Ceylon, Commemorative issue ,2500 years of Buddha, 5 rupee, Silver 1957 UNC

Ceylon, Commemorative issue 2500 years of Buddha, 5 rupee, Silver 1957 UNCCommemorative issue

Buddha Jayanthi 2500th Anniversary

buddha-2500-years-5-rs500,000 coins minted in 1957 of which 258,000 were melted down in 1962



An adaptation from the Anuradhapura Moonstone. The numeral 2500 at the centre with Flower petals around in inner annulus, next a procession of elephant, horse, lion and bull (2 sequences). next a procession of sixteen geese, with lotus flowers hanging from their beaks.
Note:These coins are popularly referred to as the Buddha Jayanthi coins

Sandakada pahana, also known as Moon-stone, is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances.

Lettering: 2500

Engraver: Bernard Sindall


A design based on the Jasmine flower surmounted by a Lotus flower. The value in Sinhalese and the year of issue 1957 is superimposed at the center. The value FIVE RUPEES in English on left and Tamil on right and in Sinhalese `Sri Lanka’ at the apex and the anniversary `Buddha Jayanthi’ at the bottom.



A Fusion of Religions: Khmer Buddhist and Hindu Antiques

ANKORAngkor, the lost capital of Kambuja (Cambodia) was rediscovered by the French naturalist Henri Mouhot in 1860. only about 150 years ago. Yet it has revealed culture, art and architecture that is unparalleled in South East Asia. Following the fall of Kambuja to the Siamese in 1431 AD, the splendor of the capital was lost to the jungle for the next four centuries. As the vegetation took grip on these magnificent buildings, their roots failed to shake the robust structures built through the masonry of ancient architects and artisans. Lost to man, snakes took shelter and the wild animals roamed claiming the territory that the humans took from them. Gods and nature mingled once again hidden from the greed and breed of the human race.

ANKOR TRIADUpon its discovery, the world was stunned by the treasures that it  revealed. Here was a fusion of two most ancient religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, with no signs of conflict between the two. Vishnu and Buddha mingled sometimes as one, Shiva’s serpent (Naga) guarded the Buddha. Uma shared the platform with Buddha and Vishnu, while Linga adored the temple with Buddha. The mythology of Hindus adapted to Buddha’s philosophy of life was in harmony.

Having remained undisturbed for generations,  now a prolific number of magnificent work of art and sculpture from Angkor started emerging.  As these arefacts from the Khmer state started to reach the western world. If all these artifacts were to be real how did such a large number of objects survive? Or all these fake! the invention man’s greed.

ANKOR 2Experts may use the look and feel method for authenticity but they too are not infallible. Recalling that these bronzes were smelted and cast at over 1000 deg centigrade some tell tale marks should remain. The inner core of clay would be black showing evidence of firing and and a discerning buyer could employ Thermoluminescence (TL) dating but this is currently expensive, the current going rate being approximately £ 240.00 per object. If there is no remaining fired core clay within the bronze cast a metallurgist may help in dating. in order to understand this dilemma we have to go back nearly 2000 years in history to the advent of Christian era.

According to legend an Indian named Kaundinya on arrival to the larger Malay Peninsula, called Funan, formed an alliance with a Nagini princess, hence probably the early Naga influence on the state. For the next 1000 years Kambuja remained a Hindu state with a balance of Brahma, Shiva (Linga) and Vishnu as deities. Almost all art, bronzes and culture are centered on these deities from 600 to 1200 AD until Buddhism arrived in the 13th century. A remarkable peaceful union of the two religions followed with their sculpture encompassing the Hindu deities and Buddha.

ANKOR VISHNUDuring the reign of Jayavarman VII in the 12th century in Kambuja religious fervor set in fueling  an output of a large number of smaller bronzes. This new demand exerted pressure on the craftsmen, contributing to some poor quality bronzes. Good quality pieces became relatively less. By the time Khmer State starting to fade in the 15th century its treasures had got redistributed to rest of South Asia where they have survived into modern times. In addition, continuous wars and invasion by the neighboring states contributed to redistribution of Khmer treasures and artifacts in Siam, Laos, Thailand, Burma, and as far as Tibet, Malaysia and China.

