The Levant – as the term is used in philatelic literature – may be defined as the parts of the Ottoman Empire bordering the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The use of the term Levant is mainly connected to the offices abroad that several countries had in the Levant. These offices were based on the so called ‘capitulations’ or extra-territorial rights gained by foreign nations in the Ottoman Empire, generally for the purpose of furthering trade. The first offices abroad in the Levant date from the 18th century. In 1914 the extra-territorial rights were cancelled and the offices were closed. The extra-territorial rights were re-established between 1920 and 1923, during which period some offices reopened. Apart from Egypt and Greece, all countries having post offices in the Levant issued stamps specifically for use in those offices. Some countries – France, Italy and Russia – issued stamps for a number of individual offices.