Mandate of Levant
Mandat du Levant (French)
ولاية الشام (Arabic)

Timeline: Twilight of a New Era

OTL equivalent: Greater Lebanon, Alawite State and Hatay (Alexandretta) (1920-1923)
French Mandate of Levant TNE
Flag of French Levant
Map Mandate of Levant (TNE)
Location of Mandate of Levant
Capital Beirut
Largest city Beirut
Other cities Tripoli, Sidon, Zahlé, Tyre, Latakia and Alexandretta
French (administrative usage)
  others Arabic and Turkish
Christianity (Maronite) and Islam (Sunni and Shia)
  others Greek Orthodox, Alawite, Druze, other Christians and Judaism
Government League of Nations mandate (France)
High Commissioner
Established 1920
Independence from Ottoman Empire
Currency Levantine pound (L£)

The Mandate of Levant, was created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920 as a League of Nations mandate in charge of France. It borders to the North and West with Confederation of Arab States and to South with Mandate of Palestine.

Creation of the Mandate

The defeat of Ottomans in Syria in 1919 and the Arab Revolt left the coast line of Levant under military occupation of the Allies. French troops disembarked in Beirut and occupied all the Lebanese coastal region until Naqoura (the western zone) replacing British troops there.

The French immediately dissolved the local Arab governments in the region established by the Arab Revolt. Around Mount Lebanon the Maronites greeted the French troops has liberators. It was proclaimed the Greater Lebanon incorporation of the former Ottoman districts of Tripoli and Sidon as well as the Bekaa Valley to the existing former autonomous region of Mount Lebanon, which had been established in 1861 to protect the local Christian population.

The French advance to the north and occupied Lakatia and Alexandretta in an attempt to control the Baghdad Railway. However, Ottoman troops North of Alexandretta, stopped the advancement, establishing a de facto frontier between French occupation and Ottoman territory.

At the Peace Conference of Paris, France tried to gain Syria. However pressure from UK and resistance in Syria by Arab rebels limited the demands to Lebanon and coast line. The Treaty of Lucerne (1920) partitioned the territories of the Balkans and Anatolia between France, UK and Greece, and also established the frontiers of Levant and Palestine.

Organization of the Mandate

Flag of Lebanon during French Mandate (1920-1943)

First Flag of Greater Lebanon and Levant (1919-1921), banned by French Mandate. Used by pro French groups.

According to the Treaty of Versailles and the Protocol for Levant, it was agreed that when it ... have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory., along guarantees for minorities, it would became an independent State.

The highest executive authority is the High Commissioner, designated by the French Government. He is assisted by a Civil Cabinet. A Consultive Assembly, partially elected, was established to act has representation of the habitants of the Mandate. This assembly was boycotted by the Muslims, having no representation in it.

The Levant was organized in the following territories:

  • Flag Greater Lebanon TNE State of Greater Lebanon (État du Grand Liban), capital Beirut
  • Latakiya-sanjak-Alawite-state-French-colonial-flag Alawite State (État des Alaouites), capital Lakatia
  • State of Hatay TNE Hatay State (État du Hatay), capital Alexandretta

The Alawite and Hatay States are administered has independent territories from Greater Lebanon, under supervision of the High Commissioner. Each of the three territories has a territorial council has a local consultive body. The government and administration are in charge of a Governor, assisted by an Executive Council. The governors are appointed by the French Government.

The Levant is a mixture of mixture of Ottoman law, Napoleonic code, canon law and civil law. French authorities established a judicial system (civil and criminal law), an administrative system. The religious court system was keep in matters related to personal status, marriage, divorce and other family relations issues.

Until 1933, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs dealt with all issues of the mandate. After that year a ministre délégué pour le Mandat du Levant (assistant minister for the Mandate of Levant) was created. It reports directly the Council of Ministers of France.

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