An iconic figure in Canadian history, Louis Riel may have ordered these stamp essays to give his government official status. The exact date of their creation is not known.

Riel fought for Métis self-determination in the territory now called Manitoba. Of mixed European and Native ancestry, the Métis saw their rights threatened following the transfer of Rupert's Land to Canada by the Hudson's Bay Company.

During the Red River Rebellion (1869-1870), Riel established a provisional government and named his own postmaster, Andrew Graham Ballenden Bannatyne. The essays shown here may date from that time, but until definite information is found, the mystery surrounding their origin will remain unsolved.

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