2020 –

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted the world of philately. Mauritius Post issued its first Official First Day Cover for the year 2020 in September.

YEAR 2020

29 February 2020: 60th Anniversary of the Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation

On the 29th February 2020, a Special Commemorative Cover was issued to mark the Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation celebrated its diamond jubilee marking the contribution of the Marathi community to the social, political and economic development of Mauritius.

The Federation is the supreme body representing the Marathi Community in Mauritius. Its main objective is to promote, preserve and share the rich Marathi culture, language and traditions in Mauritius. The Federation’s Headquarters, Maharasthra Bhawan is located in Moka.

Over the years, the Marathi language is taught is primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The Mauritius Marathi Federation celebrates important religious and social events, such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudhi Padwa and Maharastra and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Day. It also celebrates other hindu festivals, to keek the customs alive and to enhance the involvement of the new generation.

23 July 2020: 170th Anniversary of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry

A special commemorative cover was issued on 23 July 2020 to mark the 170th Anniversary of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The objective of the MCCI is to defend and promote the interests of its members at local, regional and international levels by voicing their views and concerns. The core mandate is to advocate for pro-business policies that will enable enterprises from all size to grow in a conducive environment.

26 September 2020: Mauritius – Australia: 50 years of Diplomatic Relations, Official First Day Cover

To mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Australia, Mauritius Post issued an official first day cover, with a single Rs. 33 stamp, that depicts the floral motives of the two countries: the Trochetia boutoniana, endemic to Mauritius, reflect the vivacity of Mauritian society; the green and gold of the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) are Australia’s national colours. The resilience of the two species embodies the spirit of the peoples of our two countries.

Mauritius and Australia enjoy close cultural, security and economic relations.

On the same day, the Australian Post issued an official envelope as well to mark the event

28 October 2020: 150th Anniversary of the Historical Postal Building

On 28 October 2020, Mauritius Post issued an official First Day Cover to mark the 150th anniversary of the General Post Office (GPO) building, a historical monument situated in Port Louis, Mauritius. The building also hosts the Postal Museum.

Since its creation in 1772 and up to 1870, the Postal Services had never had a permanent location. In 1865, with the development of its services, the need to have a permanent office was felt. The location near the Customs Office next to the Military Hospital was finally chose. As the maritime routes were at that time, the main channel of communication for overseas mails, the proximity of the Post Office to the harbour was particularly advantageous, thus facilitating the reception and dispatch of overseas mail. The plans were approved and construction began in 1865. The building was constructed in pure Victorian style and the building was completed in 1870.

The GPO housed the administration as well as the services to the public. The Central Telegraph Office was also installed in one wing of the building in 1877. In the 20th Century, the Headquarters was transferred to the adjacent old Military Hospital. With the corporatization of the Postal Services and creation of The Mauritius Post Ltd, the Headquarters and the Postal Services were transferred to the ex-Cooperative Bank building, at 3 Dumas Str. Port-Louis in 2004. Subsequently, in March 2018, MPL Headquarters moved to its own building at 1, Sir William Newton Str. Port-Louis.

The historical stone building was declared National Monument in 1958 and was inscribed in the National Heritage in 2003.

2 December 2020: Celebrating the 240th Anniversary of the Arrival of Chinese Immigrants to Mauritius

Established in 2018, the New Chinatown Foundation, a non-profit organization whose aim is to preserve, revive and reinvent Chinatown in Port-Louis and to perpetuate the Chinese legacy, commemorated the 240th anniversary of the arrival of Chinese migrants to Mauritius.

In the 1780s, thousands of voluntary migrants set sail for Port-Louis from Guangzhou on board of British, French and Danish ships, with the hope of a better life and future abroad for their families. The earliest migrants were mostly cantonese speaking, however, the majority of Chinese who came to Mauritius are from Meixian and are hakka speaking.

Hardworking and courageous, the Chinese adapted quickly to Mauritius and opened shops (la boutik sinois) in many villages all over the island. Over years of perseverance, determination, meticulous work and savings, the Chinese managed to provide for higher education for their children who eventually hold various key positions in Mauritius in the fields of economy, politics and business in public and private sectors in Mauritius.

