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75th Anniversary of the First Slovene Postage Stamps for the Slovene Littoral and Istria

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About 75th Anniversary of the First Slovene Postage Stamps for the Slovene Littoral and Istria

Immediately after the armistice that ended the First World War, the Italian army occupied Istria and the Slovene Littoral. Under the terms of the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo, these areas were assigned to the Kingdom of Italy. After the Second World War, when the Yugoslav and Allied military units that had liberated the Littoral (including the present-day Primorska region) divided the territory into two administrative zones, the Yugoslav side decided to introduce its own postage stamps in its territory, Zone B.

The Yugoslav authorities started off by overprinting stamps of the Italian Social Republic (the "Republic of Salò") but immediately commenced the necessary procedures to issue their own stamps. In May 1945 the architect Miroslav Oražem was commissioned to produce suitable designs for the stamps. He sought these throughout Primorska and Istria. The first four stamps (with designs featuring grapes, an Istrian donkey, Duino Castle and a ploughman with Boscarin oxen) were issued on 15 August 1945. They were printed by the Ljudska tiskarna (People's Printing Works) in Ljubljana and officially presented at the underground post office in Postojna Cave, where a red "POSTOJNA-JAMA" postmark was used for the occasion.

A further six stamps were issued at the end of the same year: three on 13 December and three on 24 December. The designs featured rebuilding work in destroyed villages, olive trees, fishing boats in front of Pula Arena, the birthplace of anti-fascist Vladimir Gortan, a school of tuna and the Solkan Bridge. These were the first Slovene postage stamps to be issued in western Slovenia.