Lebanese culture area
Lebanese immigration to Texas began after the Civil War. The exact number is uncertain until 1920 because all subjects of the Ottoman Empire including Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, Armenians and others were listed simply as “Turkish” in the U. S. Census reports. The earliest listing is of three Turkish immigrants to Texas in 1870. Thereafter, each census reports an increasing number. Immigration increased rapidly from 1890 until the end of the First World War, reaching a peak just before 1914. Modern Lebanon was created by the Versailles Peace Conference (1919). Before 1919, Lebanon was subject to the Ottoman Turks. A tiny mountainous country at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, half of its population was Christian. Religious persecution was one of the major reasons for migration. Many sent their sons to America to escape serving in the Turkish army. Economic reasons served as the second major stimulus. In Texas the Lebanese concentrated in Dallas, Houston, Beaumont, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso, yet many small towns had their Lebanese merchants. Many peddled notions and small household necessities from farm to village until they could buy a general mercantile store and bring over other members of their families.