18 December 2020: 75th Anniversary of Cercle de Beau Bassin

In 1945, Victor Marcel Ducasse, Victor Maulguet, Dr. Tacoor and Henri Brunel, who were fan of domino, decided to play regularly in a small building at Napier Broom Street, Beau Bassin. The 4 domino lovers sometimes met in a garage. The idea of setting up a club emerged and the Statutes of the Club were soon validated, leading to the creation of Cercle de Beau Bassin. When an opportunity arose to buy the current location at Route Royale Beau Bassin, property of Labauve d’Arifat family, they decided to buy the property to resettle the Club.

YEAR 2021

24 February 2021: 25th Anniversary of Le Defi Plus – Special commemorative cover

Le Defi Plus is an independent media group created in 1996. It releases a weekly newspaper covering a wide range of issues of interest and relevance to Mauritius and has a radio channel. It is known providing regular critical analysis of the political and social life in Mauritius and for giving space for people to voice our their opinions. It is also present and very active on all social media platforms. On 24 February 2021, it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

10 September 2021: Celebrating 50 years of Ferney Hydro-Electric Power Station, Official FDC

On 10 September 2021, Mauritius Post issued a first day cover to mark the 50th anniversary of Ferney hydro-electric power station.

7 October 2021: First Mauritian Satellite MIR-SAT1, Official FDC

On 7 October 2021, Mauritius Post issued an official FDC to mark the release of the first Mauritian satellite MIR-SAT1. The first  nanosatellite was released into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) on 22 June 2021, marking a major leap forward in the space exploration ambitions of Mauritius. The Mauritius Imagery and Radiotelecommunication Satellite (MIR-SAT 1) is an innovation by Mauritian scientists. It was built by researchers at the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC), part of the country’s Ministry of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation.

The design, building, testing, and operation of the MIR-SAT1 CubeSat are meant to drive knowledge and technology transfer to Mauritius, with small satellite technology and related promotional activities producing widespread socio-economic benefits.

The first day cover has a unique stamp of a value Rs. 41. It depicts the cube satellite in orbit. The cover shows a front view of the satellite.

9 October 2021: ABC Foods – Celebrating 90 years at the service of the nation (1931 – 2021), Special Commemorative Cover

Chue Wing & co. ltd., also known as ABC Foods, was founded in 1931 by Sir Jean E. M. Ah-Chuen. The company holds a special place as it was the first business venture of this top-tier Mauritian conglomerate. Today the company is one of the most important commercial organisations in Mauritius. It is a major supplier in the food service sector. It employs over 200 people.

09 October 2021: Inauguration of Cascavelle Post Office (private cover)

A new post office was inaugurated in the commercial complex of Cascavelle (in the western part of Mauritius) on 9 October 2021. This is a private cover to commemorate the opening of the post office.

09 December 2021: International Anti-corruption Day, official first day cover

An official first day cover was released on 9th December 2021 to mark the commemoration of the international day to fight corruption. This day was officially adopted by the United Nations in 2003 and is aimed at raising awareness worldwide about corruption and to reiterate the role of the UN Convention against corruption as an international instrument in combatting and preventing it across the world. Mauritius signed the convention on 9 December 2003 and ratified it on 15 December 2004. Mauritius enacted the Prevention of Corruption Act in 2002 and set up the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to lead and implement the law. The Rs. 25 stamp on the cover shows the map of Mauritius with the slogan ‘say no to corruption’

YEAR 2022

12 March 2022: Mauritius Kestrel, Official First Day Cover

The Mauritius Kestrel is a native bird of Mauritius, which is part of the protected species of the island. It is considered as an endangered specie and was saved from extinction by the Mauritius Wildlife Fund when it was found that this bird population was on a steady decrease, as a result of excessive use of pesticides and other damages caused on eggs and chicks by invasive species such as rats and mongooses.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Republic of Mauritius, the Mauritius Kestrel (Falco Punctatus) was declared the National Bird of Mauritius.

The cover and the Rs. 50 stamp both show an adult bird.

