Lebanese newspaper article mentions the El Chemor family being related to former Nicaraguan President

Her Excellency VioletaChamorro was President of Nicaragua from 1990 until 1997. She was the first elected female head of state in the Americas. She is also known for ending the Contra War, the final chapter of the Nicaraguan Revolution, and bringing peace to the country. She was the first and, to date, only woman to hold the position of president in Nicaragua.

The following article not only mentions the relation between the El Chemor family and the Nicaraguan President, but also mentions the family’s titles and its documented and notorious connection with the Ghassanids:

A Woman From Our Country Rules “Nicaragua”

Picture label: Donna Violeta and behind her the picture of her husband that was killed by Somoza men.

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Name: Violeta Chamorro, president of Nicaragua (Process of handing over presidency.)

These news wouldn’t have meant anything to me if it weren’t about Violeta and my beloved brother Nassif el Chemor, who were cousins. And so, the news became my concern and drove me to write after I have not seen her for a long time, and for these reasons:

1. Violeta is Lebanese and from our region.

2. She is a relative of Sheikh Nassif, number one friend of the writers.

3. The Lebanese newspapers haven’t yet shed light on the Lebanese roots of Chamorro.

Let Ortega, the Contras and all of Nicaragua understand… I do not interfere in their respective politics. I, like their leader of Lebanese origins, do not like politics.

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And let Violeta know that she has to know the Sheikh Nassif and enter his old office, which smells of black ink – everybody’s bread – and manuscripts and old books… And only five people are allowed to enter the Sheikh’s office. I do not use this right, but, I peek on the office’s surroundings and the office of references from a wooden door!…

The Chemors are descendants of the Ghassanids, according to the historical references, and they are amazing poets…

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The important thing is, a private wing in Nicaragua has been built lately in the basement of the Sheikh (Center of Cultural Intelligence.): The pictures of Violeta Chamorro – excuse me, Chemor, fill the famous office, and they are newly cut out from magazines (The Knights, Time, Paris Match…)…

Special thanks to HRH Prince Sheikh Antoine El Chemor for the archive and to Thea Doumit for the translation

The Legal reasons for the use of the Royal titles by the El Chemor family

Photo: letter from prophet Mohammad to Ghassanid King Al-Harith VI Abu Chemor * Shamir, also Shamar, Shamour or Chemor is one of the many transliterations of the same Arabic word الشمر

One may argue the reason why the El Chemor Family uses the Royal Ghassanid titles in addition to the “Sheikh” titles. Here are the legal reasons and the historical precedents:

1. The proven legatee succession from the Ghassanid Kings – The mere use of the last name “El Chemor” meant the ones from “Bani Chemor” or “the children of King Chemor” the famous Ghassanid King of the Levant.

It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemor, who are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to Al Jafna.” (Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)”Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38)

This is the history of the Chemor family Sheikhs who are feudal rulers, a genuine progeny of the sons of Ghassan kings of the Levant… one of the most decent, oldest and noblest families in Lebanon.” (ibid p.125)

And the El Chemor family isn’t the only one with these characteristics. There are also two families in Iraq, Oman and UAE that descend directly from the Lakhmid Kings Mundher and Al-Numan:

The “Mandhari [children of king Mundher] and Na’amani [children of king Al-Numan] tribes” are the main descendants of the Lakhmids in the Persian Gulf. They are, for the most part, the same family with superficial, simple differences. The main difference is that the Na’amani family traces its lineage back to al-Nu’man III ibn al-Mundhir while the Mandhari family traces it back to his grandfather: king al-Mundhir ibn Imr’u al-Qais, but a significant number of members of the Al Mandhari tribe are descendants of king al-Nu’man III ibn al-Mundhir. Both families are mainly situated in the Iraq, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and the Sultanate of Oman. “

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakhmids#Al_Mandhari_/_Al_Na’amani_families

In Lebanon, there’s another very important and prestigious family who claim descent from the Lakhmid Kings, the House of Arslan. They have the title of princes just for this link with the Lakhmid dynasty which ended in 602 CE. The Arslan family had a huge role in Lebanese history, especially in the Lebanese independence, however, differently than the El Chemor family, they didn’t rule any territory since the 7th century but still are recognized lawful princes.

