Post office

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The post office in Augsburg with post office outside the city walls, copper engraving from 1616

As a coaching one called for the establishment of the post one in 1490 relay station on a postal route , where the rider and horse changed while the closed and sealed postal Felleisen like a relay has been passed.

Another task of the post stations was to provide couriers and post travelers with a certificate of authorization with horses and an escort to the next exchange station, which from the perspective of the travelers was called " posting ".

In the vicinity of the post office there were often so-called dining masters as well as trades necessary for the operation, such as blacksmith and wheelwright .


The Roman State Post established its main bases at important trading and transport locations ( mansiones , later stationes ), which were used to rest and linger for travelers during the night and were usually a day's journey away from each other. Between every two mansiones there were six to eight mutations for changing horses. The provision of the post horses was the responsibility of the residents of the post station concerned and constituted a heavy labor service .

Fixed post offices

Postcard and opening card of Hungary and Transylvania with post stations (1836)

After the post office was re-established in 1490, the mail riders and their horses were initially housed in hostels, as the mail courses were based on Maximilian I's whereabouts and often only existed for a short time. With the final establishment of fixed postal rates under Charles V at the latest, fixed postal stations also emerged. Larger post stations, the forerunners of the post offices, were subordinate to postmasters , who were referred to in the parlance of the Imperial Post Office operated by the (Thurn and) Taxis as "post administrators" or commis . Pure horse changing stations, on the other hand, were subject to post office owners . To check that the specified riding times were adhered to, hourly passes were used, on which the managers of the post stations noted the arrival and handling times of a relay. With certain signals that were blown with the post horn , the mail riders or postilons announced their arrival before they arrived at the post office so that the horse could be changed more quickly.

Since the cities closed their gates at night and the mail riders rode day and night, the post stations were initially in unfortified villages such as Flamisoul and Rheinhausen or in cities outside the city walls, such as in Augsburg , in order to ensure speedy handling.


Post stations were exempt from taxes and compulsory labor and were under the protection of the emperor or territorial lord. An early document for this is a charter from Queen Maria of Hungary , governor of the Netherlands, dated September 29, 1531. There she confirmed to the postman of Casteau near Mons that he, like the other imperial “posts” (postman), was entitled to all taxes, salt taxes , Wine taxes, demurrage and other burdens are exempt.


Salvaguardia 18th century

Post stations were considered neutral in times of war and could apply for a Salvaguardia to protect them from enemy attacks. Nevertheless, incidents and looting occurred again and again, such as in 1675, which led Emperor Leopold I to issue a decree on April 23, 1675. After that, the territorial lords should better protect the post stations so that something like the one in Lieser does not happen again :

that during the recent French overpowering and plundering of the little town of Lieser , all his belongings were taken away from his local post office administrator (= postmaster, clerk) , even the books and letters, including the horses, saddles and stuff. In addition, he was badly beaten.

See also


  • Wolfgang Behringer, Thurn and Taxis , Munich 1990
  • Uli Braun, in: Archiv fdPg 2/90, p. 7 (Memminger Chronik, transcription)
  • Martin Dallmeier, Sources for the History of the European Postal Service , Kallmünz 1977, Volumes 1 and 2
  • Ludwig Kalmus, World History of the Post , Vienna 1937
  • Ernst Kießkalt, The Origin of the Post , Bamberg 1930
  • Fritz Ohmann, The Beginnings of the Post Office and Taxis , Leipzig 1909
  • Bernhard Siegert, "Relay. Fate of Literature as the Epoch of the Post (1751–1913)", Berlin 1993

Web links

Wiktionary: Poststation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Dallmeier, Sources for the History of the European Postal Service 1501-1806, Thurn and Taxis Studies 9 / II , Kallmünz 1977, page 10
  2. ^ Gudrun Meyer, in: Jahrbuch 2003, Bernkastel - Wittlich district, p. 97ff. (Translation into today's language) ISBN 3-924182-42-6