Friday, August 24, 2012
Finnish Postal Services 300th anniversary
"Posti": the Finnish Post and Postal System. The Finnish postal system has existed for more than 370 years, since 1638. From Swedish rule and autonomy under Russia to complete independence of Finland in 1918, the system has lived through the changes of the country. Before , I talk about the cover and the stamps on it so thoughtfully given to me by Pia, I’d like to briefly talk about how it all started.
The Finnish Postal Services Until 1808, While Under Swedish Rule. Finland was a part of the Swedish kingdom for some seven centuries of its history, from somewhere in the 12th century to the beginning of the 19th century — there is not one specific point in history when Finland is known to have become a part of Sweden. Due to victorious wars and conquests, Sweden had become a European superpower by the early 17th century. The kingdom had expanded to the Baltic countries, east to Livonia and Ingria, and to Northern Germany. The Baltic was almost an inland sea of the kingdom.
The governance and taxation of this budding empire had to evolve, and the new territories needed to be as closely connected to Sweden as possible. An organized, regularly operating postal system was needed in order to accomplish this. On February 20th 1636, Sweden authorized the establishment of the two bases of the present-day postal system — the mail conveyance system and the post office network. Two years later, on September 6th 1638, the Swedish government approved the first official Finnish postal route, which ran from Stockholm to Turku via the Finnish Åland isles, and from Turku along the Baltic coast to Helsinki, finally reaching the Estonian city of Narva. An official postal tariff was also established on the route. In addition to the Southern route, another important postal route in Finland ran from Turku to the North. It was established in the 1640s, and followed the coast along the Gulf of Bothnia — the sea area that separates most of Finland and Sweden — all the way to Stockholm. This long, slow route was a backup for the one that ran via Åland, to be used during winters and otherwise bad weather, when it was impossible to cross the sea. Up until the 1730s, there were virtually no in-land routes.Due to these two events, September 6th is considered the birthday of the Finnish post. Hence, in order to celebrate this ocassion, the four stamps on the displayed cover were issued. The cover itself is from the postal stationary in vogue since 1845. The details of the stamps are: 1/4 - Second post office building at Ahvenkoski 1787; 2/4 - Peasant mail carriers carrying mail over partly frozen Sea of Åland and Gulf of Finland; 3/4 - Junkers Ju-52 mail plane and mail; and 4/4 - The main office of Finnish Post Service in Helsinki was built in 1938.