One hundred and forty years ago this October 9, a precursor to the United Nations formed the Union Postale Universelle (UPU), a specialized agency that coordinated postal policies among member nations. Prior to the UPU formation, each country had to prepare a separate postal treaty with other nations it wished to carry international mail to or from, which resulted in the US calling for an International Postal Congress in 1863. Thus led to the formation of the General Postal Union as a result of the Treaty of Bern on October 9. Four years later, the name was changed to the Universal Postal Union. The UPU established that:
- There should be a uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world,
- Postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail,
- Each country should retain all money it has collected for international postage and
Furthermore, as a result of the treaty, it ceased to be necessary to affix the stamps of any country though which one’s letter or package would pass in transit. Stamps of the member nations were now accepted for the entire international route.
Even though the UPU now has 192 members, in the beginning there were only 20: the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Spain, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Empire, Serbia, the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, and the Ottoman Empire.
But over the years, that number increased and one hundred years ago, China joined the UPU. And trade with China became a little easier …