Start Date
Place
Notes
Source
2000 BCE
Egypt
Government only, courier service is used by the
court in Egypt.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/early.html
June 2010
1122 BCE
China
in China, a posthouse service had been started
early in the Chou Dynasty (ruled 1122-221 BC). It
was used mostly to convey official documents.
The far-reaching system consisted of relays of
couriers who changed horses at relay posts 9
miles (14.5 kilometers) apart. The system was
enlarged under the Han Empire (202 BC-AD
220), when the Chinese came in contact with the
Romans and their postal system.
http://www.lookd.com/postal/history.html
December 2010
0522 BCE
Persia
Darius the Great (558-486), son of Hystaspes,
succeeded Cambyses as emperor of Persia. He
engaged in many large building programs
including a system of roads and instituted the first
postal system.
http://timelines.ws January 2007
0400 BCE
Greece
A system of runners [hemerodrom] is used to
carry messages in Greece.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/early.html
June 2010
0200 BCE
India
Systems for collecting information and revenue
data from the provinces are mentioned in
Chanakya's Arthashastra (ca. 3rd century BC).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_India May 2011
0060 BCE
Roman Empire
Government regular postal service employing
horse drawn carts, on routes between Rome and
provincial capitals, introduced by Julius Caesar.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/early.html
July 2010
0900
Russia
Records mention a system of messengers in the
10th century
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Russia May 2011
0976
North Africa
The first recorded example of airmail parcel post
in history. Nizar Abu Mansur al-Aziz the caliph
(975-996) of North Africa, has cherries grown in
Baalbek, Lebanon delivered to him in Cairo,
Egypt by 600 homing pigeons each with a small
silk bag containing a cherry attached to its leg.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/early.html
July 2010
1079
Russia
Early letters were carried in the form of a roll, with
a wax or lead seal; the earliest known of these
seals dates from 1079, and mentions a governor
Ratibor of Tmutarakan.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Russia May 2011
1200
Europe
With the growth of international commerce during
the Renaissance there was a need for business
correspondence. Corporations and guilds set up
their own messenger services. The great
merchant and banking houses of the Italian city-
states provided the most extensive and
dependable postal service of the time. By the
13th century links were maintained between the
commercial centers of Florence, Genoa, and
Siena and several communities in northern
France that held annual fairs. These fairs
attracted merchants from all parts of Europe. The
postal service to France thus provided a major
international link for commerce and news. There
was also a postal link between Venice and
Constantinople, the Muslim capital. Russia too
shared in the postal communications of the day.
http://www.lookd.com/postal/history.html
December 2010
1200
France
The University of Paris is granted its charter,
starts mail, messenger service.
http://timelines.ws August 2007
1220
Mongolia
In the 1220s, Genghis Khan devises a system of
relay messengers, who crisscross his Mongol
empire often covering as much as 160 km in a
day. Postal stations, sited some 40km apart, are
established on all the major roads. There the
messengers, mounted on sturdy ponies, and with
"bells on their saddles announcing their arrival,
could collect food and change horses. [...]
Genghis Khan's organization comprised more
than 250,000 ponies and some 10,000 stations."
[= the communication network provided 25
ponies per relay station and covered some 400,
000 kilometers of roads.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/1000.html#1
000s June 2010
1260
Turkey
In the 1260s, the Arab pigeon-post system is
adopted by the Turks. Sultan Baybars, ruler of
Egypt and Syria (AD 1266-1277), establishes a
well-organized pigeon post throughout his
domains. Royal pigeons have a distinguishing
mark, and only the Sultan is allowed to touch
them. Training pigeons for postal work becomes
a lucrative industry, as a pair of well-trained birds
can bring up to a thousand gold pieces.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/1000.html#1
000s
1290
Europe
The best-known and most extensive such service
was the Thurn and Taxis system. A family whose
Italian name was Tassis had started operating
courier services in the city-states from about
1290. Franz von Taxis served as postmaster for
the Holy Roman emperor Maximilian I, beginning
in 1489. He obtained the right to carry
government as well as private mail throughout the
empire. Under a patent from the emperor,
branches of the family operated a network of
postal routes in Spain, Germany Austria Italy
Hungary, and the Low Countries from 1512 to
1867. The system employed about 20,000
messengers to deliver mail and newspapers. The
Prussian state nationalized the service in 1867.
