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Open map of LebanonFlag of LebanonLebanon / Flag for the French Mandate of SyriaFrench Mandate
Greater Lebanon
French: État de Grand Liban
Arabic: dawla lubnān 'al-kabīr

Flag of Greater Lebanon.

Until independence 1943
Charles Dabbas 1926-1934
Antoine Aubouard 1934
28 days
Habib Pacha es-Saad 1934-1936
Emile Edde 1936-1941
Pierre Georges Arlabosse 1941
5 days
Alfred Georges Naccache 1941-1943
Ayoub Tabet 1943
4 months
Petro Trad 1943
2 months
Bishara Khouri 1943-1952
Khouri became president less than a month before independence, becoming the first president of independent Lebanon.
Detailed articleIndependent presidents

Pre-independent Lebanon, was under French control, beginning 1920, ending 1943 to 1946. From 1926, the name changed to the Lebanese Republic, still under French authority.
Greater Lebanon combined four regions of the Ottoman Empire, Tripoli; Sidon; Bekaa Valley; and Mount Lebanon. Mount Lebanon had been autonomous since 1860, created to protect its Christian population against Druze killing sprees.
The borders were the same as they are for the modern state of Lebanon, and the capital was likewise Beirut. The flag used the French, with green cedar tree in the white field.

The legal role of France
The French Mandate which was formalized from 1922 made France responsible for creating and controlling an administration for Syria and Lebanon, developing the resources and preparing self-government.

The actual politics of France
Lebanon was largely created as a safe state for the Christian Maronites, living in the former Ottoman unit of Mount Lebanon. However, Greater Lebanon came to include significant Sunni and Shi'i Muslim territory as well, but for the country as a whole, Christians were the majority.
The Muslims in the state objected to its creation, demanding reunification with Syria.
From 1926, when the name changed to the Lebanese Republic and a constitution was promulgated, it was laid down that the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shi'i Muslim. Being subject to France, the highest function remained the French high commissioner.
The French had the infrastructure of Lebanon largely modernized, and improved the educational system at the lower levels. Still, higher education remained under control of religious bodies.

1920 September 1: The State of Greater Lebanon is declared by French general, Gouraud.
1922: General census, which is largely boycotted by the Muslims.
July: The League of Nations approve the text for the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon.
1926 May 23: A constitution is promulgated, based upon the French constitution. Name now changes to the Lebanese Republic, and Charles Dabbas becomes the first president.
1932 May 9: New appointment for president. Caught in a deadlock between competing candidates, the French high commissioner extends the term for Dabbas.
1934 January 30:
A new French high commissioner appoints Habib Pacha es-Saad new president.
1936: An agreement defining the path to independence is signed by the French and the Lebanese, but never formally ratified by France.
1939 September: At the outbreak of World War 2, the Lebanese constitution is suspended.
1940: With the World War 2 making France occupied by Germany, the French in Lebanoln recognize the pro-German Vichy government.
1941: Lebanon is invaded and taken by the Free French forces. Their leaders clearly express support for Lebanese independence.
1943 November: In the elections, the nationalists win a clear victory, and their government makes political changes that near erase the French role in the country. The French forces has almost all of the government arrested, but would release them after an insurrection and British pressure.
1945: France start pulling their troops out of Lebanon.
1946: Last French troops leave Lebanon.

By Tore Kjeilen