First Day Cover: 300th Birth Anniversary of Pierre Poivre (1719 - 2019)
First Day Cover
Born in Lyon, August 23, 1719, he made brilliant ecclesiastic studies and was sent, before entering the orders, to China. In 1745 on his return trip to France, his ship was captured by an English vessel and Poivre lost his right arm. During his convalescence at Batavia, he studied the cultivation of spices (nutmeg and clove), of which the Dutch held the monopoly. He then returned to Isle de France with Labourdonnais, and thereafter back to the metropoly in 1748.

He persuaded the East India Company to create a trading post in Cochinchina in order to compete with the Dutch for the monopoly of spices and succeeded after two trips, to bring to Isle de France a number of nutmeg and clove plants, many of which were unfortunately destroyed. He returned to France in 1756 was received at the Academy of Sciences and obtained a pension from the King.

He acquired, La Freta, in the Lyon’s suburbs, where he devoted himself to natural history studies. Poivre was commissioned by the King, in 1766, to establish the Royal Government in lsle of France, as Intendant. He married Françoise Robin, and they landed at Isle de France in 1768, accompagnied by the Governor Daniel Dumas. Soon after his arrival on the island, he gave two unique speeches which are notably rated in the annals of the Isle de France and which described the whole program of his future actions

A high-ranking administrator, but of difficult character, he nevertheless succeeded in accomplishing a considerable amount of work which can be summed up thus:
  • conquest of spices by three new expeditions to the orders of MM. Provost and Etcheverry;
  • introduction of the printing press leading to the creation of the first newspaper and a postal service;
  • creation of the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden on the grounds of Mon Plaisir, former residence of Labourdonnais, of which he became the owner;
  • financial recovery and restoration of morality in the colony;
  • reconstruction of the town of Port Louis and enlargement of the harbour;
  • creation of an intellectual elite by inviting to the Isle of France a great number of travellers and scientific experts, whose stay greatly benefited the colony;

Poivre’s greatest achievement, however, was the “Réglement Economique” which was the first ecological law in the world issued in 1769 (250 years ago), for the protection of forests and the environment. Many of the articles of this law are still relevant today, thus showing his foresight. In 1772, he left the Ile de France and continued his scientific work but never forgot the small French island in the Indian Ocean as he kept a voluminous correspondence with Nicolas Céré, his successor at the Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses. He died in 1786, leaving his wife and two daughters.

Ebony Tree - Stamp of Rs 33
The stamp depicts an ebony tree whose protection was due to Poivre’s law.

The First Day Cover (FDC) illustrates Poivre’s portrait, signed by Alexis Grognard in 1783, from the collection of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of Mauritius as well as the introductory text of the “Réglement Economique” and Poivre’s signature on paper money issued in 1768. The FDC also portrays the nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) and clove (Syzygium aromaticum) fruits.

The Date Stamp outlines a Malagasy palm, Dypsis poivreana, the only plant in the world bearing Poivre’s name.

Technical Details:
  • Issuing Postal Operator : The Mauritius Post Ltd
  • Release date : 23 August 2019
  • Theme : 300th Birth Anniversary of Pierre Poivre (1719 - 2019)
  • Graphic Works (Stamp, FDC & Insert) : The Mauritius Post Ltd
  • Format : Portrait
  • Stamp size : 30 x 45 mm
  • Printer : Southern Colour
  • Watermark : w18 - CASCO
  • Print process : Lithography
  • Number per sheet : Two panes of 25
  • Perforation : 14 x 2 cm
  • Courtesy :
    - Owen Griffiths: Six Livres Note issued in 1768
    - Vikash Tatayah, Mauritius Wildlife Foundation: Black Ebony
    - Jardin Botanique de Lyon: Dypsis poivreana
    - National Archives of Mauritius: Réglement Economique 1769
    - Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of Mauritius: Pierre Poivre portrait


Price: USD 4.00

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