History of Kfarsghab

History of Kfarsghab

Kfarsghab in Zgharta District in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of Lebanon predates Christianity. However, like most villages in the Qadisha valley, Kfarsghab's history began with the settlement of the Maronites in Mount Lebanon during the 10th Century. According to the popular tradition, the church of Saint Awtel was built on the ruins of a pagan temple. Pagan temples existed in this region as attested in the Greek inscription mentioning the date 272 AD found in the Mar Mama church in Ehden. [ Yammine, Y.: "Daleel Ehden", page 14.] Other temples may have existed in the region, such as the monastery of Mar Sarkis and Bakhos in Ehden, which may have been built atop ruins. [ Abi-Khalil, S.: "Tarikh Al-Qiddissayn Sarkis wa Bakhos Ehden", page 9] Given the exceptional location of Saint Awtel's Church built on a promontory, the popular tradition about the existence of a pagan temple in Kfarsghab is plausible.

The Mamluk period – 1252–1517

Kfarsghab is mentioned in the writings of the Maronite Historians concerning events that happened in 1283 at the end of the Crusaders period. [Douaihi, Es.: "Tarikh Al Azminah", pages 261-262.] It is related to the invasion of Jebbet Bsharri by the Mamluk army and the collaboration of Ibn Al Sabha _ar. ابن الصبحا from Kfarsghab with the Mamluks. Here's what El Douaihy in "Tarikh Al-Azminah" says about the role of Ibn Al Sabha during this invasion:

And it was related that the fort that was in Hawqa could not be taken by the Army, which was then advised by Ibn Al Şabĥa from Kfarşghab to divert the water source of Bcherray and direct it against the fort. They thus took it (the fort of Hawqa) by the force of water and brought it to the ground. For that reason, they (the armies) authorized Ibn Al Şabĥa to dress in white Bash Yanis (White clothes reserved to the only Muslims) and the rest of the slaves served him (Ibn Al Şabĥa) and he was very powerful with them. Then, he (Ibn Al Şabĥa) repented of his bad actions and returned and constructed the Monastery of Hawqa close to the fort for the housing of the monks. And the waterway [used to destroy the fort] became reserved since those times and till our days for the usage of the Monasteries in turns, thus on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays for the Monastery of Qannubine, on Wednesdays for the Monastery of Hawqa Blawza, and on the rest of the days (of the week) for the town of Hadshit and its Waqfs.

This 'betrayal' can be understood in a historic context. At the beginning of the 13th Century, three main powers existed more or less peacefully in the Middle East: the Byzantines, the Franks, and the Ayyubid Sultans in Cairo, Egypt. Each power had its allies in the region. The failure of the Seventh Crusade and the defeat of the Mongols announced the rise of a new power, the Mamluks of Egypt. From 1250 AD, the Mamluks entered actively into the political scene of the Middle East. After securing their rule and in need of legitimacy in the eyes of the Muslim world, the Sultan Baibars started attacking the Franks, seizing Antioch in 1268. From that date, the pre-existing divisions of the native Christians of Lebanon between Pro and Anti-Franks became more marked; especially that the anti-Frankish party finally found in the Mamluks the strong allies it was missing since the First Crusade in 1099. After a first limited Mamluk incursion in Jebbet Bsharri against the village of Hadath in 1268, the Mamluk armies came back to the region in 1283 in a more organized manner, and probably also returned in 1290 after the fall of the Frankish city of Tripoli in 1289. These campaigns were mainly directed against the allies of the Franks in Jebbet Bsharri according to the text of El Douaihy. Their success reinforced the position of the anti-Frankish party to which Ibn Al Sabha belonged.

During the following Mamluk period in Lebanon (1290–1517), few mentions of the village are found.

In 1470 Kfarsghab is mentioned, in conjunction with the construction of Saint Awtel's Church [Abi Khattar, A., "Moukhtasar Tarikh ... ", page 139. In fact, the author refers this date to a text of the Patriarch El Douaihy, not present in the events of that year in Douaihi's most important book "Tarikh Al Azminah". On the other hand, the historians (including AïnTourini) agree on saying that the construction of the church of Saint Awtel goes to the same period and on the same style as those of Saint Roumanos in Hadchit and another church in Madinat Al Ras (village now extinct). However the Patriarch El Douaihy dates the construction of Saint Roumanos church to the year 1518, El Douaihy, S.: "Tarikh Al Azminah", page 397. Therefore, the first church of Saint Awtel could have been built at the end of the Fifteenth Century] . It is the only church in Lebanon dedicated to this Saint whose tradition is shared by the Maronite, Orthodox and Jacobite churches.

