Timeline

Birth
Sep 08, 1891
Birth

Michel Chiha is born in Mekkine, Chouf district, Mount Lebanon. The long awaited son after six daughters in succession. A further son and daughter would follow his birth.

Refuge in Egypt
Jan 02, 1914
Refuge in Egypt

Michel Chiha takes refuge in Egypt to avoid Turkish repression (1914-1918).  Like many of his compatriots, Michel Chiha had to leave Beirut during the 1914-1918 Great War and settle in Cairo where he studied Law and obtained his law degree.
In a letter found in the family archives addressed to the poet Hector Klat, he describes his life in exile: visits to friends, changing residences between Helouan, Cairo, and Alexandria, and his enforced retreat to Ras-el-Bar. Most of his time was spent preparing for his law degree and editing the journal ‚Äė√Čbauches‚Äô.

Michel Chiha takes up residence in Cairo.

Sykes-Picot Agreement
May 16, 1916
Sykes-Picot Agreement

On May 16th, The Sykes-Picot Agreement was concluded in London by English diplomat Mark Sykes and French diplomat Georges Picot, dividing the Near East into two spheres of influence between France and Great Britain.

Paris Peace Conference
Feb 12, 1919
Paris Peace Conference

The Paris Conference declares an end to the German, Austrian, and Ottoman Empires (Jan 1919 – Aug 1920)

 

 

 

 

The Big Four (from left): Lloyd George, Orlando, Clemenceau, Wilson.

 

 

Michel Chiha returns to Lebanon
Apr 28, 1919
Michel Chiha returns to Lebanon

After a three-year exile in Egypt, Michel Chiha returned to Beirut at the end of the Great War.
He takes over the direction of the Pharaon and Chiha Bank at one of the most difficult times in his country’s history. Michel’s father Antoine passed away in 1903 having co-founded the Bank in 1876. A nationwide famine had decimated a quarter of the population and one-fourth of the country’s homes were in ruins.

Law degree

Proclamation of Greater Lebanon
Sep 01, 1919
Proclamation of Greater Lebanon

On the 1st of September 1920, General Gouraud, High Commissioner of the French Republic and Commander in Chief of the French Levantine Army (1919 – 1923) proclaimed the independence of Greater Lebanon.
The 1st of September would continue to be celebrated for the next 23 years until 1943, when it was changed to November 22nd.

Gouraud was appointed the first high commissioner to the Levant from 1919 to 1922 succeeded by Robert de Caix from 1922 to 1923.

San Remo Conference
Jan 01, 1920
San Remo Conference

San Remo Conference РIts outcome, the Treaty of Sèvres, abolishes the Ottoman Empire and decrees a French Mandate over Syria and Lebanon and a British Mandate over Palestine

 

 

 

The prime ministers of Great Britain, France and Italy, and representatives of Japan, Greece, and Belgium.

Treaty of Sèvres
Feb 01, 1920
Treaty of Sèvres

The Treaty of Sevres decrees a French mandate over Syria and Lebanon and a British mandate over Palestine.

The enforcing of the terms of the Treaty sparks nationalistic uprisings in Turkey. Ottoman rule ends. Mustapha Kemal rejects the legitimacy of the Treaty and leads a successful military insurrection.

Rejected by the new Turkish nationalist regime, the Treaty of Sèvres was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

The Ottoman Sultanate
Mar 01, 1920
The Ottoman Sultanate

Official Abolition of The Ottoman Sultanate.

 

 

 

 

 

The picture depicts Mehmed VI departing from the back door of the Dolmabahçe Palace

Treaty of Versailles
Sep 01, 1920
Treaty of Versailles

Following the Treaty of Versailles that ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers, General Gouraud, French High Commissioner, visited Beirut on Sept 1st, 1920, and proclaimed Greater Lebanon as a State.

 

 

 

General Gouraud proclaims the creation and independence of the state of Greater Lebanon under the guardianship of the League of Nations represented by France from the porch of the Pine Residence in Beirut. Gouraud with Grand Mufti of Beirut Sheikh Mustafa Naja, and on his right is the Maronite Patriarch Elias Peter Hoayek. (Picture)

Maxime Weygand
Apr 01, 1923
Maxime Weygand

Maxime Weygand was appointed High Commissioner to the Levant until 1925

Henri Gouraud
Jun 01, 1923
Henri Gouraud

Henri Gouraud, French Mandate’s first High Commissioner appointed along with his close advisor Robert de Caix.

Turkey gives up claims
Jul 01, 1923
Turkey gives up claims

On July 1st Turkey agrees to give up all territorial claims in the Near East in particular those in the Arab world in return for recognition of the new regime

 

 

 

 

 

Kemal Atat√ľrk, first president of Turkey

Mar 02, 1925
Organic Law Commission

Michel Chiha was invited to join the Organic Law Commission, along with 13 fellow members to study the country’s future constitutional legislature. They submitted for approval twelve fundamental tenets of the future Constitution.