Some of my early collections are from these countries. Even as late as early 18th century the hostility between Siam and Cambodia continued causing further outflow of Khmer art and sculpture into other parts of the region. It is not surprising to encounter such relatively large number of ancient Khmer artifacts in the west over the past century, given the high output of Khmer bronzes for over a millennium. Some may be fakes or reproduction of the past century but certainly some jewels in sculpture cannot be painted with the brush.

Rare Religious Sculptures & Antiques for sale | Antiques International | Anton Sebastian Private Collection | South East Asian Antiques | Mahakala | South Indian Bronzes | Meenakshi | Tantric | Hindu Mythology | Hinduism |Shiva| Brahma | Vishnu | Parvati | Durga | Kali | Krishna | Hanuman | Uma | Gowrie |Shakti | Sarasvati | Kartegeya | Kubera | Nandi | Garuda | Tantric | Kubera | Linga | Antiquesinternational.co.uk

History of Jamaica on Coins and Stamps

The first inhabitants of Jamaica probably came from islands to the east in two waves of migration. About 600 CE the culture known as the “Redware people” arrived; little is known of them, however, beyond the red pottery they left. Alligator Pond in Manchester Parish and Little River in St. Ann Parish are among the earliest known sites of these people, who lived near the coast and extensively hunted turtles and fish.

ARAWAKThe second wave of inhabitants of Jamaica are the Arawaks, also called Tainos. They came from South America 2,500 years ago and named the island Xaymaca, which meant “”land of wood and water”. The Arawaks were a mild and simple people by nature. Physically, they were light brown in color, short and well-shaped with coarse, black hair. Their faces were broad and their noses flat.

The first known inhabitants of Jamaica, the Caribbean Arawaks used Jamaican cassava as a staple part of their diet which originated in Brazil and Paraguay. Jamaican cassava also grows in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

JAMAICA DISCOVERY 1921The main thrust of exploration of the New World came from Portugal, but Spain was quick to follow.  In 1492, Ferdinand II and Isabella I helped the Italian navigator, Christopher Columbus, to sail in search of the New World. Columbus is believed to be the first European to reach Jamaica when he landed on the island on May 5, 1494, during his second voyage to the Americas. Columbus returned to Jamaica during his fourth voyage while sailing around the Caribbean nearly a year when a storm beached his ships in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, on June 25, 1503. For a year Columbus and his men remained stranded on the island, finally departing in June 1504.

The Spanish crown granted the island to the Columbus family the island was insignificant in the colonial scene and was valued chiefly as a supply base for food and animal hides. In 1509 Juan de Esquivel founded the first permanent European settlement, the town of Sevilla la Nueva (New Seville), on the north coast.

KINGS HOUSEIn 1534 the capital was moved to Villa de la Vega (later Santiago de la Vega), now called Spanish Town. This settlement served as the capital of both Spanish and English Jamaica, from its founding in 1534 until 1872, after which the capital was moved to Kingston.

The Spanish enslaved many of the Taino but some escaped while most died from European diseases and overwork. The Spaniards also in the meantime introduced the first African slaves. By the early 17th century virtually no Taino remained in the region and population of the island was about 3,000, including a small number of African slaves. Disappointed in the lack of the magic metal, gold on the isle, the Spanish mainly used Jamaica as a military base to for their colonizing efforts in the mainland America.

coomon wealth englandIn late 1654, the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth England Oliver Cromwell launched the Western Design armada against Spain’s colonies in the Caribbean. English force then sailed for Jamaica, the only Spanish West Indies island that did not have any significant defence. In May 1655, around 7,000 English soldiers landed near Jamaica’s Spanish Town capital and soon overwhelmed the small number of Spanish troops (at the time, Jamaica’s entire population only numbered around 2,500). Spain lost the Battle of Ocho Rios in 1657 and the Battle of Rio Nuevo in 1658. For England, Jamaica was the base to the heart of the Spanish Empire,’ although in fact it was a possession of little economic value then. England gained formal possession of Jamaica from Spain in 1670 through the Treaty of Madrid. Removing the pressing need for constant defense against Spanish attack, this change served as an incentive to planting.

