Historical Floods—from Philatelic Records
Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser
Not very long ago, written communications were in the form of postal mail, like letters to your love, postcards to everyone else, and so on.
The Universal Postal Union, established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, agreed to and ratified by nearly all countries in the world, is an expeditious system of moving the mountains of mail coming and going, across the entire globe.
One vital principle of that system was (and still is) proper postage. Initially, the postage stamps just depicted renditions of the ruler of the day, in different colors for the different postage rates. But, after a while, the postal services discovered that the little stamps could be made more meaningful by having pictures that were more relevant to the day.
That’s when philatelic exuberance got going. Many countries started to print postal stamps depicting all kinds of things, like birds, current events, inventions, plants, minerals, snails, you name it. And with that rapidly expanding variety of small pictures, a whole new genre of past time activity came about—collecting stamps.
Collecting Postal Stamps
Throughout the 20th century, collecting stamps was a favored past time of children and adults alike. And the number of countries, picture themes, time periods, and other collecting specializations skyrocketed with the demand. On top of that, the post office cancellations placed on mail, in various shapes and for various reasons in different colors also became of interest to collectors. In fact, those rarities are still in demand by serious collectors of historical events, to this date.
However, the philately of the past, unwittingly I think, has come to serve as unequivocal references to historic points of interest. Of those, I’d like to explore just one today, namely some historic floods that happened not too long ago and cannot be denied. Perhaps, Greta and her “climate change” activists need to be taught that in school—preferably in extra schooling hours during weekends.
Notable Floods in the 20th century
If you believe that the “climate” has recently produced “never-seen-before” floods or other natural events of extraordinary proportions, then perhaps you should stop reading here. The reason is: It has happened many times before and will do so again, for sure. The only question is where and when.
Of course, the current mainstream media (MSM) would like to forget previous floods and other natural events—the terms “global warming” or “climate change” had not yet been invented at those earlier days in the 20th century. That’s why it is of much interest today to look at some philatelic history, depicted on postal stamps from all over the world. Many of those postal stamps carried surcharges, generally at the same amount of the postage value, collected with the stamp purchase and to be forwarded to relief organizations of the day. Let’s look at some historic examples.
Austria and Liechtenstein
The Austrian postal service published a whole series of the then common stamps series with the overprint “Hochwasser, 1920.” The term “Hochwasser,” of course is German for “High Water.”
This series of Austrian (a) stamps with overprint “Hochwasser, 1920” refers to the flooding along the River Danube in the winter of 1920/21. (b) A Principality of Liechtenstein stamp shows the flood of the River Rhine in 1927.
Germany and Australia
A small series of German (c) stamps with surcharges in special collectors’ format commemorates the historic flood of the River Saar on December 30, 1947, in the City of Saarbruecken, and collected funds for relief efforts. The city experienced a similar flood again in 1993. Figure (d) depicts a 2005 Australian stamp with a not-so-far-hopping “roo,” intended to encourage donations for flood relief in Australia.
The few examples above are just a small selection of many stamps issued for various relief efforts. The website http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/dev/hillger/flood.htm has a long list of postal stamps, surcharges, and overprints related to flood relief and other relief efforts in many countries. Of course, many big floods never made it into philatelic history at all.
The Take-Home Message
Clearly, floods are nothing new. Every winter and spring, between snowmelt and seasonal rains, the flows in many rivers rise strongly. Every once in a while, a “100-year” or even “1,000-year” event happens.
Despite all claims by the MSM (and some politicians), such floods are nothing new, nor in any way related to “carbon” emissions from using carbon-type fuels—the numerous historic records are clear evidence of that.
Regardless of their age, the self-righteous “climate justice warriors” who claim that such events are caused by “carbon” and, therefore, want the world to stop using “fossil fuels,” are simply fossil fools!
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