is one of those stories of a badly remembered leader who built many things that his successors couldn’t keep going. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The stamp today features a newly built beach front resort. The kind of all inclusive beach and spa resorts that the Caribbean is famous for. The Hotel Hamaca was one of the first. Yet the angle of the photo and the poor printing makes the hotel look like an airport terminal. A failure.

Todays stamp is issue A100, a 1 centavo stamp issued by the Dominican Republic in 1951. The stamp features the Hotel Hamaca in Boca Chica. It is part of a 7 stamp issue that features the hotels of the Dominican Republic. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents whether it is mint or used.

Rafael Trujillo was the strongman leader of the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. This is not completely true as during times of unpopularity with America he stepped back and let an aged vice president and his brother be his puppet. In 1955 he celebrated 25 years of rule with much public celebration even though he was theoretically not in power at the time. He tried to rename the capital Santo Domingo Trujillo City in honor of his rebuilding efforts after a hurricane. He even had a stamp issue for his mother for Mother’s Day.

Trujillo did much infrastructure building and regained control of the countries customs duties which were being seized by USA in lieu of debt repayment. He also worked to better control the border with desperately poor Haiti. He offered to take up to 100,000 Jewish refugees at the time of the Holocaust. In the event, only 800 came and most moved on quickly to the USA. Trujillo was assassinated while in his 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air by military leaders. His family was able to remain in power long enough to have the conspirators tracked down and killed but soon there was a second revolution and the family was forced to leave the country going initially to France.

The Hotel Hamaca in Boca Chica was quite the landmark when it was built. It lies on the largest lagoon in the Caribbean. There was a Trujillo vacation home in the bay that included a private zoo. In early 1959, Nearby Cuban strongman Batista left the country with his family and close advisers. He also allegedly made it out with many millions. Trujillo took a large financial tribute from Batista and allowed them to stay at the Hotel Hamaca. Denied entry into USA or France, they later went on to Portugal.

The Hotel Hamaca was closed very shortly after Trujillo left power. Resorts of it’s type are very successful in the Carabean so a quick closing is a rather stinging indictment of the countries future leaders. The most basic function of government is to keep things going. The hotel was eventually reopened in the early 90s and today operates as the Be Live Experience Hamaca Gardens. According to the online reviews it is not in a good state with much intrusion by locals panhandling the guests. In the old days Trujillo would have done that for the people, and only the important guests like Batista.

Well my drink is empty leaving me wondering why it is so hard to find a waiter in an all inclusive resort. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

A never issued stamp from an occupied Ethiopia by way of Switzerland

How should we think about a never issued, though officially sanctioned stamp. Well, by discussing the situation that brought it about. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The visuals of this stamp are disappointing to me. A nurse helping out on a stamp is perhaps a good way to draw sympathy for the plight of the Ethiopian people. The style of the stamp is very reminiscent of French or Portuguese stamps from their then African colonies. This is just wrong. What made Ethiopia so special and the then circumstances so tragic is that Ethiopia was the one area of Africa never to have been conquered by the Europeans. This was only to suffer an invasion by a second string Africa player Italy at the end of the colonial period. This was not the time to issue stamps that matched the style of African colonies. The printing was done in Switzerland however and in this philatelists opinion, too much of the design work was seceded to them.

The stamp today was never issued. although Scott has given it issue A39. Versions were issued in 1945, about 10 years after printing with a red V for victory. There are also versions with surcharges and mistakes in overprints. A unissued stamp like mine without overprints is worth $1.25 according to the Scott catalog.

Haile Selassie assumed the title of Emperor of the Ethiopian empire in 1930. There was an interesting period before that where there was an Empress, his mother, and an himself an Emperor with a regency. His mother tried to stage a coup and have him removed but the palace guard was loyal to Haile Selassie and he was able to become sole ruler. It was an expansionist empire that succeeding in taking over the Arab African Sultanate of Jimma  after the death of their Sultan. This was accomplished militarily and his army also put down several uprisings in the early years. There were also Ethiopian designs on the Italian area of Eritrea, which would have gave Ethiopia an outlet to the sea.

In 1935 Ethiopia was invaded by Italy. Allegedly the purpose was to avenge an Italian defeat in an earlier war and to end the practice of slavery in Ethiopia. Fighting went on for about 8 months but Ethiopia eventually was conquered and Haile Selassie went into exile, first in Jerusalem, and later in England.

