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© Khalil Itani's Archive© Nahr el Kaleb Authority© Maronite Patriarchate

Beirut Tramway station
Khalil Itani's Archive, Beirut, Lebanon

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French plaque for Emperor Napoleon III
Nahr al-Kalb Authority, Beirut, Lebanon

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Maronite Benevolent Catholic Society of New York rule book
House of the Maronite Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, Bkerki, Lebanon

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The era of mutasarrifiyya (1861–1915)

The influx of foreign missionaries into Lebanon contributed to the development of intellectual life. American missionaries founded the Syrian Evangelical School in 1866 and French Jesuits founded Saint Joseph’s University in 1875; new printing presses were established, such as the Catholic Press. The influence of Western civilisation began to show in the Lebanese way of life.

In 1908, a Lebanese association was established in Paris to pursue the independence of Lebanon from the Turks. Liberation was in sight.

Transportation had seen significant improvements in the Ottoman era with the foundation of the Centre of Tramways Beirut. In 1881, the French began building a railway from Beirut to Damascus and the project was successfully completed in 1895.

The good relationship betwen Prince Bashir and the French resulted in the end of the qaimaqamiyya, marked by inscriptions on the rocks of Nahr el-Kalb to the Emperor Napoleon III. It can be seen alongside later inscriptions marking the end of World War I and French General Gouraud’ victory in the Battle of Maysalun on 25 July 1920.