1860 Lebanon conflict

1860 Lebanon conflict

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The 1860 Lebanon conflict was the culmination of a peasant uprising which began in the north of Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 as a rebellion of Maronite peasants against their Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 overlords. It soon spread to the south of the country where the rebellion changed its character, with Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 turning against the Maronite Christians. Around 20,000 Christians were killed by the Druzes. 380 Christian villages and 560 churches were destroyed. The Druzes and Muslims also suffered heavy losses.

Background



On September 3, 1840, Bashir III
Bashir III
Prince Bashir Chehab III was considered one of the weakest rulers of Lebanon . After Prince Bashir II was banished from Lebanon, the Ottoman authorities in Asitana appointed Prince Bashir III from the Chehab family to replace him.- Early life :Also known as Bashir Qasim al-Chehab, he was born in...

 the last Prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

 of State of Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 was appointed amir of Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon , as a geographic designation, is a Lebanese mountain range, averaging above 2,200 meters in height and receiving a substantial amount of precipitation, including snow, which averages around four meters deep. It extends across the whole country along about , parallel to the...

 by the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

. Geographically, Emirate of Lebanon represents the central part of present-day Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, which historically has had a Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 and druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 majority. Greater Lebanon, on the other hand, created at the expense of Greater Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

, was formally constituted under the League of Nations mandate
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 granted to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1920 and includes the Biqa Valley, Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, southern Lebanon
Southern Lebanon
Southern Lebanon is the geographical area of Lebanon comprising the South Governorate and the Nabatiye Governorate. These two entities were divided from the same province in the early 1990s...

 (up to the border with Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

), and northern Lebanon (up to the border with Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

). In practice, the terms Lebanon and Mount Lebanon tend to be used interchangeably by historians until the formal establishment of the Mandate.

Bitter conflicts between Christians and Druzes, which had been simmering under Ibrahim Pasha
Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces was when he was merely a teenager...

's rule, resurfaced under the new Prince. Hence, the sultan deposed Bashir III
Bashir III
Prince Bashir Chehab III was considered one of the weakest rulers of Lebanon . After Prince Bashir II was banished from Lebanon, the Ottoman authorities in Asitana appointed Prince Bashir III from the Chehab family to replace him.- Early life :Also known as Bashir Qasim al-Chehab, he was born in...

, Bashir II cousin on January 13, 1842, and appointed Umar Pasha as governor of Mount Lebanon. This appointment, however, created more problems than it solved. Representatives of the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an powers proposed to the sultan that Lebanon be partitioned into Christian and Druze sections. On December 7, 1842, the sultan adopted the proposal and asked Assad Pasha, the governor of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, to divide the region, then known as "State of Lebanon", into two districts: a northern district under a Christian deputy governor and a southern district under a Druze deputy governor. this arrangement came to be known as the Double Qaimaqamate. Both officials were to be responsible to the governor of Sidon
Sidon
Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

, who resided in Beirut. The Beirut-Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 highway
Highway
A highway is any public road. In American English, the term is common and almost always designates major roads. In British English, the term designates any road open to the public. Any interconnected set of highways can be variously referred to as a "highway system", a "highway network", or a...

 was the dividing line between the two districts.

This partition of Lebanon proved to be a mistake. Animosities between the religious sects increased, nurtured by outside powers. The French, for example, supported the Christians, while the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 supported the Druzes, and the Ottomans fomented strife to increase their control on the divided State. Not surprisingly, these tensions led to conflict between Christians and Druzes as early as May 1845. Consequently, the European powers requested that the Ottoman sultan establish order in Lebanon, and he attempted to do so by establishing a new council in each of the districts. Each council was composed of members who represented the different religious communities and was intended to assist the deputy governor.

Peasant uprising in Kasrawan


This system failed to keep order when the peasants of Kasrawan
Keserwan District
Keserwan is a district in the Mount Lebanon Governorate , Lebanon, to the northeast of the Lebanon's capital Beirut...

, overburdened by heavy taxes, rebelled against the feudal practices that prevailed in Lebanon. In 1858 Tanyus Shahin, a Maronite peasant leader, demanded that the feudal class abolish its privileges. When this demand was refused, the poor peasants began to prepare for a revolt. In January 1859, an armed uprising headed by Shahin flared up. The uprising targeted the shaykhs of Mount Lebanon, pillaging their land and burning their homes. Having driven the Maronite feudal lords out of Kesruan and seizing their land and property, the insurgent peasants set up their own rule.

The Kasrawan uprising, as it became known, had a revolutionary effect on other regions in Lebanon. The disturbances spread to Latakia
Latakia
Latakia, or Latakiyah , is the principal port city of Syria, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages...

 and the central Lebanon. Maronite peasants, actively supported by their clergy, began to prepare for an armed uprising against their Druze masters. The Druze lords in their turn began to arm the Druze irregulars.

1860 Druze-Maronite massacre


Tensions escalated when the Maronite Patriarch of the time, Patriarch Paul Peter Massad
Paul Peter Massad
Paul I Peter Massad , , was the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch from 1854 until his death in 1890.-Life:...