http://www.lookd.com/postal/history.html
December 2010
1300
Lebanon
In the 14th century, to facilitate communication
across Lebanon the Mameluks used beacon
fires, horses and carrier pigeons. Soldiers kept
watch of the coast from towers called burj.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/1000.html#1
000s
1364
Europe
Private postal service introduced by (by decree
of king Casimir The Great of Poland) between
universities of Cracow, Padua, Rome, Florence,
Siena, Pisa and Paris.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/1000.html#1
000s
19 Jun 1464
France
French King Louis XI formed a postal service.
http://timelines.ws August 2008
1470
France
Government postal service introduced in France
by decree of Louis XI (1423-1483). The king also
introduced postal service for private letters.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/1000.html#1
000s June 2010
1510
India
The postal history of Portuguese India goes back
to the earlier days of the colony. The postal
history begins with communication between the
Viceroy and the Court at Lisbon soon after the
conquest of Old Goa by Afonso de Albuquerque
in 1510. Letters, written in triplicate, were carried
by separate ships because of the hazards of the
voyage. Mail was carried by an overland route,
as well. The early communications of Portuguese
India had an official character and the
correspondence is now to be found in museums
and governmental and ecclesiastical archives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Portuguese_India
May 2011
1516
Europe
Public postal service introduced by Francesco
Taxis (by decree of the emperor Maximilian I)
between Vienna and Brussels.
http://www.ciolek.com/GLOBAL/1000.html#1
000s
1624
Denmark
The royal postal system was established.
Smith, Newspaper, P. 19
1625
England
England established a postal service.
Smith, Newspaper, P. 19
1634
Russia
In 1634, a peace treaty between Russia and
Poland established a route to Warsaw,
becoming Russia's first regular international
service.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Russia May 2011
1635
England
Certain reforms were put in hand in 1635 which
improved the coverage of post towns and
enabled wealthy travellers to move from place to
place in stages of about twelve miles, guide by
small boys familiar with both route and horses.
Smith, Newspaper, P. 20
1635
England
The first public mail service in the UK is
established by royal proclamation. Private
services are discouraged.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk January 2007
1660
England
England was late in building a national road
system. Not until the restoration of the monarchy
in 1660 did the Turnpike Act provide for proper
toll road; until then, local landowners were
supposed to pay for the repair of the roads that
passed their way.
Smith, Newspaper, P. 20
1660
England
The General Post Office was established in Great
Britain. In its 309 years of existence it will have
responsibility for such matters as telegraphy,
wireless telegraphy, telephony and broadcasting.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk March 2007
1672
India
In the South of India, in 1672 Raja Chuk Deo of
Mysore began an efficient postal service which
was further improved upon by Haider Ali.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_India May 2011
1688
India
The East India Company took constructive steps
to improve the existing systems in India when in
1688, they opened a post office in Bombay
followed by similar ones in Calcutta and Madras.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_India May 2011
01 Jun 1711
UK
The Queen Anne Act, known as The British Post
Office Act of 1710, took effect in North America
on June 1, 1711. It created a formula that was
used to improve the colonial postal system and
remained in effect in North America until 1789.
Colonists came to view the postal rates set forth
in the act as an excessive and unwelcome form
of taxation. The rates were revised by a later act,
which took effect on October 10, 1765.
http://timelines.ws March 2009
1721
Canada
During the French régime there was no postal
service in Canada except a system of official
couriers, established in 1721 between Quebec
and Montreal whose chief duty was to carry
government dispatches but who carried also
private letters.
http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/que
bechistory/encyclopedia/PostOffice-
CanadianHistory.htm December 2010
1725
UK
Stamp taxes were increased in Britain.
http://timelines.ws June 2010
1755
Canada
A post-office was established in Halifax in 1755
and postal communication was opened with both
Boston and London; and in 1763 post-offices
were opened in Quebec Three Rivers and
Montreal with communication by means of
courier between Montreal and New York.
http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/que
bechistory/encyclopedia/PostOffice-
CanadianHistory.htm December 2010
1765
UK
The British Stamp Act taxes newspapers and
documents - angers American colonists.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2006
1765
UK
The economic growth in Britain during the 18th
century spurred a demand for better mail
services. New post roads were built beginning
about 1765. Stagecoaches began carrying mail
between cities and towns in 1784. The first route
was between London and Bath. Mounted post
boys also rode on the main routes. Next-day mail
delivery became possible in towns throughout a
good part of England by the 1830s.
http://www.lookd.com/postal/history.html
December 2010
1766
UK
One year after passage, British Parliament
repeals unpopular Stamp Act.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2006
1775
UK
Between 1775 and 1815 Britain was at war
almost constantly either with the United States or
with France. To help finance the wars postage
rates were increased and the higher rates
remained in force for 25 years after the defeat of
Napoleon in 1815. Spurred by popular discontent
over postal rates the English educator and tax
reformer Rowland Hill formulated proposals on
reforming the postal system between 1835 and
1837. His pamphlet Post Office Reform: Its
Importance and Practicability, is now regarded
as a milestone in the development of the modern
postal system.
