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Painting of Jews Arriving to Ottoman Empire in 1492 Posted by the Ottoman Imperial Archives
The Ottoman Imperial Archives continues to release amazing pictures, photos and documents from the rich Ottoman history.  The painting below is the latest example. We thank the archivists for their wonderful work which can be seen on Twitter @OttomanArchive as well as the archives' website.
A reader sent us a new link for the painting with a slightly higher resolution. The writing
still cannot be read but it is clearly written in Hebrew and identifies the
dignitaries meeting with the Jewish elders

The modern-day caption says "More than 150,000 Spanish Jews Fled the Spanish Inquisition and Brought to the Ottoman Empire in 1492."  The painting shows Jews who escaped the Spanish expulsion and rabbis getting off their ship and meeting dignitaries.

The online reproduction is of low resolution and we cannot read writing on the bottom left of the painting. We have unsuccessfully searched for other copies or details that would indicate when the painting was drawn and the artist. 

We appeal to readers for suggestions and assistance.

A Major 19th Century Photo Collection Rescued and Digitized by the British Library's Endangered Archives Program
A preview of Bonfils' photographs

Three thousand pictures taken by the Maison Bonfils photographers of Beirut from 1867 to the 1910s are part of the private Fouad Debbas collection in Beirut. Last year, the collection was digitized and posted online by the British Library's Endangered Archives Program

We have posted several Bonfils' photographs in the past from the Library of Congress, Getty, and New York Public Library collections. But nowhere in the world has such an extensive collection of Bonfils' photographs been collected and made public.  We thank the Debbas family and Ms. Jody Butterworth, the curator of the British Library's Endangered Archives Programme, for their efforts.

We present here just a preview of this very important collection:

Jews praying at the "Wailing Wall" (Debbas Collection, British Library)
Rachel's Tomb on the way to Bethlehem (Debbas Collection, British Library)

Rachel's Tomb, not the village of Sanur

Elsewhere in the Debbas Collection this picture is captioned "Village of Sanur in the modern-day West Bank."

Obviously, it is another Bonfils photo of Rachel's Tomb.

The bustling Jaffa Gate outside of Jerusalem's Old City. The Hotel Fast was built in 1891. The photo was
taken prior to 1898 when a breach was made in the wall for the German Emperor's carriages.
(Debbas Collection, British Library)
We plan to present more of the collection in coming weeks accompanied by our historical essays.

Click on pictures to enlarge. Click on caption link to view the original.

American "Manifest Destiny" Heads to the Holy Land in 1847

WW100: The Soldiers of Australia Meet the Jews of Jerusalem, 1918

As the British-commanded ANZAC troops moved north after the battle of Be'er Sheva they were greeted as liberators by the Jews of Palestine. New Zealanders were hosted by the Jews of Rishon LeZion, and Australians entered Jerusalem with General Allenby at the end of December 1917.

The picture below was taken by Bugler J. F. Smith of the 7th Light Horse. "Enlisted 11 October, 1914. Home on ANZAC Furlough in October, 1918."

Australian soldiers at the Western Wall
These pictures of Jews of Jaffa and holy sites were taken by "R. F. Ingham, 1st L."

Jewish Children at Simon's Well in Jaffa  (Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales)

Jewish School in Jaffa  (Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales)

Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem (Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales)
The Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. In the background is the Jewish Quarter with the
prominent domes of the Tiferet Yisrael and the Hurva synagogues
(Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales)
The Jaffa Gate of the Old City and the Turkish
clock tower.  Who are the group of men in front?
 (New South Wales Museum)

After enlarging the photo, it appears the men are
Orthodox Jews

The Capture of Be'er Sheva by the Australian Light Horsemen in 1917 -- Arguably the Most Important Battle of WWI in Palestine

Forthcoming publication
New Collection of World War I Photos Discovered in Australian Museum

Our reader "Gary" alerted us to a digitized photo resource in the Mitchell Library of the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. 

The Library contains private diaries and albums of Australian soldiers who served as part of the British expeditionary forces in Palestine.  Their pictures show their three-year combat action from the Suez Canal, the Sinai, Be'er Sheva, Jerusalem, and all the way to Damascus. 

Be'er Sheva, a Turkish army garrison, on the eve of the battle of Be'er Sheva in 1917 (Library of Congress)

Aerial view of Be'er Sheva in 1917 with its new railroad station used for army supplies. (Source: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

The legendary cavalry charge made by the Australian Light Horsemen to capture the wells of Be'er Sheva  in October 1917 was a turning point in the war, particularly after two disastrous attempt by British forces to push through Turkish defenses in Gaza.  After Be'er Sheva the way was open to Jerusalem, Jaffa and beyond. 

Until now, only one controversial picture of the cavalry charge was known. Some argued that it was actually a photo of a re-enactment. 

The Light Horsemen's charge -- a reenactment or Elliot's photograph? (Australian Light Horse Association)

The testimony of a forward artillery spotter, Eric George Elliottconfirmed its authenticity: 
To my surprise, I saw horsemen in extended order coming over the crest of the ridge, I packed my gear, and then came another line of troops in the same order, I then moved around to the other side of the knoll, and by this time the third line appeared, bewildered by what was happening I just lay there and gazed in astonishment, as the front line drew nearer I saw that their bayonets were drawn and that they were approaching at a hard gallop, having a camera in my haversack I got it out and took a shot, got on my horse and went as fast as I could further out to a flank and then back to H. Q.
The New South Wales Museum published a collection of photographs by Captain Robert Valentine Fell, including this picture of the cavalry charge at Be'er Sheva:
Fell's picture of the First Light Horse Brigade "going into action" at Be'er Sheva, October 31, 1917
Captain Fell's picture of the aftermath of Be'er Sheva's capture one week later