Another mention, though indirect, stems from the end of the conflict between the Jacobites and Maronites. Profiting from the troubles in Jebbet Bsharri (or maybe called upon for help by the Jacobites), the Muslim Muqaddams of the neighbouring region of Ďanniyeh attacked Ehden in 1489 hoping for a quick victory. The inhabitants of Ehden and of the neighbouring villages, including Kfarşghab, despairing of the help of the Muqaddam of Bsharri, ‘Abdel Mon‘em, pushed back the attackers [El Douaihy, Es.: "Tarikh Al Azminah", page 364] .

The Ottoman period – 1517–1918

Following the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Empire entered a long period of conquest and expansion. By defeating the Mamluks in 1517, it achieved control over the Middle East. Jebbet Bsharri entered 4 long centuries under the Ottoman rule.

The 16th century

The first Ottoman Census of 1519 credited Kfarsghab with 14 male adults (of more than 15 years old), all Christians and married. This figure allowed historians to estimate the total population by using an average of 6.6 inhabitants / male, which gave about 92 inhabitants. [ Khalifeh, I. K.: "North Lebanon in the Sixteenth Century", pages 30-65.] The tax money amounted to 1,600 Akçes [1 Akçe = 0.384 g of silver in 1584. In 2007 value, it will be 0.2 US$ approximately] and its payment reserved to the Waqf of the heirs of Saad Al Moulouk.

The second census of 1571 recorded 12 males in Kfarsghab. The tax amount was of 2,892 Akçes paid to the Waqf of the Two Holy Mosques. There was an amount of 1,068 Akçes paid as Jizya.

In spite of the tax increases due to the important inflation in the Middle-East, Kfarsghab seemed to witness a decrease in its population between 1519 and 1571 of -3 per mil / year. This decrease is attributed to the economic difficulties of the 16th Century in the Middle East, but also to the struggle between Maronites and Jacobites. Kfarsghab, is situated in the middle of four historical centers of Jacobites in the region: Bqoufa, Bane, Hadshit and Bsharri. It is supposed that some Jacobites were living in Kfarsghab and were obliged to flee the region after they lost the support of Bsharri's Muqaddams near 1550. Both censuses show that Kfarsghab was inhabited by Christians with no indication as to whether they were Jacobites or Maronites. Around 1600, the Kfarsghab population merged with that of the neighboring extinct village of Day’at Moussa or Qaryat Moussa.

This merger occurred due to religious disputes. The inhabitants of the village of Qaryat Moussa were accused of being Jacobites since the end of the 14th Century. [El Debs, Y.: "Al Jamii Al Moufassal …", pages 154 & 160 & 188. According to the author, the hermit Elisée of Hadath accused by Gibrail Ibn Al Qalaii of being Jacobite lived in 1391 and was taught by Farah, the priest of Qaryat Moussa. Later, in 1487, the Jacobite priest Nouh of Bqoufa (the future patriarch of Jacobites) attracted young Maronites, notably Moussa and Hanna sons of Ibrahim Ibn AlHajj Moussa of Bqoufa and Moussa of Qaryat Moussa. From 1495, with the death of the Muqaddam (chief) of Bcharri, Abdul Mouneem, protector of Jacobites, these latter began losing their influence in the region of Jebbet Bsharri. Consequently, the Jacobites left the region of Ehden - Bqoufa, without nevertheless disappearing completely, and they established themselves in Hadchit, Hardine and Kfarhaoura. In defence of the Maronite Patriarch Mikhail Al Rizzi (1567–1581) accused of being Jacobite because a native of Bqoufa, it is explained that the Al Rizzi family lived in the higher part of Bqoufa and that Jacobites lived only in the lower part of that village. And Qaryat Moussa is precisely on the border of this lower part of Bqoufa; hence the assumption that some Jacobites lived in Qaryat Moussa] The struggle between Maronites and Jacobites in the region started at the beginning of the 15th Century and lasted till around the mid-16th Century. It ended, with the advantage going to the Maronites. This might have economically and demographically weakened the Jacobite population of Qaryat Moussa. Moreover, the heavy snows which are advanced as the cause behind the disappearance of the neighboring Jacobite village of Bqoufa around 1600 might have given the last stroke to the existence of Qaryat Moussa as an independent agglomeration obliging its surviving population to take refuge in Kfarsghab [ Abi Khattar, A.: "Moukhtasar Tarikh Jabal…", page 65. According to the author, Bqoufa disappeared because of very heavy snow seasons and political exactions] .