http://www.lookd.com/postal/history.html
December 2010
1775
US
Continental Congress authorizes post office.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2006
1800
US
Letter from Portland, Maine, takes only 20 days
to reach Savannah, Georgia.
http://Www.mediahistory.umn.edu
September 2006
1815
US
3,000 post offices in U.S.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2007
01 Jan 1850
Spain
The first stamps of Spain were issued on 1
January 1850 and depicted Queen Isabella II.[
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Spain May 2011
1852
Nigeria
The first post office was established by the
British Colonial Masters in 1852. It was
considered to be a part of the British postal
system. It was a branch of London General Post
Office and this was the situation till 1874. (1862)
when the Post Office began its career as a full
fledge Department , the Royal Niger Company
(RNC) which was actively involved in economic
activities in the country, set up its own postal
system in Akassa in 1887, Calabar in 1891,
Burutu in 1897 and Lokoja in 1899. Mail was
being moved from these trading stations to and
from Lagos by a weekly mail boat.
http://www.nipost.gov.ng/About_Us.aspx May
2011
1857
Iran
Indian postal agencies operated from 1857 to
1923 at Bushire, Bandar Abbas, Linga, Jask,
Mahommera, Chabbar, Henjam, Abadan and
Ahwaz. Indian stamps were used at these
agencies from 1864.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Iran May 2011
1862
International
International delivery had become so complex by
the mid-19th century that in 1862 the United
States suggested reform. Little was done
immediately because of the American Civil War
and the Franco-Prussian War. By the early 1870s
a plan had been prepared by a member of the
North German Postal Confederation. The Swiss
government summoned a conference at Bern to
consider the proposals. It met in 1874 and was
attended by representatives of 22 countries all
European nations except for Egypt and the
United States. The outcome of the conference
was a treaty establishing a General Postal Union.
The name was changed to the Universal Postal
Union (UPU) in 1878.
http://www.lookd.com/postal/international.htm
l December 2010
01 Oct 1869
Austria
Austria issued the world's first postal card, the
Correspondenz Karte, a plain-line card printed
with a 2-kreuzer stamp.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
1878
International
In 1878 an international money-order system was
adopted by the UPU. In 1885 a parcel-post
agreement was made by 19 UPU countries. The
scope of the parcel-post delivery system was
later expanded. The UPU has international
headquarters in Bern. It serves as an information
and consultation center and as a clearinghouse
for settling accounts. There is a conference of
members every five years to review the
functioning of the UPU. In 1948 the union became
a specialized agency of the United Nations.
http://www.lookd.com/postal/international.htm
l December 2010
1898
Nigeria
In 1898, the British Post Office established post
offices at Badagary, Epe, Ikorodu, Ijebu-Ode,
Ibadan and Abeokuta. In 1892, the Royal Niger
Company became a member of the Universal
Postal Union. By 1908, Money Orders and mail
were directly exchanged with the German West
African Colonies instead of via London, as it was
the practice.
http://www.nipost.gov.ng/About_Us.aspx May
2011
19 May 1898
US
US Congress passed the Private Mailing Card
Act, which allowed private publishers and printers
to produce postcards
http://timelines.ws July 2006
01 Jan 1900
Nigeria
From January 1 1900, the Southern Nigeria
Government took over the responsibility of
running the postal system in the entire country.
There were not too many good road in those
days as such mail were conveyed by canoes,
launchers and runners which could only operate
at intervals of two weeks or less.
http://www.nipost.gov.ng/About_Us.aspx May
2011
1901
Australia
16,000 staff of Postmaster-General (PMG)
[Australia] Dept accounts for 90 percent of new
federal bureaucracy.
http://www.caslon.com August 2006
1902
Russia
In 1902 the chief Russian postal service was
made part of the Internal Affairs Ministry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Post
May 2011
29 Nov 1903
US
Inquiry into U.S. Postal Service demonstrated the
government had lost millions in fraud.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
1907
Nigeria
While mail delivery was initially the business
focus, British Postal orders were being sold and
encashed as from 1907 in post offices located at
headquarters of all District Commissioners.
http://www.nipost.gov.ng/About_Us.aspx May
2011
1908
Iran
Russian post offices operated in 1908-18 in
northern Persia using stamps of Russia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Iran May 2011
1909
UK
800 million postcards sold in England.
http://www.caslon.com June 2009
1917
Belarus
Belarus used the postage stamps of the Soviet
Union from 1917 to 1991.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Belarus May 2011
18 Nov 1918
Poland
The Polish Ministry of Post and Telegraph in
Warsaw came into being on the 18th November
1918.
http://www.stampdomain.com/country/poland/
poland1918/ December 2010
1925
Nigeria
In 1925, Royal Airforce planes flew from Kano to
Cairo carrying mail for the first time outside the
country.
http://www.nipost.gov.ng/About_Us.aspx May
2011
1926
Yemen
Yemen issued its first stamps in 1926.
