How Lebanon Became Independent
In less than a month, Lebaon will celebrate its Independence Day. Celebrated annually on the 22nd of November, it is a national day of celebration and remembrance of Lebanon’s independence from the French in 1943.
Lebanon’s independence did not come easily.
In 1941, France declared Lebanon ‘independent’ , however continued to exercise authority based on the ‘French Mandate’ agreed to following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.
In 1943, Lebanon’s first democratic elections saw Bechara El-Khoury elected President and Riad Al-Solh appointed Prime Minister.
The new Parliament amended the constitution by abolishing the article referring to the mandate, therefore constitutionally ending French control.
France reacted by arresting the President, Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers. This act further galvanised public opinion towards independence. Both Christians and Muslims marched in favour of this.
With international pressure mounting France eventually relented and released the President and Prime Ministers on the 22nd of November 1943.
Since then, this day is celebrated as the start of Lebanon’s independence.