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Obock (also Obok, Ubuk) is a small port town of Djibouti, located on the northern shore of the Gulf of Tadjoura where it opens out into the Gulf of Aden. Population in 2003 is about 8,300.

Obock was originally significant as the site of a French colony, established by treaty with the local rulers March 11, 1862. The French interest was to have a coaling station for steamships, which would become especially important upon the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. (Up to that time French ships had to buy coal at the British port of Aden across the gulf, an unwise dependency in case of war.)

By 1885 Obock had 800 inhabitants and a school. However, the anchorage was more exposed than the site of Djibouti on the south side of the Gulf of Tadjoura, and the colonial administration moved there in 1891. Subsequently the population of Obock declined.

At the end of 2002, several thousand US troops came to Obock to train for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Stamps and postal history of Obock

During its time as a French colony, Obock issued its own postage stamps. At first the inhabitants used the general stamps of the French Colonies, but in 1892 they were overprinted with "OBOCK". Later in the year some of these were also surcharged with values from 1 centime to 5 francs. By the end of the year, a supply of the omnibus Navigation and Commerce issues, inscribed OBOCK in red or blue.

1893 and 1894 brought the stamps for which Obock is most famous among philatelists; a series of imperforate stamps with simulated perforations, a scalloped line resembling the outline of a perforated stamps, printed all around the design. In addition, the 2fr and higher stamps are in the shape of a large equilateral triangle. While the low values are relatively common, ranging from US$1-10, the triangles go for US$50 or more.

Although with the departure of the government from Obock, it is hard to believe that much mail came or went from the little port town, used stamps are no more valuable than unused. Authentic uses on cover are not often seen though.

In 1902 stamps issued for the whole Somali Coast superseded the stamps of Obock.