* Sworn Legal Statement from the world’s leading Expert in Arab Royal Succession CLICK HERE  

 * More about the endowment of the Royal titles to the El Chemor family, please CLICK HERE

* See historical family documents by CLICKING HERE

2. Arab tradition – a sovereign sheikh is a royal prince by the Arab tradition since pre-Islamic times. The title “sheikh” (in the secular sense) is even more related to hereditary ruler than “Amir” which was originally a military title (coming from the Arabic verb “amr” or “to command”), only associated as being analogous to the western title of “prince” since a few centuries ago. That can be corroborated not only by history but also by the existing Arab States ruled by sheikhs: Kuwait, Bahrain, Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, Sharja, etc.

Also important to point that the origin of many of the aforementioned ruling royal families is from Al Azd tribe exactly the same of the El Chemor family, being natural that the traditions are similar, regardless of religion since the Arab laws of succession come mostly from pre-Islamic tribal customs.

The founder of the Ghassanid Dynasty was King Jafna Ibn Amr (ruled 220-265 CE). He was the son of the Azd ruler Amr Ibn Muzaikiya. The other sons of Amr gave origin of other important Arab ruling families like the Al-Said Sultans of Oman, the Al-Nahyam rulers of Abu-Dhabi, the Al-Maktoums rulers of Dubai and the Al-Nasrids rulers of Al-Andaluz (Spain). Originally as part of the Azd tribe, the Sheikhs El Chemor have blood ties with many major Arab ruling houses.

3. Dynastic custom adopting past titles of the family patrimony – it’s perfectly accepted by the European jurisprudence the use of past titles that historically belonged to the family.

For example, Prince Henri, the head of the French Orleans family, uses the title “Count of Paris”, an old title belonging to the family but not used by other ruling head of the family. Count of Paris (French: Comte de Paris) was a title for the local magnate of the district around Paris in Carolingian times. After Hugh Capet was elected King of France in 987, the title merged into the crown and fell into disuse. However, it was later revived by the Orléanist pretenders to the French throne in an attempt to evoke the legacy of Capet and his dynasty.

4. Principle of “de jure” sovereignty – according to this principle, a deposed ruler and his descendants in perpetuity (following the respective laws of succession) keep two of the four powers of sovereignty: “jus majestatis” the right of being respected and recognized by his title and “jus honorum” the right of conferring titles, honors and awards. The two other powers “jus imperium” the right of rule a territory and a people and “jus gladii” the right of command an army and apply the capital penalty, remain dormant until the “de facto” sovereignty is restored. Being a “de jure” sovereign, the decision of the use of titles is a personal prerogative as stated by one of the forefathers of international law, Emmerich de Vattel:

The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law, 1758 CE:

BOOK 2, CHAPTER 3

Of the Dignity and Equality of Nations: of Titles and Other Marks of Honor

§ 42. Whether a sovereign may assume what title and honors he pleases.

If the conductor of the state is sovereign, he has in his hands the rights and authority of the political society; and consequently he may himself determine what title he will assume, and what honors shall be paid to him, unless these have been already determined by the fundamental laws, or that the limits which have been set to his power manifestly oppose such as he wishes to assume. His subjects are equally obliged to obey him in this as in whatever he commands by virtue of a lawful authority. Thus, the Czar Peter I., grounding his pretensions on the vast extent of his dominions, took upon himself the title of emperor.https://lonang.com/library/reference/vattel-law-of-nations/vatt-203/

If we accept that a deposed sovereign and his descendants remain being sovereign (just “de jure” or by right, not “de facto” or in fact), the above mentioned by Vattel refers to the power of “jus majestatis”, fully active during the interregnum. Naturally, being the “jus imperii” dormant, in theory, his former “subjects” don’t have an obligation to acknowledge the prince pretender by his title.

