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Post Offices of Europe 18th – 21st Century

A Comparative History


Edited By Muriel Le Roux and Sébastien Richez

The cursus publicus, established by the Roman Empire to connect all its conquered territories, may be considered to be the ancestor of all modern post offices. Therefore, mail service networks are part of an organization, dating from Antiquity, which is common to the entire European community.
From the 18 th century onwards, the French mail service network may be divided into three successive phases. First, the consolidation of the transportation system that was being set up. Second, the development of the system’s ability to deal with increasing traffic (through broader human resources). Thirdly, the diversification of its operations and the development of its technical modernisation.
What was the situation in other European countries? Are there similarities and differences in how their networks were set up and organized? Finally, how did European Post Offices cooperate with each other in spite of their differences?
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Warm thanks are due to:

Jean-Paul Bailly, former Chairman of La Poste Group for his constant benevolence towards historical research;

Dominique Blanchecotte, Director for Culture and Heritage for her material support for our researchers;

Jean-Paul Forceville, Director of the European and national regulation of La Poste Group for his help in the publication of the first edition of this book;

Christophe Charle, former Director of the Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine (IHMC/CNRS/ENS/Paris 1), for his support for this research programme;

Josiane Foynat, assistant-manager of the Comité pour l’Histoire de La Poste (CHP), for her invaluable collaboration.

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