1865 Paris

The Birth of the Union

image of 1865 Paris

On 17 May 1865, after two-and-a-half months of negotiations, the first real International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris by its 20 founding members, thus creating the International Telegraph Union (predecessor of ITU). This first international convention provided a framework to standardize telegraphy equipment, set uniform operating instructions and laid down common international tariff and accounting rules. This publication describes the environment that led to the founding of ITU in 1865 and provides a fascinating look at the world of communications technologies 150 years ago and how many of the challenges that led to its creation remain today.



The international telegraph conference (Paris, 1865)

Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, the future Emperor Napoléon III, was open to new technologies and in favour of the modernization of France and its industry. He opened the French telegraph to private and commercial use. He believed that a modern economy needed speedy communications which should cross borders without interruption.


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