French Mandate of Lebanon

French Mandate of Lebanon

Infobox Former Country
native_name = "Etat du Grand Liban"
conventional_long_name = State of Greater Lebanon
common_name = Lebanon|
continent = moved from Category:Asia to the Middle East
region = the Middle East
country = Lebanon
era = Interwar Period
status = League of Nations Mandate
status_text= Mandate of France
empire = France|
event_start = Mandate issued
year_start = 1920
date_start =
event_end = Founding of Lebanon
year_end = 1943
date_end = 22 November|
event1 =
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p1 = Ottoman Empire
flag_p1 = Ottoman Flag.svg
image_p1 =
s1 = Lebanon
flag_s1 = Flag of Lebanon.svg
image_s1 =
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symbol =
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image_map_caption = Greater Lebanon (yellow) in the Mandate of Syria.
national_motto =
national_anthem =
capital = Beirut
common_languages = French
religion = Christianity
currency = |

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The French Mandate of Lebanon was a League of Nations Mandate created at the end of World War I. When the Ottoman Empire was formally split up by the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, it was decided that four of its territories in the Middle East should be League of Nations mandates temporarily governed by the United Kingdom and France on behalf of the League. The British were given Palestine and Iraq, while the French were given a mandate over Syria, which Lebanon was a part of.


The State of Greater Lebanon existed until May 23, 1926. Despite its short life, it had major significance for contemporary Lebanon; Greater Lebanon set the precedent for the recognition of these borders. France carved its territory from the Levantine land mass the League of Nations mandated to France, from Ottoman-occupied Syria, by enlarging the "safe haven" Ottoman province of Mount Lebanon that had been created for the local Christian population.

The name given to it refers to it incorporating more than the geographic region of Mount Lebanon and also being larger than the Mount Lebanon autonomous region.

The first Lebanese constitution was promulgated on May 23, 1926, and subsequently amended several times; it was still in effect as of late 1987. Modeled after that of the French Third Republic, it provided for a unicameral parliament called the Chamber of Deputies, a president, and a Council of Ministers, or cabinet. The president was to be elected by the Chamber of Deputies for one six-year term and could not be reelected until a six-year period had elapsed; deputies were to be popularly elected along confessional lines.

The first and only complete census that had been held in Lebanon as of 1987 took place in 1932 and resulted in the custom of selecting major political officers according to the proportion of the principal sects in the population. Thus, the president was to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shia Muslim. Theoretically, the Chamber of Deputies performed the legislative function, but in fact bills were prepared by the executive and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies, which passed them virtually without exception. Under the Constitution, the French high commissioner still exercised supreme power, an arrangement that initially brought objections from the Lebanese nationalists. Nevertheless, Charles Debbas, a Greek Orthodox, was elected the first president of Lebanon three days after the adoption of the Constitution.

At the end of Debbas's first term in 1932, Bishara al-Khuri and Émile Eddé competed for the office of president, thus dividing the Chamber of Deputies. To break the deadlock, some deputies suggested Shaykh Muhammad al Jisr, who was chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Muslim leader of Tripoli, as a compromise candidate. However, French high commissioner Henri Ponsot suspended the constitution on May 9, 1932, and extended the term of Debbas for one year; in this way he prevented the election of a Muslim as president. Dissatisfied with Ponsot's conduct, the French authorities replaced him with Comte Damien de Martel, who, on January 30, 1934, appointed Habib Pacha Es-Saad as president for a one-year term (later extended for an additional year).

Émile Eddé was elected president on January 30, 1936. A year later, he partially reestablished the Constitution of 1926 and proceeded to hold elections for the Chamber of Deputies. However, the Constitution was again suspended by the French high commissioner in September 1939, at the outbreak of World War II.

Lebanon gained its independence in 1943 and the French left the country in 1945.

ee also

*Sykes-Picot Agreement
*Patriarch Elias Hoayek
*San Remo conference
*Mount Lebanon
*French Mandate of Syria
*Battle of Maysalun - 1920
*Syria-Lebanon Campaign - 1941


External links

* [ A concise history of Lebanon]
* [ Glossary -- Lebanon]
* [ Milestone Dates in Lebanon's Modern History]
* [ Library of Congress - Research - Country Studies - Lebanon- The French Mandate ]

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