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TIMELINE OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN LEBANESE HISTORY
- 1920 – After WWI, the League of Nations grants France the mandate for Syria and Lebanon.
The state of Greater Lebanon is carved out to include Mount Lebanon, with strong Maronite
and Druze populations, along with south Lebanon and the Bekaa.
- 1926 – The Lebanese Representative Council approves a constitution.
- 1932 – A national census is held—the only official census in Lebanon’s history. Results indicate
a Maronite Christian majority with slightly smaller Sunni and Shiite minorities.
- 1942 – The National Pact is formed. It outlines the distribution of parliamentary seats with a
ratio of six Maronite Christians to five Muslims. The highest political posts are also divided
along sectarian lines—a Maronite Christian president, a Sunni prime minister, and a Shiite
- 1943 – Lebanon declares independence.
- 1944 – France relinquishes control to the Lebanese government.
- 1948 – The state of Israel is formed. The Arab-Israeli war pushes thousands of Palestinian
refugees into neighboring countries, including Lebanon.
- 1957 – Lebanese President Camille Chamoun accepts the Eisenhower Doctrine, a U.S. policy
aimed at counteracting Soviet influence by offering countries U.S. economic and military aid.
- 1958 – Lebanese Muslims increasingly disapprove of Chamoun’s Western loyalties. Protests
erupt after the public discovers that Chamoun is illegally seeking a second term. In response, he
requests U.S. assistance. Marines land on the shores of Beirut to quietly reassert the Lebanese
- 1958 – Fu’ad Chehab, the commander of the army widely trusted by the public for his
impartiality, is elected to the presidency. He spends his 6-year term seeking sectarian balance by
working closely with various groups in efforts to reduce tensions and return stability to the
- 1967 – Israel and its Arab neighbors fight the Six Day War. Though Lebanon does not actively
participate, it is a battleground for Palestinian offensives and Israeli counterattacks.
- 1968 - Israeli troops destroy 13 civilian aircraft during a raid on the Beirut International Airport
in retaliation for an attack from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) on an
Israeli plane in Athens.
- 1969 – The Cairo Accords are signed by Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman
Yasser Arafat and Lebanese Army commander Emile Bustani. It stipulates that Lebanon
recognizes the Palestinian struggle and establishes the guidelines by which Lebanese authorities
allow the presence of Palestinian guerilla fighters in south Lebanon. It eventually results in the
PLO creating a “state within a state” inside of Lebanon.
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- 1970 - The PLO headquarters relocates to Beirut after being pushed out of Jordan. Raids into
Israel continue out of southern Lebanon.
- 1973 – The Lebanese government resigns after Israeli troops raid Beirut, killing three PLO
- 1975 – The Lebanese Civil War begins when Christian Phalange gunmen ambush a bus, killing
27 passengers, many of whom were Palestinian. Phalangists allege that Palestinian fighters were responsible for a previous attack on a church in the neighborhood.
- 1976 – Syrian troops enter Lebanon. The Syrian Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) is established to
maintain a ceasefire.
- 1978 – Israel retaliates against PLO attacks by invading southern Lebanon, approximately 40km
into the country. The United Nations Security Council passes resolution 425, calling for Israel
to withdraw all forces from Lebanese territory.
- 1978 - The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is established to supervise the
withdrawal of Israeli troops and assist in the restoration of Lebanese governance. Israel does not
defer to UNIFIL, but rather passes control to it’s Lebanese proxy militia, the predominantly
Christian South Lebanon Army (SLA).
- 1982 – President-elect and Phalange leader Bachir Gemayel is assassinated in a bombing. Yasser
Arafat and the PLO evacuate to Tunisia. Meanwhile, Israeli forces occupy west Beirut and a
multinational U.S.-French-Italian peacekeeping force enters the city.
- 1982 - The Phalange militia massacres hundreds of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee
camps in response to the Gemayel assassination. Amin Gemayel, Bachir’s older brother, is
- 1983 – Lebanon signs a peace agreement with Israel on the condition of an Israeli withdrawal
from south Lebanon.
- 1984 – The multinational forces exit Beirut.
- 1985 – Most Israeli troops pull out, but a few remain to support the SLA in establishing a
- 1987 – Lebanon cancels both the 1969 Cairo Agreement with the PLO and the 1983 peace
agreement with Israel.
- 1988 – The Lebanese Parliament fails to elect a successor for Prime Minister Amin Gemayel.
Two governments emerge – a Muslim-controlled West Beirut and a Christian-controled East
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- 1989 – A Charter of National Reconciliation is signed in Ta’if, Saudi Arabia, redistributing the
presidential powers to the cabinet. This results in an equal seating of Christian and Muslim
representatives in Parliament, rather than the previous six-to-five ratio.
- 1990 – The Lebanese Civil War officially ends.
- 1991 – The National Assembly orders all militia groups to disarm. Hezballah is permitted to
remain active and the SLA refuses to dissolve.
- 1992 – Rafiq Hariri, a Sunni businessman involved in reconstruction, is elected Prime Minister.
- 1996 – Israel launches Operation Grapes of Wrath, bombing Hezballah bases in south Lebanon
and the Bekaa. Hundreds of Lebanese are displaced.
- 2000 – Israel withdraws all forces from south Lebanon after the collapse of the SLA.
- 2004 – UN Security Council Resolution 1559 is passed. It calls for the exit of all foreign forces
in Lebanon, particularly Syrian troops. Syria ignores the resolution.
- 2005 – Rafiq Hariri is assassinated in a Beirut car bombing. Anti-Syrian sentiments intensify,
causing Syria to eventually withdraw troops from the country. March 14 Forces, an alliance
organized by Rafiq Hariri’s son Saad, gain control of the parliament.
- 2005 - The UN creates a Special Tribunal to investigate the assassination of former Prime
Minister Rafiq Hariri. This proves to be a contentious issue amongst the Lebanese factions.
- 2006 – Hezballah captures two Israeli soldiers in a raid on the border. Israel responds by
launching air and sea attacks on Lebanon, killing hundreds of Lebanese civilians. Hezballah
continues to launch rockets into northern Israel, resulting in the deployment of Israeli troops
into south Lebanon. After 34 days of fighting and a UN peacekeeping operation, Hezballah and
Israel come to a truce.
- 2008 – Sectarian violence is rampant throughout the country. Multiple assassinations occur.
- 2009 –Saad Hariri is nominated as prime minister and succeeds in forming a national unity
- 2011 – Hezballah ministers and allies resign, causing the government to collapse. A sealed
indictment is issued by the UN prosecutor in reference to the Tribunal results. Najib Miqati is
appointed prime minister and is given the task of rebuilding a new government. Meanwhile,
Hariri-supporters protest the ousting of former PM Saad Hariri.