The Falkland Islands
Charles Darwin on stamps and postmarks of Falkland Islands
are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf.
The principal islands are about 483 kilometers east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, at a latitude of about 52°S.
The archipelago, with an area of 12,000 square kilometers, comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands.
As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, and the
takes responsibility for their defense and foreign affairs.
The Islands capital is Stanley on East Falkland.
The population (2,932 inhabitants in 2012) primarily consists of native-born Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent.
The first stamps, 1d and 6d values featuring the
profile of Queen Victoria, were issued 19 June 1878.
Unusually for a British colony, the first stamps were not on watermarked paper,
but this was rectified in 1883.
Additional values of this design appeared from time to time until 1902.
In 1929 the first pictorial design appeared, featuring small images of a whale
and penguins beneath the profile of George V.
This was followed up by the much-admired centennial issue of 1933, a series
of 12 stamps featuring local scenes and wildlife evocatively rendered.
So far the Falkland Islands have not issued any stamps showing dinosaurs,
prehistoric animals or fossils, but there are several stamps of Charles Darwin,
who visited these islands during his voyage on HMS Beagle.
Official stamps of the Falkland Islands related to Paleontology: Charles Darwin
On April 19th, 1982
four island countries: Ascension Islands, Falkland Islands,
Mauritius and St. Helena issued
set of 4 stamps with very similar design to commemorate
150th anniversary since the famous scientist, Charles Darwin, started his voyage on
the HMS Beagle surveying the world (1831-1836) and visited these islands.
Every set contained four stamps:
- stamp with portrait of Charles Darwin,
- stamp of one of the tools young Darwin used during his voyage
- stamp of an animal Darwin met on a particular island
- stamp shows HMS Beagle.
The ship that carried recently graduated naturalist Charles Darwin around the world.
One of the sets looks a bit different from other three.
Old Charles Darwin on the back of an elephant depicted on stamp of Mauritius, when the other three sets show a young Charles Darwin.
Zoomed face of Charles Darwin on stamp of Mauritius 1982
MiNr.: 542, Scott: 546
Charles Darwin on stamp of Great Britain 2009,
MiNr.: 2707, Scott: 2633
During his visit to Mauritius, Darwin didn’t wear a beard and mustache, a style he wore later in his life.
Darwin didn’t return to the island later in his life.
By the way, there are no native population of elephants on Mauritius, but Darwin did actually ride an elephant
while he stayed on the island.
The elephant was provided by the Governor of the Island who had received the elephants as a gift from some Indian Mahraja.
 Charles Darwin among
other great naturalists - stamp with face value of 54p.
Other stamps of Mauritius to consider: HMS Beagle and its captain Fitz Roy
|23.09.1985 "Falkland Islands early charting" [A1]
||05.03.1999 "Australia’99, World Stamp Expo" [A1]
||30.03.2016 "Historic Dockyard Museum" [A2]
H.M.S. Beagle and its captain Fitz Roy on stamp of Falkland Islands 1985,
MiNr.: 434, Scott: 431
H.M.S. Beagle on stamp of Falkland Islands 1999,
MiNr.: 741, Scott: 723
Warrah skull on stamp of Falkland Islands 2016
MiNr.: 1304, Scott: 1165
[A1] H.M.S. "Beagle"
and it captain Fitz Roy
are depicted on stamp with
face value of 27p of "Falkland Islands early charting" set from 1985.
The ship is also depicted on stamp with face value of 25p from "Australia’99, World Stamp Expo"
set from 1990.
The young naturalist Charles Darwin was on board, and his work made the Beagle one of
the most famous ships in history.
[A2] The Warrah (Falkland Islands wolf), depicted on stamp with face value of 1.01 GBP,
was The Falklands only native land mammal.
Its existence in isolation on the Islands fascinated Charles Darwin
(Darwin and a warrah is depicted on stamp Falklands island in 1982
) and to this day remains something of an enigma.
Darwin noted the Warrah’s lack of fear of humans and predicted that it would become
extinct once settlement was established.
He was right, and the last known Warrah was shot at Shallow Bay on West Falkland in 1876.
Only a handful of Warrah specimens exist worldwide and until recently there were
no remains held in the Falklands.
However, in 2010, Dale Evans (then 13 years old) discovered bones on his parents’ farm and DNA
testing later confirmed these as Warrah.
Carbon-dating has shown that the bones are at least 1,000
, making them the oldest known remains of the species.
Commemorative postmarks of Falkland Islands related to Paleontology: Charles Darwin
Legend is here
Many thanks to
Dr. Peter Voice
from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University,
for the draft page review and his very valuable comments.