Niger (1921-45, 1959-)
Stamp-issuing status: active; Population: 9,388,859 (1997). A republic in northern Africa, directly north of Nigeria. Under French control after 1890, Niger underwent several administrative incarnations, finally emerging as the Niger Territory in 1920. The Niger Territory became the Niger Colony two years later. Niger became part of French West Africa in 1944 and used French West African stamps during 1944-59. In 1958, Niger became an autonomous republic and became fully independent in 1960. It has since maintained close ties with France. Since independence, it has been ruled by a series of dictators, except for a brief period of popular-elected government from March 1993 to January 1996.