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The History Of Postage Stamps

Posted by Kiki, 11 Apr 2009, 01:02 AM

The history of postage stamps http://stamps.today begins long before the introduction of postage stamps. The antecedents have been traced to the systems of the Persian Empire instituted by Cyrus the Great and Darius I for communicating important military and political information. The Atharvaveda records a messenger service. Systems for collecting information and revenue data from the provinces are mentioned in Chanakya's Arthashastra.

In ancient times the kings, emperors, rulers, zamindars or the feudal lords protected their land through the intelligence services of specially trained police or military agencies and courier services to convey and obtain information through runners, messengers and even through pigeons. The chief of the secret service, known as the postmaster, maintained the lines of communication ... The people used to send letters to distant relatives through their friends or neighbors.

For centuries it was rare for messages to be carried by any means other than a relay of runners on foot. A runner ran from one village or relay post to the next, carrying the letters on a pole with a sharp point. His was a dangerous occupation: the relay of postal runners worked throughout the day and night, vulnerable to attacks by bandits and wild animals. These mail runners were used chiefly by the rulers, for purposes of gathering information and wartime news. They were subsequently used by merchants for trade purpose. It was much later that mail runners came to be in use for the carriage of private mail.

The postal history of India primarily began with the overland routes, stretching from Persia to India. What began as mere foot-tracks that more than often included fords across the mountainous streams, gradually evolved over the centuries as highways, used by traders and military envoys on foot and horses, for carriage of missives.

The Arab influence of the Caliphate came about with the conquest of Sind by Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 A.D. Thereupon, the Diwan-i-Barid or Department of Posts established official communication across the far-flung empire. The swiftness of the horse messengers finds mention in many of the chronicles of that period.


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