Historical references of Qaryat Moussa exist till the end of the 16th century. The village seems to disappear from the records afterwards. In the Ottoman Censuses cited previously, Qaryat Moussa is credited with 9 males in 1519, all Christians and only 7 of them are married. In the second census, 12 males were recorded in 1571. This demographic vitality is somewhat intriguing, especially considering the weakening of Kfarsghab's demography over the same period. Another reference concerns a Maronite Synod that took place in 1598 in Saint Moura, the church of Qaryat Moussa. [Douaihi in "Radd Al Touham" cited by Dr. Antoine Daou in the Accounts of the First Seminar on Jebbet Bcharri History 1998, page 276. The objectives of this Synod called for by the Patriarch Youssef AlRazzi from Bqoufa was to complete the work done in the previous Synods of 1595 and 1596 for the alignment of the Maronite Church practices with those of the Holy Roman See, banning definitively the Jacobites accusations that tarnished the reputation of his two predecessors] The priest, Ibrahim of Qaryat Moussa, at the time of the 1598 Synod was an important aide of the then Patriarch Youssef AlRizzi (1596–1608). [Douaihi Es.: "Tarikh Al Azminah", page 461] AinTourini attributes another Synod in this church in 1644 [ Abi Khattar, A.: "Moukhtasar Tarikh Jabal ...", page 111. According to him, this Synod was called for by the Patriarch Youssef Halib from Akoura. This Synod took place in fact in the Monastery of Mar Youhanna Hrash] .

Another point of view of the merge and the location of the Synod comes from Father Youakim Moubarac introducing his translation to French of the canons of the Synod: [ Moubarac, Y.: "Pentalogie Antiochienne / Domaine Maronite - Volume 1 - Part 1", page 526. The popular tradition in Kfarsghab is that Saint Augustine Church hosted the first Maronite Synod, ever gathered]

We put into this translation a particular care due to the fact that Day`at Moussa overlooks by some hundred meters the village where we were born. However, we cannot help to have some doubt as to the precise location of this Synod. Mart Moura's church, the generally assumed location for that synod celebration, is well known and its patronal saint's day is still celebrated every year with the fervent participation of the faithful from our village Kfarsghab, on September 24. Also, we think that there lies our village of origin, before unknown reasons to the local memory made us go down.

But my family acquired in the time of my father a plot of land upper than Mart Moura. It is called Marg el-Dayr and it belonged to the family Mousa. Its conversion into an orchard caused the cleaning of an oratory in decline devoted to Saint Augustine. Would it be rather there the place of celebration of the synod? I prefer to believe it because the place in question is on the border of the famous village of Bqoufa, also ruined, but from which we know that the prelates of the family Rizzi are originated, prelates who led our Church in those times with three successive patriarchs.

Today, Mart Saint Moura Church belongs to Kfarsghab. It was restored in the 1990s and is used once a year on Mart Moura's Day on the 24th of September. On that day, all the villagers in Kfarsghab participate in celebrating a mass, praying especially for the rest of the souls of the forebears of Kfarsghab buried in the cemetery located next to the church.

The modern Kfarsghab results from a merge between Kfarsghab and Qaryat Moussa around 1600.

The 17th century

At the end of the 16th century, the emergence of a first autonomous Lebanese Emirate in the southern Mount Lebanon had important impacts in Jebbet Bsharri. In political terms, it ended in 1621 the role of the Muqaddams of Bsharri as the traditional lords of the region being the official representatives of the Ottoman Governor of Tripoli. In economical terms, the southern Mount Lebanon under the stable rule of the Emir Fakhreddine attracted many families who were encouraged by the Emir to establish there. An important migration took place from Jebbet Bsharri to the south but also to Aleppo, Syria.

