Cleveland Chapter 16 Lebanon’s Capital = Beirut

“the jewel of the eastern Mediterranean…served as an economic and cultural bridge between the West and Middle East”

Economic prosperity

  • Beirut capitalized on nationalization laws in Cairo, Baghdad, and Damascus
  • It developed Laissez-faire policies including:
    • deregulated currency exchanges
    • banking secrecy laws
    • removed trade restrictions
    • Major banking center

Beirut became a very diverse place, similar to Vegas and New York City. It had:

  • Freedom of Expression
  • Free Press
It was a haven for political exiles

  • Burgeoning University
  • Attractions
  • Casinos, night life, clubs
  • Sectarian Pluralism
  • Multireligious, multiethnic urban mosaic

Constitution of 1926, census of 1932 and National Pact of 1943

  • It was the basis of confessional politics
  • It identified Lebanon as an Arab country
  • Communal differences were submissive but not nonexistent

Political – Za’im system

  • Political boss
  • Family and religious ties drove the corrupt practice
  • Feudal lord who could gather votes for a candidate of his choice or be a member of parliament himself
  • Caused Parliament to be used as means of serving local needs rather than national issues

  • Contributed to the sectarian ways of Lebanon


Maronite sectarian bloc
1936 est. by Gamayel
“Lebanon above all”

Progressive Socialist Party

Formed in 1949 by Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt
Appealed to many Lebanese of different socioeconomic backgrounds
Jumblatt organized leftist coalitions
Welcomed Pan-Arabism


Third president – Maronite
Overlooked corruption in government and used
za’im system to his advantage
Forced to resign in 1952


Established the banking regulations that encouraged foreign investments
Coincided with Cold War – who should Lebanon ally with?
Refused to join Baghdad Pact

Lebanese Civil War 1958

United States aided Chamoun in putting down revolt
Chamoun abdicated


Political and economic reforms
Increase in central government power
Basics of social welfare
Commitment to order, social reform, law enforcement
Didn't bring an end to sectarian politics