Non-domestic postage

At the last LPS Zoom meeting Bryant Korn shared with us some early covers that had been sent to Liberia and discussed postal rates and charges.

This got me wondering about how things worked back then and I hope someone can help

Back in the 1800's and early 1900s how did the non-domestic postal system actually work?
Say I'm in Monrovia in 1880 and send a letter to Travis over in Denver.
Let's say I'm charged 30c for international postage.
The letter goes through the Liberian post; onto a ship in Monrovia heading for Liverpool in Britain; goes through the GB postal system and onto another ship heading for (say) Boston; then goes through the US mail system to Travis in Denver.

So who gets paid what out of the 30c stamps I bought?
And how does that actually get paid to the various parties involved?
And who keeps track of who's owed what and whether they've been paid or not?

Easy enough these days with all the technology that's available but how was it all done way back then?
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