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Coordinates: 33°50′N 35°50′E / 33.833°N 35.833°E / 33.833; 35.833

Lebanese Republic الجمهورية اللبنانية (Arabic) al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah

Flag

Coat of arms

Anthem: 

كلّنا للوطن Kulluna lil-watan All Of Us, For the Country!

Capital and largest city Beirut 33°54′N 35°32′E / 33.900°N 35.533°E / 33.900; 35.533

Official languages Arabic[nb 1]

Recognised languages French

Demonym Lebanese

Government Unitary parliamentary multi-confessionalist republic[1]

• President

Michel Aoun[2]

• Prime Minister

Saad Hariri

• Speaker of the Parliament

Nabih Berri

Legislature Parliament

Establishment

• Greater Lebanon

1 September 1920

• Constitution

23 May 1926

• Independence declared

22 November 1943

• Independence (Joined UN / French Mandate ended)

24 October 1945

• Withdrawal of French forces

31 December 1946

Area

• Total

10,452 km2 (4,036 sq mi) (162nd)

• Water (%)

1.8

Population

• 2016 estimate

6,006,668[3] (112th)

• Density

560/km2 (1,450.4/sq mi) (21st)

GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate

• Total

$88.786 billion[4] (88th)

• Per capita

$19,128[4] (80th)

GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate

• Total

$53.915 billion[4] (86th)

• Per capita

$11,615[4] (71st)

HDI (2015)  0.763[5] high · 76th

Currency Lebanese pound
Lebanese pound
(LBP)

Time zone EET (UTC+2)

• Summer (DST)

EEST (UTC+3)

Drives on the right[6]

Calling code +961[7]

ISO 3166 code LB

Internet TLD .lb

This article contains Arabic
Arabic
text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.

Lebanon
Lebanon
(/ˈlɛbənɒn/ ( listen); Arabic: لبنان‎ Lubnān; Lebanese pronunciation: [lɪbˈnɛːn]; French: Liban), officially known as the Lebanese Republic[nb 2] (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah; Lebanese pronunciation: [elˈʒʊmhuːɾɪjje l.ˈlɪbnɛːnɪjje]; French: République libanaise), is a sovereign state in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria
Syria
to the north and east and Israel
Israel
to the south, while Cyprus
Cyprus
is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian
Arabian
hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity.[8] At just 10,452 km2 (4,036 sq. mi.), it is the smallest recognized country on the entire mainland Asian continent.[nb 3][9][10] The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon
Lebanon
dates back more than seven thousand years, predating recorded history.[11] Lebanon
Lebanon
was the home of the Canaanites/ Phoenicians
Phoenicians
and their kingdoms, a maritime culture that flourished for over a thousand years (c. 1550–539 BC). In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire, and eventually became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity. In the Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
range a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church was established. As the Arab
Arab
Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity. However, a new religious group, the Druze, established themselves in Mount Lebanon
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
Roman Catholic
Church and asserted their communion with Rome. The ties they established with the Latins have influenced the region into the modern era. The region eventually was ruled by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
from 1516 to 1918. Following the collapse of the empire after World War I, the five provinces that constitute modern Lebanon
Lebanon
came under the French Mandate of Lebanon. The French expanded the borders of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, which was mostly populated by Maronites and Druze, to include more Muslims. Lebanon
Lebanon
gained independence in 1943, establishing confessionalism, a unique, Consociationalism-type of political system with a power-sharing mechanism based on religious communities. Bechara El Khoury, President of Lebanon
President of Lebanon
during the independence, Riad El-Solh, first Lebanese prime minister and Emir Majid Arslan II, first Lebanese minister of defence, are considered the founders of the modern Republic
Republic
of Lebanon
Lebanon
and are national heroes for having led the country's independence. Foreign troops withdrew completely from Lebanon
Lebanon
on 31 December 1946.[12] Lebanon
Lebanon
has been a member of the United Nations
United Nations
since its founding in 1945 as well as the Arab
Arab
League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
(1961), Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969) and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (1973). Despite its small size,[13] the country has developed a well-known culture and has been highly influential in the Arab
Arab
world, powered by its large diaspora. Before the Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
(1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking.[14] Because of its financial power and diversity in its heyday, Lebanon
Lebanon
was referred to as the "Switzerland of the East" during the 1960s,[15] and its capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the Paris of the Middle East".[16] At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.[17] In spite of these troubles, Lebanon
Lebanon
has the highest Human Development Index
Human Development Index
and GDP per capita in the Arab
Arab
world, to the exclusion of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Ancient Lebanon 2.2 Maronites, Druze, and the Crusades 2.3 Ottoman Lebanon
Lebanon
and French Mandate 2.4 Independence from France 2.5 Civil war and Syrian occupation 2.6 Syrian withdrawal and aftermath

3 Geography

3.1 Climate 3.2 Environment

4 Environmental issues 5 Government and politics

5.1 Law 5.2 Foreign relations 5.3 Military 5.4 Governorates and districts

6 Economy

6.1 History

6.1.1 Tourism

7 Demographics

7.1 Religion 7.2 Language

8 Culture

8.1 Arts 8.2 Music 8.3 Media and cinema 8.4 Holidays and festivals 8.5 Sports

9 Education 10 Health 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 Bibliography 15 Further reading 16 External links

