Animals of Niger

Niger, officially the Republic of Niger, is the largest landlocked country in West Africa, with a population of over 25 million. The country is 80% desert, with population centers in the  South and West.

At the 1885 Berlin conference colonial powers divided Africa into spheres of influence. France gained control of the area roughly equivalent to present day Mali and Niger. Independence for Niger was achieved in 1960 and it became the Republique du Niger with French continuing as the official language.

Niger suffers from droughts and limited arable areas. It is among the world’s poorest countries. The economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world’s largest uranium deposits.

I have always liked finely engraved stamps, and the 1959-1960 Niger stamps feature beautiful wildlife engravings with birds and animals produced in two different  color versions. Illustrated here are three of my favorite pairs: Crested Cranes, Saddle-billed Storks, and Ostriches. I find the engraving and coloring extraordinary.

My next post examines designers/engravers of these stamps.

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