Ever since the 17th Century the beehive is shown as a symbol of 'diligence and assiduty'. Used in this way this symbol appeared for the first time in the Dutch language in the year 1644. The name of the book was "Iconologia of Uitbeedinghe des Verstants" (Iconologia or Depictions of the Mind). It was a translation of the Italian book "Iconologia di Cesare Ripa".

Both text and illustration describe the assiduity of the bees according to the ancient Greek point of view: the bees are cheered because of the ingenious manner that they gather sweet honey from thyme. Around 1644 the beehive (with bees) was the symbol of handwork in industry. Diligentia is pictured standing with thyme twigs in her hands and surrounded by bees.

Around 1750 the mechanized industry is increasing. Diligentia is mostly now pictured sitting with one arm on a beehive. Plus - depending on the industry - another symbol. Like a gear wheel when the whole industry is shown.

Diligentia on stamps:

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The extra Symbols of Diligentia are the caduceus and an anchor. So the industry is shipping Liberia 1909 - 10 - Yv 100 Liberia 1910 - 10 - Yv 109: as Yv 100 with surcharge "3 cents Inland Postage".

Diligentia is pictured - besides the beehive - with flowers and a mirror. In the mirror what seems a vulcano and a torch. I am not sure about the picture on the mirror. Therefore I guess it's an allegory on the country of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua 1891 - 11 stamps of different value.

Nicaragua 1891-9 green stamps with the same picture as above and the surcharge "Tranqueo Oficial"

Nicaragua 1894 - Diligentia standing with he same symbol as on 1891; surcharges "Telegrafos" and "Franqueo Oficial"

Diligentia with a beehive on her right side and a sheaf of corn on her left shoulder. The industry is agriculture. Croatia 1996 - 3,60

by Jan de Crom  
taken from "The Postal Bee" 3/1998 
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