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Lebanon

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Republic of Lebanon
الجمهورية اللبنانية (Arabic)
al-jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah
République libanaise (French)
Anthem: 
Lebanon - Location Map (2012) - LBN - UNOCHA.svg
Capital
and largest city
Beirut
33°54′N 35°32′E / 33.900°N 35.533°E / 33.900; 35.533
Official languagesArabic[nb 1]
Recognised languagesFrench
Local vernacularLebanese Arabic
Ethnic groups
(2021[1])
Religion
(Estimated[nb 4])
Demonym(s)Lebanese
GovernmentUnitary confessionalist parliamentary republic[8]
• President
Michel Aoun
Najib Mikati
Nabih Berri
LegislatureParliament
Establishment
1 September 1920
23 May 1926
• Independence declared
22 November 1943
• French mandate ended
24 October 1945
• Withdrawal of French forces
17 April 1946
24 May 2000
30 April 2005
Area
• Total
10,452 km2 (4,036 sq mi) (161st)
• Water (%)
1.8
Population
• 2022 estimate
5,296,814[9] (122nd)
• Density
560/km2 (1,450.4/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease $78.910 billion[10]
• Per capita
Decrease $11,561[10]
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease $19.008 billion[10]
• Per capita
Decrease $2,785[10]
Gini (2011)Positive decrease 31.8[11]
medium
HDI (2021)Decrease 0.706[12]
high · 112th
CurrencyLebanese pound (LBP)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+3 (EEST)
Driving sideright[13]
Calling code+961[14]
ISO 3166 codeLB
Internet TLD.lb

Coordinates: 33°50′N 35°50′E / 33.833°N 35.833°E / 33.833; 35.833Lebanon (/ˈlɛbənɒn, -nən/ Listen LEB-ə-non, -⁠nən, Arabic: لُبْنَان, romanizedlubnān, Lebanese Arabic pronunciation: [lɪbˈneːn]), officially the Republic of Lebanon (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية) or the Lebanese Republic,[a] is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus lies to its west across the Mediterranean Sea; its location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland has contributed to its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious diversity.[15] It is part of the Levant region of the Middle East. Lebanon is home to roughly six million people and covers an area of 10,452 square kilometres (4,036 sq mi), making it the second smallest country in continental Asia. The official language of the state is Arabic, while French is also formally recognized; the Lebanese dialect of Arabic is used alongside Modern Standard Arabic throughout the country.

The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back over 7000 years, predating recorded history.[16] Modern-day Lebanon was home to the Phoenicians, a maritime culture that flourished for almost 3000 years (c. 3200–539 BC). In 64 BC, the Roman Empire conquered the region, and it eventually became among the empire's leading centers of Christianity.[17] The Mount Lebanon range saw the emergence of a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church. Upon the region's conquest by the early Arab Muslims, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity. However, a new religious group known as the Druze eventually established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries. During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome. The Maronite Catholic and the Druze founded modern Lebanon in the early eighteenth century, through the ruling and social system known as the "Maronite-Druze dualism" in Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate.[18]

Lebanon was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century and remained under its rule for the next 400 years. Following the empire's collapse after World War I, the five Ottoman provinces constituting modern-day Lebanon came under the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, under which its French-ruled predecessor state of Greater Lebanon was established. Following the invasion and occupation of the French Third Republic by Nazi Germany during World War II, French rule over the region weakened. Upon gaining its independence from Free France in 1943, Lebanon established a unique confessionalist form of government, with the state's major religious sects being apportioned specific political powers. Lebanon initially was relatively stable.[19] This stability was short-lived and was ultimately shattered by the outbreak of large-scale fighting in the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) between various political and sectarian factions. During this period, Lebanon was also subjected to overlapping foreign military occupations by Syria from 1976 to 2005 and by Israel from 1985 to 2000. Since the end of the war, there have been extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.[20]

Lebanon is a developing country, ranking 112nd on the Human Development Index. [21]It has been classified as an upper middle income state.[22] However, the Lebanese liquidity crisis, corruption as well as recent events have precipitated the collapse of currency, political instability, widespread shortages, high unemployment and poverty, the World Bank defined the economic crisis in Lebanon as one of the worst in the world since the 19th century.[23][24] Despite the country's small size,[25] Lebanese culture is renowned both in the Middle East and globally, primarily powered by its extensive diaspora. Lebanon is a founding member of the United Nations and is a member of the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

Etymology

The name of Mount Lebanon originates from the Phoenician root lbn (𐤋𐤁𐤍) meaning "white", apparently from its snow-capped peaks.[26]

Occurrences of the name have been found in different Middle Bronze Age texts from the library of Ebla,[27] and three of the twelve tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The name is recorded in Ancient Egyptian as Rmnn (𓂋𓏠𓈖𓈖𓈉), where R stood for Canaanite L.[28] The name occurs nearly 70 times in the Hebrew Bible, as לְבָנוֹן.[29]

Lebanon as the name of an administrative unit (as opposed to the mountain range) that was introduced with the Ottoman reforms of 1861, as the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate (Arabic: متصرفية جبل لبنان; Turkish: Cebel-i Lübnan Mutasarrıflığı), continued in the name of the State of Greater Lebanon (Arabic: دولة لبنان الكبير Dawlat Lubnān al-Kabīr; French: État du Grand Liban) in 1920, and eventually in the name of the sovereign Republic of Lebanon (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah) upon its independence in 1943.

History

The borders of contemporary Lebanon are a product of the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920. Its territory was in the core of the Bronze Age Canaanite (Phoenician) city-states. As part of the Levant, it was part of numerous succeeding empires throughout ancient history, including the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Achaemenid Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Sasanid Persian empires.

After the 7th-century Muslim conquest of the Levant, it was part of the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid Seljuk and Fatimid empires. The crusader state of the County of Tripoli, founded by Raymond IV of Toulouse in 1102, encompassed most of present-day Lebanon, falling to the Mamluk Sultanate in 1289 and finally to the Ottoman Empire in 1516.[30] With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Greater Lebanon fell under French mandate in 1920,[31] and gained independence under president Bechara El Khoury in 1943. Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of relative political stability and prosperity based on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance and trade, interspersed with political turmoil and armed conflict (1948 Arab–Israeli War, Lebanese Civil War 1975–1990, 2005 Cedar Revolution, 2006 Lebanon War, 2007 Lebanon conflict, 2006–08 Lebanese protests, 2008 conflict in Lebanon, 2011 Syrian Civil War spillover, and 2019–20 Lebanese protests).[32]

Ancient Lebanon

Evidence dating back to an early settlement in Lebanon was found in Byblos, considered among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.[16] The evidence dates back to earlier than 5000 BC. Archaeologists discovered remnants of prehistoric huts with crushed limestone floors, primitive weapons, and burial jars left by the Neolithic and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea over 7,000 years ago.[33]

Lebanon was part of northern Canaan, and consequently became the homeland of Canaanite descendants, the Phoenicians, a seafaring people who spread across the Mediterranean in the first millennium BC.[34] The most prominent Phoenician cities were Byblos, Sidon and Tyre, while their most famous colonies were Carthage in present-day Tunisia and Cádiz in present-day Spain. The Phoenicians are credited with the invention of the oldest verified alphabet, which subsequently inspired the Greek alphabet and the Latin one thereafter.[35] The cities of Phoenicia were incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid Empire by Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE.[36] The Phoenician city-states were later incorporated into the empire of Alexander the Great following the Siege of Tyre in 332 BC.[36]

In 64 BC, the Roman general Pompey the Great had the region of Syria annexed into the Roman Republic. The region was then split into two Imperial Provinces under the Roman Empire, Coele Syria and Phoenice, the latter which the land of present day Lebanon was apart of.

Medieval Lebanon

The region that is now Lebanon, as with the rest of Syria and much of Anatolia, became a major center of Christianity in the Roman Empire during the early spread of the faith. During the late 4th and early 5th century, a hermit named Maron established a monastic tradition focused on the importance of monotheism and asceticism, near the Mediterranean mountain range known as Mount Lebanon. The monks who followed Maron spread his teachings among Lebanese in the region. These Christians came to be known as Maronites and moved into the mountains to avoid religious persecution by Roman authorities.[37] During the frequent Roman-Persian Wars that lasted for many centuries, the Sassanid Persians occupied what is now Lebanon from 619 till 629.[38]

During the 7th century the Muslim Arabs conquered Syria establishing a new regime to replace the Byzantines. Though Islam and the Arabic language were officially dominant under this new regime, the general populace nonetheless only gradually converted from Christianity and the Syriac language. The Maronite community, in particular, managed to maintain a large degree of autonomy despite the succession of rulers over Lebanon and Syria.

The relative (but not complete) isolation of the Lebanese mountains meant the mountains served as a refuge in the times of religious and political crises in the

Byblos is believed to have been first occupied between 8800 and 7000 BC[39] and continuously inhabited since 5000 BC,[40] making it among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.[41][42] It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[43]

During the 11th century the Druze religion emerged from a branch of Shia Islam. The new religion gained followers in the southern portion of Mount Lebanon. The southern portion of Mount Lebanon was ruled by Druze feudal families to the early 14th century. The Maronite population increased gradually in Northern Mount Lebanon and the Druze have remained in Southern Mount Lebanon until the modern era. Keserwan, Jabal Amel and the Beqaa Valley was ruled by Shia feudal families under the Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. Major cities on the coast, Sidon, Tyre, Acre, Tripoli, Beirut, and others, were directly administered by the Muslim Caliphs and the people became more fully absorbed by the Arab culture.

Following the fall of Roman Anatolia to the Muslim Turks, the Byzantines put out a call to the Pope in Rome for assistance in the 11th century. The result was a series of wars known as the Crusades launched by the Franks from Western Europe to reclaim the former Byzantine Christian territories in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially Syria and Palestine (the Levant). The First Crusade succeeded in temporarily establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli as Roman Catholic Christian states along the coast.[44] These crusader states made a lasting impact on the region, though their control was limited, and the region returned to full Muslim control after two centuries following the conquest by the Mamluks.

Among the most lasting effects of the Crusades in this region was the contact between the Franks (i.e., the French) and the Maronites. Unlike most other Christian communities in the Eastern Mediterranean, who swore allegiance to Constantinople or other local patriarchs, the Maronites proclaimed allegiance to the Pope in Rome. As such the Franks saw them as Roman Catholic brethren. These initial contacts led to centuries of support for the Maronites from France and Italy, even after the fall of the Crusader states in the region.

Ottoman Lebanon

During this period Lebanon was divided into several provinces: Northern and Southern Mount Lebanon, Tripoli, Baalbek and Beqaa Valley, and

1862 map drawn by the French expedition of Beaufort d'Hautpoul,[47] later used as a template for the 1920 borders of Greater Lebanon.[48][49]