King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what some consider the first true passport as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands. The earliest reference to these documents is found in a 1414 Act of Parliament.
One of the earliest known references to paperwork that served in a role similar to that of a passport is found in the Hebrew Bible. In the Book of Nehemiah, the prophet Nehemiah was given a letter by King Artaxerxes I of Persia requesting safe passage for Nehemiah as he traveled throughout the lands of the “governors beyond the river.”
Pictured here is a photograph of the first passport issued to a young David Horowitz on June 3, 1924, at the age of 21. He spent the following three and a half years as a “halutz” (pioneer) in old Palestine during the British Mandate Period.
Ralph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.