Deputy of Parliament
May 15, 1925
Deputy of Parliament

Michel Chiha ran for elections as a member of Parliament for Beirut along with Omar Daouk and Omar Beyhum. The entire list was elected in spite of the disapproval of High Commissioner General Sarrail and Léon Cayla, his representative in Lebanon.

Jun 01, 1925
Le Reveil

Michel Chiha joins Alexander Khoury‚Äôs newspaper ‚ÄėLe Reveil‚Äô, the only daily French-language newspaper to be printed in Beirut at the time.

Michel Chiha Marries Marguerite Pharaon
Feb 01, 1926
Michel Chiha Marries Marguerite Pharaon

Marguerite Pharaon was the eldest daughter of Philippe Pharaon his partner in the bank. Together they had three daughters: Micheline (d.1940), Madeleine, and Marie-Claire (d.2013).

Mar 16, 1926
Finance Committee

Michel Chiha, appointed member of the Finance Committee at the General Meeting of the Representative Council of Greater Lebanon, drafts the State Budgets of 1927 and 1929.

The First Constitution of Lebanon
Apr 12, 1926
The First Constitution of Lebanon

Michel Chiha played a major role in the elaboration of the Lebanese Constitution. The extent of his involvement is reflected in the handwritten manuscript and the three separate typed versions which he annotated by hand. ‚ÄúThis Constitution, for which, I believe, I have worked harder than anyone else‚ÄĚ.

High Commissioner Henry de Jouvenel announces the enactment of the Constitution as drafted by Michel Chiha: Lebanon becomes a Republic under the tenure of Henry de Jouvenel

Jan 17, 1927
Constitutional Amendments

Constitutional amendments between 1927 and 1929 were implemented under High Commissioner Henri Ponsot [1926-1933]. Michel Chiha is called upon to intercede with the Chamber of Deputies.
In addition to his involvement with the proposed legislative amendments to the Constitution, as head of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Michel Chiha was also responsible for drawing up several fiscal and monetary policy recommendations aimed at establishing a coherent Government Budget.

First Suspension of The Constitution by Henri Ponsot
Sep 05, 1932
First Suspension of The Constitution by Henri Ponsot
Mar 06, 1939
Second Suspension of The Constitution

Due to the Second World War, the Constitution was suspended for the second time by High Commissioner Gabriel Puaux [1938-1940]

Mar 03, 1941
Stock Exchange

Michel Chiha helps establish the Beirut Stock Exchange.

Mar 04, 1941
Eastern Times

Michel Chiha founds the daily English newspaper ‚ÄėEastern Times‚Äô.

The Flag
Apr 05, 1943
The Flag

Chiha was a member of the committee appointed to choose a flag for the future Lebanese state. Michel Chiha was put in charge of incorporating into its design symbols of the nation. There was disagreement over the exact shade of red being proposed for the vertical framing bands and the actual shape of the cedar tree and Michel Chiha believed that the shade of colour extracted from murex shells by the Phoenicians of ancient Tyre and which was used to colour the bright senatorial togas of ancient Rome ought to be used on the flag.

Bechara El Khoury
May 27, 1943
Bechara El Khoury

Béchara el Khoury, Michel Chiha’s brother in law, is elected President of the Republic. Michel Chiha was Khoury’s close adviser until May 27th 1949 when Béchara el-Khoury decided to extend his presidential mandate for a further six years.

Declaration of Lebanese Independence on November 22nd, 1943.
Nov 22, 1943
Declaration of Lebanese Independence on November 22nd, 1943.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square during celebrations marking the release by the French of Lebanon’s government from Rashayya prison on November 22, 1943, the day of Lebanon’s independence.

Mar 23, 1946
Evacuation of Foreign Troops

An agreement is reached on March 23rd, 1946 on the simultaneous withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon and the region.

Palestine
Mar 10, 1947
Palestine

The Partition plan for mandatory Palestine was adopted by the United Nations.

View book

Feb 06, 1948
The French Lebanese Monetary Accord

The French Lebanese monetary accord was signed at the Quai d’ Orsay on February 6 1948 by Lebanese Foreign affairs Minister Hamid Frangie and French Foreign affairs Minister Georges Bidault.

May 22, 1948
Bechara El Khoury

Béchara el Khoury is re-elected President in accordance with the amended law of May 22nd 1948. These new stipulations allowed him to extend his presidential tenure for a further six-year term although Article 49 of the Constitution decreed against re-eligibility.

Feb 06, 1952
Camille Chamoun

6th February, Paris, Quay d‚ÄôOrsay – Signing of the Monetary Agreement 1952 B√©chara el Khoury resigns ‚Äď Camille Chamoun is elected President.

