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Home > History of Lebanon > Chronology of Key Events

Introduction | Phoenicia | Greek & Roman Periods | Arab Period | Ottoman Rule
French Mendate | Independence | Civil War | Today | Chronology of Key Events

1920 1 September - After the League of Nations grants the mandate for Lebanon and Syria to France, the State of Greater Lebanon is proclaimed. It includes the former autonomous province of Mount Lebanon, plus the provinces of north Lebanon, south Lebanon and the Biqa, historically part of Syria.

1926 23 May - Lebanese Representative Council approves a constitution and the Lebanese Republic is declared.

1940 Lebanon comes under the control of the Vichy French government.

1941 After Lebanon is occupied by Free French and British troops in June 1941, independence is declared on 26 November.

1943 March - The foundations of the state are set out in an unwritten National Covenant which states that Lebanon is an independent Arab country with ties to the West but which cooperates with other Arab states while remaining neutral. The 1932 census which had shown that Christians were 54% of the population is used as the basis for the distribution of seats in the Chamber of Deputies (later to be called the National Assembly) on a ratio of six to five (later extended to other public offices). The president is to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shia Muslim.


1943 December - France agrees to the transfer of power to the Lebanese government with effect from 1 January 1944.

1957 President Kamil Shamun accepts the Eisenhower Doctrine, announced in January, which offers US economic and military aid to Middle Eastern countries to counteract Soviet influence in the region.

1958 14 July - Faced with increasing opposition which develops into a civil war, President Shamun asks the US to send troops to preserve Lebanon's independence.

1958 15 July - The US, mindful of Iraq's overthrow of its monarchy, sends marines to re-establish the government's authority.

Arab-Israeli war

1967 June - Lebanon plays no active role in the Arab-Israeli war but is to be affected by its aftermath when Palestinians use Lebanon as a base for activities against Israel.

1968 28 December - In retaliation for an attack by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on an Israeli plane in Athens, Israel raids Beirut airport, destroying 13 civilian planes.

1969 November - Army Commander-in-Chief Emile Bustani and Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat sign an agreement in Cairo which aims to control Palestinian guerrilla activities in Lebanon.

1973 10 April - Israeli commandos raid Beirut and kill three Palestinian leaders, close associates of Arafat. The Lebanese government resigns the next day.

Civil War Begins

1975 13 April - Phalangist gunmen ambush a bus in the Ayn-al-Rummanah district of Beirut, killing 27 of its mainly Palestinian passengers. The Phalangists claim that guerrillas had previously attacked a church in the same district. (These clashes are regarded as the start of the civil war).

1976 June - Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore peace but also to curb the Palestinians.

1976 October - Following Arab summit meetings in Riyad and Cairo, a ceasefire is arranged and a predominantly Syrian Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) is established to maintain it.

Israel controls South

1978 14/15 March - In reprisal for a Palestinian attack into its territory, Israel launches a major invasion of Lebanon, occupying land as far north as the Litani river.

1978 19 March - UN Security Council (UNSC) passes Resolution 425, which calls on Israel to withdraw from all Lebanese territory and establishes the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to confirm the Israeli withdrawal, restore peace and help the Lebanese government re-establish its authority in the area.

1978 By 13 June Israel hands over territory in southern Lebanon not to UNIFIL but to its proxy mainly Christian Lebanese militia under Maj Sa'd Haddad.

Israel attacks

1982 6 June - Following the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov, Israeli ambassador to Britain, Israel launches a full-scale invasion of Lebanon, "Operation Peace for Galilee".

1982 14 September - President-elect, Bashir al-Jumayyil, is assassinated. The following day, Israeli forces occupy West Beirut, and from 16 to 18 September, the Phalangist militia kill Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut.

1982 21 September - Bashir's elder brother, Amin al-Jumayyil, is elected president.

1982 24 September - The first contingent of a mainly US, French and Italian peacekeeping force, requested by Lebanon, arrives in Beirut.

Buffer zone set up

1983 17 May - Israel and Lebanon sign an agreement on Israeli withdrawal, ending hostilities and establishing a security region in southern Lebanon.

1983 23 October - 241 US marines and 56 French paratroopers are killed in two bomb explosions in Beirut, responsibility for which is claimed by two militant Shia groups.

1985 By 6 June most Israeli troops withdraw but some remain to support the mainly Christian South Lebanon Army (SLA) led by Maj-Gen Antoine Lahd which operates in a "security zone" in southern Lebanon.

