Aden - Qu'aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla

Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla (1942-1954)

Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut (1955-1963)

LOCATION: Hadhramaut region of Eastern Aden Protectorate
GOVERNMENT:  Sultanate
CAPITAL: Al Mukalla

FIRST STAMPS: Aden, 1937-1942
LAST STAMPS ISSUED: 20 October 1963

12 fils = 1 anna, 16 annas = 1 rupee (1937-1951)
100 cents = 1 shilling (1951-1965)
1000 fils = 1 dinar (1965-1968)

The al-Qu’aitis in the Hadhramaut region of the southern Arabian peninsula took the town of Shibam from the rival al-Kathiris in 1858, later conquering Ash Shihr (in 1866) and Al Mukalla (1881) and thus largely replacing the Kathiris to control most of the Hadhramaut coast along the Gulf of Aden.  The Kathiris were confined to an inland region centered around the wadis of Seiyun and Tarim. A treaty was signed with Great Britain in 1888 and a unified sultanate was created in 1902 that would become the Eastern Province of Aden Protectorate.

Aden Map 1938

The capital of Mukalla on the Gulf of Aden has been a fishing village since the eleventh century.  The walled city of Shibam dates from the third century and features mud brick tower houses rising some five to eleven stories high.    The flag was adopted in 1939 with three stripes of red, yellow and blue plus three castle towers in circles on the center stripe.  The towers in the blue circles represent the port cities of Shihr and Mukalla while the center tower in the green circle symbolized the city of Shibam in the northern wadi.

Aerial View of Mukalla, 1932

The Qu’aiti State first postal services saw mails passed through forwarding agents in Aden as early as 1891.  At the request of the sultan, a post office dependent on Aden was opened at Mukalla on 22 April 1937.   A postal union between Aden and the protected states was signed in 1939 which stated that any stamps issued would be valid throughout the Protectorate and Colony.  Slightly delayed by the start of World War II, the first stamps inscribed “Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla” were released in 1942. 

Mukalla, Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut

Twenty-eight general issue stamps were released between 1942 and 1953.  Beginning with the set of definitives released on 1 September 1955, the inscription read “Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut.”  A total of twenty-four additional stamps are listed in the Scott catalogue under that name, the last set appearing on 20 October 1963 using the same designs as the 1955 set but with the portrait of Sultan Awadh bin Saleh al-Qu’aiti replacing that of the previous Sultan Sir Saleh bin Ghalib al-Qu’aiti and adding one additional denomination.  There were also two aerogrammes issued, one in March 1956 and the other in October 1963, which are not listed in Scott.  Scott also does not list the numerous stamps issued under the name of Qu’aiti State in Hadhamaut that appeared from 1964 onwards due to their bogus nature, designed solely to dupe collectors.

Shibam, Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut

In the early 1960’s, the Qu’aiti State declined to join the British-sponsored Federation of South Arabia, remaining under British protection as part of the Protectorate of South Arabia.  Communist forces overran the Hadhramaut region on 17 September 1967 and the Qu’aiti State was forcibly integrated into Communist South Yemen without a referendum.  South Yemen united with North Yemen in 1990, again without a referendum, to become the current Republic of Yemen.


I currently have two Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla stamps in my collection – Scott #12 and 13 issued on 15 October 1946 to commemorate the victory by the Allied nations in World War II.  Although it is the same place, I am treating the Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut as a separate stamp issuer in my A Stamp From Everywhere collection; I have yet to obtain one thusly inscribed.


0 thoughts on “The Stamp Issuers: Aden Protectorate – Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.