BADEN

A former grand duchy in southwestern Germany on the Rhine River. In 1870, it joined the German Empire. By the treaty under which Baden had become an integral part of the German Empire in 1871, it had reserved the exclusive right to tax beer and spirits; the army, the post-office, railways and the conduct of foreign relations passed under the effective control of Prussia.

Stamps Michel number 2, 4 (issued in 1851) and 18 (1862)

 

BAVARIA

Former kingdom in southern Germany. Bavaria joined the German Empire in 1870, retaining its own monarchy. Though Bavaria became an integral part of the new German empire, itreserved a larger measure of sovereign independence than any of the other constituent states. Thus it retained a separate diplomatic service, military administration, and postal, telegraph and railway systems. On 7 November 1918, the anniversary of the Russian October Revolution, K. Eisner of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany declared Bavaria a "free state" – a declaration which overthrew the monarchy of the Wittelsbach dynasty which had ruled for over 700 years. Eisner became Minister-President of Bavaria. On 6 April, a Soviet Republic was formally proclaimed. Government began to enact Communist reforms, which included expropriating luxurious apartments and giving them to the homeless and placing factories under the ownership and control of their workers. It also had plans to abolish paper money and reform the education system, but never had time to implement them. On 3 May 1919, the German army entered Munich and defeated the Communists, after bitter street fights. Bavaria was again incorporated into Germany. Bavarian stamps were replaced by German issues in 1920.

 

BRUNSWICK

A former duchy in northern Germany, joining the German Empire in 1870. Brunswick's issues were used from 1852-68, when they were replaced by those of the North German Confederation.

Michel no. 18 (1865)

 

HELIGOLAND

A strategically located island in the North Sea, Heligoland was ceded to Great Britain by Denmark in 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars. Britain transferred the island to Germany in 1890, in exchange for some German claims in East Africa. Under the German Empire, the islands became a major naval base, and during the First World War the civilian population was evacuated to the mainland. Stamps of Hamburg were used in Heligoland from 1859 to 1867, when separate issues came into use. During the period when Heligoland was a British possession, about 20 postage stamps were issued. There were up to eight printings of a single denomination and also a large volume of reprints. The stamps were printed by the Prussian State Printing Office in Berlin. They were denominated in the Hamburg Schilling until 1875, when both German Reich and English values appeared on each stamp issue (the Farthing/Pfennig issues). All are embossed with a silhouette of Queen Victoria excepting the four highest values which represent Heligoland escutcheons. Since 1890, German stamps have been used.

Michel no. 2, 3 and 4 (1867)

 

PRUSSIA

Former kingdom in northern Germany. By the early 18th century, Prussia was a major European power, and by 1870, it occupied most of northern Germany and ruled two-thirds of the German population. Prussia dominated the German Empire established in 1870. Stamps of Prussia were issued from 1850-67 and were replaced on Jan. 1, 1868, by issues of the North German Postal District.

Michel no. 10 (1858), 14, 16 (1861) and 25 (1867)

 

SAXONY

Former kingdom in central Germany. After the Austro-Prussian war Saxony joined the North German Federation in 1867. In 1871 it became part of the German Empire. Saxon issues were replaced by those of the North German Confederation in 1868.

Michel no. 5 (1851), 11 (1855) and 16 (1863)

 

THURN AND TAXIS

A princely house that maintained a postal monopoly in central Europe from the 16th century until 1806. After 1815, it operated postal services in parts of western Germany. In 1867, its rights were purchased by Prussia.

Michel no. 21, 22 (1860) and 20 (1859)

 

WURTTEMBERG

Former kingdom in southern Germany. In 1871 Württemberg became a member of the new German Empire, but retained control of its own post office, telegraphs and railways. It had also certain special privileges with regard to taxation and the army. In the course of the revolutionary activities at the close of World War I in November 1918, King William II abdicated and republican government ensued. Württemberg became a state in the new Weimar Republic. Its regular issues were replaced by those of Germany in 1902, although its official issues continued in use until 1923.

 

North German Confederation

The North German Confederation (German: Norddeutscher Bund), came into existence in August 1866 as a military alliance of 22 states of northern Germany with the Kingdom of Prussia as the leading state. In July 1867 it was transformed into a federal state. It provided the country with a constitution and was the building block of the German Empire, which adopted most parts of the federation's constitution and its flag. The confederation cemented Prussian control over northern Germany.
Although it ceased to exist after the creation of the German Empire in 1871, the federation was the building block for the German constitution adopted that year. This constitution granted huge powers to the new chancellor, Otto von Bismarck who was appointed by the President of the Bundesrat (Federal Council).
The federation came into being after Prussia defeated Austria and the other remaining states of the German Confederation in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Otto von Bismarck created the constitution, which came into force on 1 July 1867, with the King of Prussia, William I, as its President, and Bismarck as Chancellor. The states were represented in the Bundesrat with 43 seats (of which Prussia held 17).
Following Prussia's victory over the Second French Empire in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, Bavaria, Württemberg, and Baden, now grouped together with the various states of the Federation to form the German Empire, with William I taking the new title of German Emperor.

 

One of the functions of the North German Confederation was to handle the mail and issue postage stamps, which it began doing on 1 January 1868. To accommodate the different monetary systems in use by the various states, it issued a series valued in groschen for the Northern District, and another using kreuzer for the Southern District, distinguishing them by framing the value number in a circle for the groschen stamps, and in an oval for the kreuzers. All of these stamps were inscribed "NORDDEUTSCHER POSTBEZIRK". In addition, there was a special quarter-schilling stamp for Hamburg, with the additional inscription "STADTPOSTBRIEF HAMBURG".
Early in 1869 the stamps were issued with perforations, the previous issues having been rouletted. On 1 March, 10 gr and 30 gr values were issued, notable for being printed on goldbeater's skin, a scheme to prevent reuse of these high-value stamps. Federation stamps were superseded on 1 January 1872 by the first issues of the German Empire.