General issues: French overseas territory 1967-1977
Country name on general issues: Territoire Français des Afars et des Issas
Currency: 1 (Somali-) Franc = 100 Centimes 1967-1977
Population: 200 000 in 1977
Political history Afars & Issas
Afars & Issas is a French overseas territory in eastern Africa, the current Djibouti. The Afars (35%) and the Issas (60%) are the major population groups in the country. The Afars are a people living in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the northern part of Afars & Issas. The Issas are a Somali clan living in Somalia, Ethiopia and the southern part of Afars & Issas.
The French gain a foothold in the region when Obock is bought by the French in 1862. The French do not actually settle in Obock until 1883 when the ‘Territoire d’Obock’ becomes a French colony. Subsequently France signs treaties with several sultans in the region, the sultanates becoming French protectorates. In 1888, the French settle in Djibouti, which quickly surpasses Obock as the most important city in the region. In 1892, the French move their capital from Obock to Djibouti. The different French protectorates in the region are joined in 1892 to form the French protectorate of the ‘Côte Française des Somalis'‘French Somali Coast’. In 1902, the status of the country is changed from protectorate to colony. The borders are defined between 1888 and 1900 in treaties with Ethiopia, Great Britain (British Somaliland) and Italy (Italian Eritrea). In 1946, the French Somali Coast becomes a French overseas territory, the name is changed to ‘Territoire Français des Afars et des Issas’ in 1967.
Djibouti is the most important city of the country. Some 80% of the population lives in Djibouti. Djibouti has developed as an international port of importance and as a gateway to the east African hinterland. The 20% of the population living outside of Djibouti are largely nomadic herdsmen.
Postal history Afars & Issas
The first post office in the region is opened in 1883 in Obock. The first stamps used are the general issues for the French colonies. Between 1892 and 1894, stamps are issued for Obock. The post office in Obock is closed in 1894. As of 1893, stamps are issued in Djibouti, first bearing the name ‘Djibouti’, then from 1894 that of ‘Protectorat Côte des Somalis’ and finally from 1902 that of ‘Côte Française des Somalis’. These issues are succeeded by the issues of Afars & Issas in 1967 and by the issues of the republic of Djibouti in 1977.