Postal Palace

A postal service in Mexico existed before the Spanish arrival, expanded through colonization, and endures in modern society. The natives of Mesoamerica created their postal service with men who were specially trained at Telpuchcalli, a school in becoming a messenger. These boys were chosen from each community to be the delivery men. In order to be selected, the boys had to be able to run up to five leagues, 27.78 kilometers or 17.26 miles, an hour and deliver messages along the common routes. These messengers were divided into specialized groups of mail much like today with express, priority, regular, or packages. There were four types of delivery men: paynanis, the government messengers, ycihuca, the urgent or express messengers, tequihuatitlantis, the war messengers, and tamemes, the package deliverers. A delivery man could be both a paynanis and a ycihuca. The tequihuatitlantis had to be exact in their messages; otherwise, they could be sacrifices if their message proved to be false or incorrect by another messenger.

Mail progressed and spread after the Spanish conquest and colonialization. The Spanish did continue to use the natives as messengers after conquest. With the implementation of the horse and oxen to the postal service, more messages and heavier packages could now be sent with quicker speed. The Spanish also introduced the mailbox to Mexico in 1762 for the purpose of dropping mail off to be picked up and delivered. The postage stamp was first used in 1856 and twenty-three years later Mexico was included in the Universal Postal Union. As a result of this ability to send messages farther, faster, and across the ocean, the post became the main source of communication and transmitting ideas. The post was a vital source of communication even after Mexico won its independence from Spain.

In 1931, Mexico declared November 12 as Postal Workers’ Day because the postal workers were the ones that made this vast amount of communication possible. Mexico continued to grow in population so they introduced zip codes in 1981 and created a postal agency in 1986. This postal agency is currently called Correos de Mexico. Today Mexico has 32,466 zip codes, 1,492 post offices, and 200,529 post office boxes.

The Palacio de Correos, Postal Palace, started construction in 1902 and was finished in 1907. President Porfirio Díaz, president from 1876 to 1911, inaugurated the Palacio de Correro by mailing two Palacio de Correro postcards in 1907. The two floors above the mailing center were once the Bank of Mexico. Today the second floor is a museum dedicated to the history of mail in Mexico, and the Bank of Mexico moved next door. The Postal Palace was declared a monument May 4, 1987 and was renovated in 1996.

The mail center is no longer as busy as it was during the earlier parts of its career, despite surviving the telegraph during one part of its history. If one walks through the Palacio de Correros today, they may see people buying postage for their letters, wrapping their packages to be shipped, addressing and licking stamps for the eye-high pile of wedding invitations, or even a tourist sending a postcard home. Mail was the lifeline of Mexico and still persists despite the overwhelming cellular usage of the Mexican people and the world and the increase of online communication.



C. Tacuba 1, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico