Niha, Chouf.

Niha, Chouf.

The Flag of the Ma’anite Dynasty.

The Flag of the Ma’anite Dynasty.

Mount Lebanon 1550-1599

The Foundations of the Emirate of Mount Lebanon

By 1550, the demographics of Lebanon have significantly changed as to what it had been just a decade ago. Much of the Chouf region had now begun to be dominated by the Christians numerically. In Keserwen, a new alliance had formed between the Sunni Assaf and Maronite Hubaishi Dynasties, aimed at tightening the Assaf dynasty's grip over the Lebanese coast line. In the process of establishing another state to rival the Druze dynasties of mount Lebanon, Mansour eliminated primary threats to his domination such the dominant Maronite and Shia families in Keserwen who were not allies.

The next decade would see clashes between the Druze and the Ottomans following an Ottoman purge on Mount Lebanon in a chain of events triggered after the killing of Emir Yusuf Ma'an for his dissidence and importing of illegal arsenal from Europe that was far more advanced than that in the Ottomans’ possession. The Ottomans were demanding the Druze dynasties to pay tribute from their feudal revenue, but they retaliated and took to the battlefield with another rebellion along other Maronite and Shia dissidents in 1580.

The Elimination War of 1581

In 1581, Sultan Murat III ordered the Muhafiz of Damascus and Tripoli, which surrounded Korkomaz's emirate, to raid his lands and eliminate the entirety of the emirate and more importantly, the Ma'anite Order itself. This simply meant the elimination of the Ma'an dynasty itself. The death of the Safavid the Shah Tahmasp I in 1576, gave the Ottoman Sultan the green light to wage a new war on the Safavid Empire to conquer the entire Caucasus in order to eliminate Persian presence at the doorstep of the Ottoman Empire.

Upon the break out of war, the Ottomans regained control of Tabriz by 1585 and then advanced and conquered the Karabakh regions and the lands in modern day Azerbaijan, opening a doorway directly into the heartlands of the Safavid Empire. The Ottomans' push into Persia left Lebanon in a loosely monitored situation, the perfect conditions for the dynasties of Mount Lebanon to revolt against the Ottomans.

The 1583 Revolt

Following the uprising in Mount Lebanon during 1583, Ibrahim Pasha the Muhafiz of Egypt who would later on become the Muhafiz of Damascus, was ordered to invade Mount Lebanon to restore order with an army of 15,000 troops. This purge happened in 1584 and submitted many noble dynasties such as the Assaf dynasty and the Harfushites. Yet, the Ma'anites under Korkomaz refused to surrender, and subsequently counter-raided the Pasha's envoy on its way back to Istanbul. Emir Korkomaz would die however in Niha during later 1584, having previously left the battle of redemption against Ibrahim Pasha.

 

The Early Years of Emir Fakhreddine II

The Ma’anite dynasty was not quashed, despite the Ottoman efforts. The young Fakhreddine, son of Korkomaz had become eighteen years of age by 1590 and was prepared by his mother as-Sitt Nassab to continue the rule of the Ma’anite Order. He would be soon become the viceroy of the Sidon and Beirut Sanjak and from there, Fakhreddine II harnessed new alliances, most notably with the Beirut noble elite, the Harfushites and the Kurdish clans of Syria. In 1595, Fakhreddine II and Moussa Harfush waged a war against the Furaykh dynasty in the Beqaa region to eliminate it permanently as it had played a key role in the attempted prosecution of his late father along the Ottomans.

Following the fall of the Fureikhs in 1596, Fakhreddine II’s alliance now incorporated the Muhafiz of Damascus whom ordered Fakhreddine II to attack Tripoli and dispose its Muhafiz, Yusuf Saifa. The Battle of Nahr al-Kalb took place in 1599 which led in the deposing of the Sayfas from their rule from various areas on the Lebanese coast. This severely improved Fakhreddine II's authority among the rivalling dynasties of Mount Lebanon. He now set out to establish an emirate, which would reach heights that have not been seen since the downfall of the Phoenician Empire at the hands of the Persians a millennium ago.