The bloody end of the autonomous Emirate in 1635 left Jebbet Bsharri in political confusion. The government was assigned by the Ottomans to two local village sheikhs as joint governors of Jebbet Bsharri: the Sheikh Abi Karam Yaaqoub from Hadath (1635–1640) and the Sheikh Abi Gebrayel Youssef Karam from Ehden (1635–1641). The period that opened up when those two sheikhs disappeared was full of exactions and violence. Given the instability, the people of Jebbet Bsharri insisted in 1654, on the Governor of Tripoli to appoint as governor of their region, Sheikh Ahmad Hamadeh, a member of the powerful Shiite Hamadeh family, rulers of the Jbeil District and Batroun District regions. [Abi Khattar, A.: "Moukhtasar Tarikh Jabal …", page 131.] The Hamadeh did not succeed in establishing stability before the end of the century as they were continuously challenged by the local sheikhs and by members of their own clan.

For Kfarsghab, an important event of this century will take place in 1695 when the Lebanese Maronite Order was founded by three young Maronites from Aleppo, Syria. The Patriarch Estephan El Douaihy encouraged the founders and established them in the Monastery of Mart Moura in Ehden. As the Order grew quickly, they established in Mar Lishaa, Bsharri (1696) and in Qozhaya (1708). In the coming two centuries, the Order will represent a major attraction for the young people of Kfarsghab who will join massively its ranks.

Among the first members of the new Order was Abdallah Habqouq from Kfarsghab. He joined the Lebanese Maronite Order very early in the pioneering days and became administrator (Mudabbir) of the Order in 1698. The family of Father Abdallah Habqouq established in the region in the second part of the 17th century and acquired the monastery of Qozhaya from the Gilwan family, owners of Qozhaya since 1567. The Habqouq family, and specifically Bishop Youhanna Habqouq, surrendered Qozhaya to the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1708. [Moqbel, A.: "Deir Mar Antonios Qozhaya", page 48.]

The 18th century

In the beginning of this century, the Jebbet Bsharri region was in a very poor state given the conflicts that took place in the past 70 years. Many villages were depopulated, land was abandoned. In order to populate the area, the Hamadeh encouraged people from their fiefdoms of Jbeil District and Batroun District to migrate to Jebbet Bsharri since 1677, as requested from them by the Governor of Tripoli. [Abi Khattar, A.:"Moukhtassar Tarikh ...", page 129.] But it is not until 1704 that the Hamadeh succeeded in securing their rule of Jebbet Bsharri and started having some results in their repopulation efforts, especially that the situation in the south Mount Lebanon was plagued by the Qaissites / Yamanites conflict and then by the succession conflicts triggered by the fall of the house of Maans in 1697 [Salibi, K.:"Tarikh Loubnan Al Hadith", pages 34-40.] . For Kfarsghab, it is supposed that the main four families that compose the today's Kfarsghab came to the region from 1677 to 1704.

The foundation of the modern Kfarsghab (1704–1761)

The Abou Mansour family

It is between 1677 and 1704 that the family Abou Mansour Al Bahri arrived in Jebbet Bsharri from the coast of the Batroun District. They established themselves in Kfarsghab merging slowly with the few surviving natives, possibly from the Saliba family as recorded by the tradition.

The new-comers helped the Hamadeh in the administration of the region as it is shown in the records of the Court of Tripoli. [Hablas, F.: "The Ottoman Administration in Jebbet Bsharri in the 18th Century" & Al Ahmar, N.: "Ottoman Tax Fermage system in Jebbet Bsharri", "First Seminar on Jebbet Bcharri History", pages 329-431.]

Those records show that,
* in 1737 the Sheikh of Kfarsghab, Mansour son of Hanna, vouched for the settlement of the Kfarsghab taxes by the Sheikh Hussein bin Moussa Hamadeh,

* in 1748, the Sheikh of Kfarsghab, Hanna Abou Mansour, did the same for the Sheikh Assaad bin Moussa Hamadeh,

* in 1752, the records of the Court show that Sheikh Hanna Son of Mansour from Kfarsghab was guarantor of Assaad Hamadeh.

