Indian Ocean Study Circle

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The Study Circle was founded in 1970 to promote and encourage the study of all aspects of the stamps and postal history of the islands of the western Indian Ocean. If you collect the stamps or postal history, including postcards from any of these islands, and you are not a member of IOSC, you may be missing out on much that can help to make your hobby still more interesting.

Countries covered by the IOSC...Mauritius, Seychelles/BIOT, Réunion, Comores and Madagascar

Captured from France in 1810, independent within the Commonwealth (as a republic since 1992), was in 1847 the first British colony and the fifth country in the world to issue postage stamps. Mauritius was also the first colony to order stamps via the Crown Agents (1848), the world's first surcharges were prepareed in 1854, though not issued until 1858. The definitive issues from1860 onwards, notably the Queen's head and Arms types, are full of interest for the philatelist and postal historian alike. Also of great interest id the pre-adhesive postal history, of both French (before 1810) and British (after 1810) periods.

Seychelles Archipelago
Consisting of 115 islands permanently settled in 1770 by French Mauritians and Réunionnais, becoming a British colony following the annexation of Mauritius in 1810 gaining independence in 1976. In 1890 named colony keyplates were issued, previously Mauritius postage stamps were used cancelled B64. The Victorian locally printed surcharge errors are numerious, as are the Edwardian keyplate errors. The maritime element forms an interesting section in any postal history collection. The postage stamps since independence depict the unique flora and fauna of the whole group of islands. Which includes the B.I.O.T (British Indian Ocean Territory).

A French colony since 1638, becoming an overseas department in 1946, Réunion (formerly Bourbon) first issued stamps in 1852, the typeset locally produced 15c and 30c French stamps surcharged in the local currency and were issued 1949-74; since 1 January 1975 unsurcharged French postage stamps have been used.

Discovered by the Portuguese in 1500, in 1840 Diego Suarez became a French protectorate, in 1892 extending to the north-west of the island. Following disputes a military expedition was sent in 1894, and the second Protectorate existed until 1896, becoming a republic within the French community until 1972 when the Government became under military control. During World War II, the island under the Vichy Government of Marshal Pétain, the British capturing Diego Suarez in 1942 to prevent the Japanese using it as a base.

The Comores Archipelago
The French Colonial period began with Mayotte in 1841, Grande Comore and Anjouan in 1886. Attached to Madagascar in 1914, becoming a French Overseas Territory in 1946. In 1975 all but Mayotte declared unilateral independence. Mail is recorded from c1872 from Comores, and Nossi Bé sent mail by British steamer to Zanzibar and from 1880 a French sea link existed from Mayotte to Réunion. From 1880 the French Messageries Maritimes shipping line ran a link between Mauritius and Mozambique via Madagascar and Comoro ports.