Cromwell increased the island’s white population by sending indentured servants and criminals to Jamaica. But tropical diseases kept the number of whites under 10,000 until about 1740. Although the slave population in the 1670s and 1680s never exceeded 10,000, by the end of the seventeenth century imports of slaves increased the black population to at least five times the number of whites. Thereafter, Jamaica’s blacks did not increase significantly in number until well into the eighteenth century when the slave population  increased from 45,000 to over 300,000.

JAMAICA 1956 SLAVE TRADEAbolition Act 1833 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom abolished slavery throughout the British Empire (with the exceptions “of the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company”, the “Island of Ceylon” and “the Island of Saint Helena”). However these two exceptions were eliminated in 1843. In Jamaica, Abolition of Slave Trade 1838 was officially announced at the Kings House in Kingston. 

JAMAICA QV 1869 1The first coins of Jamaica under Queen Victoria were issued in 1869 as the bronze coins introduced into the British coinage in the 1860s were not suitable for the West Indies. The use of cupro-nickel had been considered during the trials for the British coinage by Thomas Graham, renowned chemist and Master of the Mint from 1855–1869, and Jamaica provided an opportunity to test the new alloy. The first coins in cupro-nickel were released for this purpose in Jamaica and, like aluminium, this metal became a success for coinage all over the world.

KG V 1912 WAR STAMPWhen the World War broke out in in 1914, the Africans in the New World had acclimatized to the British institutions, culture and language to the extent of supporting Britain. In fact their response was so overwhelming the British War Office was concerned enough try and curtail the number of Black Africans in the army.  On 19 May 1915 King George V, approved to raise a West Indian contingent on during the World War.

KGV 1918 COINAt the end of he war when the contingents started returning to Jamaica in 1919 the state services were poorly organised to offer
any support to the returning Black American Soldiers. With the already  prevailing poor socioeconomic conditions  when the soldiers began to arrive they quickly joined the wave of worker’s protests resulting from a severe economic crisis produced by the war. The political climate was right for emergence of black nationalist ideology espoused by CONTINGENT 1919black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey and others. Disenchanted soldiers and angry workers unleashed a series of protest actions and riots in a number of territories including Jamaica, Grenada and especially in British Honduras.

November 20, 1944 was an important day in the history of Jamaica when nominations for the first-ever elections held under universal adult suffrage in Jamaica took place. That election was held on December 14, 1944. This meant that all adults had the NEW CONSTUTUTION 1944right to vote. Prior to 1944, one had to pay at least ten shillings tax per year or have property to be able to vote. 

The end of World War II brought reality of occupied lands leading to decolonization across the world. British Government and local politicians were in long drawn out state of transition of Jamaica from a crown colony into an independent state. After Norman Manley was elected Chief Minister in 1955, he sped up the process of decolonization via several constitutional amendments. Under Manley, Jamaica entered the West Indies Federation, a political union of colonial Caribbean islands which if united would have brought ten British colonial territories into a
BUSTAMANTE 70 Csingle, independent state. However within Jamaican participation in the Federation was unpopular, and the results of the 1961 West Indies referendum held by Premier Manley cemented the colony’s withdrawal from the union in 1962. Further with departure of Trinidad and Tobago the West Indies Federation collapsed later that year.

 JAMAICA independence 1962The elections held in 1962 resulted in  Alexander Bustamante’s premiership in April of that year. On 19 July 1962, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the act leading to the JAMAICA INDEPENDENCE 2Dindependence of Jamaica on  6 August in the same year. On this day, following 307 years of British Colonialism, the Union Jack was ceremoniously lowered and replaced by the Jamaican flag throughout the country. Princess Margaret opened the first session of the Parliament of Jamaica on behalf of her sister Queen Elizabeth II and the  first Jamaica Independence Festival was held.