Haile Selassie made an impassioned plea for his nation at the League of Nations where Ethiopia was a member and therefore entitled to mutual defense if attacked. Large European nations were in no way willing to go to war with powerful Italy, ignored Ethiopia’s plea, and recognized Italian sovereignty. Italy did indeed end the widespread slavery in Ethiopia and started a project of modernization including road building and 30 thousand colonists.

Once World War II broke out, Italy’s time in Ethiopia was numbered. A British and South African force invaded in 1941 and quickly defeated the Italians. Haile Selassie was again recognized as Emperor of Ethiopia and ruled until ousted in a coup in 1974. Eritrea was given to Ethiopia after the war. Interestingly though Haile Selassie was removed by coup, his son took his throne 3 times. Kind of. First in the early 60s there was an attempted coup while his father was traveling abroad. He signed accepting the throne under duress but returned power to his father when he returned. The military coup that replaced Haile Selassie announced that his son would be recognized as Emperor upon his return. His son chose not to return and the monarchy was abolished 6 months later. When the later communist regime appeared weak in 1989 the son self proclaimed himself emperor from London. His proclamation was not recognized in Ethiopia and he did not return. Haile Selassie died in confinement in his palace in 1975 and his son died in 1997.

Haile Selassie is thought of as the Messiah of God by the Rastafarians mainly in Jamaica. The Emperor was always a member of the Ethiopian arm of the Coptic Egyptian Orthodox church. He did not condemn the Rastafarians allowing them a village in Ethiopia but dispatched Ethiopian bishops to the West Indies to try to bring then into line with church teachings.

Well my drink is empty and again I am confronted with a fake stamp. That does not mean it did not tell a good story. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.


Germany earns enough trust for bird flight line train connection to Denmark

Much of Denmark consist of islands, including the capital Copenhagen. Islands offer a natural secure barrier. To lower those barriers requires trust and trust must be earned. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

West Germany helpfully provides a year of issue on most of their stamp offerings. This is a good thing on this stamp as from the style I would have guessed the stamp 20 years newer. The stylized bird contains a map of the new train line celebrated by the stamp. Vogelfluglinie means bird flight line. This means most direct route and though talking trains, a shorter distance meaning quicker and more frequent travel. The future is going to be great and this stamp really captures that spirit.

The stamp today is issue A242, a 20 pfennig stamp issued by West Germany on May 14th, 1963. It was a single stamp issue that celebrated the new more direct train line from Hamburg, Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 30 cents in it’s mint or used condition.

The train line, was first proposed in the 1920s, mimicked the flight paths of birds migrating from northern artic areas to central Europe. Copenhagen before then required much longer train routes through Jutland when traveling there from the south. The train line proposed a train carrying boat ferry from Warnemunde in Germany to  Rodby Denmark. Work did not get started on the line until 1941 after Germany had conquered Denmark in 1940. It is therefore understandable that all work stopped at the end of the German occupation in 1945.

There was additional issue that caused delay as a result of the end of World War II. Warnemunde was now in East Germany and using it would have drastically slowed travel times. It was an iron curtain after all. The German part of the route was rerouted through the West German port of Putgarden.

I expected to find in my research that the rail line had since fallen into disuse with auto motorways and discount airlines taking up the slack. This is not the case. Instead a tunnel is being constructed that will handle both car and train travel. This would replace the ferry part of the trip. There are fairly new bridges connecting Copenhagen with Sweden and so a quick rail link to Copenhagen becomes even more important with Copenhagen more of a gateway to Sweden and Norway. The world is getting smaller.

Allowing for this is somewhat a leap of faith for Denmark. Looking back into history, Denmark has had troubles with both Germany and Sweden. The southern tip of Sweden was once part of Denmark and the border with Germany has laid at different places. Denmark is a small wealthy country with 2 much larger countries around it. There must be some fear of being swallowed up culturally if not anymore militarily.

Well my drink is empty so I will journey to the club car for another round. Have any of our readers ridden on this rail line? Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

Zanzibar, when the Arabs needed the British

A trading post city, with a Sultan and a trading elite, but a mass of unrepresented locals, finds itself in a vacuum when the British withdraw. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The stamp today looks very middle eastern from the first half of the twentieth century. A royal sultan who is under heavy British influence, for good and bad. The issue here is that the people of the island were over 70 percent African. With the British fading, this was a situation that could not sustain. Today Zanzibar has been subsumed by the African country closest to it.

