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Journal Articles Journal of Global History Year : 2015

Global commerce in small boxes: parcel post, 1878–1913


Even if the high-tech and 'revolutionary' electric telegraph has become a favourite topic for communication historians dealing with global history, it cannot alone epitomize the first modern age of globalization. The postal network, and parcel post in particular, was also a key agent of globalization. In 1880, several Universal Postal Union member states signed a convention for the exchange of parcel post, opening a new channel in the world of commerce. By the end of the nineteenth century, millions of packets poured into post offices and railway stations, crossed countries, and created all sorts of transnational connections, from family to business to humanitarian relations. Behind the ordinary, seemingly low-tech small boxes lay a sophisticated service that emerged from transnational dynamics, challenged both national and international commercial circuits, and produced more complex control of economic borders.
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hal-01977382 , version 1 (10-01-2019)



Léonard Laborie. Global commerce in small boxes: parcel post, 1878–1913. Journal of Global History, 2015, 10 (2), pp.235-258. ⟨10.1017/s1740022815000054⟩. ⟨hal-01977382⟩
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