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.
Photo: 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.
- Sworn Legal Statement from the World’s Leading Expert in Middle Eastern Royal Succession about the Ghassanid Royal Rights HERE
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)
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: