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Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was a short lived state in southern Africa which existed from 1953 to the end of 1963, composed of the former British colonies of Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and the Nyasaland Protectorate.

The federation was established 1 August 1953. The goal was to create a middle way between the newly independent and socialist black independent states and the white dominated governments of South Africa, Angola, and Mozambique. Ultimately the federation floundered because the black African nationalists wanted a greater share of power than the white dominated settler population was willing to concede.

The Federation collapsed (officially on 31 December 1963), when Northern Rhodesia gained independence from Great Britain as Zambia and Nyasaland gained independence as Malawi. The remaining state Southern Rhodesia became simply Rhodesia and unilaterially declared independence in 1965, triggering a civil war which was not ended until 1980 and independence as Zimbabwe.

Postage stamps

The federation issued its first postage stamps in 1954, all with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in three kinds of designs, and inscribed "RHODESIA & NYASALAND". The first to appear was the 2 1/2p, on 15 February, with the remainder, 15 values ranging from 1/2p to one pound, coming out on 1 July.

A pair of commemorative stamps in 1955 signaled the 100th anniversary of the discovery of David Livingstone's discovery of Victoria Falls, and a definitive series in 1959 consisted of 15 stamps depicting local scenery and industries.

Six additional special issues appeared in subsequent years, the last being issued 11 September 1963 to mark the World Council of the Young Men's Service Clubs that was held at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

Nearly all of the stamps of Rhodesia and Nyasaland are cheaply available today, with the exception of the highest values of the 1954 and 1959 series, which go for US$10-$20.