General issues: French overseas territory 1958-1960, Republic 1960-Present
Country name on general issues: Niger
Currency: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes 1958-1960, 1 (CFA) Franc = 100 Centimes 1960-Present
Population: 2 715 000 in 1958, 17 830 000 in 2013
Political history Niger
Niger is located in western Africa. The population of Niger is largely concentrated in the south and the southwest of the country. The most important peoples in Niger are the Hausa in the south, the Fulbe and Zarma in the west and the Tuareg in the scarcely populated north. As such, Niger is located at an intersection of the ethno-linguistic divisions in Africa: the Hausa and the Tuareg are Afro-Asiatic peoples, the Zarma are a Nilo-Saharan people and the Fulbe are a Niger-Congo people.
Niger is awarded to the French in 1885 at the Berlin conference, where the colonial powers define their respective spheres of influence in Africa. At the time, the French have yet to establish themselves in Niger – they move into Niger from 1890. In 1899, the sultanate of Zinder is conquered and a territory under military administration is defined – the French military territory of Zinder. The territory is, at the time, part of Upper Senegal & Middle Niger and, from 1902, from Senegambia & Niger. In 1904, the territory becomes part of Upper Senegal & Niger and the name is changed to Niger. In 1911, Niger becomes a separate – still military – territory within the federation of French West Africa – the federation of French possessions in western Africa established in 1895 – the commissioner reporting directly to the governor general of French West Africa. The French gradually extend direct French rule in Niger, but it will take until the early 1920’s before the Tuareg are finally subjected. Niger, in 1920, becomes a civil territory and in 1922 is raised to the status of the colony of French Niger.
French Niger, in 1946, becomes a French overseas territory and, in 1958, gains self government. In 1960, French Niger gains independence as the republic of Niger. Independent Niger has a political history with alternating periods of democratically elected governments and totalitarian regimes. The economy is a subsistence economy relying on natural resources to provide the basic needs of the population. Niger is one of the countries most affected by the droughts in the Sahel region.
Postal history Niger
The first post offices are opened in French Niger from 1894. The first stamps used are the issues of French Sudan, followed by the issues of Senegambia & Niger and Upper Senegal & Niger. In 1921, the first stamps are issued specifically for Niger. The first set issued are stamps of Upper Senegal & Niger overprinted ‘Territoire du Niger’. The first definitives are issued in 1926. From 1944, the stamps of French West Africa are used – as is the case in all French possessions in western Africa.
Niger will resume to issue stamps once self government is gained. From 1960, Niger issues stamps as the independent republic of Niger.