Crystal, then living in St. John’s, the capital of the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, sent me this lovely card picturing Devil’s Bridge, a natural rock formation on the main island of Antigua. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in November 1498, it was first settled by the British in 1632 and invaded by the French in 1666. It was returned to Britain a year later and a naval dockyard was established at English Harbour in 1725. The country gained associated statehood status in 1967 and full independence in November 1981.
Postal communications were established between Antigua and Britain early in the nineteenth century; the first postal markings date from 1850 and starting in 1858 stamps of Great Britain were obliterated for usage in St. John’s and English Harbour. Antigua began issuing its own stamps in 1862 but stamps of Leeward Islands were used from 1890 until Antigua began issuing her own stamps again in 1903. Issues of Antigua and the Leeward Islands were used concurrently until 1956. In 1922, Barbuda issued its own separate stamps by overprinting issues of Leeward Islands but these were soon continued. Starting in 1968, it began issuing floods of unnecessary stamps (also valid in Antigua) trying to attract collectors. Stamps of Antigua were overprinted for the uninhabited island of Redonda in 1979 solely for philatelic mail but are generally not recognized.
Crystal mailed this postcard in a separate envelope with a pair of Antigua and Barbuda stamps picturing a mesquite (Prosopis chilensis) tree and receiving two double-circle blue postmarks from the General Post Office in St. John’s.