, threatened Druze Prince Mustapha, to displace all the Druze in the Lebanon with 300,000 men that he had prepared.

The war was sparked allegedly after a dispute pitched two children from Deir el Qamar
Deir el Qamar
Deir el Qamar is a village in south-central Lebanon, five kilometres outside of Beiteddine, consisting of stone houses with red-tiled roofs. During the 16th to 18th centuries, Deir el Qamar was the residence of the governors of Lebanon...

, one Druze and the other Maronite, who involved their both their families and later their communities. This sparked off a torrent of violence which swept through Lebanon. In a mere three days, from May 29 to 31, 1860, 60 villages were destroyed in the vicinity of Beirut. 33 Christians and 48 Druzes were killed. By June the disturbances had spread to the “mixed” neighbourhoods of southern Lebanon and Anti Lebanon, to Saida, Hasbaya
Hasbaya
Hasbeya or Hasbeiya is a town in Lebanon, situated about 36 miles to the west of Damascus, at the foot of Mount Hermon, overlooking a deep amphitheatre from which a brook flows to the Hasbani. In 1911, the population was about 5000....

, Rasheiya, Deir el Qamar
Deir el Qamar
Deir el Qamar is a village in south-central Lebanon, five kilometres outside of Beiteddine, consisting of stone houses with red-tiled roofs. During the 16th to 18th centuries, Deir el Qamar was the residence of the governors of Lebanon...

 and Zahlé
Zahlé
Zahlé is the capital and largest city of Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. With around 50,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon, after Beirut, Tripoli and Jounieh...

. The Druze peasants laid siege to Catholic monasteries and missions, burnt them and killed the monks.

In July 1860, fighting spilled over into Damascus. With the connivance of the military authorities and Turkish soldiers, Druze and Sunni Muslim paramilitary groups organised pogroms which lasted three days (July 9–11). 25,000 Christians were killed including the American and Dutch consuls. Churches and missionary schools were set on fire. Many Christians were saved through the intervention of the Muslim Algerian exile Abd al-Qadir and his soldiers, who brought them to safety in Abd al-Qadir's residence and the Citadel of Damascus. The Christian quarter of the old city (mostly inhabited by Catholics), including a number of churches, was burnt down. The Christian inhabitants of the notoriously poor and refractory Midan district outside the walls (mostly Orthodox) were, however, protected by their Muslim neighbours.

Most sources put the figure of those killed between 7,000 to 11,000 with some claiming over 20,000. A letter in the English Daily News in July 1860 states that between 7,000 and 8,000 had been murdered; 5,000 widowed and 16,000 orphaned. James Lewis Farley, in a letter, speaks of 326 villages, 560 churches, 28 colleges, 42 convents, and 9 other religious establishments, had been totally destroyed. Churchill puts the figures as 11,000 murdered, 100,000 refugees, 20,000 widows and orphans, 3,000 habitations burnt to the ground, and 4,000 perished of destitution. Other estimates claim 380 Christian villages were destroyed. The Druzes and Muslims also suffered heavy losses.

International intervention



The bloody events forced France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 to intervene and stop the massacre after Ottoman troops had been aiding Islamic forces by either direct support or by disarming Christian forces. France, led by Napoleon III, recalled its ancient role as protector of Christians in the Ottoman Empire which was established in a treaty in 1523AD. Following the massacre and an international outcry, the Ottoman Empire agreed on 3 August 1860 to the dispatch of up to 12,000 European soldiers to reestablish order.

On October 5, 1860, an international commission composed of France, the UK, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, and the Ottoman Empire met to investigate the causes of the events of 1860 and to recommend a new administrative and judicial system for Lebanon that would prevent a recurrence. The commission members agreed that the partition of the Lebanon Emirate in 1842 between Druzes and Christians had been responsible for the massacre. Hence, in the Statute of 1861 Lebanon was separated from Syria and reunited under a non-Lebanese Christian mutasarrif
Mutasarrif
In the Ottoman Empire, a mutasarrıf was the governor of a district. This administrative unit sometimes independent and sometimes was part of a vilayet , administered by a wali, and contained nahiye , each administered by a kaymakam.-External links:*...

(governor) appointed by the Ottoman sultan, with the approval of the European powers. The mutasarrif was to be assisted by an administrative council of twelve members from the various religious communities in Lebanon.

France was to supply 6000 troops to protect order and other countries were to send supplementary forces as needed. Although the troubles had already been quelled by the Ottoman Empire, the French expeditionary corps remained in Syria from August 1860 to June 1861. The French intervention has been described as one of the first humanitarian intervention
Humanitarian intervention
Humanitarian intervention "refers to a state using military force against another state when the chief publicly declared aim of that military action is ending human-rights violations being perpetrated by the state against which it is directed."...

s.

See also

  • List of conflicts in the Middle East
  • History of Lebanon
    History of Lebanon
    This article deals with the history of Lebanon, and the nations previously occupying its territory.-Phoenicia:The coastal plain of Lebanon is the historic home of a string of coastal trading cities of Semitic culture, which the Greeks termed Phoenicia, whose maritime culture flourished there for...

  • Druze
    Druze
    The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

  • Maronite