Lebanon is a very complex entity. We need to understand some concepts about the historical features of the country to grasp a better understanding of its current state. First, Modern Lebanon is part of a larger unit: historical Syria, as opposed to the present Syrian Arab Republic, which now includes the sovereign states of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. Many tensions stem from this dual belonging (Hourani, 1986). Second, two kinds of authority coexisted throughout almost all Lebanese history: a feudal political system based on allegiance to the "lords of the valley" and a bureaucratically organized government. Thus, one can wonder whether these two concomitant phenomena, Beirut's stunning emergence as a major Mediterranean harbor and the rise of nation-state ideologies, are somehow related or not. Having all the aforementioned remarks in mind, I will try to determine the impact of Beirut's rise on the Lebanese political cultures and on the nationalist discourses that started taking shape in the nineteenth century. To that end, this paper will focus on two major events of Lebanese history: the events of 1860 and the creation of Greater Lebanon by the French mandatory power.
[...] BIBLIOGRAPHY BUHEIRY, MARWAN, Beirut's role in the political economy of the French Mandate: 1919-39, Oxford: Centre for Lebanese Studies, London CHEVALLIER, DOMINIQUE, La société du Mont-Liban à l'époque de la Révolution Industrielle en Europe, Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, Paris DAUM, ANDREAS W., “Capitals in modern history: Inventing Urban Spaces for the Nation” in Berlin, Washington, 1800-2000: Capital cities, Cultural representation and National identities, Cambridge University Press, New York FAWAZ, LEILA, “The city and the Mountain: Beirut's political radius in the nineteenth century as revealed in the crisis of 1860” in International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol No (Nov., 1984), pp. 489-195, Cambridge University Press. GATES, CAROLYN L., The merchant Republic of Lebanon: rise of an open economy, Oxford: Centre for Lebanese Studies, London (chapter 1). HOURANI, ALBERT HABIB, The emergence of the modern Middle East, The Macmillan Press, London HOURANI, ALBERT HABIB, Political society in Lebanon: a historical introduction, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press: Center for International Studies ILBERT, ROBERT, « De Beyrouth à Alger, la fin d'un ordre urbain » in Vingtième Siècle. [...]
[...] This contrasts with Mount Lebanon, where Maronites and Druzes lived under a feudal political regime dominated by few Druze and Maronite lordly families. Here lies something fundamental to understand Lebanon: the city-mountain relation or friction, one could say (Fawaz, 1984). As seen above, coastal cities and Mount Lebanon were made of different populations that lived under dissimilar political regimes. Geography isolates the city of Beirut from other coastal cities as its direct surroundings are the heights of Mount Lebanon (cf. [...]
[...] * * * I will now focus on the creation of Greater Lebanon. Indeed, the debates over the boarders of this new political entity illustrate the consequences of the shift in power and influence from Mount Lebanon to Beirut. It is, however, necessary to start by studying the different political cultures that competed against one another before linking them to Beirut's new status as a major center of economic and political power. In the mountain, Druzes and Maronites were used to a semi-feudal political system. [...]
[...] Rather, the focus will be on the positions of the different political and nationalist discourses regarding the frontiers of this new political entity called Greater Lebanon. The boarders of Greater Lebanon were certainly not the Maronites' heart desire but rather a reasonbased choice that they eventually choose to support. Mount Lebanon could, indeed, not have been 8 economically viable without the coastal cities and especially Beirut (Buheiry, 1991). Maronites perceived themselves as a minority surrounded and threatened by Muslim populations. That is why they always sought European protection and eagerly tried to set up a Christian state in Lebanon. [...]
[...] In the late nineteenth century, Missionaries set up the Protestant Syrian American College – later to be renamed the American University of Beirut – and the Jesuit Université Saint-Joseph in their actual forms. These Western education facilities were attended by the children of Beirut's privileged classes (Traboulsi, 2007). Thanks to its rapid economic growth, Beirut attracted migrants from all the Mediterranean Sea. The city thus became a cosmopolitan one, although this cosmopolitism was limited to “vivre ensemble” (Ilbert p.20). The different communities lived and traded together but did not really mix in terms of marriage, for instance. [...]
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