The refugees of Al Ghassani and bani Chemor who seeked refuge to Al ‘Aqoura turned into Maronites because the town now only has Maronites Christians and because Al Chemor tribe are the princes and children of kings, the Maronites reigned them over the land where the document states that: “… and Al ‘Aqoura is their own village from a long time, they can do as they wish” and Al Chemori family could have taken over the throne due to their relentless efforts, money or battles, no one knows.” (Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)”Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.42)

The above reference clearly shows sovereignty over the Al-Aqoura region.

The examples in the Middle East are also extensive where many sovereign Sheikhs have decided to use Royal titles like His Majesty King Abdullah I of Jordan who was originally the Emir of Transjordan and his ancestors were Sheriffs of Meca; or His Highness Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was the 12th Hakim of Bahrain. His son, His Highness Sheikh Isa II bin Salman II Al Khalifa, changed the title to “Emir of Bahrain” in 1971 and his son, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has changed the title again in 2002 from Emir (prince) to Malik (king).

According to several encyclopedias, “Amir”, means “lord” or “commander-in-chief”, being derived from the Arabic root ‘a-m-r’ or “command“. Originally, simply meaning “commander-in-chief” or “leader”, usually in reference to a group of people, it came to be used as a title for governors or rulers, usually in smaller states. Therefore, the title had a military – not necessarily royal/noble – connotation.

The title Emir or Amir was equivalent of that of Commander.” The Black Book of the Admiralty, 1873, V.2, p.xiii (Cambridge University Press, 2012 edition, edited by Travers Twiss)

In the past, amir was usually a military title, now used to mean prince or as a title for various rulers or chiefs.” The New Encyclopedia of Islam, By Cyril Glassé, Huston Smith, Rowman Altamira, 2003, p.48

In comparison to the western titles, by its origin and meaning, the title “Amir” would be equivalent to the title “Duke”, not “Prince”, since both “Amir” and “Duke” have a military root and meaning.

About the title “Duke”:

“The title comes from French duc, itself from the  dux, ‘leader’, a term used in republican Rome to refer to a military commander without an official rank Latin(particularly one of Germanic or Celtic origin), and later coming to mean the leading military commander of a province.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke

A sovereign ruler using the title “Sheikh” or even “Hakim” is an “Emir” ‘per se‘ (intrinsically). In other words, even if the title is not openly used, it’s definitely implied. That tradition is what makes so natural for the aforementioned rulers to “update” their titles.

* More about the difference of the Arab titles, please CLICK HERE

* More about the sovereign rights of the El Chemor family according to international law, please CLICK HERE

5. The heirs of a sovereign house (observed the laws of succession) are princes regardless of the fact that they use the title or not – Examples: the archdukes of Austria, the Tsareviches and grand-dukes of the Russian empire were/are princes even thought they didn’t use the title officially.

6. To avoid the confusion – there are several categories of “sheikh” titles in Lebanon bestowed by princes after the Ottoman invasion. Those titles are “noble” not “Royal”. Differently from the El Chemor Sheikhs, the “post-Ottoman sheikhswere not natural “sovereign or semi-sovereign” tribal leaders but wealthy notable commoners elevated to nobility.

“… [the tribal Sheikh] was a hereditary feudal chief whose authority over a particular district was vested within a patrilineal kinship group. He lived in his own village and maintained ties of patronage with his atba’ [following]. In contrast, the multazim [Sheikh] was not indigenous to the tax farm he controlled. He was more akin to a government official than a feudal sheikh.”  “Lebanon’s Predicament“, Columbia, 1987, Samir Khalaf

* More about the different categories of “sheikh” titles in Lebanon, please CLICK HERE

Royal House of Ghassan presents irrefutable evidence of the family’s titles

The Royal House of Ghassan has acquired several family’s documents which prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the Royal Family not only ruled from 220 CE until 1747 CE, but also kept using the titles even after the deposition until the present days

The original family name is El Chemor, (it has many transliterations: Shoummar, Shemer, Shamir, Chmr, etc.) and it comes from King Chemor Jablah of the Ghassanid Kingdom in the Levant. Some of the King’s sons sought refuge in today’s Lebanon and were known as Bani Chemor (or the children of King Chemor).