Mar 09, 1953
Economic Union with Syria

Camille Chamoun announces plans to revive the Economic Union between Syria and Lebanon – Michel Chiha publicly objects to it.

Dec 29, 1954
Michel Chiha Passes Away

Michel Chiha passes away at the age of 63. He is buried in Fanar, Lebanon.

Next Milestone
Previous Milestone
1891
Birth

Michel Chiha is born in Mekkine, Chouf district, Mount Lebanon. The long awaited son after six daughters in succession. A further son and daughter would follow his birth.

1914
Refuge in Egypt

Michel Chiha takes refuge in Egypt to avoid Turkish repression (1914-1918).  Like many of his compatriots, Michel Chiha had to leave Beirut during the 1914-1918 Great War and settle in Cairo where he studied Law and obtained his law degree.
In a letter found in the family archives addressed to the poet Hector Klat, he describes his life in exile: visits to friends, changing residences between Helouan, Cairo, and Alexandria, and his enforced retreat to Ras-el-Bar. Most of his time was spent preparing for his law degree and editing the journal ‚Äė√Čbauches‚Äô.

Michel Chiha takes up residence in Cairo.

1916
Sykes-Picot Agreement

On May 16th, The Sykes-Picot Agreement was concluded in London by English diplomat Mark Sykes and French diplomat Georges Picot, dividing the Near East into two spheres of influence between France and Great Britain.

1919
Paris Peace Conference

The Paris Conference declares an end to the German, Austrian, and Ottoman Empires (Jan 1919 – Aug 1920)

 

 

 

 

The Big Four (from left): Lloyd George, Orlando, Clemenceau, Wilson.

 

 

1919
Michel Chiha returns to Lebanon

After a three-year exile in Egypt, Michel Chiha returned to Beirut at the end of the Great War.
He takes over the direction of the Pharaon and Chiha Bank at one of the most difficult times in his country’s history. Michel’s father Antoine passed away in 1903 having co-founded the Bank in 1876. A nationwide famine had decimated a quarter of the population and one-fourth of the country’s homes were in ruins.

Law degree

1919
Proclamation of Greater Lebanon

On the 1st of September 1920, General Gouraud, High Commissioner of the French Republic and Commander in Chief of the French Levantine Army (1919 – 1923) proclaimed the independence of Greater Lebanon.
The 1st of September would continue to be celebrated for the next 23 years until 1943, when it was changed to November 22nd.

Gouraud was appointed the first high commissioner to the Levant from 1919 to 1922 succeeded by Robert de Caix from 1922 to 1923.

1920
San Remo Conference

San Remo Conference РIts outcome, the Treaty of Sèvres, abolishes the Ottoman Empire and decrees a French Mandate over Syria and Lebanon and a British Mandate over Palestine

 

 

 

The prime ministers of Great Britain, France and Italy, and representatives of Japan, Greece, and Belgium.

1920
Treaty of Sèvres

The Treaty of Sevres decrees a French mandate over Syria and Lebanon and a British mandate over Palestine.

The enforcing of the terms of the Treaty sparks nationalistic uprisings in Turkey. Ottoman rule ends. Mustapha Kemal rejects the legitimacy of the Treaty and leads a successful military insurrection.

Rejected by the new Turkish nationalist regime, the Treaty of Sèvres was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

1920
The Ottoman Sultanate

Official Abolition of The Ottoman Sultanate.

 

 

 

 

 

The picture depicts Mehmed VI departing from the back door of the Dolmabahçe Palace

1920
Treaty of Versailles

Following the Treaty of Versailles that ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers, General Gouraud, French High Commissioner, visited Beirut on Sept 1st, 1920, and proclaimed Greater Lebanon as a State.

 

 

 

General Gouraud proclaims the creation and independence of the state of Greater Lebanon under the guardianship of the League of Nations represented by France from the porch of the Pine Residence in Beirut. Gouraud with Grand Mufti of Beirut Sheikh Mustafa Naja, and on his right is the Maronite Patriarch Elias Peter Hoayek. (Picture)

1923
Maxime Weygand

Maxime Weygand was appointed High Commissioner to the Levant until 1925

1923
Henri Gouraud

Henri Gouraud, French Mandate’s first High Commissioner appointed along with his close advisor Robert de Caix.

1923
Turkey gives up claims

On July 1st Turkey agrees to give up all territorial claims in the Near East in particular those in the Arab world in return for recognition of the new regime

 

 

 

 

 

Kemal Atat√ľrk, first president of Turkey

1925
Organic Law Commission

Michel Chiha was invited to join the Organic Law Commission, along with 13 fellow members to study the country’s future constitutional legislature. They submitted for approval twelve fundamental tenets of the future Constitution.

1925
Deputy of Parliament

Michel Chiha ran for elections as a member of Parliament for Beirut along with Omar Daouk and Omar Beyhum. The entire list was elected in spite of the disapproval of High Commissioner General Sarrail and Léon Cayla, his representative in Lebanon.

