Ethiopia, having a long history of written communications, messages were originally carried by individuals called méléktegnas, who held the letters attached to a stick and move from places to places taking messages. The modern postal service started in Ethiopia in 1894 with the development of railway.
Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia awarded a concession to Swiss engineer Alfred Ilg to develop a railway including postal services on 9 March 1894. Alfred Ilg then consulted a Frenchman Leon Chefneux and signed a contract with Louis-Eugène Mouchon to design a set of seven stamps. The Emperor specifically ordered the stamps to indicate the sovereign power of the state of Ethiopia depicting the throne and on post cards he ordered not to put any foreign but local pictures. Accordingly, they were printed by Atelier de Fabrication des Timbres-Postes in Paris, along with four values of postcards and 135,000 sets were taken to Ethiopia.
The earliest known use is 29 January 1895 and the stamps were valid only for local mail and mail to Djibouti. The head quarter of the postal service was at Harar.
The Harrar mission continued to process all mail until 1904, when a post office opened at the newly established town of Dire Dawa. Emperor Menelik II then wrote a letter demanding to be admitted as a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and Ethiopia was admitted to the UPS in 1908.
Prior to the admission of Ethiopia to the UPU, international mail from Ethiopia had to be additionally franked with stamps of UPU members. The first stamps of Ethiopia valid for international mail were also printed on 1 November 1908. A further issue was required in new designs in 1909 which, in addition to Amharic, included the Latin inscription “POSTES ETHIOPIENNES” and the value in guerches. One of the picture that you see here was taken in 1915 in Addis Ababa and used for a post card at the time.