The family ruled in the Levant from 220 CE until 636 CE and several other realms, including briefly the Byzantine Empire in the 9th Century CE. More recently,  ruling the Akoura region in Northern Lebanon from 1211 CE until 1633 CE and the region of Zgharta-Zawie from 1641 CE until 1747 CE but kept the titles until the present day.

After the family was deposed, they were hunted and killed by the sheikhs from the Daher family who was placed by the Ottomans with all the land and properties belonging to the Royal Family. That’s the reason why many members of the family changed their last names after the deposition and many later migrated to the north and South America. Notably the Gharios family and the Hobeika family. About 100 years ago, many members of the Gharios family, knowing that they belonged to the El Chemor family, started to publicly use the El Chemor last name again. Also important to mention that the Gharios family is fully accepted and recognized as being part of the El Chemor family by the heads of the family in Lebanon since a century ago and the Royal House of Ghassan is ruled with their full participation.

Important to point that, technically, there are two types of titles: Royal and Noble. Royal titles are the sovereign or semi-sovereign ones and noble are bestowed by a higher (sovereign or semi-sovereign) authority. In Lebanon, the majority of the sheikh titles are noble, not royal, since they were bestowed by princes after the Ottoman invasion of 1517 CE.

img_9010Photo: The grave of His Highness Sheikh Selim El Chemor (passed away in 1909 CE, the great grandfather of HRH Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, honorary head of the Royal House of Ghassan ), note that the royal title of Sheikh (in Arabic, upper right side) is on his tombstone, a capital proof that the family has been publicly using the ‘sui iuris’ titles for centuries until the present date. (Grave at the cemetery at the Mar Mama Ancient Church in Kferhata, Lebanon)

The El Chemor titles are royal like, for example, their Arab counterparts in the Gulf (Royal Sheikhs from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc.) since weren’t bestowed by any higher authority and they came from the acknowledgment of the Royal ancestry from the Ghassanid King Chemor Jablah. Other undeniable evidence is the fact that it’s documented that the family ruled, at least, from 1211 CE meaning, 306 years before the Ottoman invasion!

The El Chemor Sheikhdom lasted around 500 YEARS and survived to 3 different invasions: the establishment of the County of Tripoli, vassals of the kingdom of Jerusalem (until 1289 CE), the Mameluk Sultanate (1289 CE until 1517 CE) and the Ottoman Empire from 1517 CE until the deposition in 1747 CE. The El Chemor titles were NOT bestowed by any of those invading powers being, therefore, sovereign and ROYAL.

1950s newspaper 2 .jpg

Just putting into context, the El Chemor family was deposed, as said,  in 1747 CE and all feudal nobility titles were officially abolished in Lebanon by the Ottomans in 1858 CE. On the following official documents (just a sample of our vast collection) the titles are publically mentioned along with the legal seals from the Ottoman’s governmental officials. The titles are mentioned on the documents for various individuals of the El Chemor family and the dates varied from 1878 CE (131 years after the deposition and 20 years after the title’s abolishment by the Ottoman Empire in Lebanon) to 1904 CE (157 years after the deposition and 46 years after the title’s abolishment by the Ottoman Empire in Lebanon)  

See more documents by CLICKING HERE

Our Special Thanks to His Highness Prince Sheikh Antoine Majid El Chemor who kindly gave us access to the rich archive of the late Prince Sheikh Nassif Majid El Chemor. Also thanks to our research team: Mr. Petro Al Achkar, Mr. Carl Doumit and Miss Thea Doumit for the translations.

More about the legality of the El Chemor titles, please read the following articles: