Katanga – a fascinating country to collect!

It’s existence as a separate country for less than 3 years means that a straightforward stamp collection can be achieved for a relatively small outlay.

Scope For Specialization…
Indifferent local overprinting techniques, leading to several errors and varieties, offer scope for specialisation, and with the country in turmoil for most of the time, interesting covers and postal history items can be added to build up a fascinating collection.

The History…
On 30th June 1960 the Belgian Congo became the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the chaos that followed independence KATANGA, the Congo’s richest province due to huge deposits of copper, cobalt, gold and uranium, tried to establish itself as a separate state. On 11th July 1960 Katanga seceded from the Congo under the leadership of MOISE TSHOMBE and with the support of the Belgian-owned mining company and a rag-tag army led by European mercenaries. Congo Republic troops moved towards Katanga in August 1960.

The ongoing skirmishes and the deployment of United Nations Troops to restore order, coupled with the overthrow (and subsequent murder) of the charismatic Congo Prime Minister PATRICE LUMUMBA and the death in a plane crash of mediating U.N. Secretary General DAG HAMMARSKJOLD placed this part of Africa firmly at the centre of the world stage.

Eventually, after a further round of fighting in Elizabethville (the Katangan capital) in December 1962, Tshombe ended his secession and accepted a U.N.-brokered National Conciliation Plan in January 1963.

The Stamps…
12 Sept 1960 – FIRST STAMPS (Belgian Congo stamps overprinted). Various overprinted Belgian Congo stamps were issued through to January 1961. 1st March 1961 – 1st definitive ‘own’ stamps issued. 15th January 1963 – Congo Government invalidates all Katanga stamps throughout the territory (they did continue to be used for another month in the area around Kolwezi).

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