Prior to UPU, a country would have to a separate postal treaty for each other that it would to carry international mail to or from, when an item was transported via several postal administrations all of them applied their own regulations and rates, all these details had to taken to be into consideration, when the item was sent, for example, almost all countries used different weight.
US postmaster general Montgomery Blair who initiated a conference held in 1863 in Paris, to continue the process of reform at the international level, and Henrich Von Stephen, a senior postal official from North German confederation, who drew up a plan for an international union, at his suggestion the Swiss Goverment convened by representatives from 22 countries which was the foundation the UPU.
UPU was established with the signing of the treaty of Bern on the 9th October 1874 a day now celebrated throughout the world s world postal day. The union actually came into effect on 1875 July 1. Then named "General Postal Union" with an initial membership of 22 nations. The title was changes to "Universal Postal Union" at the second congress in 1878 due to rapid increase in membership. In 1948 the UPU became a specialized agency of the United Nations.
The postal service of the UPU members form the largest physical distribution network in the world. Some 6.2 million postal employees working over 700,000 post office all over the world, handle an annual total of 430 billion letters, printed matters and parcel in the domestic service and almost 10 billion letter, printed matters, parcels in the international service and the global average, one post office exits for 8000 people.
The universal postal congress is the legislative body and meets every 5 years to consider the activities of the executive council of 40 members elected on a geographical basis and meets yearly.
The UPU issued the first stamp in 1957. Between 1957 and 1995 it issued only 16 different stamps, the second issue from 1960 being still use. The stamps have the inscriptions: Helvetia and Union Postale Universelle and may be used for the correspondence only by the officials working for the UPU in Bern. The UPU doesn't posses an own postal office and use the Swiss postal office 3000 Bern 15.
There are few organization which have succeeded as well on such a global scale but about which relatively little known.