Another reference to Sheikh Hanna is found on a religious book copy stating that Deacon Hanna son of Father Youssef Al Bahri finished copying the Reesh Qoryan with Fr Ibrahim Jilwan AlSamrani on July 3, 1754. [ Al Gemayel, Fr. Nasser: "Jebbet Bcharri Copyists during the Ottoman period", "Third Convention on Jebbet Bcharri History", pages 158-212.] Most of the sheikhs of that time were ordained deacons allowing them to have religious as well as political power.

The Abou Youssef family

The Abou Youssef Elias family came to the Jebbet Bsharri region in the beginning of 17th Century from Smar Jbeil, the village of the Gilwan family, ex-owners of the Monastery of Qozhaya. In another documented version, This family could have come originally from Benta‘el in the Jbeil region [Nakkoul, J.: "Historical Demography of Jebbet Bsharri", "First Convention on Jebbet Bcharri History", pages 182.] . This family was encouraged to settle in the region by the Gilwan's and maybe the Hamadeh sheikhs. They settled first in Tourza and Arbet Qozhaya, working as sharecroppers of the Monastery of Qozhaya. After Qozhaya was handed down to the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1708, they moved to Kfarsghab between 1710 and 1720.

In the tradition of the village of Kfarsghab, Abou Youssef Elias married a daughter of the Abou Mansour Al Bahri family :

The first inhabitant ever recorded was Deeb El Bahri. Deeb came from the coast of Batroun and established himself in the district. He married Maureena El Saliba and had three Sons that are the origins of the three families - Abou Mansour, Khoury Youssef and Abou Abraham. The family of Abou Youssef was a descendant of Elias who came to Kfarsghab from the Coast and married a granddaughter of Deeb El Bahri … [ [http://www.kfarsghab.com.au/KfarsghabHistory.htm For the popular traditional history of Kfarsghab, see Aka website] ]

In 1748, Abou Youssef Elias from Kfarsghab bought from Sheikh Assaad Hamadeh the land that will become later the village of Morh Kfarsghab [ [http://www.labans.com/morhproperty.htm Property deed between Assaad Hamadeh and Abou Youssef Elias] , last accessed on October 28, 2007.] . In the property deed established between the two men, Assaad Hamadeh referred to Abou Youssef Elias as "our beloved" and not with the title "Sheikh". This personal reference could imply that Abou Youssef Elias was close to Assaad Hamadeh.

In 1755, the guarantor of Assaad Hamadeh at the Court of Tripoli was the Sheikh Elias Abou Youssef son of Bahri or Al Bahri. In spite of the name Al Bahri added to the name of this last sheikh, this sheikh is Abou Youssef Elias, married to a daughter of Al Bahri family.It seems that, between 1748 and 1755, Abou Youssef Elias became powerful enough to claim the sheikhdom of Kfarsghab and take it from his relatives by his wife, the Abou Mansour Al Bahri.

The Sheikh and his descendants will play an important role in the history of Kfarsghab and of Jebbet Bsharri.

The Habqouq family

This family arrived in Kfarsghab in the beginning of the 18th Century. Like the Abou Youssef Elias family, the Habqouq have bought the Monastery of Qozhaya from the Gilwan family in the second half of the 17th Century. The family came from Bsheeleh in the Batroun region [Moqbel, A.: "Deir Mar Antonios Qozhaya", page 48.] and before that from Bikfaya in Metn [Nakkoul, J.: "Historical Demography of Jebbet Bsharri", "First Convention on Jebbet Bcharri History", pages 182.] and Jeita in Keserwan District. The priests of the family settled in the Monastery of Qozhaya and their families in Arbet Qozhaya and in Bane. It is this family that gave Qozhaya to the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1708. It is probably after this event that part of the family moved from Arbet Qozhaya to Kfarsghab, the other part stayed in Bane.

This family gave the Maronite Church several illustrious sons, like Abdallah Habqouq (1670–1758). Abdallah Habqouq from Kfarsghab joined the Lebanese Maronite Order very early in the pioneering days. He was administrator (Mudabbir) of the Order between 1698 and 1732 and then between 1738 and 1742. From 1729 to 1735 and then from 1742 to 1743, he was superior of the Monastery of Our Lady of Tamish, an important Monastery that became in 1744 the siege of the Baladites Order (after the split of the Order into two Orders: Baladites and Halabites).

