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.


Aden - Kathiri State of Seiyun

Kathiri State Of Seiyun

LOCATION:  Hadhramaut region of Eastern Aden Protectorate
GOVERNMENT:  Sultanate

FIRST STAMPS: Aden, 1937-1942

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

The stamps of Aden Colony, as previously detailed, were valid throughout the Western and Eastern Protectorates and their various sultanates from their initial release in April 1937.  Two of the emirates in the eastern region of Hadhramaut objected to the portrait of King George VI on the stamps and began to release their own stamps in 1942.

The al-Kathiri dynasty once ruled much of the Hadhramaut region of the southern Arabian peninsula but their power was truncated by the rival Qu’aitis in the 19th century.  The Kathiris were eventually restricted to a small inland portion of Hadhramaut with their capital at Seiyun.  The sultanate entered into treaty relations with the British in 1882 and became a part of the Aden Protectorate

The post office at Seiyun was opened on 25 May 1937 and several smaller postal agencies soon followed.  Due to Sultan Ja’far bin Mansur al-Kathiri’s irritation over the royal monarch’s image on the Aden postage stamps, a set of eleven stamps inscribed “Kathiri State of Seiyun” were released in August 1942.  The three lowest values of these stamps – ½-anna, ¾a and 1a – featured a large portrait of the sultan while the remaining stamps pictured the mosques at Seiyun and Tarim, the large palace of the sultan built in the 1920s, and other local views all with a small portrait of the sultan located in the upper corner just as the British monarch had been.  The stamps of the Kathiri State of Seiyun were valid for use throughout Aden. 

Aden Map 1938

Al Husayn ibn Ali al-Kathiri became sultan in 1949, although his portrait didn’t appear on stamps until 1954.  In 1951, the currency on the stamps changed from Indian rupees to East African shillings. That year saw a number of the earlier stamps surcharged with the new currency values. 

The Kathiri State of Seiyun participated in three British Commonwealth omnibus issues – a pair of stamps marking the 25th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI, four commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union in 1949, and a single stamp honoring the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  The Silver Wedding and Coronation issues, of course, all featured images of the British monarchs.

The Kathiri State declined to join the Federation of South Arabia but remained under British protection as part of the Protectorate of South Arabia.  The final stamps of the Kathiri State of Seiyun were released on 1 July 1964.  In all, the sultanate had issued 42 stamps since 1942.  Starting in 1967, stamps inscribed “Kathiri State In Hadhramaut” began flooding the collector market, along with others from nearby individual emirates.  These aren’t listed in the Scott catalogue due to their lack of postal validity.

Sultan Husayn was overthrown on 2 October 1967, and the following month the former sultanate became part of newly independent South Yemen.

South Yemen united with North Yemen in 1990 to become the Republic of Yemen, but local sheiks in Yemen are reported to still wield large de facto authority.


I currently have two stamps in my collection from the Kathiri State in Seiyun.  Scott #12 and 13 were released on 15 October 1946 to mark the Allied victory in World War II.  They are both overprints of earlier issues – the 1½ anna in dark carmine rose (Scott #4) received a black overprint while the 2½a deep blue (Scott #6) was overprinted in red.  They, like most Kathiri stamps, are reasonably valued.  Only four high denominations are valued at US $10 or above with the most expensive being Scott #11, US $29 mint in my 2009 edition of Scott.  Used copies of Kathiri stamps generally bear Aden GPO or Aden Camp cancels.  Examples with cancellations from offices in the Eastern Protectorate command a premium.


France Coat of Arms (Unofficial 1898-1953)

Alaouite Flag

Alaouites / Alawites State

LOCATION: A district of Syria, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea
GOVERNMENT: Under French mandate
POPULATION: 278,000 (est. 1930)
AREA: 2,500 square miles
CAPITAL: Latakia


100 centimes = 1 piaster

The Alawite State, listed in most stamp catalogues under the French name Alaouites, was a region in western Syria bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. It was part of the Ottoman Empire at the start of the twentieth century but was occupied by France at the close of World War I. Growing anti-French sentiment in the region led to the establishment of the Arab Kingdom of Syria on 7 March 1920. The League of Nations issued a mandate on 5 May 1920 for France to govern the area of Syria and Lebanon. France divided the area of its mandate into territories and the Territory of the Alawites was formed on 2 September 1920. The coastal city of Latakia was the administrative capital. At the end of 1924, the territory became an independent state while still administered by France under mandate.


The first stamps issued for Alaouites were overprinted French stamps and were available in Latakia from the first of January 1925. This initial regular issue included twenty-one definitive stamps, four for airmail, and five French surcharged stamps intended for postage due. All included an overprint of the denomination and state name in both French and Arabic. Beginning in March 1925, Syrian stamps were overprinted for use in Alaouites. There were a total of twenty-five regular issue Syrian overprinted stamps released between 1925 and 1928 as well as thirteen intended for airmail and five for postage due.

The total count, then, for Alaouites stamps is forty-six general issue, seventeen airmail and ten postage due stamps.  Because every issue is  an overprint, almost every stamp issued has variations of the overprint. Some have multiple copies of the overprint, but the most common variation is the inverted overprint.  Most of the stamps are reasonably priced with only ten cataloguing at US $10 and above.  The most expensive is Scott #49, 4p on 25c olive black issued in 1928 and valued at US $75 mint and $50 used.  Collecting doubled impressions or different colored overprint variations is much more expensive.

In 1930, the Alawite State was renamed the Government of Latakia and Syrian stamps overprinted with “Lattaquie” were released the following year.

To date, I only own one stamp from Alaouites, but it’s a beauty – Scott #C17, 50 centimes yellow green with red overprints, perforated 13½.  In June and July 1929, the Alawite State released three airmail stamps, applying an additional overprint of an airplane on previously overprinted stamps in either red or black. The 50 centime value, with its initial overprint of country name in French and Arabic on the Syrian yellow-green type A4, was originally released on 1 March 1925. The view pictured is the harbor area of Alexandretta, to the north of Alaouites.  The Scott catalogues lists three varieties for this stamp with minor numbers: #C17a features a doubling of the airplane overprint; #C17b has the airplane overprint on both the front and back of the stamp; and #C17c is a listing for a pair of stamps with the airplane overprint tête bêche, a philatelic term from the French for “head-to-tail” describing a joined pair of stamps in which one is upside-down in relation to the other.