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North African Stamps

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This is almost our last stop on our African Safari and it's in the furthest north of the continent. There the African, Arabic and European worlds collided, much as the Sahara meets the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt is the oldest of cultures still extant in some way. The pyramids, Great Sphinx and the images of Nefertiti and Tutankamen are engraven in the world's memory banks. For centuries it has also been a country where conflict has taken place. From the Crusades and the battles between the Knights of St John and the Great Sultans of Turkey who laid claim to Egypt, to the Second World War with the battle of El Alamein, amongst others, to the Suez Canal conflict with Britain and the 1967 war with Israel, Egypt has been involved with fights between East and West, Christian and Muslim.

Most recently the Arab Spring swept the region with a revolutionary wave of both violent and non-violent demonstrations, protests, riots, coups, foreign interventions, and civil wars in North Africa and the Middle East that began on 18 December 2010 in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution. After thirty years in power Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in Egypt, Muammar Gaddaffi (The Great Brotherly Leader and Guide!!) fell from power and was killed after 42 years of total dictatorship. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali managed 24 years in Tunisia before fleeing into exile in Saudi Arabia.

From the stamps you might not find this history portrayed except in stamps of the different leaders. What is very apparent is the major influence Islam and Arabic has had on these countries and their cultures. There are rather more praiseworthy figures from the North African past who feature here, notably Avicenna, the great physician, and Ibn Batutta, a great Moroccan explorer who over thirty years travelled all the way to China and back, finally settling in the Maldives because the women were the most beautiful of all he had seen in his travels. (thanks Mike for that gem!)

I hope you all enjoy this camel back ride through the deserts and oases of North Africa's deserts.

I set out alone, having neither fellow-traveller in whose companionship I might find cheer, nor caravan whose part I might join, but swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries. So I braced my resolution to quit my dear ones, female and male, and forsook my home as birds forsake their nests. My parents being yet in the bonds of life, it weighed sorely upon me to part from them, and both they and I were afflicted with sorrow at this separation.' Ibn Battuta

Fortunately I have companions on these digital travels - thanks Jigideers for the awesome company you give me.
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Comments

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woodowl

What good eyes you have Pepper. I hadn't noticed that. I assumed it was another stamp of Avicenna like the one in the blue robe on the bottom left. I'm glad you found them interesting though and have enjoyed the journey. We will pick it up again tomorrow. Jayne

Thanks again for planning this ambitious safari and acting as our guide as well. I find these North African stamps especially interesting. I think that three of the stamps portray the Prophet Mohammed and was surprised that the one on the lower right is actually a stamp from the USSR.

woodowl

My Dad was there as part of the South African army contingent in 1944 and the two things that stayed with him about Egypt were the flies and the smells! I don't think he ever got to see the Pyramids.

Another very interesting puzzle and information. I would have loved to visit Egypt but it was too unstable and I reckon that I am too old now but loved seeing it through your stamps. Thanks Jayne. Wendy x

woodowl

Thank you so much uu123 and Queen. It is funny how often something like that happens, especially to my husband who is a voracious reader (I am too but don't have as much time as I would like). He was reading something about Offa's dyke a couple of months back and the next day it was a clue in the daily crossword. I think it's a phenomenon called synchronicity. I shall have to look it up. The trade routes of the ancient world were far more extensive than we realise, as were the type of goods that were traded. We find quite a lot of Indian and Chinese beads and porcelain pieces on the coastal beaches from passing ship traffic over the centuries. Jayne

Queenslander

Interesting puzzle. Funny how things happen, about an hour ago, I was reading about Bronze age burials in Denmark, and how their amber was traded for blue glass beads from Egypt. Some of them were made in the same glassworks as the ones in Tutankhamun's tomb. The amber and the clear blue glass were important to both countries, representing the sun/sky.

Beautiful stamps, love the ones from Egypt. Thanks for posting.

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