Father Abdallah was consecrated Bishop on 20 May 1742 [El Debs, Y.: "Al Jamii Al Moufassal …", page 288.] by the Bishop Tubiya Al Khazin ( future Patriarch 1756–1766). [van Leeuwen, R.: "Notables & Clergy in Mount Lebanon", pages 130 & 265. Father Maroun Karam gives the wrong date of 1733 for the consecration of Bishop Habqouq in his book "Monks of Our Village" - Kaslik - 1975 - page 220.] This consecration was done in a context of conflict over the succession of Patriarch Yusuf Dargham Al Khazin between Tubiya Al Khazin and Ilyas Muhasib. This conflict was eventually settled by the Vatican by the election of Simaan Awwad and the confirmation of the consecration of Bishop Abdallah Habqouq. Bishop Abdallah is mentioned as a signatory of a legal document in his capaity of bishop in 1744, next to the name of the Patriarch Simaan Awwad. [El Hattouni, M.: "Nabthah Tarikhiyyah …", page 144.]

Apparently Bishop Abdallah sided with the Halabites faction of the Order as no records for his death are found in the Baladites faction archives.

Bishop Abdallah died on 7 August 1758 in Kfarsghab [El Debs, Y.: "Al Jamii Al Moufassal…", page 285.] and is buried in Saint Awtel Church.

The Khouriyyeh family

Allied to the Abou Mansour family, the origin of this family could be traced to Aqoura, in the mountains of Jbeil. Its date of arrival in Kfarsghab is difficult to estimate. But given the fact that a Sheikh Hanna son of Rizk (from the Khourriyeh family) is cited in the records of the Court of Tripoli for the year 1761, this family had been settled in Kfarsghab for some time, most probably in the first part of the 18th Century.

The bourgeois Sheikhs rise (1761–1772)

The major event of the eighteenth century for Jebbet Bsharri happened in 1761 when Abou Youssef Elias from Kfarsghab, along with Hanna Al Daher from Bsharri, Gerges Boulos El Douaihy from Ehden and Abou Sleimane Aouad from Hasroun, took all together the direct collection of the taxes of Jebbet Bsharri from the Governor of Tripoli, Osman Pacha the Georgian. They were helped by some of the traditional Sheikhs who guaranteed at the Court of Tripoli the payment of the taxes. It was the first serious defeat of the Hamadeh in this century and the rise of a new generation of local Maronite Sheikhs, called here "Bourgeois Sheikhs".

But the Hamadeh counter-attacked, helped most probably by local people from Bsharri and Hasroun. [Abi Khattar, A.: "Moukhtasar Tarikh Jabal …", pages 136 – 137.] In their struggle against the Hamadeh that lasted from 1760 till 1772, the bourgeois Sheikhs of Jebbet Bsharri got the support of the Governors of Tripoli, Osman Pasha and his son Mohammad Pasha, of the Sunnite Sheikhs of Danniyeh and of the Sheikhs of Zawiyeh. In 1763, the ambitious Emir Youssef Al Shihabi (ruled afterwards Mount Lebanon from 1770 to 1789) installed in the Jbeil region and being himself in conflict with the Hamadeh, profited from the difficulties of the Bourgeois Sheikhs and maneuvered to take from them the collection of taxes in Jebbet Bsharri. He contracted an alliance with the Bourgeois Sheikhs and confirmed their privileges in the tax collection of their districts as well as their right to claim the abandoned properties of the Hamadeh (Baklik). The fight with the Hamadeh will continue for 12 years. It will lead to their eviction from the whole region and to their final defeat in 1772. The Emir Youssef Al Shihabi, and his Shihabis successors, will have the direct rule of Jebbet Bsharri for almost one century from 1763 till 1844, helped by the new generation of "Bourgeois Village Sheiks" of Jebbet Bsharri: El Douaihy, Estephane, Awwad and Daher, but also Khattar and Issa Al Khoury.

