Assyria, a major Semitic civilization which existed as an independent county from 2,500 B.C. to 900 B.C.—a period of nearly 19 centuries—was responsible for the creation of the first postal service in the world. Various other claims have been made from China and Egypt, but they are not as reliable as those we have for Assyria. Most likely created sometime during the reign of Shalmanesar III in the ninth century B.C., the postal service utilized mules in order to transport letters between cities.
The Greek historian Xenophon wrote about Cyrus the Great, the leader of the Persian Empire which controlled Assyria, and how, throughout the empire, there was a collection of couriers who would ferry letters back and forth between predetermined outposts in each city. It was a relay system, enabling fresh couriers to take over at each stop. Certain letters would even be sent with voice messengers to ensure that the tone of the writer’s words came across correctly.