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The San Remo Conference

On the question of boundaries, (French diplomat) Philippe Berthelot outlined the French position for the northern, eastern and southern frontiers of Syria. As regards Palestine, he said her frontiers would conform to the definition advocated by (British Prime Minister) Lloyd George, who favoured the ancient boundaries of Dan and Beersheba, as previously discussed at the first London Conference of February 1920. This Biblical formula was based on the historical connection of the Jewish People with the entire Land of Israel and was not to be construed literally from Dan to Beersheba, but rather referred in effect to those areas of the Promise Land that had been conquered, settled and ruled by the Twelve Tribes of Israel and their descendants, in both the First and Second Temple periods.1.

…In his remarks, Lloyd George recalled that former French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, when he was in London on December 1, 1918, had agreed to his suggestion that the limits of Palestine should be fixed by the ancient towns of Dan and Beersheba…Lloyd George relied on a book written by the Scottish Biblical scholar Rev. George Adam Smith, which he regarded as the ablest book on Palestine ever written..


1. The minutes of the San Remo Peace Conference drawn up at the session held on April 25, 1920 make it clear that this is what Lloyd George actually meant when he defined Palestine according to the biblical formula "Dan to Beersheba," as appears from his documented reliance on George Adam Smith's scholarly works to determine the exact territorial extent of ancient Israelite habitation and rule. He included in Palestine all the land historically settled or occupied by Jews in the First and Second Temple Periods. This is confirmed by the third recital in the Preamble of the Mandate, which refers to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and is further evidenced by Colonel Richard  Meinertzhagen who recalled, in his book, the statement made by Lloyd George in Paris in 1919 regarding the true meaning  of "Palestine": "The area occupied by the twelve tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba." Middle east Diary, Thomas Yoseloff, Publisher, New York, p.355

2. George Adam Smith was an ordained Scottish minister and scholar of the Bible, as well as the principal of the University of Aberdeen  (1909-35). He wrote a book about the topography, economics and history of Jerusalem from the earliest times to 70 A.D. (CE) and several commentaries on books of the Bible.  His main works which the British consulted for determining Palestine's borders and which won high praise from Lloyd George were  The Historical Geography of the Holy Land which appeared in 25 editions beginning in 1894, followed by the publication of the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land in 1915. These books were the outcome of detailed observation and investigation made in Palestine.  They also proved invaluable to General Edwin Allenby in the Palestine campaign in World War I …

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George Adam Smith, Atlas of the Historical Geography of  the Holy Land

David Lloyd George was the British Prime Minister from  December 7, 1916-October 1922.

It was during Lloyd George's time in office that the British conquered Palestine, the Balfour Declaration was adopted, and the Peace conferences that concluded with the Mandate for Palestine being accepted by the British all took place.

Lloyd George had often cited the works of a Scottish Biblical scholar named George Adam Smith as the authority on the ancient Holy Land. It was Smith's maps that were to be used in determining the borders of Jewish Palestine. The two maps below are maps that detail Jewish rule during the times of the Jewish Monarchs and the Second Temple Period.

For more information about George Adam Smith and his maps being used to determine the borders of the Jewish National Home, see the article below the maps.

Smith's maps are available as a PDF online

George Adam Smith Maps that served as the basis for the Borders for the Mandate for Palestine
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