1985 16 June - A TWA plane lands in Beirut after having been hijacked on a flight from Athens to Rome by two alleged members of Hezbollah demanding the release of Shia in Israeli jails. The crisis is resolved with the help of Syrian mediation.

1987 21 May - Lebanon abrogates the 1969 Cairo agreement with the PLO as well as officially cancelling the 17 May 1983 agreement with Israel.

1987 1 June - After Prime Minister Rashid Karami is killed when a bomb explodes in his helicopter, Salim al-Huss becomes acting prime minister.

Two governments, one country

1988 22 September - When no candidate is elected to succeed him, outgoing President Amin al-Jumayyil appoints a six-member interim military government, composed of three Christians and three Muslims, though the latter refuse to serve. Lebanon now has two governments - one mainly Muslim in West Beirut, headed by Al-Huss, the other, Christian, in East Beirut, led by the Maronite Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Gen Michel Awn.

1989 14 March - Awn declares a "war of liberation " against the Syrian presence in Lebanon.

1989 28 July - Shaykh Abd-al-Karim Ubayd, Hezbollah leader in Jibshit, is abducted by Israeli forces.

1989 22 October - The National Assembly, meeting in Ta'if, Saudi Arabia, endorses a Charter of National Reconciliation, which reduces the authority of the president by transferring executive power to the cabinet. The National Assembly now has an equal number of Christian and Muslim members instead of the previous six to five ratio.

1989 November - President-elect Rene Mu'awwad is assassinated on 22 November and succeeded by Ilyas al-Hirawi on 24 November. The following day, Salim al-Huss becomes prime minister and Gen Emile Lahoud replaces Awn as Commander-in-Chief of the Army on 28 November.

Civil war ends

1990 13 October - The Syrian air force attacks the Presidential Palace at B'abda and Awn takes refuge in the French embassy. This date is regarded as the end of the civil war.

1990 24 December - Umar Karami heads a government of national reconciliation.

1991 The National Assembly orders the dissolution of all militias by 30 April but Hezbollah is allowed to remain active and the South Lebanon Army (SLA) refuses to disband.

1991 22 May - A Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination is signed in Damascus by Lebanon and Syria and a Higher Council, co-chaired by their two presidents, is established.

1991 1 July - The Lebanese army defeats the PLO in Sidon so that it now confronts the Israelis and the SLA in Jazzin, north of the so-called "security zone".

1991 26 August - The National Assembly grants an amnesty for all crimes committed during the civil war, 1975-1990. Awn receives a presidential pardon and is allowed to leave for France.

1991 30 October - Lebanon participates in the Middle East Peace Conference launched in Madrid.

1992 16 February - Shaykh Abbas al-Musawi, Secretary-General of Hezbollah, is killed when Israeli helicopter gunships attack his motorcade on a road south-east of Sidon.

1992 By 17 June all Western hostages held by Shia groups have been released.

1992 20 October - After elections in August and September (the first since 1972), Nabih Birri, secretary-general of the Shia Amal organisation, becomes speaker of the National Assembly.

1992 31 October - Rafiq Hariri, a rich businessman, born in Sidon but with Saudi Arabian nationality, becomes prime minister, heading a cabinet of technocrats.

1993 25 July - Israel attempts to end the threat from Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) in southern Lebanon by launching "Operation Accountability", the heaviest attack since 1982.

1994 21 May - Mustafa Dib al-Dirani, head of the Believers' Resistance, a breakaway group from the Shia Amal organisation, is abducted by Israeli commandos from his house in eastern Lebanon.

Israel bombs Beirut

1996 11 April - "Operation Grapes of Wrath", in which the Israelis bomb Hezbollah bases in southern Lebanon, the southern district of Beirut and the Biqa.

1996 18 April - An Israeli attack on a UN base at Qana results in the death of over 100 Lebanese refugees sheltering there.

1996 26 April - US negotiates a truce and an "understanding" under which Hezbollah and Palestinian guerrillas agree not to attack civilians in northern Israel, and which recognises Israel's right to self-defence but also Hezbollah's right to resist the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. Lebanon and Syria do not sign the "understanding" but the Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group (ILMG), with members from the US, France, Israel, Lebanon and Syria, is set up to monitor the truce.

1998 1 April - Israel's inner cabinet votes to accept UN Security Council Resolution 425 of 1978 if Lebanon guarantees the security of Israel's northern border. Both Lebanon and Syria reject this condition.

Lahoud is president

1998 24 November - Army head Emile Lahoud is sworn in as president, succeeding Ilyas al-Hirawi.

1998 4 December - Salim al-Huss becomes prime minister heading a cabinet which includes no militia leaders and only two ministers from the previous administration.

