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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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The Organization of Postal Services in the Border Areas between France and Spain: Antonio Aguilar Perez



In the process of creating the European Union, the Schengen agreement was signed by Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands on 14 June 1984, with a view gradually to eliminate customs inspections at borders that were common to these countries. Other countries later joined the initial signers of this agreement: Italy in 1990; Spain and Portugal in 1991; Greece in 1992; and Austria in 1995. In today’s climate of expanding economic markets, induced migrations of people, and widespread globalization, the notion of the “border” has become a topic of discussion.

The material for this paper is taken from my doctoral dissertation, “The Development and Dimensions of the Postal Network in Catalunya (1714-1936),” which I am currently writing in the department of Human Geography at the University of Barcelona under the direction of Dr. M. Horation Capel Sanchez. In it, I discuss all postal issues that arose from the existence of a border between France and Spain.

Defining the word “border” is not an easy task. It is a problematic that may be approached from different points of view. There are several different types of “border” whose definition depends on the context in question: for instance, philology, anthropology, geography, or history, among others. Etymologically, the word itself has different meanings. Although in some languages, there is only one term that designates this politico-geographic territorial phenomenon, in other languages, there are several words. In Castillian Spanish, words like “frontera, límite, confin...

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