While Muslims did not invent the postal service, they certainly played an important role in developing it. Caliph Muaawiya radhiallahu anhu set up an important postal service in the Islamic Empire called Barid, the name of the towers built to protect the roads by which the couriers traveled. |
This was an administrative institution found in all provinces of the Umayyad Caliphate. It had postal stations, station masters, couriers, guides, milestones and riding mounts. There were 930 post stations along six routes from Baghdad to India.
The Muslim Abbasid Empire carried this forward and developed a superb postal system in the Middle Ages. Great roads left Baghdad with staging posts every 3km. These had wells and food supplies for couriers. Detailed records were kept and there was a Master of the Posts. The cost was borne by the Caliph. Together with this, the Caliphate introduced the first organized news service in 650.
Pigeon post was used and developed by Muslims. By the 12th century, messenger pigeons were used in Muslim Baghdad. Under Fatimid rule (969-1099), a pigeon post was maintained that was later perfected by the Mamluks. The pedigrees of carrier pigeons was kept in a special registrar. The world’s first regular pigeon-post service was established by a Muslim Turkish Sultan in the 15th century between Istanbul and Budapest. The Dutch government established a civil and military system in Java and Sumatra early in the 19th century, the birds being obtained from Baghdad.
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