Britain’s expansion to every corner of the globe may have been founded in conquest and military might but it was trade and diplomacy that held it together. The spread of the English language, culture, judicial system and bureaucracy was key to the governing of a seemingly endless empire. The postal network became increasingly important for an empire administrated largely from London and as a result the Empires use of stamps exploded with every colony printing their own unique issues.
For 19th and 20th-century collectors who strove to collect stamps from all over the world, stamps issued in the colonies were highly coveted, due to both their exotic subjects and rareness. Even today, many collectors enjoy reconstructing, in their own way, the history and geography of the British Empire, like an encyclopedia made of bits of paper.