The first postage stamps prepared for use in Peru were those created by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, but they were never used by the company. The government of Peru ventured into organizing a modern postal service and utilized the Pacific Steam Navigation Company stamps from December 1857 to February 1858. On 1 March 1858 Peru issued its own definitive stamps depicting the nation’s coat of arms; the three stamps did not feature the country’s name which appeared on a Peruvian postage stamp much later, in 1866. These stamps were the first perforated stamps of Peru and depicted a llama; they were recess printed by the American Bank Note Company. The first commemorative stamp was issued in 1871 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first South American railway between Lima and Callao. Between 1879 and 1883 Peru engaged in a calamitous war with Chile; the stamps issued or used during these troubled times include Chilean stamps used by occupying forces; Peruvian issues overprinted with Chile’s arms, and issues of the rebel government of Arequipa. The postwar era saw a succession of presidents, mostly from or linked to the military. In 1894 Morales Bermudez had some of the earlier stamps overprinted with his effigie. In 1896 a new set of stamps featured national heroes like the Inca Manco Capac, and La Mar, the first President of Peru. After his re-election as president in 1919, Augusto Leguia ruled as a de facto dictator until 1930. During these years many Peruvian stamps featured his portrait together with portraits of independence era heroes.
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