1999 3 June - South Lebanon Army (SLA) completes its withdrawal from the Jazzin salient (north of the "security zone") occupied since 1985.

2000 5 March - Israeli cabinet votes for the unilateral withrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon by July 2000.

2000 18 April - Israel releases 13 Lebanese prisoners held without trial for more than 10 years but extends the detention of Shaykh Abd-al-Karim Ubayd and Mustafa Dib al-Dirani.

Troops pull out

2000 24 May - After the collapse of the SLA and the rapid advance of Hezbollah forces, Israel withdraws its troops from southern Lebanon, more than six weeks before its stated deadline of 7 July.

2000 25 May - 25 May declared an annual public holiday, called "Resistance and Liberation Day".

2000 October - Rafiq Hariri takes office as prime minister for a second time.

2001 March - Lebanon begins pumping water from a tributary of the River Jordan to supply a southern border village despite opposition from Israel.

2002 January - Elie Hobeika, a key figure in the massacres of Palestinian refugees in 1982, dies in a blast shortly after disclosing that he held videotapes and documents challenging Israel's account of the massacres.

2002 September - Row with Israel over Lebanon's plan to divert water from a border river. Israel says it cannot tolerate the diversion of the Wazzani, which provides 10% of its drinking water, and threatens the use of military force.

2003 August - Car bomb in Beirut kills a member of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group. Hezbollah and a government minister blame Israel for the blast.

Spotlight on Syria

2004 September - UN Security Council adopts a resolution - aimed at Syria - demanding that foreign troops leave Lebanon. Syria dismisses the move.

2004 September - Parliament votes to extend President Lahoud's term by three years. Weeks of political deadlock end with the unexpected departure of Rafiq Hariri - who had at first opposed the extension - as prime minister.

2005 February - Former prime minister Rafiq Hariri is killed in a massive car bomb attack in Beirut. The cabinet of Prime Minister Omar Karami resigns after two weeks of anti-Syrian rallies sparked by the assassination. There are growing calls for Syria to withdraw its troops.

2005 March - Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese rally in Beirut to show support for Syria.

2005 March - Days after his resignation, pro-Syrian former PM Omar Karami is asked by the president to form a new government.

2005 April - Omar Karami resigns as PM after failing to form a government. Moderate pro-Syrian MP Najib Mikati is named as his successor. Syria says it has withdrawn all of its military forces, as demanded by the UN.

2005 June - Prominent journalist Samir Qasir, a critic of Syrian influence in Lebanon, is killed by a car bomb. Anti-Syrian alliance led by Saad al-Hariri wins control of parliament following elections. New parliament chooses Hariri ally, Fouad Siniora, as prime minister. George Hawi, anti-Syrian former leader of Lebanese Communist Party, killed when his car is blown up.

2005 July - Lebanese PM Siniora meets Syria's President Assad; both sides agree to rebuild relations.

2005 September - Four pro-Syrian generals are charged in connection with the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri.

2005 December - Prominent anti-Syrian MP and journalist Gibran Tueni is killed in a car bomb attack.

2006 February - Denmark's embassy in Beirut is torched during a demonstration against cartoons in a Danish paper satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

Lebanon under Attack

2006 July - Israel launches air and sea attacks on targets in Lebanon after Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group captures two Israeli soldiers. Civilian casualties are high and the damage to civilian infrastructure wide-ranging. Thousands of people are displaced. In August Israeli ground troops thrust into southern Lebanon.

2006 August - Truce between Israel and Hezbollah comes into effect on 14 August after 34 days of fighting and the deaths of around 1,000 Lebanese - mostly civilians - and 159 Israelis, mainly soldiers. A UN peacekeeping force, expected to consist of 15,000 foreign troops, begins to deploy along the southern border.

2006 September - Lebanese government forces deploy along the Israeli border for the first time in decades.

Power struggle

2006 November - Ministers from Hezbollah and the Amal movement resign shortly before the cabinet approves draft UN plans for a tribunal to try suspects in the killing of the former prime minister Hariri. Leading Christian politician and government minister Pierre Gemayel is shot dead.

2006 December - Thousands of opposition demonstrators in Beirut demand the resignation of the government.

2007 January - Hezbollah-led opposition steps up pressure on the government to resign by calling general strike.

2007 March - Tent town which sprang up in central Beirut as part of the opposition sit-in to demand more say in government, remains in place 100 days after start of protest.

2007 May-September - Siege of the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Bared following clashes between militants and the military. More than 300 people die and 40,000 residents flee before the army gains control of the camp.

