The early use of postage stamps on Ukrainian territories goes back to about the 19th. century. Postage stamps began to appear in the areas under Austro-Hungarian rule around 1850; and Russian rule about 1857.
In 1864, the Russian government allowed the issuance of zemstvo or local issues. From 1865 to 1917; a total of 790 zemstvo stamps were issued on Ukrainian territorities from 39 different locations.
After Ukraine proclaimed its independence in January 1918; Postal authorities issued an order to overprint all existing Russian stamps with the national emblem - the trident. To comply with the directive, each Postal District ( Kyiv, Poltava, Katernoslav, Kharkiv, Odessa and Podilia ) prepared several overprinting styles. By July 1918; each District had its own distincti size, colour and form of trident-overprint. Over 60 different varieties are known to exist.
On July 18th, 1918; the first definitive stamps were issued. They were the five-values shahy issue. These stamps were issued imperforate and were widely used for postage until 1920.
With the need to replace the trident overprint provisionals and to supplement the five-values shahy issues, a second definitive issue was printed during the Fall of 1918. When the supply of high-valued trident overprint provisionals nearly exhausted, the Ministry of Post released only the 20-hryvnia value to ease the shortage. Because of the high value of the 20-hryvnia stamp, its use was limited to the prepayment of postal money orders.
In June 1923; the Ukrainian SSR government issued a set of four semi-postal stamps. The surcharge on these stamps was intended for famine victims. These stamps were in circulation for less than a month.
After seceding from the Austro-Hungarian Empire (November 1st, 1918), the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR) issued overprinted Austrian stamps. The first stamp ( an octagonal overprint showing the Halychynan lion emblem and the full name of ZUNR ) appeared in Lviv on November 20th, 1918. Subsequent stamps were produced in Kolomyia and a series of four issues was released in Stanyslaviv (Ivano-Frankivsk).
In 1941, Germany overprinted its 18-stamp definitive set with the single-line black overprint "Ukraine" for use in the Reichskommisariat Ukraine. These overprints were in postal circulation until late 1944, when those Ukrainian territories were recaptured by Soviet troops.
When Carpath-Ukraine declared its independence from Czechoslovakia (March 15th, 1939), it issued an overprint stamp. However, its independence was short-lived and the territory was administerd by Hungary. By the fall of 1944, the eastern-provinces of Carpatho-Ukraine were administered By Czechoslovakia, and in the areas to the west by the Ukrainian National Committee (UNC). Both jurisdictions issued overprinted Hungarian stamps. The UNC also released a series of definitive issues in 1945.
After the dissolutionment of the USSR in 1991; the newly independent Ukraine started issuing provisional stamps for several stamps in 1992. Ukraine's first commemorative stamps were issued in March 1992.