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Fakhr-al-Din ibn Maan (August 6, 1572 – April 13, 1635) (Arabic: الامير فخر الدين بن معن‎), also known as Fakhreddine and Fakhr-ad-Din II,[1] was a Druze Ma'ani Emir and an early leader of the Mount Lebanon Emirate, a self-governed area under the Ottoman Empire.

Fakhr-al-Din II
Emir Faḫereddin Ibn Ma'n ( Faḫereddin II)-2.png
Fakhr-al-Din II
Emir of Lebanon
Reign1591 – 13 April 1635
BornAugust 6, 1572
Baakleen, Mount Lebanon Emirate (Ottoman Empire)
DiedApril 13, 1635(1635-04-13) (aged 62)
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
IssueAli Beg
Full name
Fakhr-al-Din ibn Maan II
MotherSit Nasab
Portrait of Fakhr-al-Din while he was in Tuscany, stating "Faccardino grand emir dei Drusi" translated as "Fakhr-al-Din: Great Emir of the Druze"

His rule was characterized by economic and cultural prosperity, and he had fought other Lebanese families to unite the people of Lebanon and seek independence from the Ottoman Empire. He is therefore considered by some to be the first "Man of Lebanon" to seek the sovereignty of modern-day Lebanon, a claim considered by some to be anachronistic as his aims were more dynastic than national. However, the Ottomans eventually tired of this troublesome vassal and in 13 April 1635, Sultan Murad IV had him executed together with one or two of his sons.

Life and reignEdit

Fakhr-al-Din was born on August 6, 1572, in Baakline to Qurqumaz (Arabic: الامير قرقماز بن معن‎), the Emir of Lebanon and Sit Nasab (Arabic: الست نسب‎) of the Druze Tanukhi family. He was thirteen years of age when his father died, after which a civil war erupted between the predominant factions, the Kaysīs, of which Fakhr-al-Din belonged, and the Yamanis, a war which he won sometime in 1591. He then set out to unite the perpetually warring Maronite and Druze districts of Ottoman Lebanon, which was realized after he defeated the local ruler Yūsuf Sayfā in 1607.

In order to cement his position, Fakhr-al-Din forged an alliance with the Italian Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1608.[2] Fakhr-al-Din's ambitions, popularity and unauthorized foreign contacts alarmed the Ottomans who authorized Hafiz Ahmed Pasha, governor of Damascus, to mount an attack on Lebanon in 1613 in order to reduce Fakhr-al-Din's growing power. Faced with Hafiz's army of 50,000 men, Fakhr-al-Din chose exile in Tuscany, leaving affairs in the hands of his brother Yunis and his son Ali Beg. They succeeded in maintaining most of the forts such as in Banias (Subayba) and in Niha which were a mainstay of Fakhr-al-Din's power. Before leaving, Fakhr-al-Din paid his standing army of soqbans (mercenaries) two years wages in order to secure their loyalty.

Hosted in Tuscany by the Medici Family, Fakhr-al-Din was welcomed by the grand duke Cosimo II, who was his host and sponsor for the two years he spent at the court of the Medici. He spent a further three years as guest of the Spanish Viceroy of Sicily and then Naples, Pedro Téllez-Girón. Fakhr-al-Din had wished to enlist Tuscan or other European assistance in a "Crusade" to free his homeland from Ottoman domination,[3] but was met with a refusal as Tuscany was unable to afford such an expedition. The emir eventually gave up the idea, realizing that Europe was more interested in trade with the Ottomans than in taking back the Holy Land. His stay nevertheless allowed him to witness Europe's cultural revival in the 17th century, and bring back some Renaissance ideas and architectural features.[4]

By 1618, political changes in the Ottoman sultanate had resulted in the removal of many of Fakhr-al-Din's enemies from power, allowing his return to Lebanon, whereupon he was able quickly to reunite all the lands of Lebanon beyond the boundaries of its mountains; and having revenge from Emir Yusuf Pasha ibn Siyfa, attacking his stronghold in Akkar, destroying his palaces and taking control of his lands, and regaining the territories he had to give up in 1613 in Sidon, Tripoli, Bekaa among others. Under his rule, printing presses were introduced and Jesuit priests and Catholic nuns encouraged to open schools throughout the land. Sidon became a major trading center as European nations such as France and Genoa constructed commercial buildings.[5]

