Welcome to Rainer's
Overland Mail Baghdad-Haifa Pages

Forerunners till1923


Long before the commercial period (as i call it) of the Overland Mail Baghdad-Haifa started in 1923, mail has been transported through the Syro-Iraqi desert in both ways.

It is believed that as early as three thousand years ago, commercial correspondence was transported from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Coast, which continued in various forms during the three millenniums.

With the establishment of the East India Company (E.I.C.) in 1600, a need arose for a faster passage of mail between India and England. Sometime in the mid 1600th some of the official mail went from Bombay to the Persian Gulf, to Basra, Baghdad and from there by the Desert Route to the Mediterranean Coast and from there to Europe.

It is extremely difficult to get qualified details about that very early Postal Connection, hence i will be very careful in adding information here unless i can be very certain they are correct and proven by the respective postal documents.

Norman Collins in his Monograph has listed quite a number of details, yet incomplete and partly incorrect but i do jot want to blame him, he was the first to try to summarize this postal connection and he has to be praised for that. But the research goes on...

I will split this chapter into Westwards and Eastwards Mail and further chapters into the various Postal Routes (Turkish Route, British/Indian Route) etc. and further chapters depend on the origin or the covers in order to explain the postage rate and routing if neccessary.

Known names in the early years for the Desert Route though the Syro-Iraqi desert of which i am aware were.

  • Par le courier anglais du désert / By British Courier through the Desert (used on mail from the German State Saxony to Baghdad).

  • The Mail Steam Packet Route

  • The Marseilles Overland Routes

  • The Euphrates Route

  • The German Overland Route

All above mentioned routes somehow operated in parallel and depend of the political situation even a combination of routes may have been used.

I plan to create dedicated pages with images of covers transported by the respective routes as material and information is available.

Currently I am not aware of any specialist literature or website which explains the historical background and the respective routes in details, only fragments of information is available which i plan to accumulate and publish in concentrated form here.


The below map of 1851 show the various Overland Mail Routes to India...