LONDON. 5 Shares of £20. black. No 146-150. Small piece of paper missing from the upper left corner. Prior to the building of the Suez Canal, the British Government was always thinking about a route to India without sailing all round Africa; In 1836 it funded an expedition to explore the possibility of using steamboats on the river Euphrates from Syria to the Persian Gulf. In the 1850s the possibility of better rail links in the area were considered. Russian expansion in Persia presented a threat to Britain's position in the Middle East,and a plan arose for a 'Euphrates Valley Railway' to link the Mediterranean to the Gulf. One idea was for a railway from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, then a shipping route; the other was a railway along the whole route. The German/Ottoman suggestion of a Bagdadbahn (which was later built) adversely affected the plan. There was however Jewish support for the proposal. The suggestion was that the Euphrates River line could be built from Palestine/Syria, with Jewish construction teams, whowould then settle there, or that land on either side of the line in Mesopotamia could become a Jewish homeland, in both cases giving Russian Jewry an alternative to emigration to the USA. This company was founded in London to construct the railway, butas far as we know the works never started, probably because of both international political pressure and lack of sufficient financial means for such a big project. This share is not listed in the reference books about Ottoman scripophily. It is the oldest piece from the Ottoman region we have ever seen.
Themes: CANALS, JUDAICA & ISRAEL, RAILROADS
EGYPT, GREAT BRITAIN, TURKEY
Date: 4 July 1856
Startprice: € 2000