Abyssinia, From Solomon to Selassie

Menelik II

Abyssinia rulers take their origin from King Solomon. Menelik I, also known as Ebna la-Hakim (“Son of the Wise”[) was the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia, who is traditionally believed to be the son of Solomon of ancient Israel and Makeda, the ancient Queen of Sheba. Menelik is believed to have ruled around 950 BC, and tradition credits him with bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, following a visit to Jerusalem to meet his father.

King Solomon intended to send one son of each of his nobles, and one son of each temple priests with Menelik on his return to his mother’s kingdom.  Menelik is supposed to have made a replica of the Ark to take with him on his mission. Upon the death of Queen Makeda, Menelik assumed the throne with the new title of Emperor and King of Kings of Ethiopia. The Solomonic dynasty ruled Ethiopia through 225 generations, except for a few interruptions, for three thousand years.

MENELIK COINSThe Abyssinian Emperor Menelik II  (1844 –  1913) was  baptized as Sahle Maryam, his birth name being Negus of Shewa (1866–89). He was later raised to the status of Nəgusä Nägäst (King of Kings)  from 1889 to his death.  Earlier at the zenith of his rule in 1898 Menelik had expanded his territory and created a modern empire, thus restoring the ancient Ethiopia to its past glory of Axumite Empire which was one of the four most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world.

Menelik’s victory over the Italian invaders at Adwa in 1896 earned him great fame.  Colonial Italy was defeated resoundingly by Ethiopia in one of the greatest battles in the history of Africa. This victory over Italy at the Battle of Adwa  came at a time when almost all of Africa was colonized by European powers. Emperor Menelik is credited with rallying his fellow Ethiopians behind him to fight back fiercely enough so as to deliver an unimaginable victory against the so called powerful and mighty forces of a European army.

In 1889 Menelik proclaimed that the territories north of the Merab Melash (modern Eritrea) did not belong to  his  rule as the land was not peopled by Abyssinians, but by other tribes such as  Adals, Bejas, and Tigres. This is probably the reason he ceded Eritrea to the Italians.

As the 20th century approached, most of Africa had been carved up among the European powers.  But the young Republic of Liberia on the west coast of the continent and the Ethiopian Empire in the strategic Horn of Africa were still free. The newly unified Kingdom of Italy was a relative newcomer to the colonial scramble for Africa. Italy already held the African territories, Eritrea and Somalia. Both these states were in an impoverished state and in proximity to the more fertile and rich Abyssinia on the Horn of Africa.

Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922 with a grandiose intent to create a new Roman Empire and was on a predatory watch over the world including Africa. His target was Abyssinia (Ethiopia), sandwiched between two small Italian colonies  Eritrea and Somalia

SELLASIE COINAbyssinia at this time, ruled by Haile Selassie, was a member of the League of Nations, created after World War I to maintain peace by solving international disputes without resorting to war. Britain, France, and Italy were members of the League.  If a member was attacked by another country, the League was supposed to come to its aid, but in fact the League lacked the strength needed to back this mandate.

Throughout the summer of 1935, Mussolini amassed troops on the Abyssinian border, and in October 1935 he launched a full invasion’ Selassie appealed to the League for help but the League’s intervention was too slow and weak. Mussolini conquered Abyssinia, creating the Italian East African Empire.

SELLASIEThe ruler Haile Selassie was born in 1892 as Tefari Makonnen and became governor of Harar, a city in Ethiopia in 1911. In 1928 he was crowned king and ruler of Ethiopia. On November 3 1930 Selassie appeared on the cover of Time magazine as  “Man of the year” and one of the Top 25 Political Icons in history. Writing about Haile Selassie, TIME stated, the King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, Elect of God. (All were used to describe Haile Selassie) ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930.