The stamp is issue A16, a 10 cent stamp issued by the Sultanate of Zanzibar in 1936. Versions of this stamp were issued for 50 years during the rule of Sultan Khalifa bin Harub which ran from 1910-1960. On the 1950s versions of the stamp, the portrait of the Sultan reflected that his beard had gone grey. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents used.

No human beings are native to the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar. Arab and Persian traders were the first to arrive. They were followed by Portuguese and Indians. The island became a favored place for the trade of Africans slaves in the Arab slave trade and the trade in ivory from African elephants. Spices were cultivated on large plantations owned by Arabs that were manned by slaves. It was estimated that 30 % of the slaves yearly did not survive the work and required constant new arrivals. The local Arab rulers were subjects of the Sultan of Oman. He also controlled trade routes on the African mainland. The British became concerned with the slave trade and over time forced the local sultans to curtail the trade and finally the practice of slavery locally. After that finally happened in 1897 the time of British influence begun.

The bulk of this time saw the rule of Sultan Khalifa bin Harub. Much was done in this period to improve sanitation with improvements in sewage control and the burying of bodies. This reduced the famous bad smell the place contained and made it more suitable as a base for British on safari excursions to the African mainland.

What it did not do was allow for political representation of the by now black majority on the island. The British did not see the Africans as ready to rule the island. In the elections that lead up to total independence, the vote was allowed to be gerrymandered to allow Arabs to keep control. Independence was achieved in 1963, still under Sultan Harub’s grandson.

This situation was very short lived. A Ugandan named John Okello led a group of Africans that overthrew the Sultan. He then got on the local radio and encouraged his followers to rape, kill, and loot all the Arabs and Indians. Several thousand were indeed killed and many more went into exile. Britain then drew up plans to invade and reinstall the Sultan. The blacks in Zanzibar quickly pushed aside Okello and cooperated with Britain and the USA on the evacuation of westerners. They also distanced themselves from communists that were part of the Okello movement. The new leaders quickly drew up plans for political merger with the new African nation of Tanzania. This was acceptable to Britain and the USA. It was seen as keeping Zanzibar from the communists. Zanzibar still has some degree of local autonomy but non Africans are excluded from political leadership and civil service. Okello died mysteriously in Uganda in 1971 where he was seen as a rival to Idi Amin.

The big cities of the world have become multiethnic and therefore less a part of the nations they occupy. This creates issues on how they are to be governed. The study of the old trading posts like Zanzibar tell us more what not to do than what works. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.


Afghanistan 1984, farmed out stamps and occupation government lead to clerical errors

The stamp celebrates the 40th anniversary of aviation in 1984, except that the Afghan Air Force came in 1924 and the first airline came in 1955. Oh and the catalog list the airplane on the stamp as a Tupelov Tu-134 when it is a Yakrovlev Yak 42. I usually specialize in making errors but today I catch a few. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage the stewardess just brought and slip your seat back as we delve into Afghan aviation. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The stamp is quite nice. An airplane is always good fodder for a stamp. An airplane in flight always expresses freedom and the small Yak 42 airliner/corporate jet remove any modern sense of congestion in modern travel. Being from a time when Afghanistan was under actual Soviet military occupation. This may also be the peak of mid east socialism on a stamp. Every stamp in the issue features a Soviet made plane.

The stamp today is issue A441, a 13 Afghan rupee stamp issued on June 29th, 1984. The stamp shows a Yak 42 airliner. It was part of a seven stamp issue in various denominations celebrating what the stamp feels was the fortieth anniversary of aviation in Afghanistan. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents with its non postal cancellation.

The Afghan air force was formed in 1924 with aircraft given to the King by the British and the Soviets. Even in the early days, most of the flying was done by Soviet pilots. This continued through the Soviet occupation though 1990 with many Cuban and Czech pilots. The air force broke apart at the end of the Soviet backed government  and putting it back together is still an ongoing process today. The air force had jet fighters and bombers in 1960 and today as resorted to dual use turboprop Brazilian trainers.

The first airline, Ariana was founded in 1955 with Douglas DC-3s. For a while Pan Am was a minority shareholder and the fleet was a single long haul DC 10 and a few 727s. This was the fleet in 1984, but was not reflected at all on the stamp issue. This was because the Soviets were getting ready to supply mainly second hand examples of the aircraft types on the stamps. I am sure the Soviets were picking up the bill for this so it is understandable that is what they wanted to see on the stamps. The Soviet airliners did not last long in Afghan service, by the Taliban era the airline was back to just the now aging 727s on their mid east routes. One of these 727s still serves as the Afghan governmental VIP aircraft. Ariana was one of the third world airlines banned from European airports by the EU in 2006 on safety grounds. 727s would also run afoul modern Euro noise measures.

