Sudan Post History

Sudan Post History

The first post offices to be opened in Sudan were in 1867 at Suakin and Wadi Halfa; in 1873 at Dongola, Berber and Khartoum; and in 1877 at Sennar, Karkouk, Fazoglu, Elkedaref, El Obeid, Al-Fasher.

The Mahdist revolt, which began in 1881, resulted in all Egyptian post offices being closed by 1884. It culminated in the fall of Khartoum and the death of the British governor General Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum) in 1885.

The Egyptians and British withdrew their forces from Sudan and the country was left with no postal service until the reconquest of Sudan began in 1896. When the campaign started in March 1896, postal service was made available to the troops but no stamps were used.

First stamps used
Until the issue of Sudan stamps in 1897 the available stamps were Egyptian stamps. The amount of mail was small and only a few stamps were used. Between March and July 1885 2½d and 5d British postage stamps were used in Suakin. Indian stamps are also known to have been used in the same area, postmarked Sawakin or Souakin, between 1884 and 1899.

The provisional stamps of 1897
On 1 March 1897, contemporary Egyptian postage stamps, overprinted SOUDAN in French and Arabic, were made available in the post offices. The values which appeared were 1, 2, 3 and 5 milliemes and 1, 2, 5 and 10 piastres. The overprinting was done at the Imprimerie Nationale, Boulaq, Cario, Egypt.

The Camel issue
On 1 March 1898 the so-called “Camel” or “Desert Postman” stamps, printed by Thos De La Rue & Co were issued. The design of the stamps is based on an original sketch by Colonel E S Stanton C M G who produced it at the request of Sir Herbert Kitchener. This design continued to be used by Sudan for its definitive stamps until 1948.

Postal stationery
The first items of postal stationery to be issued for the Sudan were postcards, post paid envelopes and letter sheets in 1887 and newspaper wrappers in 1898. These were produced by overprinting Egyptian postal stationery. Registration envelopes were first issued in 1908 and aerogrammes were first issued in 1951.