An year later in 1931 he introduced the first constitution of Ethiopia. In 1935 when Italy invaded Ethiopia after a gruesome battle for 5 years Selassie went into exile.

Finally before the fall of Italy in 1941 during the Second World War Allied East African Forces forces retook Ethiopia. On January 18, 1941 Haile Selassie marched in the East African Campaign against Mussolini’s occupation.

In 1955, in an attempt to modernize the country, Selassie granted a new constitution with more rights for his citizens. In 1963, he presided over the first meeting of the Organization of African Unity In 1972. Selassie was ultimately deposed in a organized military coup by people who were discontented with his regime. However Selassie’s contribution to African solidarity earned him fame as one of the reformists in emerging African political scene.



Marriages are quoted to be made in heaven but occasionally they end up in hell. Hundreds of causes are proposed for failure of marriages from broken homes to infidelity. Everybody gets married with a sense of commitment although the reasons may vary from love to money. The trials of marriage usually occur in early stages of matrimony and early recognition may help to prevent a breakdown. As a physician, it is heart-warming to meet couples who have made their progress from silver, ruby to golden anniversary and beyond. The longer they have stayed together stronger is their bondage. The final sad hour of their life is when one spouse departs from the world leaving the other with a sense of emptiness and sorrow.

We have no way of knowing how many marriages would have been saved with correct intervention and support. The following is form of stress test for both the man and the woman to measure the depth of their problem and gauge the prognosis. The test is meant to be guideline only and not infallible.

Do you believe that your Husband is concerned about your health and well being +1 -1
Do you believe that your husband prioritises your quality of life above money +1 -1
In case of divorce do you believe that your husband will fight hard  to give you only the minimum benefits -1   +1
Do you think your husband will be very concerned about the effect of divorce on the children, if any +1 -1
Do you believe that your husband may never want to see you again after divorce -1   +1
Is your husband diagnosed to have mental illness or physical addiction to drugs or alcohol -1    +1
Is your husband being negatively influenced by others +1   -1
Has your husband ever left home over differences -1    +1
Does your husband have an ongoing extramarital affair or had one in the past -1   +1
A total score of 0 points denotes that marriage can be saved with intervention and counselling
Each negative score thereafter reduces the chances of the survival of marriage by about 20%


Do you believe that your wife is concerned about your health and well being +1 -1
Do you believe that your wife prioritises your quality of life above money + 1                -1
In case of divorce do you believe that your wife will fight hard for every penny and more -1                +1
Will your wife be very concerned about the effect of divorce on the children, if any + 1                -1
Do you believe that your wife may never want to see you again after divorce -1               + 1
Is your wife diagnosed to have a diagnosed mental illness or physical addiction to drugs or alcohol -1               +1
Is your wife being negatively influenced by others + 1                -1
Has your wife ever left home over differences -1               +1
Does your wife have an extra marital affair ongoing or in the past -1               +1
A total score of 0 points denotes that marriage can be saved with intervention
Each negative score thereafter reduces the chances of the survival of marriage by about 20%


Japanese Occupation of Manila and the Escalation of World War II

JAPANESE OCCUPATION MINT X 2The Japanese occupation of the Philippines occurred between 1942 and 1945, when the Empire of Japan occupied the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II. The invasion of the Philippines started on 8 December 1941, ten hours after the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbour.

 JAPANESE OCCUPATION X 4 MINT 2ND SETEarlier in preparation for war, on July 26, 1941, General Douglas MacArthur had brought the 12,000 strong Philippine Scouts under his command with the 16,000 American soldiers stationed in the Philippines. Even these combined forces were poorly trained and equipped for an adequate defence of the islands against a Japanese invasion.

MACARTHUR X 4 SHEETThe attack on the Philippines was coordinated ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. As the American aircrafts were entirely destroyed on the ground, lacking air cover, the American Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines withdrew to Java on December 12, 1941.

Japanese troops landed at the Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941 and advanced across central Luzon towards Manila. On the advice of President Quezon, General MacArthur declared Manila an open city on December 25, 1941 and removed the Commonwealth government to Corregidor. The Japanese occupied Manila on January 2, 1942.

