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Religion and Languages of Lebanon

According to Countryaah, Lebanon's older history is often confused with Syria, which it was always part of. The presence of a large proportion of Christian Arabs in the province was exploited by Europeans to extend their colonial rule over the eastern Mediterranean. Until 1831, the powerful Egyptian, Mohamed Ali, extended his influence to the north at the expense of the weakened Ottoman Empire, but the Europeans did not want the Ottomans to retire until the Europeans themselves were able to take possession. The European colonial powers therefore held that Christians all over the world could be equated with Europeans and ultimately receive European "protection". The Christian Maronites were therefore supported against Egypt.

Among the 5 European colonial powers that interfered in the "Syrian issue" in 1831-34, the two - Russia and Austria - were interested exclusively in the "Turkish heritage" in Europe: the Balkans. Prussia - afterwards Germany - was carefully driven out on a sideline, leaving only two finalists in the race for control over the Arab world: France and England. Only in 1916 did they reach agreement on the division of the prey. France got Syria and Lebanon, England Jordan and Iraq. Lebanon was expelled from Syria as a special mandate area in 1919 - primarily because of the large Christian population. Many Christian Lebanese received their education at French educational institutions. Here they learned about the concept of nationality, which was of great importance to Arab nationalism.


Lebanon gained formal autonomy in 1943. In the years that followed, the country's importance as the center of trade between Europe and the Arab world increased, and as a starting point for Western economic expansion. The 1948 Arab boycott of the State of Israel further contributed to this development, and the radical nationalist revolutions in Egypt and Syria reinforced Lebanon's position as the most favorable place for economic development. Beirut became "Switzerland of the Middle East".

Citizenship capital in countries with radical regimes flowed to the Beirut banks. The ever-increasing revenues from the Arab oil producing countries have long gone the same way. Lebanese capitalism was largely confined to the trade and finance sectors - services that the country could provide as a link between Arab capital and European interests. This created a similarly narrow upper class. The shortage of raw materials and the weak purchasing power of the local market only led to very limited industrial development. Thus, apart from the petty bourgeoisie in the cities, the lower social strata were largely unaffected by the prosperity, and the social inequality in the Lebanese community grew.

The political and social structure remained largely unchanged: a political system based on the distribution of power between representatives of the various faith communities. These representatives came from prominent families within each group, and were almost without exception conservative elements of Lebanese society. The distribution key was based on a census of 1932, which combined gave the Christian groups a slight overweight, and thus the most important positions. Since then, the population composition changed to a Muslim majority, but without changing the political distribution. This created dissatisfaction - even within bourgeois Muslim circles.

All in all, however, the system promoted "political stability". In 1952, Christian Camille Chamoun took over the presidential office, tapping into a consistently pro-Western policy. Up to the parliamentary elections in 57, there were riots. originated from a Muslim desire to enter into an alliance with Egypt and Syria and resistance to renewal of the mandate of the Maronite president. The following year, the riots had taken to such an extent that they were in the nature of a genuine uprising. Muslims and Christians clashed in a bloody civil war. In July 58, President Chamoun authorized the deployment of 10,000 North American Marines, the US had offered to "pacify" the country. The invasion force remained in Beirut and other strategically important points in the country until October.


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