chapter  12
20 Pages

The Lebanese Revival

In the wake of the massacres of Christians that took place in the Lebanon and Damascus between April and July 1860, France, which considered itself the traditional protector of the Christians in the Levant, sent a force of 6,000 soldiers to restore quiet to the region. In addition to punishing the rioters and compensating the Christians of Damascus and the Lebanon, it was decided that the administration of Mount Lebanon be reorganized. An international committee including representatives of the European powers decided that Mount Lebanon should now be an autonomous sanjaq under a Christian Ottoman governorgeneral. The boundaries of this sanjaq were narrowed to exclude the city of Beirut, the Biqa' and a number of other towns and villages. All the regulations concerning the special status of this sanjaq were summarized in a protocol that was signed by the representatives of the European powers on 9 June 1861 and was called the reglement organique of the Lebanon. The period that followed, until the outbreak of World War I, saw endless confrontation between the Ottoman authorities, who tried to diminish the rights of the autonomous sanjaq, and the residents of the Lebanon, who tried to preserve them by various means-primarily by asking the European powers to defend the reglement organique.