Jabal ‘Amil Redefined:in the Nation State of Lebanon

  • Tamara Chalabi


The new reality of Lebanon saw a large portion of Jabal ‘Amil incorporated into a redefined “South Lebanon.” Within this incorporation, Jabal ’Amil was not perceived as a separate historical, geographic, or social entity, but the southern extension of and natural complement to the core (Mount Lebanon) of a state that was reclaiming its ancestral existence in the newly established Grand Liban. As such, the area was described and appreciated in terms of its natural resources and agricultural capacity. Its population was invisible except when connected to the central part that is Mount Lebanon, this connection being implicitly communitarian. This sparse population of the South is a persistent feature of the Lebanist discourse. The absence of the inhabitants of the new districts dates to before the creation of Grand Liban. The argument for the integration of the four provinces was invariably based on the “frontières naturelles” of Lebanon. This was developed earlier (in the late nineteenth century) by the various Lebanese Christian Francophile intellectual circles in the diaspora, predominantly from Mount Lebanon who promoted their vision to the French leading up to the Paris Peace settlement in 1919. These views are best examined in La Revue Phénicienne, first published in 1919.


Muslim Population High Commissioner Arab State French Policy Administrative Council 
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© Tamara Chalabi 2006

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  • Tamara Chalabi

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