Reflections of Postal History – The Jdita cover

With this short article begins a series of reflections “of” and “on” Postal History.

The “so-called lucky”, who own my last book that cataloged the postmarks used or appeared in the 1918-1945 period in the Lebanese territory (fig. 1), they know certainly that I have included in the chapter of “resumption of postal service” at pages 13 and 15, two maps with the location of post offices operating in the period 1919 and 1920 (fig. 2 and 3).




Figures 1, 2 and 3 respectively: the book catalog, the map of the first 1919 and the map of the half 1920.

Their inserting was used as analytical support to assess the quality and quantity of the postal service in the two areas: one administered by the French and the other by the Syrian Government. Their belonging to one or another administration, was made by identifying the stamps used in the locations, admitting logically that stamps were the direct emanation of the respective authorities emitting. I split the territory in half lengthwise, considering and using the morphological limits as a border line. Bounded by the mountains of Lebanon, from Hermel in the north to up Hasbani River in the south, the right area was under Syrian Government administration with the exception of Zahle and apparently of Merdjayoun but with the attribution error of Jdita village in the “French” yellow area (fig. 4).


Fig. 4: the attribution error of Jdita village in the “French” yellow area.

The fact is that: a) I had only seen a Jdita envelope with ottoman negative cancel on 1 Piastre E.E.F. stamp (figures 5 and 6), b) looking at the maps you can see that the village is located to the left of the Litani River, c) according to a logic of simplifying, the physical positioning tends to be interpreted as a reason of belonging. There’s nothing more wrong in the Middle East, and especially at that time in the analyzed area.



Figures 5 and 6: cover from Jdita to Egypt sent on 1919 and the ottoman negative cancel of Jdita.

What has happened it is easy to imagine: wonderfully appears on the market an envelope with the Jdita negative cancel on 1 Piastre of the Kingdom of Syria stamp. The envelope was addressed to a New York company of clear Lebanese origin, and precisely the Sahadi brothers originating of the Jdita village (fig. 7). By gradation of the stamp’s color, one can determine on the period August/October 1920 the date of envelope shipping.


Fig. 7: the Jdita cover.

I do not know whether it is historically important to establish that Jdita was part of the territory administered by the Syrian government or the French one, but I think is important that the discovery of a simple paper’s witness can become a real “historical witness” through which we can assert that the village of Jdita, current in the Lebanese territory, by end of 1918 to first half of 1920, was part of the great area administered by the Syrian Government.