Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Airmail Labels from Vanuatu - Pacific Ocean Series

Above labels variance in colour (dark and light cyan). These are the used labels I cut from the envelope.

The label background is white in colour and depicts the Post Office official logo in the center (shown above).

Vanuatu is a group of 83 islands in the South West Pacific, governed as an independent Republic by its indigenous people.

The Ni-Vanuatu, as they are known, is a peaceful, loving, gentle race, who enjoy life's pleasures in a country of unique and diverse customs and culture.  Bislama (Pidgin English) is the national language of Vanuatu, but English and French are also widely spoken.

It is believed the first settlers arrived in Vanuatu approximately 3,500 years ago, from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands by sea-going canoe. 

The early stamps of Vanuatu followed the tradition established during the days of the New Hebrides Condominium with stamps always printed in two forms – English and French. 

With effect from the 1980 Christmas stamp issue this practice was abandoned and bilingual stamps were introduced to better reflect the independence and unified status of the Country. 

First day covers, however, continued to receive separate French and English cancellations, until the Christmas 1991 stamp issue when bilingual cancellations were introduced. The 1981 Royal Wedding issue was the first bilingually cancelled cover before this change of general policy.

To know more on the island republic, I extracted a brief history from Wikipedia:

Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 500 kilometres (310 mi) north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and south of the Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. Europeans began to settle in the area in the late 18th century. In the 1880s France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the country and in 1906 they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago through a British-French Condominium as the New Hebrides. An independence movement was established in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was created in 1980.

Photo of volcano in Vanuatu is courtesy from National Geographic.

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