In 1623, the prince angered the Ottomans by refusing to allow an army on its way back from the Persian front to winter in the Bekaa. This (and instigation by the powerful Janissariy garrison in Damascus) led Mustafa Pasha, Governor of Damascus, to launch an attack against him, resulting in the battle at Anjar where the Emir's forces although outnumbered managed to capture the Pasha and secure the Lebanese prince and his allies a much needed military victory. By 1631, he had dominated most of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.[6]

However, as time passed, the Ottomans grew increasingly uncomfortable with the Emir's increasing powers and extended relations with Europe. In 1632, Kuchuk Ahmed Pasha was then named governor of Damascus, being a rival of Fakhr-al-Din and a friend of Sultan Murad IV, who ordered the new governor and the sultanate's navy to attack Lebanon and depose Fakhr-al-Din.

The Ma'ani cave fortress at Mount Arbel, near the Druze shrine of Nabi Shu'ayb, Israel

This time, the Emir had decided to remain in Lebanon and resist the offensive, but the death of his son Ali Beg in Wadi al-Taym was the beginning of his defeat. He later took refuge in Niha's grotto, closely followed by Kuchuk Ahmed Pasha. He surrendered to the Ottoman general Jaafar Pasha, whom he knew well, under circumstances that are not clear.[7]


Fakhr-al-Din was taken to Constantinople and kept in the Yedikule (Seven Towers) prison for two years. Fakhr-al-Din, and one or two of his sons, were accused of treason and "denial of Islam and sympathy toward Christians". Fakhr-al-Din was executed there on 13 April 1635. There are unsubstantiated rumors that he changed his religion, where in fact he died as a druze. Some rumors say that the younger of the two boys was spared and raised in the harem, later becoming Ottoman ambassadors to India, but it was never confirmed.

After his death, his Druze nephew Mulhim ruled the Shouf heartland of Fakhr-al-Din's former domains until his death in 1658 after which a power struggle erupted between his sons which was eventually won by Ahmad, who ruled until 1697. After his death the Shihab family succeeded the Ma'ans as "Emirs of Mount Lebanon".[8]


Fakhr-al-Din I
Korkmaz I (Qurqumaz)
Fakhr-al-Din II
(died 1658)
(executed 1635)
Korkmaz II
(executed 1635)
(executed 1635)
(died 1650)
(killed by Kuchuk Ahmed Pasha)


  1. ^ Salibi, Kamal (July 1973). "The Secret of the House of Ma'n". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 4 (3): 272–287. doi:10.1017/S0020743800031469. JSTOR 162160.
  2. ^ Carali, P. Paolo (Qar’ali, Father Bulus) (1936). Fakhr ad-Dīn II, principe del Libano e la Corte di Toscana: 1605 - 1635. Reale Accademia d'Italia.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Charles Winslow (4 October 2003). Lebanon: War and Politics in a Fragmented Society. Routledge. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-203-21739-9.
  4. ^ The best European source for information about the Emir's stay there is the works of Palo Carali (Boulos Car'ali): Carali, P. Paolo (Qar’ali, Father Bulus): Fakhr ad-Din II Principe del Libano e la Corte di Toscana 1605-1635 (Rome, Reale Accademia d’Italia, 1936) (2 Vol.); Fakhr ad-din al-Ma’ni ath-thani, hakim lubnan (Jdeidet al-matn, Dar lahd khater, 1992); "Soggiorno de Fakhr ad-din II al-Ma’ni in Toscana, Sicilia e Napoli e la sua visita a Malta (1613-1618)", in Annali del Istituto Superiore Orientale di Napoli, Vol VIII no. 4 (September, 1936) pp. 15-60
  5. ^ Harris, William (2012). A History 600-2011. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016: Oxford University Press. pp. pg. 98. ISBN 978-0-19-021783-9.
  6. ^ أحمد بن محمد الخالدي الصفدي (1969). لبنان في عهد الأمير فخر الدين المعني الثاني (in Arabic). Beirut: منشورات الجامعة اللبنانية.
  7. ^ Philip Khuri Hitti (1967). Lebanon in history: from the earliest times to the present. Macmillan.
  8. ^ Abdul Rahim Abu Husayn (1985). Provincial Leaderships in Syria, 1575-1650. American University of Beirut.

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