1925
Le Reveil

Michel Chiha joins Alexander Khoury‚Äôs newspaper ‚ÄėLe Reveil‚Äô, the only daily French-language newspaper to be printed in Beirut at the time.

1926
Michel Chiha Marries Marguerite Pharaon

Marguerite Pharaon was the eldest daughter of Philippe Pharaon his partner in the bank. Together they had three daughters: Micheline (d.1940), Madeleine, and Marie-Claire (d.2013).

1926
Finance Committee

Michel Chiha, appointed member of the Finance Committee at the General Meeting of the Representative Council of Greater Lebanon, drafts the State Budgets of 1927 and 1929.

1926
The First Constitution of Lebanon

Michel Chiha played a major role in the elaboration of the Lebanese Constitution. The extent of his involvement is reflected in the handwritten manuscript and the three separate typed versions which he annotated by hand. ‚ÄúThis Constitution, for which, I believe, I have worked harder than anyone else‚ÄĚ.

High Commissioner Henry de Jouvenel announces the enactment of the Constitution as drafted by Michel Chiha: Lebanon becomes a Republic under the tenure of Henry de Jouvenel

1927
Constitutional Amendments

Constitutional amendments between 1927 and 1929 were implemented under High Commissioner Henri Ponsot [1926-1933]. Michel Chiha is called upon to intercede with the Chamber of Deputies.
In addition to his involvement with the proposed legislative amendments to the Constitution, as head of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Michel Chiha was also responsible for drawing up several fiscal and monetary policy recommendations aimed at establishing a coherent Government Budget.

1932
First Suspension of The Constitution by Henri Ponsot
1939
Second Suspension of The Constitution

Due to the Second World War, the Constitution was suspended for the second time by High Commissioner Gabriel Puaux [1938-1940]

1941
Stock Exchange

Michel Chiha helps establish the Beirut Stock Exchange.

1941
Eastern Times

Michel Chiha founds the daily English newspaper ‚ÄėEastern Times‚Äô.

1943
The Flag

Chiha was a member of the committee appointed to choose a flag for the future Lebanese state. Michel Chiha was put in charge of incorporating into its design symbols of the nation. There was disagreement over the exact shade of red being proposed for the vertical framing bands and the actual shape of the cedar tree and Michel Chiha believed that the shade of colour extracted from murex shells by the Phoenicians of ancient Tyre and which was used to colour the bright senatorial togas of ancient Rome ought to be used on the flag.

1943
Bechara El Khoury

Béchara el Khoury, Michel Chiha’s brother in law, is elected President of the Republic. Michel Chiha was Khoury’s close adviser until May 27th 1949 when Béchara el-Khoury decided to extend his presidential mandate for a further six years.

1943
Declaration of Lebanese Independence on November 22nd, 1943.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square during celebrations marking the release by the French of Lebanon’s government from Rashayya prison on November 22, 1943, the day of Lebanon’s independence.

1946
Evacuation of Foreign Troops

An agreement is reached on March 23rd, 1946 on the simultaneous withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon and the region.

1947
Palestine

The Partition plan for mandatory Palestine was adopted by the United Nations.

View book

1948
The French Lebanese Monetary Accord

The French Lebanese monetary accord was signed at the Quai d’ Orsay on February 6 1948 by Lebanese Foreign affairs Minister Hamid Frangie and French Foreign affairs Minister Georges Bidault.

1948
Bechara El Khoury

Béchara el Khoury is re-elected President in accordance with the amended law of May 22nd 1948. These new stipulations allowed him to extend his presidential tenure for a further six-year term although Article 49 of the Constitution decreed against re-eligibility.

1952
Camille Chamoun

6th February, Paris, Quay d‚ÄôOrsay – Signing of the Monetary Agreement 1952 B√©chara el Khoury resigns ‚Äď Camille Chamoun is elected President.

1953
Economic Union with Syria

Camille Chamoun announces plans to revive the Economic Union between Syria and Lebanon – Michel Chiha publicly objects to it.

1954
Michel Chiha Passes Away

Michel Chiha passes away at the age of 63. He is buried in Fanar, Lebanon.

Birth
Refuge in Egypt
Sykes-Picot Agreement
Paris Peace Conference
Michel Chiha returns to Lebanon
Proclamation of Greater Lebanon
San Remo Conference
Treaty of Sèvres
The Ottoman Sultanate
Treaty of Versailles
Maxime Weygand
Henri Gouraud
Turkey gives up claims
Deputy of Parliament
Michel Chiha Marries Marguerite Pharaon
The First Constitution of Lebanon
First Suspension of The Constitution by Henri Ponsot
The Flag
Bechara El Khoury
Declaration of Lebanese Independence on November 22nd, 1943.
Palestine