In 1761, the guarantor of Abou Youssef Elias was a certain Sheikh Hanna son of Rizk from Kfarsghab. This family appeared as sheikhs of Kfarsghab for the first time. Apparently, Abou Youssef Elias was representing by marriage the Abou Mansour family as witnessed by the last name Al Bahri added to his own name in the records of the Court. In taking a guarantor from the Rizk family, he ensured the loyalty and support of other families of Kfarsghab. [It is interesting to note that Gerges Boulos El Douaihy from Ehden, married to a woman from the traditional Sheikhs Karam family, adopted the same attitude as Abou Youssef Elias in taking guarantors at the Court Sheikhs from the Yammine and Mouawwad families and no one from the Karams as he represented them by marriage. [http://www.caza-zgharta.com/archive/familyrule.htm for a brief history of this family and their relations with the Karams, see - Caza-Zgharta website] ]

The development of Kfarsghab (1772–1799)

The last part of this century will be devoted to the economic development of Kfarsghab. Sheikh Abou Youssef Elias will deploy an important energy, till his death on December 12, 1785. The foundation in 1748 and then extension of Morh Kfarsghab on the "Baklik" land of the Hamadeh [Karam, M.: "Qoussat Al Milkiyah ...", page 23. Under the Ottoman Empire, the baklik land was an abandoned land whose taxes were paid by a Sheikh and thus belonged to him. The Sheikhs were interested in having sharecroppers cultivate the land to help them pay the taxes and keep the ownership of this property.] was necessary for the silkworm industrial development, especially during wintertime, as the European demand for Lebanese silk was important in that century. Also the extension of Mar Awtel church in 1776 [ [http://www.labans.com/marawtelinscription.htm Mar Awtel extension] ] must have been necessary to accommodate the increasing population.

From 1755, the Sheikhs of Kfarsghab will be from the Abou Youssef Elias family, and specifically from the Estephane branch of the family. This family ran the administration of the villages of Kfarsghab, Toula, half of Karmsaddeh and half of Raskifa. For those two last villages, they shared the administration with another Bourgeois Sheikhs family, the Aouad from Hasroun. In fact, the Estephane family ruled exactly the same domain (Oktaa) as Sheikh Assaad Hamadeh, who ruled Kfarsghab in the previous period [Abi Khattar, A.: "Moukhtasar Tarikh Jabal …", page 132.] .

This century would have witnessed the beginning of an important movement for Kfarsghab that will be at its apogee in the following century; that is to say the massive monastic vows among the natives of Kfarsghab. During the 18th century, more than 12 young men joined the ranks of the Lebanese Maronite Order. The demographic weakness of Kfarsghab in the first half of the century, the purchase of the winter village of Morh Kfarsghab and its development starting in 1748 and possibly the conflict inside the Order that started in 1748 between the Aleppine monks and the Lebanese ones and that eventually led to the splitting of the order into two in 1768, could be behind this modest number of monks from Kfarsghab [ [http://www.labans.com/lmomonks.htm Monks from Kfarsghab] , Last accessed on October 28, 2007.] . It will have a major impact on Kfarsghab.

The 19th century

The 19th Century was a much contrasted century for Lebanon. It witnessed the evolution from a traditional peasant society tightly governed by the Sheikhs to a more modern dynamic society opened to the outside world.

The monastic orders (1840–1870)

The first major evolution for Kfarsghab was the massive attraction of the monastic orders especially that of the Lebanese Maronite Order solidly installed in the neighbouring Monastery of Qozhaya. The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed a doubling in the vocations from Kfarsghab. Between 1800 and 1850, the Order received 8 to 10 monks from Kfarsghab. Between 1850 and 1875, things changed dramatically. In this period, more than 23 monks from Kfarsghab took their vows [ [http://www.labans.com/lmomonks.htm Monks from Kfarsghab] ] .

It is explained by a surge in the number of births in Kfarsghab in the 1830s due to the improvement of the economic conditions favoured by the development of silk. In 1829, there were 125 houses in Kfarsghab. Considering the average size of a household to be of 10, then the number of inhabitants of Kfarsghab was of 1250. The census of 1849 made state of 374 males, that is to say roughly a total of 1,870 people (number of males multiplied by 5).