15 April 2022: 100th Anniversary of the War Memorial, Curepipe (1922 – 2022), Special Commemorative Cover

Each year, on the 11th November, Mauritius observes the Armistice Day together with Remembrance Day, in tribute to the combatants of the First and Second World Wars at the War Memorial of Curepipe (also known in French as the “Momument aux Morts” or the “Monument des Soldats Inconnus”).

This bronze sculpture in front of the Royal College of Curepipe, now a National Heritage monument, represents 2 soldiers: a “Tommy” and a “Poilu” holding together, a wreath of laurels and olives. It is mounted on a concrete pedestal on which are affixed 3 copper plates, the first one bearing the Coat of Arms of Mauritius, while the two other are both engraved with the names of Mauritians who died in the First World War.

18 May 2022: International Museum Day – May 2022. The Power of Museums, Special Commemorative Cover

The Dodo Philatelic Club, in collaboration with the Mauritius Museums Council and Mauritius Post ltd. organised a Stamp Exhibition from 18 May – 03 June 2022. To mark their first stamp exhibition, the Club issued a special cover.

20 May 2022: Extinct Species: Definitive Series, Part I. Official First Day Cover

The first postage stamps in the Definitive Series on Extinct Species were issued on 20 May 2022. Six other stamps will be issued over the next 2 years. These 3 postage stamps are issued in the context of the World Biodiversity Day, celebrated on 22 May. The stamps depict extinct pigeons and parrots from Mauritius and Rodrigues. The Mascarene Islands of Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues were once home to a diversity of pigeons (10 species) most notably the giant, and flightless Dodo, and a number of endemic parrots (8 species).

The envelope depicts a Rs. 5 stamp showing the Mauritius Wood Pigeon Columba thiriouxi, the smallest Mauritian pigeon and mostly arboreal. According to reports, it once occurred in large numbers, but disappeared by the 1730s due to excessive hunting and deforestation.

The Rs 20 stamp shows the Mauritius Blue Pigeon Alectroenas nitidissimus. Blue pigeons are widely distributed in the southwestern Indian Ocean occuring in Madagascar, Comoros, the Seychelles, and formerly Mauritius and Rodrigues. The Mauritius Blue Pigeon was the largest member of the genus and like the Dutch flag, was coloured red, white and blue, hence the name Pigeon Hollandais.

The Rs. 32 stamp shows the Rodrigues Parakeet or Newton Parakeet Psittacula exsul. When first discovered, it occurred in large numbers on the mainland and offshore islets, but became extremely rare by the 1870s due to the almost complete deforestation of the island. A female collected in 1871 and a male in 1875 are the only known specimens. Both exhibit a parblue colour mutation, but the majority of the Rodrigues parakeets were all green.

4 August 2022: 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Mauritius and the People’s Republic of China, Official First Day Cover

Formal diplomatic relations between Mauritius and China were established on 15th April 1972. This paved the way for a longstanding relationship between the two countries, and sealed the development of strong cultural, trade and economic cooperation.

Mauritius and China attach great importance to the bilateral relationship. Over the years, both countries have cooperated in various fields, on the basis of the principle of equality, trust, mutual support and mutual benefit.

The official FDC portrays a single stamp of Rs. 39, with landscape views from both countries.

A Joint Souvenir sheet to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic was also released. It was jointly designed and published by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Mauritius and the Mauritius Post. It has 6 stamps, namely:

(i) A Rs. 11 stamp showing Bagatelle Dam in Mauritius;

(ii) A Rs 12 stamp, with a picture of the China Cultural Centre in Mauritius;

(iii) A Rs. 15 stamp, portraying an aerial view of the Morne, which is a World Heritage site;

(iv) A Rs. 17 stamp, showing the Great Wall of China (the only stamp in the series with a image from Chaine);

(v) A Rs. 20 stamp showing the 7 coloured Earth in Chamarel; and

(vi) A Rs. 25 stamp, showing the water lilies pond at SSR Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses.

15 August 2022: 75th Anniversary of the Independence of India, Special Commemorative Cover

To mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the Mauritius Post issued a special commemorative cover on 15th August 2022. Mauritius and India enjoy a special and unique relationship, that is anchored in shared history, cultural and traditional ties between their people. Prior to independence of both nations, political ties were already solid – the visit of Mahatma Gandhi, on his way to India from South Africa in 1901 was an important milestone in the empowerment of Indian labourers in Mauritius.

