Though Faroe Islands stamps are a fairly recent addition to the philatelic World, they bear witness to the breathtaking beauty of the North Atlantic and to the many centuries of Faroe Islands and Scandinavian history.
Viking North Atlantic Routes
Map of the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are a group of eighteen volcanic islands, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, about half-way between Norway and Iceland and about 200 miles North of Scotland. Since 1948, they have been an internally self-governing state of the Kingdom of Denmark.
Norsemen began settling in the islands at the beginning of the 9th Century, and for the next thousand years, the Faroe Islands would be part of the Kingdom of Norway. The islands would become an important way-point for Norse voyages to Iceland, Greenland, and North America.
At the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1814, the Treaty of Kiel awarded the Norwegian colonies of the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland to the Kingdom of Denmark, and they have been Danish territories since then.
The first official Faroe Islands stamps appeared in 1975, when the islands became an autonomous territory of Denmark, and their own postal system came into being. The Kingdom of Denmark only retained control over the Faroe Islands' military defense, law enforcement, currency, and foreign affairs.
The philatelic history of the Faroe Islands began long before the appearance of the first Faroe Islands stamps. Danish postage stamps had always been used for letter mail in the Faroe Islands. However, during the two World Wars, there were shortages and rate changes that required immediate action by local postal officials.
Emergency provisional stamps were issued in the Faroe Islands at the end of World War I, in 1919, and at the beginning of World War II, in 1940-1941. These provisional issues included bisected and surcharged contemporary Danish postage stamps. Authenticated examples of these provisional stamps and covers are now cherished rarities to Faroe Islands and Scandinavia collectors around the World.
Collecting the stamps of the Faroe Islands can provide many years of learning and enjoyment, and a collection of all the stamps issued since 1975 can be easily completed, even for a collector with a very modest budget.
Links to historical articles and reviews of the stamps of the Faroe Islands will eventually appear at the top of the third column of this page.
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