The baby-boomers of the 1830–1840's started joining massively the Monk Orders. One major factor was the decline in the revenues derived from silk in Jebbet Bsharri region that started around 1845. In 1844–1845, silk revenues were covering 72% of the economic needs decreasing to 25% in 1851–1852 and further to 15% in 1857 [Charaf, Jean (2005) – "Jebbet Bsharri Fi Haad Al Qaymmaqimiyatain (1842–1860)" - The Accounts of the Third Congress on Jebbet Bcharri History - National Committee of Gibran - page 377-384] . Along with an increased centralization of the administration under the new regime of Qaym-maqiyamatayn (1842–1860), it contributed to the weakening of the political and economical powers of the sheikhs in the region in general leaving no economic perspectives to the young people. Also, the opening of a school in the neighbouring village of Bane in 1806 by the Lebanese Maronite Order for the basic instruction of the children of Kfarsghab and Bane served as a channel of detection and recruitment of talents and workforce for the Order. The effect was a reduction in the Kfarsghab population. According to a recent study [Nakkhoul, Jean (1998) – "Historical Demography of Nahiyat Bcharri from end 19 Century till beginning of 20th Century" - The Accounts of the First Congress on Jebbet Bcharri History - National Committee of Gibran - page 150] , 344 males lived in Kfarsghab in 1862, that is to say 1,720 inhabitants.

The emigration (1870–1899)

In the 1870s, vocations among the natives of Kfarsghab started to decrease. Between 1875 and 1900, only 3 vocations were recorded for Kfarsghab. Vocations from Kfarsghab ceased on 17 December 1898 when Br Ephraim Saliba Abboud II joined. Brother Ephraim died on 9 April 1947. Overall, the Lebanese Maronite Order attracted 43 young people from Kfarsghab, making this village the 15th most important contributor to the Order, among the 382 villages that counted monks among their sons [Karam, Maroun (1975) - "Rihban Day'itna" - Editor Kaslik - General Table N2] . Still in 1900, Kfarsghab counted 13 monks among its sons, representing 4% of the adult male population compared to 0.8% for the average of the region of Jebbet Bsharri [Nakkhoul, Jean (1998) – "Historical Demography of Nahiyat Bcharri from end 19 Century till beginning of 20th Century" - The Accounts of the First Congress on Jebbet Bcharri History - National Committee of Gibran - page 158] .

Looking at the names and the monasteries of the monks from Kfarsghab, 75% of them were assigned to monasteries located in North Lebanon, most of them being in Qozhaya. The objective of the reform that took place after the revolt of Qozhaya in 1875 was to assign the monks in a different region from their region of origin. 4 monks of Kfarsghab participated in the 1875 revolt, one of them, brother Boutros, being among its leaders. As a result, the power of Qozhaya was broken, its lands divided between several monasteries and its monks (around 200 at its height) distributed in different Monasteries. It is possible, according to some historians [Moqbel, Antoine (2000) – "Monastery of Mar Antonios Qozhaya" – Private Editor – Ghazir, Lebanon] , that this reform could have had a negative impact on the vocations from Jebbet Bsharri.

The special status of Mount Lebanon during the Regime of Mutasarrifiah (1861–1914) changed the administration of Kfarsghab which was attached to the distant district of Batroun. The collapse of the prices of silk from the 1870s and onward deteriorated the economic situation. Politically and economically, the Sheikhs of Kfarsghab were weakened. Finally, the loss of interest in the monks order was replaced soon by the emigration to the USA and to Australia.

Emigration from Kfarsghab to the United States started in 1885 [ [http://www.labans.com/usemigration.pdf The history of the Kfarsghab US emigration] ] , followed by an emigration to Australia in 1887 [ [http://www.kfarsghab.com.au/Australia.htm The History of the Kfarsghab Australia Emigration] ] . It resulted in a dramatic decrease in the Kfarsghab population. In 1889, the number of inhabitants was estimated to 1,100 [ Moubarac, Y. (1984), "Pentalogie Antiochienne / Domaine Maronite – Volume I1 - Part 2", page 668.] . For Year 1900,it is reported 330 male adults, 950 inhabitants and 150 emigrants for Kfarsghab [Nakkhoul, Jean (1998) – "Historical Demography of Nahiyat Bcharri from end 19 Century till beginning of 20th Century" - The Accounts of the First Congress on Jebbet Bcharri History - National Committee of Gibran - page 155] . Kfarsghab lost to the emigration 20% of its population in less than 15 years. This trend will continue in the 20th Century.



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