Overprinted Definitives of Gilbert and Ellice Islands
The first issue of stamps for Tuvalu consisted of fifteen values of
stamps for the Gilbert and Ellice Islands overprinted "TUVALU".
Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu consists of nine coral islands inhabited primarily by people of Polynesian descent. In 1892 the islands were combined with the neighboring Gilberts as a British protectorate. In 1911 an official mail service was established using stamps of Fiji overprinted "Gilbert and Ellice Islands Protectorate." Later that year four stamps specifically for the islands were printed with a design featuring the palm-like pandanus plant. The next year definitives depicting King George V were issued. In 1915 the inhabitants of the islands requested and received colonial status. When independence was achieved in 1975, the two island groups separated rather than having the Ellice Islands dominated by the Micronesian majority in the Gilberts.
The stamps in the Gilbert and Ellice Island definitive issue of 1971 depict a woman cleaning pandanus leaves, fishermen casting nets, Gilbertese canoes, dehusking coconuts, a woman weaving pandanus fronds, a tiger shark, beating rolled pandanus leaf, loading copra, night fishing, a local handicraft, a woman weaving a coconut screen and the coat of arms. These were the designs overprinted to created Tuvalu's first definitive issue of January 1, 1976.
"Gilbert and Ellice Islands." Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue 2016. Sidney, Ohio: Amos Publishing, 2015. Print.
Lamb, Bob. "Woprldwide in a Nutshell: Tuvalu." American Philatelist. Jan. 2013: 96. Print.
"Tuvalu." Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue 2016. Sidney, Ohio: Amos Publishing, 2015. Print.
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