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In the 19th century the British usually referred to mail as being letters that were being sent abroad (i.e. The practice of communication by written documents carried by an intermediary from one person or place to another almost certainly dates back nearly to the invention of writing.on a ship), and post as letters that were for localized delivery; in the UK the Royal Mail delivers the post, while in the U. However, the development of formal postal systems occurred much later.The first documented use of an organized courier service for the diffusion of written documents is in Egypt, where Pharaohs used couriers for the diffusion of their decrees in the territory of the State (2400 BC).The earliest surviving piece of mail is also Egyptian, dating to 255 BC.The Mauryans developed early Indian mail service as well as public wells, rest houses, and other facilities for the common public.Couriers were used militarily by kings and local rulers to deliver information through runners and other carriers.Later this system underwent complete modernization when the British Raj established its full control over India.The Post Office Act XVII of 1837 provided that the Governor-General of India in Council had the exclusive right of conveying letters by post for hire within the territories of the East India Company.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU), established in 1874, includes 192 member countries and sets the rules for international mail exchanges.
Postal authorities often have functions aside transporting letters.
In some countries, a postal, telegraph and telephone (PTT) service oversees the postal system, in addition to telephone and telegraph systems.
In the 17th century, the word mail began to appear as a reference for a bag that contained letters: "bag full of letter" (1654). The term email (short for "electronic mail") first appeared in the 1970s.
Over the next hundred years the word mail began to be applied strictly to the letters themselves, and the sack as the mailbag. The term snail-mail is a retronym to distinguish it from the quicker email. Post is derived from Medieval French poste, which ultimately stems from the past participle of the Latin verb ponere ("to lay down or place").