Thurn und Taxis was a German family that was a key player in the postal (mail) services in Europe in the 16th century.
Ruggiero de Tassis (the name was later changed to Taxis) founded the postal service in Innsbruck, and on 11 December 1489, Jeannetto de Tassis was appointed Chief Master of Postal Services. The family held its exclusive position for centuries. In 12 November 1516 the Thurn und Taxis family had a postal service based in Brussels reaching to Rome, Naples, Spain, Germany and France by courier.
The Thurn und Taxis company would last until the 18th century, when the postal service was finally bought by the heir to the Spanish throne.
The family still exists and is still wealthy. Since 1748 it resides in Regensburg. It used to own a brewery that was sold to the Paulaner Group (Munich) in 1996, but still produces beer under the brand of Thurn und Taxis.
Princes (Fürsten) of Thurn und Taxis, 1695-present
The mail monopoly of Thurn and Taxis was also central to the plot of The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, when supposedly a rival system, W.A.S.T.E., emerged to carry outsiders' documents, without government inspection thereof.