The catalog does have this aircraft mislabeled as a Tu 134. The Tu 134 is a twin jet and the aircraft on the stamp is a trijet. This model must be the also Soviet Yak 42. It was the only plane in the small size to have three engines. The Tu134 is also a bigger airplane. Both models were in use in Afghanistan for a short period in the late eighties.

Well my drink is empty so while I ring for the stewardess I will open up the discussion in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.



The Soviets learn a great deal while on an ice drift to Greenland

A uniquely Soviet method of exploring the Artic was from drifting ice stations. The first, North Pole 1, was celebrated by todays stamp. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your hot chocolate, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

Visually the poor quality of the printing lets down this stamp. That is a shame because the true story that the stamp tells has the power to be quite inspiring. In three different ways. The obvious knowledge breakthrough has to inspire the nerd in all of us. The shear bravery of venturing out into the dangerous desolation of a floating ice drift. Also the brave patriotic act of sending out icebreaker ships into dangerous waters to find and bring back the scientists and all the knowledge they have gained. To be fair to the Soviet Postal  authority, it would be difficult to convey so much on a four stamp issue.

The stamp today is issue A251, a 30 kopek stamp issued by the Soviet Union on June 21st, 1938. It features scientist Ivan Papanin and his men about to board the icebreaker ship that was to take them home after nine months on the ice station. The stamp is part of a four stamp issue celebrating the accomplishment of the successful mission. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth $3.75 used. A mint imperforate version is worth $3,250.

Ivan Papanin was an explorer and scientist  who had previously lead an expedition to Franz Josef Land, an archipelago of islands north of the Soviet Union in the Artic ocean. There had been a previous theory by the Norwegian explorer Nansen of purposely letting a ship get frozen into a drifting ice block to allow it to reach artic extremes. This had been done successfully around 1910. Papanin and his Soviet team developed the idea further in the 1930s. A fully functioning science station was built on a section of drifting ice. The people and materials had been flown up by airplanes that successfully landed on the drift ice. The ice float was about 4 square kilometers and only 3 meters thick. The station contained five men. It was christened North Pole-1. It stayed in operation for nine months during which the ice station had drifted over 1700 miles.

In the days before helicopters, it was very difficult to keep up with such a station and guess as to where it might be. Two ice breakers were up to this dangerous mission. They found the ice station near Greenland and were able to evacuate the team. All of those involved were named Heroes of the Soviet Union. The expedition proved there was no large or small land mass at the North Pole.

The drifting ice station idea has continued to be used by the Soviets and still by the Russian. Some have been built on breakaway chunks of glaciers that are much less tenuous than drift ice. A few of the expeditions have lasted several years. The most recent, North Pole- 40 was in 2016.

Well my drink is empty so I will pour another to toast the brave men on North Pole-1 and the other brave men who got them there and saw to their return. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.


Haiti, reviewing French ruins now that the Americans have left

When todays stamp was new, Haiti had a new government and perhaps reviewing assets while determining where to go from here. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

Todays stamp could easily be mistaken for an issue of a British colony transitioning toward independence. Except that the de facto colonial power was the USA. The architecture, all of which are relics of colonists are displayed in the issue. The style of printing was also very much in the American style. The big difference is that the architecture was left over from the much earlier French. Although you would not know it from the stamps, the scenes on the stamps were already in ruins.

The issue today is A53, a 5 centimes stamp issued by Haiti in 1933. The stamp displays an aqueduct built by the French to assist with sugar cane production near Port-au-Price. It was part of a 9 stamp issue showing various architectural sites around Haiti. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents used.

Haiti had gained independence from France during the turmoil of the French Revolution. During the colonial period a large number of slaves had been imported in Haiti to work the sugar cane plantations. An uprising among the slaves had been met with a French decree for their freedom. This being a period of increased interest in human rights arising from the French revolution. The French proved unable to hold on to the colony as many of their troops were freedom fighting Polish troops who en masss switched sides to the mostly black revolutionairies. The French were removed from Haiti and a new constitution was passed that decreed that white people could not own land but that all mixed race people were decreed black. This was an attempt to end a class system that broke down on race. Interestingly the Poles were exempted from this and many stayed after the war.

