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     Réunion was first visited by the Portuguese in the early 16th century, and was settled by French  colonists in the middle of the 17th century. Slaves from East Africa, were brought to work on the coffee and sugar plantations. When slavery was abolished in 1848 Malays, Annamites, Chinese and Malabar Indians were imported as indentured laborers. In 1946 Réunion became a department of France, and in 1973 the French military set up its headquarters there.
     From 1907 to 1930 the definitive stamps used in Reunion included 11 with a map design, showing a relief map of the island. One of the stamps is shown.

SCN 60

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands is an independent country consisting of an archipelago of ten Melanesian islands with a population of 400,000 people. First European contact came in 1568 with Spanish explorers. In 1893 Great Britain established a protectorate over the eastern group of islands, and extended that to the west in 1898. After World War II the Islands were granted internal self-government in 1976 and independence in 1978.  The capital, Honiara (the red dot above the middle stamp), is on the island of Guadalcanal, scene of intense fighting during World War II.
     Ethnic tensions led to violence between 1998 and 2001. A new government with a mandate to solve the nation's social, civil and econonmic problems was created in 2001. Relative peace has been achieved and the country is working to solve its problems with the close assistance of Australia.
     The stamp commemorates the visit of the British royal family in 1982.

SCN 480

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