International mail required additional stamps to
be added from a country that was a member of
the Universal Postal Union as Yemen did not join
the UPU until 1 January 1930.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Yemen May 2011
Jun 1941
Russia
During the Second World War Soviet postal
service part of People's Commissariat of
communications was delivering up to 70 million
parcels per month to the Soviet army front from
the rear under extremely difficult and often very
dangerous conditions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Post
May 2011
1960
Nigeria
At the time of independence in 1960, 176 Post
Offices, 10 sub Post offices and 1,000 Postal
agencies were in the country.
http://www.nipost.gov.ng/About_Us.aspx May
2011
1969
UK
UK Post Office established as public
corporation.
http://www.caslon.com January 2007
1970
US
Postal Reorganization Act makes U.S. Postal
Service self-supporting.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk August 2006
17 Jan 1980
Africa
The Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) was
established on 17 January 1980 with the signing
of the PAPU convention. The Convention entered
into force on 1 July 1980. PAPU is a specialised
agency of the OAU and aims to improve co-
operation on postal matters in Africa.
http://www.dfa.gov.za/foreign/Multilateral/afric
a/papu.htm May 2011
Oct 1980
UK
The UK government published a
Telecommunications Bill to split the General Post
Office (GPO) into two units: the Post Office and
British Telecommunications (BT).
http://www.terramedia.co.uk June 2008
1981
US
US General Accounting Office predicts that email
will put two-thirds of postal workers out of work by
2000.
http://www.caslon.com June 2007
1987
France
France Telecom separated from French Post &
Telephone Administration.
http://www.caslon.com June 2007
1987
New Zealand
New Zealand Post Office split into NZ Telecom,
NZ Post and PostBank.
http://www.caslon.com April 2009
1988
US
Government brochure mailed to 107 million
addresses.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu August
2006
26 Apr 1992
Turkmenistan
The first stamps of Turkmenistan were issued on
26 April 1992. Before then, Turkmenistan used
stamps of the Soviet Union.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_Turkmenistan May
2011
1993
Russia
In 1993 Russian Post became a part of Ministry
of Communications.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Post
May 2011
1993
Sweden
Sweden privatized Posten AB, its postal network.
http://timelines.ws June 2006
1995
Germany
Deutsche Bundespost spins off Deutsche
Telekom.
http://www.caslon.com August 2010
1996
US
U.S. Postal Service handles nearly 600 million
pieces of mail daily.
http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu July 2007
11 Jan 2001
US
FedEx agreed to handle most of the Postal
Services air transportation in a $6.3 billion deal.
http://timelines.ws June 2007
2002
Russia
In 2002 Russian Post's status changed from a
government ministry to a Unitary enterprise in the
framework of the restructuring the federal postal
communication agencies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Post
May 2011
19 Jun 2008
South Africa
Rampant theft by Post Office workers has
infuriated the Internet retailing giant Amazon so
much that it will no longer send goods to SA by
post.
http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/amazon-
boycotts-south-africas-postal-system May
2011
10 Nov 2008
Germany
Deutsche Post AG said it will close all of its DHL
Express service centers, cut 9,500 jobs in the
United States and eliminate US-only domestic
express shipping by land and air, citing heavy
losses and fierce competition.
http://timelines.ws August 2010
15 Mar 2009
Germany
A German newspaper reported that Deutsche
Post AG has paid a pension of euro20 million
($26 million) to Klaus Zumwinkel, the former CEO
convicted of tax evasion.
http://timelines.ws August 2010
2011
India
Today the Indian Postal Service serves the public
from 155,000 post offices. India is believed to
have the most widely distributed system in the
world (China has 57,000, Russia 41,000 and the
United States 38,000 offices).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps
_and_postal_history_of_India May 2011
07 May 2011
Nigeria
Plans are under way to revive Nigeria's moribund
railway sector, according to the Minister of
Transport, Yusuf Suleiman.
http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/
5624759-146/story.csp May 2011
Postal Services Timeline
Created with Timeline Maker Professional. Produced on 25 Feb 2012.