Did you know that in ancient Rome, newsletters were exchanged between officials or friends? And by the Middle Ages, they were exchanged between merchant families? Trader’s newsletters covered various topics such as the availability and pricing of goods, political news, and other events that would influence trade. These commercial newsletters were in effect, the first “serious” outlet for news publishing, from which evolved newspapers.

The first full “newspaper” was Relation of Strasbourg, printed in 1609 by Johann Carolus. Many rivals soon followed, such as the German Avisa Relation oder Zeitung and the Dutch Nieuwe Tijdingen. By the end of the 17th century, several newspapers were established all across Europe, and were often translated into other languages. By the late 17th century, several governments were censoring newspapers, which harmed their development. Wars, like the Thirty Years’ War, also imposed restrictions on trade, which could lead to shortage of paper in addition to censorship.

Government censorship remains in effect in several countries to this day, although several countries now have laws guaranteeingĀ freedom of the press. (source Wikipedia)

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