Lebanon: A History, 600 - 2011

Paperback | December 15, 2014

byWilliam Harris

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In this impressive synthesis, William Harris narrates the history of the sectarian communities of Mount Lebanon and its vicinity. He offers a fresh perspective on the antecedents of modern multi-communal Lebanon, tracing the consolidation of Lebanon's Christian, Muslim, and Islamic derivedsects from their origins between the sixth and eleventh centuries. The identities of Maronite Christians, Twelver Shia Muslims, and Druze, the mountain communities, developed alongside assertions of local chiefs under external powers from the Umayyads to the Ottomans. The chiefs began interacting in a common arena when Druze lord Fakhr al-Din Ma'n achieveddomination of the mountain within the Ottoman imperial framework in the early seventeenth century. Harris knits together the subsequent interplay of the elite under the Sunni Muslim Shihab relatives of the Ma'ns after 1697 with demographic instability as Maronites overtook Shia as the largestcommunity and expanded into Druze districts. By the 1840s many Maronites conceived the common arena as their patrimony. Maronite/Druze conflict ensued. Modern Lebanon arose out of European and Ottoman intervention in the 1860s to secure sectarian peace in a special province. In 1920, after the Ottoman collapse, France and the Maronites enlarged the province into the modern country, with a pluralism of communal minorities headed by MaroniteChristians and Sunni Muslims. The book considers the flowering of this pluralism in the mid-twentieth century, and the strains of new demographic shifts and of social resentment in an open economy. External intrusions after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war rendered Lebanon's contradictions unmanageable andthe country fell apart. Harris contends that Lebanon has not found a new equilibrium and has not transcended its sects. In the early twenty-first century there is an uneasy duality: Shia have largely recovered the weight they possessed in the sixteenth century, but Christians, Sunnis, and Druze are two-thirds of thecountry. This book offers readers a clear understanding of how modern Lebanon acquired its precarious social intricacy and its singular political character.

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In this impressive synthesis, William Harris narrates the history of the sectarian communities of Mount Lebanon and its vicinity. He offers a fresh perspective on the antecedents of modern multi-communal Lebanon, tracing the consolidation of Lebanon's Christian, Muslim, and Islamic derivedsects from their origins between the sixth and ...

William Harris is Professor of Politics at the University of Otago. He has taught at Princeton University, Haigazian University College in Beirut, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and the University of Exeter. He is the author of The Levant: A Fractured Mosaic and Faces of Lebanon: Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9.21 × 5.91 × 1.1 inPublished:December 15, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190217839

ISBN - 13:9780190217839

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsA Note on TransliterationGlossaryTimeline for Lebanon and its CommunitiesIntroductionPart One Foundations1. Emerging Communities, 600-12912. Druze Ascent, 1291-16333. Mountain Lords, 1633-1842Part Two Modern Lebanon4. Emerging Lebanon, 1842-19425. Independent Lebanon, 1943-19756. Broken Lebanon, 1975-2011ConclusionAbbreviationsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"A successful account that provides much of value for those interested not only on Lebanese history but also that of the Middle East. The limitations of Ottoman control and complexities of ethnic and confessional politics emerge clearly." --The Historical Association