From Academic Kids

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Map showing Labuan in Malaysia

Labuan (Jawi:ڤوتراجاي) formerly known as Victoria Island is a territory of Malaysia comprising of one main island (75km) and six other smaller ones off the coast of Sabah, and Brunei. The islands have a total population of 75,000 and are best known as an offshore banking center. In Malay, it is called Pulau Labuan (Labuan in Malay means anchorage).

In 1984, Labuan was made part of the Federal Territory of Malaysia, and in 1990 it was declared an International Offshore Financial Centre and Free Trade Zone.



In 1840 the British used the previously-uninhabited island as a base for operations against piracy and later as a station for the submarine cable between Singapore and Hong Kong. The Sultan of Brunei ceded Labuan to Britain in 1846, and the island became a Crown Colony in 1848. It was made a part of North Borneo on 1 January 1890, then on 30 October 1906 joined to the Straits Settlements.

Labuan was occupied by Japan from December 1941 to June 1945, after which it was under British military administration (along with the rest of the Straits Settlements), then joined to British North Borneo, on 15 July 1946, which in turn became a part of Malaysia in 1963.


The Malaysian government's attempts to turn Labuan into an international banking centre has had only limited success, but the government still offers incentives to try to lure in new investors. Labuan is mainly flat and undulating and the highest point is only 85 metres. More than 70 percent of the island is still under vegetation. With land utilization geared more towards property and industrial use, there is little agricultural activity. Most of the island's prime land, waterfront and suburbs are utilised for residential and tourism development. A sizeable area on the south western side of the island is occupied by shipbuilding, manufacturing and oil and gas industries.


Bandar Labuan is the major town and port. The population of 78,000 (est. year 2000)is mostly Malay, with minorities of Chinese, Indians, Bugis and Bajau.

Postage stamps and postal history

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1885 2c, used in 1891

A post office was operating in Labuan by 1864, and used a circular date stamp as postmark. The postage stamps of India and Hong Kong were used on some mail, but they were probably carried there by individuals, instead of being on sale in Labuan. Mail was routed through Singapore. From 1867 Labuan officially used the postage stamps of the Straits Settlements, then issued its own beginning in May 1879.

The first stamps of Labuan depict the usual profile of Queen Victoria, but are unusual for being inscribed in Arabic and Chinese scripts in addition to "LABUAN POSTAGE". Perennial shortages necessitated a variety of surcharges in between the several reprints and color changes of the 1880s. The original stamps were engraved, but the last of the design, in April 1894, were done by lithography.

Beginning in May 1894, the designs of North Borneo were printed in different colors, with "LABUAN" either engraved into the vignette or overprinted. On 24 September 1896, the 50th anniversary of the cession was marked by overprinting "1846 / JUBILEE / 1896" on the overprinted North Borneo designs. Additional overprints appeared through the 1890s. In 1899 many types were surcharged with a value of 4 cents.

A last Labuan-only design came out in 1902, depicting a crown and inscribed "LABUAN COLONY". After the incorporation into the Straits Settlements in 1906, Labuan ceased issuing its own stamps, although they remained valid for some time. Many of the remainders were cancelled to order for sale to collectors, and are now worth only pennies; genuine postal uses are worth much more.

External link


fr:Labuan ms:Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan nl:Labuan (eiland) ja:ラブアン pl:Labuan zh:纳闽


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