General issues: Portuguese colony, district 1895-1920
Country name on general issues: Inhambane
Currency: 1 Milreis = 1000 Reis 1895-1912, 1 Escudo = 100 Centavos 1912-1920
Population: No statistics available – a rough estimate would suggest the population to have been in the order of 150 000 to 200 000 in 1900
Political history Inhambane
Inhambane was a district of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique in eastern Africa. The Portuguese had, since the 16th century, established themselves in Mozambique. When Mozambique was awarded to Portugal at the 1885 Berlin conference where the colonial powers divided their respective spheres of influence in Africa, it was a prerequisite for continued recognition of territorial claims that effective colonial rule would be established. The Portuguese had little resources available to actually do so, and thus, large parts of Mozambique were transferred to chartered companies for further development – the Mozambique Company and the Nyassa Company. At the same time the colonial administration was modernized. In 1894, districts were formed, each with a governor, reporting to a high commissioner who in turn reported to the Cortes – the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon. With the formation of these districts, elements of the colonial administration and judiciary system came to be organized on district level – the postal administration being one of them.
Inhambane was one of the districts formed. The port of Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the Mozambique coast – for centuries part of the Arab trade routes across the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese first landed in Inhambane in 1498 as Vasco da Gama explored the Mozambique coast. A permanent Portuguese settlement was established in 1534. Until the end of the 19th century, Inhambane was one of the main Portuguese settlements in Mozambique, then to be surpassed by Lourenço Marques further south. The hinterland of Inhambane was much less developed – one of the least developed districts in Mozambique.
Currently, Inhambane is still a province of Mozambique. It is the major tourist destination in Mozambique and known for its coconut, cashew and tangerine plantations.
Postal history Inhambane
Inhambane has issued stamps from 1895. The first issues are commemorative overprints on previous issues of Mozambique. The first definitives are issued in 1903 – the King Carlos type common to Portugal and its colonies. Another set of definitives is issued in 1914 – the equally common Ceres type. The 1903 issue has been overprinted several times after the fall of the monarchy and the establishment of the republic in Portugal in 1910 – the overprint reading ‘Republica’. In 1913, overprints are issed for the new currency. It is interesting to note that for this overprint stamps of the 1898 Vasco da Gama issue for all of Portuguese Africa and stamps of Macau and Timor have been used.
The stamps of Inhambane have been used until 1920 when they were superseded by the general issues for Mozambique.