Things did not go smoothly. Sugar caine exports came to a halt because of the inability to maintain commercial level cultivation without slavery. There was small scale cultivation for local rum. The French did not recognize the new government until payment was extracted for French losses and displacement. This left Haiti in debt. Some recovery occurred over time as Germans came in. They avoided the anti white people laws by marrying in to promenant mulatto families. Around World War I, the Americans occupied Haiti to collect debts and end German influence.

The American occupation saw some advances. A non political civil guard was trained by the American Marines that was different from the previous regional and political attempts at armies. It consisted of black soldiers and mulato officers. This was also soon reflected in the Haitian government left by the departing Americans in the 1930s. The alignment of these Haitian rulers with neighboring Dominican Republic strongmen was useful to the United States. It is understandable that this tended to discredit them with the people and Haiti continued to wither.

The aqueduct on the stamp is now but a ruin. It was further damaged in the earthquake of 2011 and the area was used as a displaced persons camp.

Well my drink is empty and it is time to open the discussion in the below comment section. In retrospect, the 30s stamps should have perhaps celebrated local institution building rather than relics from a long ago troubled era. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.

Transjordan, an Emir wants an empire, and has a Arab Legion to get it for him

Staking an empire is hard even when you are moderate and have powerful friends. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The stamp today is from Transjordan. The area is now called Jordan and the same royal house rules it. The Emir on the stamp was serving at the pleasure of the British mandate and although there is no evidence of this on the stamp, everyone was aware of it. At least he had the power to be his own man on the postage stamps. Eventually he would be his own man but resentment over who his friends were would lead to his assassination.

The issue today is A3, a 1 mil stamp issued by the Emirate of Transjordan in 1934. It featured Emir Abdullah ibn Hussein. It was part of a 16 stamp issue in various colors and denominations with the same portrait of the Emir. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth $2.00 in mint condition. The stamp to look out for in this issue is the grey 1 Palestinian Pound stamp that is worth $120 used.

King Abdullah I, his eventual title, was the son of the Grand Sherif of Mecca. He was a direct decendant of the Prophet Muhammed. His early days were the last years of the Ottoman Empire. His early mannouverings reflected the intrigue of the time. He was educated in Istanbul and his first two wives were of Turkish nobility. On the other hand a great deal of his dealings were with the British in Egypt and his third wife, married later, was of that decent. World War I saw an Arab uprising against the Ottomans and King Abdullah along with his brother the eventual King of Iraq lead Arab armies against the Ottoman Turks. This was done with British support and coordination most famously by T. E. Lawrence, (Lawrence of Arabia).

The hoped for independence after World War I was not forthcoming instead the area was divided into a British mandate and a French one to the north in Lebanon and Syria. King Abdullah hoped for a great empire that would stretch through modern day Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Instead for the time being he had to be content with the title of Emir in just Transjordan, that did not yet include the west bank of the Jordan River or the city of Jerusalem.

The complicating factors here were the British mandate and the growing numbers of Jews arriving in Palestine to build a new Jewish state. King Abdullah was the only Arab leader in regular contact with the Jews including a regular dialog with Golda Meir, the later Israeli Prime Minister. At various times he supported a Jewish state in Palestine or a least a Jewish run canton that pledged allegiance to his empire. He was opposed to local Palestine Arabs who pledged themselves not to King Abdullah but the Mufti of Jerusalem.

What King Abdullah did possess was the British lead Arab Legion. It was by far the most effective military force at the command of the Arabs at the time of the 1948 war. The deployments during that war were limited has the goal of Abdullah was not to wipe out the Jewish state but rather to bring the Palestine Arabs under his control. To affect this he banned the terms Transjordan and Palestine in favor of Jordan and offered citizenship to Arabs with Palestine mandate papers. He took control of the west bank of the Jordan.

With his British ties and Jewish contacts there was some distrust of him from some of his subjects post independence. There were rumors in 1951 that Lebanon and Jordan were conspiring to make peace and recognize the Isreali state. Within a 48 hour period the Lebanese Prime Minister and King Abdullah I were assassinated at the hands of Palestinians. This ended any peace talks. Abdullah was succeeded by his son  King Talal I whose rule was short. He was forced to abdicate after less than a year after his schizophrenia became known. He spent the rest of his life in a sanitarium in Amman.

Well my drink is empty and so it is time to open up the discussion in the below comment section. What a different middle east we might have today except for the assassinations in 1951. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.