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AFTER 1860: DEBATING RELIGION, REFORM, AND NATIONALISM IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2002

Extract

The events of 1860 constitute a turning point in the modern history of Lebanon. In the space of a few weeks between the end of May and the middle of June, Maronite and Druze communities clashed in Mount Lebanon in a struggle to see which community would control, and define, a stretch of mountainous territory at the center of complicated Eastern Question politics.1 The Druzes carried the day. Every major Maronite town within reach of the Druzes was pillaged, its population either massacred or forced to flee. In July, Damascene Muslims rioted to protest deteriorating economic conditions, targeting and massacring several hundred of the city's Christian population. Although the reasons for the fighting in Mount Lebanon and the riot in Damascus were quite different, the Ottoman, local, and European reactions inevitably conflated both events.2 Following the restoration of order, the conflict of 1860 was the subject, effectively, of an Ottoman government mandate of silence—a desire to forget the events and proceed with administering the newly constituted Mutasarrifiyya of Mount Lebanon. At the same time, however, the sectarian violence prompted an outpouring of local memories that the Ottoman government could neither control nor suppress.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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AFTER 1860: DEBATING RELIGION, REFORM, AND NATIONALISM IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
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