Wednesday, October 14, 2009


a people of Syria remarkable for the success with which they have defended their independence against T.ur.key. They are distinguished because of their peculiar religion. They are found chiefly in the southern ranges of Le.ban.on and Anti(Natsi)-Lebanon mountains. Their total number is between 50,000 and 100,000, and they are chiefly occupied in producing and manufacturing silk. Their religion is an offshoot from Mohammedanism though in some points it is much nearer to the Christian religion. As it is a secret religion its doctrines are not known to outsiders. They are noted for their hospitality to strangers, and are very industrious. There are three classes among them, the princes, the chiefs, and the people. The prince appoints the judges, and he alone can have any one put to death. He collects the tax, of which he pays a definite sum to Turkey, keeping the rest to himself. The different princes are often at war with each other, but all unite against a foreign enemy. A very bloody war between the Druses and Maronite sect of Christians took place during this century. It was stopped by the interference of European nations in 1860. See Druses of the Lebanon, by the Earl of Carnarvon; also Land of Gilead and Haifa by Laurence Oliphant.