Milestones in the Postal History of the Holy Land
The Pre-Philatelic Period
Pre-Philately is generally associated with the period
before 1840 when the first postage stamp, the Penny Black,
was issued by Great Britain. However, the first stamps were
introduced in the Holy Land much later. The Turks issued
their first stamps in 1863, but these were not available in
Eretz Israel.
The pre-philatelic postal history of the Holy Land
has its roots in Biblical times. The earliest letters
available that are connected to the Holy Land postal
history date back to fourteenth-century Venetian mails.
Other than the religious functionaries of the Holy Cities
Jews and Christians) and the merchants concentrated near
the ports, the Holy Land was not home to a large literate,
letter-writing population. Correspondence emanating
from there during this period generally falls into one
of the following categories: commercial, military or
religious mail.
Depending on the period and circumstances, the letters
may have been carried by an organized postal system, a
private courier or a combination of both.
מכתב, שנשלח מחברון, 4581.6.2, לראש הקהילה היהודית
בקסל, איטליה
Letter sent from Hebron on 2.6.1854 and
addressed to the Head of the Jewish community in
Casale, Italy
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