French Post Roads 1632


Map Code: Ax01146

In 1627 France’s most notable early cartographer, Nicolas Sanson, created his first major cartographical work entitled ‘Postes de France’. Officially published a few years later in 1632, it depicted the main postal courier routes in France. The creation of the map coincided with a law passed in 1627, which for the first time allowed citizens to send their own private mail via independent postal services. Before this new legislation, the Royal Postal Service had been reserved for official administrative correspondence, occasionally carrying private mail as the restrictions were bypassed. It was established in its original form by Louis XI in 1477, whilst the small amount of private mail at the time travelled through the mail system used by the University of Paris. It became clear that the postal service was a good method of raising funds so in 1672 a postal tax was introduced, soon developing into a state monopoly on postal services.

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