The Special Commemorative cover has 3 stamps, namely a Rs. 8 stamp, with the flags of both countries; a Rs. 13 stamps portraying Mahatma Gandhi; and a Rs. 20 stamp with the logo of the 11th World Hindi Conference.

13 September 2022: Air Mauritius 50 years of operations to Rodrigues, Special Commemorative Cover

On 13th September 2022, Air Mauritius celebrated its 50 years of service to Rodrigues. Five years after its creation, on a rainy day on 13th Sep. 1972, history was made with this first commercial flight, which landed safely on a damp grassy strip in Plaine Corail. This first flight was operated by a 6-seater, twin-engine aircraft leased from Air Madagascar. The aircraft bore the registration SR-MCW and proudly showed the colours of Air Mauritius.

Two years later, in January 1975, the advent of the 18-seater De Havilland Twin Otter gave a new impetus to inter-island operations. Flights were operated on a daily basis, without interruption for a period of 362 days. The regular flights gave Air Mauritius an award – in December 1978, the company obtained the world record of the highest annual utilisation of a Twin Otter from the aircraft manufacturing company De Havilland Aircraft of Canada ltd.

Today, Air Mauritius serves Rodrigues with multiple daily flights, using ATR 72-500 aircrafts.

The Special Commemorative Cover shows a picture of the ATR 72-500 Aircraft, with the logo of the 50th years of service to Rodrigues. The Rs. 50 stamp is the Mauritius Kestrel, the national bird of Mauritius.

21 September 2022: 175th Anniversary of Mauritius Post Office Stamps (1847 – 2022), Souvenir Cover, Dodo Philatelic Society

To commemorate the 175th Anniversary of the world known Mauritius Post Office Stamps, the Dodo Philatelic Society, which is the only Philatelic Club with an open membership, issued a private souvenir sheet to mark the event. The Rs. 16 stamp shows the historical postal building – the General Post Office – situated in Port Louis. Pictures of the two most famous Mauritian Stamps – the Orange one Penny, and the Blue Two Pence – are shown on the cover.

08 October 2022: 175th Anniversary of the “Post Office” Stamps (1847 – 2022), Official First Day Cover

The economic development of Mauritius as from the 1840s resulted in the need for improvements in communications, both locally and overseas. This called for a reform of postal services and in that regard, the Governor Sir William Gomm promulgated the Postal Ordinance No. 13 of December 1846, aimed at modernizing the local postal service. The ordinance provided for mail prepayment by postage stamps, the opening of district post offices (along railway lines), improvements in inland mail distribution, daily mail delivery at Port-Louis, free transport of newspapers, and more overseas mail routes, amongst others.

The most innovative improvement was the prepayment of mail. Previously, the recipient of letters had to pay the postage fees for both local and overseas mail. The concept of postage stamps were first introduced in the UK in 1840, and postage stamps were sold at Post Offices. This helped to improve postal departments finances as well, and helped to clear the accumulation of unclaimed letters.

Joseph Osmond Barnard, a painter and engraver, used a copper plate to engrave a die for a single 1d and a single 2d stamp. They bore the hear of Queen Victoria, with the wordings “Post Office” and Mauritius the vertical sides. 500 1d in the colour orange red and 500 2d in the colour blue were printed and issued. They were released on 21 September 1847. Mauritius because the 5th country in the world and the first British colony to issue postage stamps.

Joseph O. Barnard had no instructions. It is believed that the wording “Post Office” should have been “Post Paid” instead, and that it was therefore an error or Barnard. To date, only 28 stamps – 10 1d and 18 2d – are believed to have survived. These stamps are among the rarest – and among the most expensive – in the world.

On the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the 2 famous stamps, the Mauritius Post issued 1 official first day cover and a miniature sheet. The official FDC has a Rs. 25 stamp denomination. The stamp shows the 1d orange and 2d blue stamps. The cover shows the portrays of Sir William Gomm the then Governor who issued Ordinance No. 13 (also on the cover) and of J. Or Barnard, the engraver and printer of the 2 stamps.

The miniature sheet has the same stamps, a picture of Barnard, and an illustration of the copper plates he used for both stamps.