2007 May - UN Security Council votes to set up a tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of ex-premier Hariri.

2007 June - Anti-Syrian MP Walid Eido is killed in a bomb attack in Beirut.

2007 September - Anti-Syrian MP Antoine Ghanim is killed by a car bomb. Parliament adjourns the session to elect a new president until 23 October, after a stay-away by the opposition pro-Syrian bloc.

2007 November - President Emile Lahoud steps down after parliament fails to elect his successor. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says his cabinet will assume powers of presidency.

2007 December - Car bomb kills Gen Francois al-Hajj, who had been tipped to become army chief.

2008 January - Bomb blast apparently aimed at a US diplomatic vehicle in Beirut kills four.

2008 8-13 May - At least 80 people are killed in clashes between Hezbollah and pro-government factions, sparking fears of civil war.

2008 25 May - Parliament elects army chief Michel Suleiman as president, ending six-month-long political deadlock.

2008 28 May - President Suleiman reappoints Fouad Siniora as prime minister, entrusting to him task of forming new unity government.

2008 11 July - Political leaders reach agreement on make-up of national unity government.

2008 16 July - Israel frees five Lebanese prisoners in exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah in July 2006. Hezbollah hails the swap as a "victory for the resistance".

2008 October - Lebanon establishes diplomatic relations with Syria for first time since both countries gained independence in 1940s.

2009 March - International court to try suspected killers of former Prime Minister Hariri opens in Hague. Expected to ask Lebanon to hand over four pro-Syrian generals held over February 2005 killing within weeks.

2009 April - Former Syrian intelligence officer Mohammed Zuhair al-Siddiq arrested in connection with killing of former PM Rafik Hariri.

Four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals held since 2005 over Hariri murder freed after UN court in Hague rules that there is not enough evidence to convict them.

2009 May - US Vice-President Joe Biden visits ahead of June parliamentary elections, prompting accusations from Hezbollah that US is "meddling" in Lebanese affairs. Lebanese security officials say an army colonel has been detained on suspicion of spying for Israel, the latest of about 30 such arrests.

2009 June - The pro-Western March 14 alliance led by Saad Hariri wins 71 of 128 seats in parliamentary elections while the rival March 8 alliance, led by Hezbollah, secures 57. Saad Hariri is nominated as prime minister.

2009 July - The Lebanese army says it broke up a cell of 10 al-Qaeda-linked Islamists whom it accused of planning to attack troops and UN peacekeepers in the south. The army said they had been smuggling fighters into Lebanon from other Arab states.

2009 September - Having spent more than 10 weeks negotiating with the various political factions on the formation of a national unity government, Saad Hariri says he is abandoning the attempt.

2009 November - Saad Hariri succeeds in forming government of national unity, five months after his bloc won majority of seats in parliament.

2009 December - Lebanon's cabinet endorsed Hezbollah's right to keep its arsenal of weapons. Prime Minister Saad Hariri visits Damascus for talks with President Bashar Assad, describing the talks as friendly, open and positive.

2010 April - US warns of serious repercussions for Syria if reports that it supplied Hezbollah with Scud missiles were true. PM Sa'ad Hariri earlier dismisses the accusations against Syria.

2010 July - Lebanon's most eminent Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, dies.

2010 August - Lebanese and Israeli troops exchange fire along border; two Lebanese soldiers, a senior Israeli officer and a journalist are killed.

2010 October - Amid signs of heightened sectarian tension, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pays controversial visit to Lebanon that culminates in rally held at Hezbollah stronghold near Israeli border. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah calls on Lebanese to boycott UN tribunal into 2005 killing of former PM Rafik Hariri, saying the tribunal is in league with Israel.

2011 January - Government collapses after ministers from Hezbollah and its political allies resign. UN prosecutor issues sealed indictment for murder of Rafik Hariri. Najib Mikati is appointed prime-minister designate and is asked to form a new government.

2011 June - After nearly five months of tortuous wrangling and horse-trading, Mr Mikati finally succeeds in forming a cabinet. The new cabinet is dominated by Hezbollah and its allies, which are given 16 out of 30 seats. The UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issues four arrest warrants over the murder of Rafik Hariri. The accused are members of Hezbollah, which says it won't allow their arrest.

2012 Summer - Syrian conflict spills over into Lebanon's northern port of Tripoli in deadly clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites.

Last Updated: September 2012
Source: BBC News, UK Edition.

Introduction | Phoenicia | Greek & Roman Periods | Arab Period | Ottoman Rule
French Mendate | Independence | Civil War | Today | Chronology of Key Events

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