When did the Postal System Begin?

            Today, many of us use internet and mobile phones to communicate with our friends and relatives in far off places. Writing letters will soon become a thing of the past. But in the past, letters were the only method of communicating. The postal system is still very important if we have to send or receive important documents.

            The postal system is a real marvel. Numerous mail vans, trains and aero planes are used to carry letters and packets from one place to another. Millions of people are engaged in the postal departments. It is because of this that we are able to receive letters written by our friend and relatives for England or America in 6-7 days. Similarly it takes only 2-3 days for the letters to reach us form cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, etc.

A man posts a letter in postbox

            One hears stories of ancient times about messages being carried by pigeons and domestic animals to far off places. Kings had royal messengers of their own who carried messages on horseback or stagecoach. They even had runners. However, it was still not possible for the common citizen to send messages. Some sort of a postal system was needed for the common man. It is said that postal system was prevalent in ancient Egypt, china and Persia. The Roman Empire had built an efficient relay system with relay stations called post houses, which constituted the most highly developed postal system of the ancient world.

            Around 1500 A.D., England had a post office and by 1700 England had a GPO with a postmaster general as its head. By 1829, the government took over the system. By 1830, there were thousands of post offices in USA. The first dispatch of mail took place between Manchester and Liverpool. The sender or the receiver had to pay for the letters, depending on the weight and the distance over which the letter had to be sent.

            Sir Rowland hill of England introduced the postal stamp, which was to be stuck on the letter by the sender. He introduced the uniform penny post for the first time in 1840, irrespective of the distance. It became very popular as it was within the common man’s reach. This postal system introduced in England spread far and wide all over the world.

            America has a postal system with about 7.5 lakhs employees and about 1,00,000 million letters are handled by the system every year. The air mail service was started on February 10, 1911 between Hendon and Windsor in England.

            The postal system in India is considered better than that of America as far as the facilities are concerned. The postal system in India was introduced in the 14th century, and flourished during the 16th century under the great Mughal emperor Akbar. It was a courier system. In 1837, the British established the imperial post for effective postal communication.

            In 1854, the present Indian postal system with a uniform postage rate was introduced. In 1876, India became a member of the Universal Postal Union. A regular traveling post office service was introduced in 1870 and the railway mail service still continues to carry mail despite the development of our postal service.