Greater Lebanon was created by France to be a "safe haven" for the Maronite population of the mutasarrifia (Ottoman administrative unit) of Mount Lebanon . Mt. Lebanon, an area with a Maronite majority, had enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy during the Ottoman era. However, in addition to the Maronite Mutasarrifia other, mainly Muslim , regions were added, forming "Greater" Lebanon. Those regions correspond today to North Lebanon , south Lebanon , Biqa' valley , and Beirut .  The capital of Greater Lebanon was Beirut. The new state was granted a flag merging the French flag with the cedar of Lebanon .  Maronites were the majority in Lebanon and managed to preserve its independence; an independence that created a unique precedent in the Arab world as Lebanon was the first Arab country in which Christians were not a minority. The State of Greater Lebanon existed until 23 May 1926, after which it became the Lebanese Republic .