Mount Lebanon and Greece: Mediterranean Crosscurrents, 1821-1841

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Abstract

This article uncovers the interactions between the Greek war of independence and the Ottoman district of Mount Lebanon. Greek forces made corsairing raids on the Syria-Lebanon coast, sometimes leading Ottoman governors to retaliate against local Christians. A more substantial attempt was made to draw the district’s quasi-autonomous ruler, Emir Bashir al-Shihabi, into an alliance with the revolutionary Greeks, leading to a major Greek assault on Beirut in 1826, but this was unsuccessful. Underlying its failure, the article argues, was the persistence of an older pattern of elite negotiation across religious boundaries, which was resistant to the stark Christian-Muslim polarisation developed in parts of the Greek war. In the decades following this war, it then suggests, some sectarian polarisation and Christian nationalist aspirations reminiscent of Greece did emerge in Mount Lebanon, largely through Maronite Christians’ interactions with France. The goal of a mono-religious nation-state, however, never took root.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistorein
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Jun 2021

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