Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp

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COMPANHIA DE MOÇAMBIQUE
and África Oriental Portuguesa

Background:  After difficult talks with Britain regarding the Mozambican border, Portugal finally ratified the clauses of the 1884 Congress of Berlin on 11 Jan. 1891. Among other things Portugal committed herself to build a railway from Beira to Rhodesia, who had been pressing heavily to gain access to the sea.

The Companhia de Moçambique SARL, formed in 1888 by Paiva de Andrade, administered by concession the central part, i.e. Manica and Sofála, of Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) from 1891 until 1941*, when its 50 years (prolonged from 25 years in 1897) charter terminated.
In 1939 the population was 370 000 and the area 155 000 sq. km. In 1893 the Mozambique Co's territory was enlarged south of the river Save (dotted line on the map below). That area was attached to Gaza and Inhambane in the 1940s.

The company had exclusive rights to develop the economy of its territory, which, of course, politically and legally continued to belong to Portugal. A 1928 advert. The concession gave the company special trading privileges and even the authority to collect taxes and duties (revenue stamps were issued too), but infrastructure was to be constructed (including that railway!), public services maintained and a fee paid to the Portuguese government**. The important Beira–Salisbury railway was opened in 1899 and the line for Nyasaland in 1922.

The organisation of the postal service was part of the rights and obligations of the Mozambique Company, and between 1892 and 1941* it issued postage stamps (some 280 different). Most of the stamps from 1918 on were recess printed in London and are colourful and exotic, and thus popular with collectors. They are not expensive. The sale of stamps (frequently cancelled to order) certainly was a welcome income for the company. From 1942 on it continued as an ordinary non-chartered company and became in 1961 a subsidiary of the Portuguese Entreposto SGPS group. Strictly speaking the present day Companhia de Moçambiqe may be a new legal entity.

There were other similar chartered commercial companies (Port. companhias majestáticas) that issued stamps:  the East India Company, the British North Borneo Company, the Imperial British East Africa Company, the Italian Benadir Company, and, also in Mozambique, the Nyassa Company***. The big British South Africa Company (chartered in 1889) operated Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and the Mozambique Company was actually chartered in order to help satisfying BSAC's contractual claims on neighbouring Portuguese East Africa, because Portugal's economy was weak at this time. Paradoxically most of the share capital of the Mozambique Company was furnished by private British interests. Below is a picture of a bearer share certificate issued in 1895.

The certificate (for 25 shares; printed in London) does not state where it was issued, but the legal domicile of the Companhia de Moçambiqe was Lisbon, not Beira (the capital of its territory). In the right hand margin there is a notation that this particular certificate has been exchanged in 1901 for three new ones by the Compagnie du Mozambique's Paris registrars. This share is from 1948 (or somewhat later). The Company also issued bank notes of its own (previously through its Banco da Beira). Some of the notes are denominated in Pounds Sterling, due to the Rhodesian influence on the economy.

1893–1919 (31 Dec.) each district of Port. East Africa except Gaza used its own stamps. In 1913 the old Zambezia was split into Quelimane and Tete. The Gaza district was detached in Jan. 1918 from Inhambane (which was created in 1895). 1895–1907 the Gaza area had had a special military status.

The Quionga (German Kionga) triangle was occupied by the Portuguese on 11 April 1916 (acknowledged by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919), but it is not certain that it was annexed to the Nyassa Co's area. What stamps were in use there after the 1916 provisionals? (At least in the 1926 UPU list there is no PO here.)
Map of the districts

Chinde, British Concession. In 1891 the Portuguese govt. granted the British govt. a concession (signed 1892, expanded to 10 hectares 1898, cancelled 1925) to an island with 400 metres of frontage on the Chinde River­/Channel/Mouth (discovered 1889) and close to Chinde town, as a free trade area for transits to and from Nyasaland (BCA), who also maintained a post office there. You may thus find Nyasaland stamps postmarked Chinde. Before the railway River Zambezi (via Chinde) was the main route to central Africa.

*The Company was chartered on 11 February 1891. A decree of 8 August 1892 authorized it to issue postage stamps. In accordance with a July 1941 decree the administration of Manica and Sofála reverted to the colonial authorities in January 1942 and Mozambican stamps came on sale at the same time [Simões Ferreira catalogue]. Stamps of the Mozambique Company in the hands of the public were valid up to 18 July 1942 inclusive [Portu-Info 14[1]:5, July 1978].

**Exploiting a colony was not that lucrative as people tend to think today, not even for the mightiest of the mighty: "The British South Africa Co. would not be sorry to give up [into effect in 1923] the burden of governing the two Rhodesias. In the 25 years of its life, it had not so far paid a penny of dividend to its shareholders. Instead of making a large profit every year, as it had hoped, it had lost money." [W. E. Ward. A History of Africa, Book three. London 1968. P. 94.] The Br. East Africa Co. only could hold out from 1887 to 1895. The share capital of the Mozambique Co. had to be halved.

When the BSAC's charter ended in 1923 the company retained interests in mining, railways, real estate and agriculture. In 1964, it was forced to hand over its last mineral rights to Zambia, and in 1965, BSAC merged with the Central Mining & Investment Corp. Ltd and the Consolidated Mines Selection Co. Ltd, to form the mining and industrial company Charter Consolidated Ltd (the biggest shareholder of which was Anglo American plc). The design of the share certificate has been the same since 1890. Note the similarities with the Mozambique Co. design.

***The majority of the shares of the Companhia do Nyassa (Companhia do Niassa), which administered the north (190 000 sq. km, pop. 824 000 in 1960) under a 35 years charter (granted in 1894, ended on 27 Oct. 1929), was in 1913–14 acquired from e.g. Portuguese interests by a group of German banks, with the intention of attaching the territory to German East Africa. However, in 1917 those shares were confiscated and sold to British investors. This company was obliged to build a railway from Porto Amélia to Lake Nyasa, but it never did.

Other short monographs: Borgå Ångfartygs Ab, Järnvägs Ab Fredrikshamn, Some Near East Islands.
Copyright © 12.2005–2011 by G. Kock
Contact information is here.  Address of page: www.filatelia.fi/articles/mozambique.html
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Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp




Moz. Co. stamp

Companhia de Mocambique share certificate