Lebanon in History from the Earliest Times to the Present

By Philip K. Hitti | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXX THE MUTAṢARRIFĪYAH OF JABAL LUBNĀN

LEBANON, whose problem preoccupied the major powers of Europe for two years, 1860 to 1861, received from their hands regulations for its administration that could barely cover more than a couple of sheets of paper. That a newly organized country could be administered by a seventeen-article code is indeed an extraordinary feat in history.1 The revision of September 6, 1864, introduced but a few minor changes.2 The tenure of the mutaṣarrif was extended from three to five renewable years. He was responsible directly to the Porte. As chief executive he collected taxes, appointed judges, executed tribunals' sentences and maintained security and order. An elective administrative council (majlis idārah) of twelve representatives from the different religious communities assisted him. Of the representatives five were Christians. In its geographic delimitation the country was stripped of al-Biqā' and Wādi al- Taym -- whose very fertility was owed to top-soil swept from the mountain by rains and winds and to streams fed from water stored in the bosom of the mountain -- as well as of Beirut and Sidon, all of which formerly belonged to Lebanon.3 Beirut, sidon and Tripoli, its natural ports, were put under direct Ottoman rule. This is clearly not the Lebanon of the Ma'ns and the Shihābs; it is the mountainous part of it. It was divided into seven districts (sing. qaḍā') each under a qā'im-maqām. As determined by the prevailing religious denomination in each district, three of these sub-governors were Maronites, one Druze, one Moslem, one Greek Orthodox and one Greek Catholic. Each qā'im-maqāmīyah was subdivided into mudīrīyahs (small counties). The administration of local justice involving minor cases was left in the hands of government-appointed or popularly

____________________
1
For text see British and Foreign State Papers, 1860-1861, vol. li ( London, 1868), pp. 288-92.
2
For text consult Thomas E. Holland, The European Concert in the Eastern Question ( Oxford, 1885), pp. 212-18.

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