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The Mountain, the Backbone of the Lebanese Entity
Posted on Mar 24, 2021 |
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The year 2020 was marked, despite the series of crises that the country is experiencing, by the celebration of the centenary of the proclamation of Greater Lebanon on the 1st of September 1920.
the Author
Managing Editor - L’Orient-Le Jour supplements
The Mountain, the Backbone of the Lebanese Entity

The year 2020 was marked, despite the series of crises that the country is experiencing, by the celebration of the centenary of the proclamation of Greater Lebanon on the 1st of September 1920. An event that has allowed many observers and analysts to carry out an overview of the historical origins and the socio-political and community roots of Lebanon in its current form. It is now well established, on the basis of historical reality, that Mount Lebanon constituted the backbone and foundation of Greater Lebanon, whether geographically, economically, socially, demographically or educationally. Most historians concur in this context that a certain "Lebanese personality" has been gradually forged over the centuries under the influence of the geographical profile, consisting essentially of a chain of high mountains, which distinguishes Lebanon from the other countries of the region. However, the Lebanese entity only began to take shape and impose itself as a relatively autonomous administrative and political structure from the 16th century, with the beginning of the Ottoman era. In 1516, the Ottoman army won a decisive victory over the Mamelukes of Egypt in the battle of “Marj Dabek”, north of Aleppo. This was the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.

The new power, wanting to devote itself essentially to questions of a strategic nature, will entrust the management of daily affairs to the feudal chiefs of the mountains. Mount Lebanon would thus be marked by the long reign of the emirs. But it is especially with Emir Fakhreddine II, at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century, that Lebanon began to take shape, more or less in its present form. Coming from the Druze clan of “the Maan” who ruled the Chouf, cared for and educated from an early age by the Maronite dignitaries of Keserouan (the Khazen sheiks), Emir Fakhreddine will set out, as soon as he comes to power after reaching adulthood, to conquer from the Chouf the territories that would form, to some extent, present-day Lebanon. Endowed with the qualities of a true statesman, Fakhreddine II will succeed in developing and relatively maintaining autonomous the Lebanese entity built around Mount Lebanon. The reign of the Emirate of the Mountain, ensured by the “Maan” until 1697, then by the “Chehab” emirs, lasted until 1842, when a new political system was set up by the powers of the time, still built around Mount Lebanon, as its backbone. This situation lasted until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, in the wake of the First World War, leading to the proclamation of Greater Lebanon in September 1920, which will always have the Lebanese mountain as its central backbone because of its economic, demographic and educational weight. 

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