MACARTHUR COINThe final Battle of Manila commenced on 3rd February 1945 and was a major event in the Philippine campaign of 1944-45 during World War II, fought by the American and Filipino forces against the Empire of Japan in Manila. This one-month battle culminated in the massacre of over 100,000 civilians and complete devastation of the city. In the process of ending the three years of Japanese military occupation in Philippines (1942–1945) battle destroyed architectural and cultural heritage of the city dating back to its foundation. General Douglas MacArthur emerged as the victor in the campaign to re-take Philippines.




Short History of Postal Stamps in Colonial Ceylon

Sri Lanka Post has a long history of 209 years, dating back to 1798, when the colonial Dutch rulers started five post offices in the Maritime Districts under their control. In 1799, they published the first postal regulations and postage rates. The Dutch East India Company operated the Postal service, which was not meant for the public but for official use.

1861 ceylonThe first postmaster by the British was appointed in 1802 and hand stamps were first supplied in 1813. The British took control of the whole island by conquering the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815 at the time of reign of King George III. Although horse drawn mail delivery commenced in Ceylon around 1832, the postage stamps were issued only on  1 April 1857.

VICTORIAN CEYLONThe first Stamp features a portrait of Queen Victoria and is brown in color and of 6 pence value used to send a half ounce letter from Ceylon to England. Eight more stamps were issued in year 1857, all featuring the portrait of Queen Victoria. One of the 5 stamps that were issued on 23 April 1859 is considered to be the most valuable stamp in Sri Lanka: it is a 4 pence with a dark pink color known as the ‘Dull Rose.

CEYLON WAR STAMPSA week after the First World War ended in 1918, Ceylon under King George V  adopted war stamps when all postal rates were increased to defray war expenditure. The 2c, 3c, and 5 c were all overprinted “WAR STAMP” in two lines, and the 5 cent was also overprinted with an additional “ONE CENT” with a line struck through the original value. There are a number of varieties in the overprints, such as double and inverted overprints.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         CEYLON 1972Sri Lanka later is the only country to include details in a stamp in three languages viz. Sinhala, Tamil and English. The first stamps marked Sri Lanka were issued on 22 May 1972.

CEYLON BIRDS 1966The first ever souvenir sheet of Sri Lanka was issued on 5 February 1966 on the topic ‘Typical Birds of Ceylon’. This sheet was reissued on 15 September 1967 to commemorate the 1st National Stamp Exhibition of Sri Lanka, overprinted ‘FIRST NATIONAL STAMP EXHIBITION 1967’.




Cars as Colourful and Pretty as the Birds of Cuba,

cuba carsHow did these cars get to the island and managed to stay put. From the discovery of Cuba by Columbus in the late 15th century up the Spanish-American War of 1899 the Spaniards governed the island with an iron fist from their grandiose palaces, gardens and assemblies. The lavishness of their life style can be seen and felt today on the streets of Havana when we look at the Colonial architecture that they left behind. The Museum in the Old Havana square today displays the stunning lavishness of the Spaniard Lords.

CUBA CARSThe Americans had a free hand in Cuba from 1899 during their own
administration until 1902 when Cuba gained its independence. The subsequent Cuban governors were partly stooges of the Americans and as result Americanism flourished in Cuba.

We mostly see the magnificent and colorful American mobiles from as early as the 1930s to late 1950s until Fidel and Raul Castro, Che Guevara with the help of the Cuban people brought about the revolution of P11802211959. This is probably the reason we hardly see any American cars after the 1960s. Now that reconciliation may be on its way we hope that it comes on Cuba’s terms to preserve the integrity culture and not the least its old beautiful cars. We hope that the bea
ches of Cuba such as the Varadeo, the best in the Caribbean, remain as close to nature as it they are today and don’t become a tourist hub of ice creams parlors and touts.

