General issues: French protectorate 1893-1902, French colony 1902-1946, French overseas territory 1946-1967
Country name on general issues: DJ, Djibouti, Protectorat Côte des Somalis/Djibouti, Côte Française des Somalis
Currency: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes 1893-1952, 1 (Somali) Franc = 100 Centimes 1952-1967
Population: 36 000 in 1900, 88 000 in 1967
Political history French Somali Coast
The French Somali Coast is located in eastern Africa, the current Djibouti. 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 offers better opportunities to build a port. Djibouti 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 1896 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).
During WWII, the colonial administration in the French Somali Coast is loyal to the Vichy regime in France that collaborates with Nazi Germany. After a siege, the French Somali Coast is occupied by British and Free French forces in 1942, upon which the administration is transferred to the Free French led by Charles de Gaulle. 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, after the two largest population groups in the the country the AfarsAlso called Danakil. and the Issas. In 1977, through a referendum, it is decided that Afars & Issas will become independent as the republic of Djibouti.
Postal history French Somali Coast
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. The first stamps issued are overprints on the stamps of Obock reading ‘DJ’ and ‘Djibouti’. A first set of definitives inscribed ‘Protectorat Côte des Somalis, Djibouti’ is issued in 1894. From 1902, the stamps issued for the French Somali Coast are inscribed ‘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.