Ottoman rule 1516-1916
The Ottoman Turks were a Central Asian people who had served as slaves and warriors under the Abbasids. Because of their courage and discipline they became the masters of the palace in Baghdad during the caliphate of Al Mutasim (833-42). The Ottoman sultan, Salim I (1516-20), after defeating the Persians, conquered the Mamluks. His troops, invading Syria, destroyed Mamluk resistance in 1516 at Marj Dabaq, north of Aleppo.
During the conflict between the Mamluks and the Ottomans, the amirs of Lebanon linked their fate to that of Ghazali, governor (pasha) of Damascus. He won the confidence of the Ottomans by fighting on their side at Marj Dabaq and, apparently pleased with the behavior of the Lebanese amirs, introduced them to Salim I when he entered Damascus. Salim I, moved by the eloquence of the Lebanese ruler Amir Fakhr ad Din I (1516-44), decided to grant the Lebanese amirs a semiautonomous status. The Ottomans, through two great Druze feudal families, the Maans and the Shihabs, ruled Lebanon until the middle of the nineteenth century. It was during Ottoman rule that the term Greater Syria was coined to designate the approximate area included in present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.
Data as of December 1987.
Summary of the Ottoman Period 1516-1916
The Allies put Lebanon under French control. The first Lebanese constitution went into effect in 1926.
The Ottoman (modern-day Turkish) Empire rose between 1512 to 1520. They defeated the Mamluks in 1516-17 and added Lebanon to their empire.
The Ottomans didn't interfere much with Lebanon, content to let the local Maan family rule the country. The Maans were Druze, a branch off Muslim with secret beliefs.
Under Fakhr al-Din, who began his reign in 1593, the Maans unified Lebanon's religious groups and encouraged stronger ties with Europe. Al-Din kickstarted an independence movement. But the Ottomans found out about it and executed him in 1635.
The Ottomans then turned over the governing of Lebanon to the Shihabs, another family. But Bashir Shihab II allied himself with Egyptian leader Muhammad Ali Pasha, who kicked the Ottomans out of Lebanon in 1831.
However, the Shihabs upped taxes and forced men to serve in the military. The Maronites and Druze revolted. In 1840, the Ottomans and British exiled Bashir Shihab II.
As a way to squelch independence movements, the Ottomans encouraged the Christians and Druze to distrust and hate one another. In 1860 the Druze massacred the Maronites. When the Ottomans did nothing, the French intervened on behalf of the Maronites.
Then the Ottomans, with European help, installed a Christian governor appointed by the Ottoman sultan in 1861. This lasted until World War I, when the Ottomans took direct control of Lebanon for the first time since they conquered it.
In World War I, the Ottoman Empire joined forces with Germany and Austria-Hungary in battling the Allied Forces of England, France and later, the United States. When the war ended, the Ottoman Empire was no more.