History of Havana on Coins & Stamps


Poorest Country in the World, A Colonial Heritage

Kinshasa, Congo ….it is the poorest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is also the poorest country in the world, at a GDP of $55 billion.

Many of its residents live on less $1 a day.


 One of the most exploited countries in Africa by the west. Now they are the poorest

Belgian Congo, French Congo Belge,  former colony (coextensive with the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Africa, ruled by Belgium from 1908 until 1960. It was established by the Belgian parliament to replace the previous, privately owned Congo Free State, after international outrage over abuses there brought pressure for supervision and accountability. A rebellion broke out in several eastern districts in 1919 and was not suppressed until 1923. Private European and American corporations invested heavily in the Belgian Congo after World War I. Large plantations (growing cotton, oil palms, coffee, cacao, and rubber) and livestock farms were developed. In the interior, gold, diamonds, copper, tin, cobalt, and zinc were mined; the colony became an important source of uranium for the United States during World War II. In the late 1950s, France and the United Kingdom worked with their colonies to prepare for independence.  The first nationwide Congolese political party, the Congo National Movement, was launched in 1958 by Patrice Lumumba and other Congolese leaders. Riots broke out in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) after a rally was held calling for the independence of the Congo in 1960. Suddenly Belgium capitulated and Congo became an independent republic onCONGO June 30, 1960.

The Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979


Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919-1980)

At the time of revolution which first took root in 1977 Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919 – 1980) was head of the state as Shah of Iran. However he was not of royal descent but a son of an army commander Rezā Shāh (1878 – 1944) who engineered a coup with the assistance of British, and deposed Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last Shah of the Qajar dynasty in 1925. Having established a constitutional monarchy Pahlavi was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941. His son Mohammed Reza Shah followed as the next Shaw, and initiated a strong policy of modernization of Iran supported by the United States and the rest of the west.


25 Centuries of Iranian Empire

During Shah’s regime Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. The Shah also changed the benchmark of the Iranian calendar from the hegira to the beginning of the Persian Empire, measured from Cyrus the Great’s coronation. He also introduced the ‘White Revolution’, a series of economic, social and political reforms with the proclaimed intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernizing the nation by nationalizing certain industries and granting women suffrage.

IRAN 1979

Final decisive Year of Revolution 1979

However as a secular Muslim, Mohammad Reza gradually lost support from the Shi’a clergy of Iran as well as the working class, particularly due to his strong policy of modernization, secularization, conflict with the traditional class of merchants known as bazaari, relations with Israel, and corruption issues surrounding himself, his family, and the ruling elite. In order to counteract the revolution additional controversial policies were enacted, including the banning of the communist Tudeh Party, and a general suppression of political dissent by Iran’s intelligence agency, SAVAK. According to official statistics, Iran had as many as 2,200 political prisoners in 1978, a number which multiplied rapidly as the evolution took hold.

Several other factors contributed to strong opposition to the Shah among certain groups within Iran, the most notable of which were United States and UK support for his regime, clashes with Islamists and increased communist activity. Demonstrations against the Shah commenced in October 1977, developing into a campaign of civil resistance by secular and religious elements intensified in January 1978. Between August and December 1978 strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile on January 16, 1979, as the last Persian monarch, leaving his duties to a regency council and an opposition-based prime minister. Ayatollah Khomeini who was exiled for 15 years, was invited back to Iran by the government, and returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal reign collapsed shortly after on February 11 when guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting, bringing Khomeini to official power.  Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979, and to approve a new theocratic-republican constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country, in December 1979.

The revolution was unusual for the surprise it created throughout the world as it lacked many of the customary causes of revolution (defeat at war, a financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or disgruntled military, and blood shed). The revolution occurred in a nation that was enjoying relatively good wealth and prosperity.  The outcome resulted in the exile of many Iranians, and replaced a pro-Western semi-absolute monarchy with an anti-Western authoritarian theocracy  based on the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (or velayat-e faqih). It was a relatively non-violent revolution, and helped to redefine the meaning and practice of modern revolutions.

History of Iran on Coins and Stamps