Introduction

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The reason why I inserted a section for the Chehab Family in my website is to shed the light over an interesting period in the Lebanese history that saw the emergence of the modern Lebanon, as we know it. During this period, the Abou Rjeily Family fostered and multiplied.

Abou Rjeily Family started during the reign of Prince Murad Abillama. It spread in the abillama feudality in Chouf, Metn and Bekaa.

Abillama was initially a Druze feudal family that always alleged fealty to the Chehab Emirs who ruled Mount Lebanon.

Most of the historical references on the Lebanese history omit, probably intentionally, the information I am publishing in this section.

It is important to mention that:

  1. Chehab reign over 150 years (1697-1842) forged the modern Lebanon as we know it

  2. Bachir 3 was not the descendent of Bachir 2 who was not the descendant of Bachir 1 neither.

  3. Between the three Bachirs, many Chehab Princes governed Mount Lebanon. Their successions to the throne were not always peaceful and smooth.

  4. The Chehab family is initially a Muslim Sunni family that succeeded to the Druze Maan family in Governing the Druze mountain that later became Mount Lebanon.

  5. Many Chehab Princes converted to Christians Maronite in the 19th centuries, including Kasim, the father of Prince Bachir 2, the most prominent prince of the dynasty.

 

This research attempts to clarify some ambiguities related to the reigns of Mount Lebanon Emirs: Maan (معن) and Shihab (شهاب), which extended from 1516 to 1842.

The history we learned at schools does not show how they were related and how a prince succeeded his predecessor. It neither mentions all the Emirs who effectively governed Mount Lebanon, while only focusing on Fakhreddine 2 (فخرالدين الثاني) and Bashir 2 (بشير الثاني) reigns that greatly impregnated Mount Lebanon History.

The research also tries to understand:

·         How the “Druze Mount” became “Mount Lebanon”

·         The societal transformation that occurred in Mount Lebanon under the reign of Bashir 2 in the 19th century: was he Great or a Traitor?

o   The reasons behind the rise of the Christians’ role, demography and economic/political power in the 18th and 19th century.

o   Why many Druze eminent families converted to Christianity

o   The political and social changes that lead to the incidents between Druze and Maronite communities in the 19th century

This research could not elucidate some ambiguities such as:

1.  The role of Alameddine Family (علم الدين) during both Shihab (شهاب) and Maan (معن) Reigns. Why did historians deliberately omitted to mention their contributions and their ascension to the power, although they effectively governed during decades. Most of the information we have about the history in 17th, 18th centuries were written by Haydar/Ahmad/Haydar Shihab (d.1835) and his former assistant and disciple Tannous Al Shidiaq (طنوس الشدياق) (d.1861). Haydar must have intentionally omitted the role of the Alameddine clan in the history of Lebanon during the Maan and Shihab reigns and between them.

2.  The reason behind choosing Sunni Emirs to rule the Druze mountain after the degeneration of the Maan (معن) dynasty in 1697

This research did not attempt to repeat what is already known of the Mount Lebanon history: who are the Maans or Shihabs, how they ended up governing Mount Lebanon and when, etc… It rather tried to clarify what is not so clear in history: Family trees and relationships, Governance periods and successions, contribution to the societal transformations, etc…