Ottoman Empire for over 400 years, until 1918 when the area became a part of the French influence, following World War I. By the end of the war, famine had killed an estimated 100,000 people in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, about 30% of the total population.
In the first half of 1920, Lebanese territory was claimed as part of the Arab Kingdom of Syria, but shortly the Franco-Syrian War resulted in Arab defeat and capitulation of the Hashemites.
On 1 September 1920, France reestablished Greater Lebanon after the Moutasarrifiya rule removed several regions belonging to the Principality of Lebanon and gave them to Syria. Lebanon was a largely Christian (mainly Maronite territory with some Greek Orthodox enclaves) but it also included areas containing many Muslims (including Druze). On 1 September 1926, France formed the Lebanese Republic. A constitution was adopted on 25 May 1926 establishing a democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government.
Lebanon gained independence in 1943, while France was occupied by Germany. General Henri Dentz, the Vichy High Commissioner for Syria and Lebanon, played a major role in the independence of the nation. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to move aircraft and supplies through Syria to Iraq where they were used against British forces. The United Kingdom, fearing that Nazi Germany would gain full control of Lebanon and Syria by pressure on the weak Vichy government, sent its army into Syria and Lebanon.
After the fighting ended in Lebanon, General Charles de Gaulle visited the area. Under political pressure from both inside and outside Lebanon, de Gaulle recognized the independence of Lebanon. On 26 November 1941 General Georges Catroux announced that Lebanon would become independent under the authority of the Free French government. Elections were held in 1943 and on 8 November 1943 the new Lebanese government unilaterally abolished the mandate. The