Europa 2020 – Ancient Postal Routes – Set

In place since the times of ancient kingdoms, states and empires, the postal routes have been essential for bringing governments and societies closer together throughout history. Former trade routes marked by posts and resting places enabled couriers and messengers to carry post across the obstacles posed by geography.

In Spain, the routes date back to Imperial Roman times when former Tartessos, Phoenician and pre-Roman routes were used to build their network of roads where the official post and cursus publicus would circulate.

The Renaissance brought with it the rebirth of the postal routes thanks to the genius of Francisco de Tassis. He managed to create the first European postal network, leading Philip I of Castile, otherwise known as Philip the Handsome, to appoint him Post Master, thus managing to establish one of the foundations of the Spanish monarchy.

The road network that started taking shape at the time was driven by the enlightened reforms of the Bourbon dynasty. During this dynasty, the branch of Roads was incorporated into the Superintendency of Post, roads were paved and maintained, post offices and carrier house were constructed, and the Real Casa de Correos (Royal Post Office) was built at kilometre zero of the network of postal routes, which was later used in contemporary times to establish the current road network in Spain.

This issue is part of the Europe series issued by PostEurop. The format is a Premium Sheet where the main image is an iconic image of a postman cycling along a rural route. The stamp portrays the importance of the routes in the past and how they are the basis for the present. They are represented in fragments of roadsides, ancient routes and tracings of modern motorways.