08 October 2022: 250th Anniversary of the Creation of Postal Services in Mauritius (1772 – 2022), Official First Day Cover

During the French colonial period (1715 – 1810), printing was introduced in Isle de France in 1768. Nicholas Lambert, the owner of a printing press and his associates, decided to create a newspaper to circulate information to the growing population. At the same time, Lambert created a postal service (in the printing office) to distribute letters. Although both organizations were created for private purposes, they nonetheless obtained the approval of the Local Government.

Lambert was appointed “Directeur General des Postes et Gazettes”. He sub-divided the island into 8 zones (mail routes), and each one was covered by a foot messenger (called Noir Facteur). Foot messengers started their journeys from Port-Louis every Friday, to deliver and collect letters/ mails/ packets to and from inhabitants.

To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the creation of postal services in Mauritius, the Mauritius Post issued an official first day cover and a Miniature Sheet, both with a Rs. 50 stamp, showing the map of Mauritius and the 8 initial zones created by Lambert to distribute mails across the island. On the cover of the FDC enveloppe, one can also see an old map of Port-Louis city, with a little red square, showing the location of the first post office in Port Louis. It it situated at the corner of Hospital and Royal Street, and was then the printing office of Nicholas Lambert. The Miniature sheet has an illustration of the ‘gazette’ on the left and side, and a drawing representing a foot messenger (a Noir Facteur) on the right.

28 November 2022: 25th anniversary of Indian Ocean Rim Association, Official First Day Cover

On 28 Nov. 2022, Mauritius Post issued an official first day cover, with a Rs. 50 stamp on it, to mark the silver jubilee of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), which is an inter-governmental organization aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development among its 23 members and 10 dialogue partners.

The idea of the IORA was mooted by President Nelson Mandela in 1995 and the organization was established in 1997. Itis home to 2.7 billion people, with a rich cultural diversity, languages and religions, was countries have been linked through commercial routes since centuries.

The IORA seeks to build and expand understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation through consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach. Cooperation focuses on 6 areas: (i) maritime safety and security; (ii) trade and investment facilitation; (iii) fisheries management (iv) disaster risk management; (v) academic, science, and technology cooperation and (vi) tourism and cultural exchange. There are 2 cross-cutting themes, namely (i) blue economy; and (ii) women’s economic empowerment.

The stamp has the logo of the organization as well as the flags of the 23 members (around the logo) and of the 10 dialogue partners (at the bottom of the circle with the 23 flags)

28 November 2022: 100th Anniversary of the Victoria Hospital, Official First Day Cover

To mark the centenary of the Victoria Hospital, the Mauritius Post issued an official first day cover, with a Rs. 41 stamp showing the entrance of the hospital, located in Quatre Bornes. The cover also shows the new casualty block.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the population of the district of Plaines Wilhems had grown significantly, and there was an urgent need for a new hospital to cater for patients in the region. Governor Chancellor initiated the construction of a hospital in Candos near Quatre Bornes, in a compound formerly used as Barracks. This was a modern institution, that could contain 400 beds, and it was inaugurated on 6 July 1922.

The hospital also became a training centre for nurses and midwifes.

28 November 2022: 200th Anniversary of Port-Louis Theatre, Official First Day Cover

To mark the bicentenary of the Port-Louis Theatre, the Mauritius Post issued an official first day cover on 28 November 2022. The FDC has a stamp of Rs. 2, showing the facade of the Theatre, and a view from inside the theatre.

The Port Louis theatre is the first french theatre of the Indian Ocean and the Southern Hemisphere and was inaugurated under British rule on 11 June 1822. The present building was constructed at the place where the Port Louis market was formerly situated. The land was granted by Sir Ralph Darling, Interim Governor of Mauritius, in 1819 and the first stone was laid by Governor Sir Robert Farquhar on 27 September 1820. The construction was given to architect Pierre Poujade and to designer and decorator Pierre Thuiller. The theatre was completed in 1822, at a cost of more than 50,000 piastres.

Two theatrical pieces were played for the opening: La Partie de Chasse and Maison a Vendre. Both met with huge success and since then the theatre has been an important place for cultural events. At present it is being renovated.