Symposyum on Postal History in Spain

Published on Author José Ramón Moreno

On July 9, 2019, was held in Seville, Spain, the Symposium on Postal History, organized by the General Archive of the Indies (AGI) with the collaboration of the Royal Hispanic Academy of Philately and Postal History (RAHFeHP) , the Spanish Post “Correos” and the Spanish Postal and Telegraphic Museum. The inauguration of the Symposium was chaired by Mr. Manuel Ravina, Director of the AGI, who welcomed the attendees and congratulated the number and quality of themes of the conferences and their speakers.

Next, the FEPA President and Academician José Ramón Moreno presented to Mr. Ravina with a FEPA Honorary Certificate.

After that, the President of the RAHFeHP, Jesus Sitjá  also presented to Mr. Ravina with a Diploma of Appreciation.

The first part of the Symposyum consisted of three conferences , opening the session Antonio J. López Gutiérrez , Doctor in History and Responsible for the Area of ​​Historiographic Sciences and Techniques of the University Pablo de Olavide, who under the title of the section of the Posts and the Inca’s ways, described the important mail funds contained in the AGI and the American postal routes. These funds are inventoried in the publication: “Inventory of the Post Office section”. It can be consulted through the PARES Spanish State Archives Website.

Then, the Academician of the RAHFeHP, José Manuel López Bernal presented in great detail the conduction of the mail between Spain and the American colonies in the conference entitled: “The conduction of the post by ships of Commerce and the Navy: an alternative system and complementary”.

To close this part of the Symposyum, the RAHFeHP Academician, José Manuel Rodríguez, spoke about “A trip over the time through the mail: vehicle the letter”.

Then,in the Second part participated Ms Rocío Moreno, Professor of the Area of ​​Historiographic Sciences and Techniques of the University Pablo de Olavide, describing in depth the beginnings of the postal system in the middle of the 18th century in the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada. The title of her presentation was  “The postal system in Cartagena de Indias in the 18th century”.

She was followed by José Antonio Herráiz, also Academician of the a RAHFeHP, who pointed out the great importance of the General Archive of the Indies for studies of Hispanic Postal History, given the large amount of information it holds. His lecture was entitled: “The letter was not free: The importance of the General Archive of the Indies in the study of Spanish postal rates.” The third conference of this part was given by Ms Aránzazu Lafuente , director of the Historical Archive of the Nobility of Toledo, with the title of “The Major Mail of the Indies in the Historical Archive of the Nobility. The fund of the Duchy of San Carlos ”. She showed how the Duke of San Carlos had deposited in the Historical Archive of the Nobility the archive of the Marquises of Santa Cruz, consisting of hundreds of information boxes of their ancestors, among which they found the counts of Castillejo, who held the title of Major Mail of the Indies. These relatively unpublished funds are a source of knowledge for the researchers of the Postal System of the Indies.

This part was closed with the interesting conference of Ms María Victoria Crespo, Director of the Spanish Postal and Telegraphic Museum, who made a thematic and chronological tour through the evolution of the means of communication of mails and telegraphy, in the presentation entitled: “The Spanish Museum Postal and Telegraphic and its Postal History funds ”.

Finally, the third part of the Symposyum began with the conference of Eugenio de Quesada, Academician of the RAHFeHP. He dealt with the conduction of the mail by the “chasquis” in the pre-colonial era in Peru and Nueva Granada and its subsequent absorption by the colonial administration, under the title of “The Chasquis and the Post in Peru and Nueva Granada”.

Next, Manuel Álvarez, Head of the AGI Archives Section, presented through maps and plans contained in the AGI a description of the buildings of the colonial postal administrations, in which he perfectly combined the artistic description of these properties with its functionality, in the conference entitled: “Mail administrations through the Maps and Plans section of the General Archive of the Indies.”

Then, the Academician Mario Mirmán presented the interesting lecture entitled “Historical-postal appreciations on the Letter of Columbus of the Discovery of America”.

Finally, Jesús Sitjà, president of the RAHFeHP, outlined the importance as persons of the first commissioners and visitors in the implantation of the mail in America, in a holistic vision of its establishment, with the title of “A postal microhistory: The paradigmatic case of Commissioner Pedro Antonio Cossio”.

He also presented with a Diploma of Thanks to the Director of the Postal and Telegraphic Museum, Mrs. María Victoria Crespo.


We will try to made available for all those interested the 11 Presentations in this FEPA Website