2020 Stamp Programme
The Republic of the Marshall Islands currently utilizes the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation as its stamp production agent. As a result, many of its issues have little to no relevance with topics related to the island.
- 22 May 2020: Marine Life (definitive stamps)
- 22 May 2020: Bird Life (definitive stamps)
- 07 August 2020: COVID-19 — A Tribute to Those on the Front Line
The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshallese: Aolepān Aorōkin M̧ajeļ), is an island country near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line and an Associated state of the United States. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country’s population of 58,413 people (at the 2018 World Bank Census) is spread out over 29 coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The capital and largest city is Majuro. It has the largest portion of its territory made of water of any sovereign state, at 97.87%.
The islands share maritime boundaries with the Wake Island to the north, Kiribati to the southeast, Nauru to the south, and Federated States of Micronesia to the west. About 52.3% of Marshall Islanders (27,797 at the 2011 Census) live on Majuro. Data from the United Nations indicates an estimated population in 2018 of 58,413. In 2016, 73.3% of the population were defined as being “urban”. The UN also indicates a population density of 295 per km² (765 people per mi²) and its projected 2020 population is 59,190.
Micronesian colonists reached the Marshall Islands using canoes circa 2nd millennium BC, with interisland navigation made possible using traditional stick charts. They eventually settled here. Islands in the archipelago were first explored by Europeans in the 1520s, starting with Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer in the service of Spain, Juan Sebastián Elcano and Miguel de Saavedra. Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar reported sighting an atoll in August 1526. Other expeditions by Spanish and English ships followed. The islands derive their name from John Marshall, who visited in 1788. The islands were historically known by the inhabitants as “jolet jen Anij” (Gifts from God).
Spain claimed the islands in 1592, and the European powers recognized its sovereignty over the islands in 1874. They had been part of the Spanish East Indies formally since 1528. Later, Spain sold some of the islands to the German Empire in 1885, and they became part of German New Guinea that year, run by the trading companies doing business in the islands, particularly the Jaluit Company. In World War I the Empire of Japan occupied the Marshall Islands, which in 1920, the League of Nations combined with other former German territories to form the South Seas Mandate. During World War II, the United States took control of the islands in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign in 1944. Nuclear testing began on Bikini Atoll in 1946 and concluded in 1958.
The US government formed the Congress of Micronesia in 1965, a plan for increased self-governance of Pacific islands. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1979 provided independence to the Marshall Islands, whose constitution and president (Amata Kabua) were formally recognized by the US. Full sovereignty or self-government was achieved in a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Marshall Islands has been a member of the Pacific Community (SPC) since 1983 and a United Nations member state since 1991. Politically, the Marshall Islands is a parliamentary republic with an executive presidency in free association with the United States, with the US providing defense, subsidies, and access to U.S.-based agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the United States Postal Service. With few natural resources, the islands’ wealth is based on a service economy, as well as some fishing and agriculture; aid from the United States represents a large percentage of the islands’ gross domestic product. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency. In 2018, it also announced plans for a new cryptocurrency to be used as legal tender.
The majority of the citizens of the Republic of Marshall Islands, formed in 1982, are of Marshallese descent, though there are small numbers of immigrants from the United States, China, Philippines, and other Pacific islands. The two official languages are Marshallese, which is one of the Oceanic languages; and English. Almost the entire population of the islands practices some religion: three-quarters of the country follows either the United Church of Christ – Congregational in the Marshall Islands (UCCCMI) or the Assemblies of God.
From Linn’s Stamp News, published 15 January 1998:
Marshall Islands Post renews relationship with IGPC effective Jan. 1
By Molly Goad
Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) has been appointed the exclusive philatelic agent of the Pacific Island nation of the Marshall Islands effective Jan. 1.
This is not the first time IGPC and Marshall Islands Post have teamed up; IGPC was the first international philatelic agency to represent this former United States administrated trust territory when it began issuing its own postage stamps as a republic on May 2, 1984.
IGPC continued as the philatelic agent for the Marshall Islands until Aug. 1, 1989, when Unicover Corp. of Cheyenne, Wyo., took over that role. On that date, the Marshall Islands issued a set of seven 25¢ booklet stamps (Scott 232-237) and a single $1 souvenir sheet (238) marking the 20th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.
Located in Brooklyn, N.Y., IGPC is the world’s largest philatelic agency, representing more than 70 international government postal authorities.
“Joining forces once again with the Marshall Islands is a very happy day for all of us,” said Sam Malamud, IGPC president. “The history of our two organizations shares a common goal and a driving force to help build the international stamp collecting of the beautiful stamps of the Marshall Islands.”
The announcement from IGPC reported that Marshall Islands Post will welcome 2018 with new stamp issues, including $7 commemorative stamps celebrating the recent royal engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and a sheet of four stamps to honor the Year of the Dog.
The stamps were designed by IGPC and printed by offset lithography. They are available for purchase at all post offices throughout the Marshall Islands and via IGPC.