The Post that unites the world

World Post Day is celebrated each year on October 9. On this day, in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) was established in Berne, Switzerland, and in 1969 during the UPU Congress in Tokyo, Japan, the day was declared World Post Day. The UPU currently has 192 member countries which work towards making postal communication seamless and economical.

The purpose of World Post Day is to create awareness about the role of the postal sector in the lives of people and businesses, as well as its contribution to the social and economic development of countries. Every year, almost all the member countries celebrate this day in different ways such as holding exhibitions and competitions and issuing new stamps.

As we celebrate postal services around the world tomorrow, let’s take a look at the history of this medium of communication.

  • 27-14 BC - The Cursus publicus, the first well-documented postal service, was operated in Rome. It was established by Emperor Augustus as an imperial postal service responsible for administrative and official exchanges within the vast Roman Empire.
  • 16th Century - The Thurn und Taxis dynasty served as the imperial courier of the Holy Roman Empire. It developed an international postal service which could convey private correspondence between individuals against suitable payment.

The Post that unites the world

  • 17th Century - The first international postal treaty was signed by European countries. It consisted of bilateral agreements governing the transit of mail among the European countries.
  • 1675 - The first post office was founded in the Republic of Berne, Switzerland, by Beat Fischer von Reichenbach. He was granted a 25-year licence by the State to operate a post and courier service.
  • 1837 - Sir Rowland Hill, an English teacher and reformer, proposed an adhesive stamp to indicate prepayment of postage charges in Britain. The Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, came to be used in a public postal system in 1840.
  • 1854 - The first international postal money order service was created to allow British soldiers fighting in the Crimean War to transfer money back home.

The Post that unites the world

  • 1863 - The first meeting of the International Postal Commission was held at the Paris Postal Conference. Delegates from several European and American countries discussed the need for an international postal treaty.
  • 1868 - Heinrich von Stephan, the German councillor of posts, proposed the submission of a plan to establish a postal union among all the civilised nations to a universal congress.
  • 1874 - October 9: The General Postal Union was established with 22 countries attending the conference and signing the Treaty of Berne.
  • 1878 - The General Postal Union changed its name to the Universal Postal Union to reflect the union’s growing global membership.

The Post that unites the world

  • 1906 - The International Reply Coupon that can be exchanged for one or more postage stamps was created.
  • 1911 - Henri Pequet, a French pilot, carried the first official airmail in India. The flight covered a distance of 10 km between Allahabad and Naini in 27 minutes.

Over the years

The Post that unites the world

1948 - UPU became a specialised agency of the United Nations.

1969 - World Post Day was announced at the UPU Congress in Tokyo, Japan.

1970 - Current building of the UPU at the Murifeld district of Berne was inaugurated.

1971 - The UPU launched the International Letter Writing Competition for students aged between 9 and 15.

1974 - UPU turned 100. To mark its centenary, the UPU members issued special stamps.

1989 - The first UPU World Postal strategy was adopted.

The Post that unites the world

1993 - The Postal Technology Centre was created to develop new technological tools for the UPU members.

1999 - The EMS cooperative, an express mail service for documents and merchandise, was formed.

2005 - .POST, the UPU’s own top-level Internet domain for the postal industry, was approved.

2009 - The first annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from postal services was undertaken by the UPU.

2010 - A state-of-the-art measurement system called the Global Monitoring System was launched to assesses the quality of service for member countries.

2013 - Individual reports on greenhouse gas emissions by postal services around the world were produced and potential reduction measures were suggested by the UPU.

2016 - OSCAR.POST, an online tool enabling UPU designated operators to calculate and analyse their carbon footprints, was created.

2020 - As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, postal services are at the forefront, delivering critical personal protective equipment, testing kits, and medications.

They are even ensuring children receive their educational materials to continue their schooling from home.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 6:04:40 PM |

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