Monday, 30 April 2012
My recent blog about the secession of Azawad of course had no relevance to collectors of Commonwealth stamps but the story of the new country's secession from Mali brings to mind the thought that a number of Commonwealth members or non-Commonwealth countries which were once part of the British Empire started off as secessionist states - some were successful in surviving and others are mere footnotes in the pages of history. The earliest territory to break away from being part of a larger state actually comprised 13 territories and these were of course the British settlements in North America which combined together to declare themselves to be independent of Great Britain and called themselves The United States Of America. They famously proclaimed their independence on 4 July 1776 and it would take a war with Britain which would last until 1783 and, more importantly, the military intervention of Britain's arch-enemy, France, for the Americans to finally succeed with their secession. The stamp below shows the first flag of The United States, the Continental Colours or the Grand Union Flag, which curiously initially retained the Union Jack in the canton and was first raised by the rebel Americans at Prospect Hill in Somerville on 1 January 1776 but ceased to be used after the declaration of independence.