The town of
Abu Dhabi was first
settled in 1761 and came to prominence when oil was discover off Das
Island in 1958. In 1953 an oil concession was granted to Abu Dhabi Marine Areas Limited
covering Abu Dhabi's territorial water. Much of the work of surveying
the area was done by
Commander Cousteau and his team of divers operating from his ship Calypso.
They identified the possibility of oil in the Umm Shaif structure near
Das Island. Building work commenced in May 1956 to construct a base on Das Island. This included a
runway, helicopter hanger, a harbour, a power plant and a sea water
No postal sytem existed in Abu Dhabi at this time so mail was sent via
the British Postal
Agency in Bahrain. Stamps of the
British POs in Eastern Arabia were
made available, by the oil company (Abu Dhabi Marine Areas), on Das
Island from December 1960. All the post from this period was taken to Bahrain, by the charter planes which were bringing
in supplies to the island. The mail was postmarked Bahrain.
A British Postal Agency post office was
opened in Abu Dhabi on 30 March 1963. The mail from Das Island
continued to be sent to Bahrain but was now postmarked "DAS ISLAND ABU
DHABI TRUCIAL STATES" (commencing on 30 March 1963). A cachet was
officially applied on all "First Day Mail". It is believed that there
were no more than 200 such covers from Das Island.
The post office on Das Island itself was opened on 6
January 1966 and it was administered as an agency by the oil
company (ADMA). Stamps from this period can only be recognized by the
postmark "Das Island" or "Abu Dhabi"
Definitive stamps for Abu Dhabi, produced by the British Postal Agency, were issued
from 30 March 1964. Stamps of the British Postal Agency were also valid
and are known used as late as July 1966.
The shaikhdom of Abu Dhabi took over the
running of both post offices on 1 January 1967 and commenced to issue
its own stamps.
On 18 July 1971, seven of the Gulf sheikdoms, including Abu Dhabi,
agreed to form the United Arab Emirates with effect from 1 August 1972.
Abu Dhabi is now a part of and the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Stamps of Abu Dhabi were superseded by those of the United Arab Emirates on 1 January 1973.
Philatelic Societies for Collectors of Stamps from Abu Dhabi & British POs in Eastern Arabia
GB Overprint Society (UK) The GB Overprints Society (GBOS) helps members and collectors to explore the many ways and reasons why British stamps and other postal material
have been overprinted, whether it is for use outside the UK or for special functions within the UK. This opens up a wide variety of avenues,
which will interest not only GB collectors who want to find out other uses of their favourite stamps, but also collectors of particular countries or themes.
Emirates Philatelic Association
The Emirates Philatelic Association (EPA) was established on June 24, 1996.
The EPA now has 215 subscribing members, many of whom are at an advanced enough level to participate in international shows.
Selected pages on Abu Dhabi Stamps and Abu Dhabi Postal History
Books on Abu Dhabi Stamps and Abu Dhabi Postal History
Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia and the Gulf
by Neil Donaldson, Harry Hayes Philatelic Study, 1975, 280pp, ISBN 0905222032
The Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia and the Gulf
by Neil Donaldson, Class Publications, 2008 reprint, 260pp, ISBN 1409209423
Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia and the Gulf: Supplement
by Neil Donaldson, Bridger & Kay Guernsey Ltd, 1994, 38pp, ISBN 0902784099
United Arab Emirates Postal History Volume 1 Abu Dhabi
by Alastair Gunn, 2010, 82pp
Articles in Magazine and Journals
April 1966 issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly pp 130-131
Descant upon Das
by 'Nomad' Details of the background
history of Abu Dhabi, exploration for oil, arrangemnets for mail from
September 1967 issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly pp 5-8
Abu Dhabi Argosy
by 'Nomad' Little bit more about the
history of Abu Dhabi, the postmarks, stamps, registration labels. The
Postal Superintendent in Bahrain was H W Wynn from whom the author
obtained much of the information. H W Wynn was
appointed Director of Posts in Abu Dhabi when the British Postal Agency
closed at the end of 1966.