Etymology The name of Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
originates from the Phoenician root lbn (𐤋𐤁𐤍) meaning "white", apparently from its snow-capped peaks.[18] Occurrences of the name have been found in different Middle Bronze Age texts from the library of Ebla,[19] and three of the twelve tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The name is recorded in Ancient Egyptian as Rmnn, where R stood for Canaanite L.[20] The name occurs nearly 70 times in the Hebrew Bible, as לְבָנוֹן.[21] Lebanon
Lebanon
as the name of an administrative unit (as opposed to the mountain range) was introduced with the Ottoman reforms of 1861, as the Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mutasarrifate (Arabic: متصرفية جبل لبنان‎; Turkish: Cebel-i Lübnan Mutasarrıflığı), continued in the name of the State of Greater Lebanon
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
Republic
of Lebanon
Lebanon
(Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah) upon its independence in 1943. History

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Main article: History of Lebanon The borders of contemporary Lebanon
Lebanon
are a product of the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920. Its territory was the core of the Bronze Age Phoenician (Canaanite) 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
Muslim
conquest of the Levant, it was part of the Rashidun, Umyayad, 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
Mamluk
Sultanate in 1289 and finally to the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in 1517. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Greater Lebanon
Greater Lebanon
fell under French mandate in 1920, and gained independence under president Bechara El Khoury
Bechara El Khoury
in 1943. Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of 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
Lebanese Civil War
1975–1990, 2005 Cedar Revolution, 2006 Lebanon
Lebanon
War, 2007 Lebanon
Lebanon
conflict, 2006–08 Lebanese protests, 2008 conflict in Lebanon, and since 2011 Syrian Civil War spillover). Ancient Lebanon Main article: History of ancient Lebanon

Map of Phoenicia
Phoenicia
and trade routes

Evidence of an early settlement in Lebanon
Lebanon
was found in Byblos, which is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.[11] 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
Neolithic
and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
over 7,000 years ago.[22] Lebanon
Lebanon
was a part of northern Canaan, and consequently became the homeland of Canaanite descendants – the Phoenicians, a seafaring people that spread across the Mediterranean before the rise of Cyrus the Great.[23] Their most famous colonies were Carthage
Carthage
in what is present-day Tunisia
Tunisia
and Cádiz
Cádiz
in present-day Spain. The Canaanite- Phoenicians
Phoenicians
are also known as the inventors of the alphabet, among many other things. The area of present-day Lebanon
Lebanon
and the wider Eastern Mediterranean were subjugated by Cyrus in 539 BCE.[24] The Persians forced some of its population to migrate to Carthage, which remained a powerful nation until the Second Punic War. After two centuries of Persian rule, Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great attacked and burned Tyre, the most prominent Phoenician city. He conquered what is now Lebanon
Lebanon
and other nearby regions of the Eastern Mediterranean in 332 BCE.[24] Maronites, Druze, and the Crusades

The Fall of Tripoli to the Egyptian Mamluks and destruction of the Crusader state, the County of Tripoli, 1289

The region that is now Lebanon, as with the rest of Syria
Syria
and much of Anatolia, became a major center of Christianity
Christianity
in the Roman Empire during the early spread of the religion. During the late 4th and early 5th century, a hermit named Maron
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
Maron
spread his teachings among Lebanese in the region. These Christians came to be known as Maronites and moved into mountains to avoid religious persecution by Roman authorities.[25] During the frequent Roman-Persian Wars
Roman-Persian Wars
that lasted for many centuries, the Sassanid Persians occupied what is now Lebanon
Lebanon
from 619 till 629.[26] During the 7th century the Muslim
Muslim
Arabs conquered Syria
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 still took time to convert from Christianity
Christianity
and the Syriac language. The Maronite
Maronite
community in particular managed to maintain a large degree of autonomy despite the succession of rulers over Lebanon and Syria. During the 11th century the Druze faith emerged from a branch of Shia Islam. The new faith gained followers in the southern portion of Mount Lebanon. The northern portion of Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
was ruled by Druze feudal families to the early 14th century which was then brought to an end by the Mamluk
Mamluk
invasion. The Maronite
Maronite
population increased gradually in Northern Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
and the Druze have remained in Southern Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
until the modern era. In the south of Lebanon, (Jabal Amel), Baalbek
Baalbek
and the Beqaa Valley
Beqaa Valley
was ruled by Shia feudal families under the Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. Major cities on the coast, Acre, Beirut, and others, were directly administered by the Muslim
Muslim
Caliphs and the people became more fully absorbed by the Arab culture. Following the fall of Roman Anatolia
Anatolia
to the Muslim
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 in Western Europe to reclaim the former Byzantine Christian territories in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially Syria
Syria
and Palestine (the Levant). The First Crusade succeeded in temporarily establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
and the County of Tripoli
County of Tripoli
as Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Christian states along the coast.[27] These crusader states made a lasting impact on the region, though their control was limited, and the region returned to full Muslim
Muslim
control after two centuries following the conquest by the Mamluks. One of the most lasting effects of the Crusades
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
Constantinople
or other local patriarchs, the Maronites proclaimed allegiance to the Pope in Rome. As such the Franks saw them as Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
brethren. These initial contacts led to centuries of support for the Maronites from France
France
and Italy, even after the fall of the Crusader states in the region. Ottoman Lebanon
Lebanon
and French Mandate See also: Emirate of Mount Lebanon, Sidon
Sidon
Eyalet, and Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate

Fakhreddine II Palace, 17th century

1862 map drawn by the French expedition of Beaufort d'Hautpoul,[28] later used as a template for the 1920 borders of Greater Lebanon.[29][30]

During this period Lebanon
Lebanon
was divided into several provinces: Northern and Southern Mount Lebanon, Tripoli, Baalbek
Baalbek
and Beqaa Valley and Jabal Amel. In southern Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
in 1590, Fakhr-al-Din II became the successor to Korkmaz. He soon established his authority as paramount prince of the Druze in the Shouf area of Mount Lebanon. Eventually, Fakhr-al-Din II
Fakhr-al-Din II
was appointed Sanjakbey (Governor) of several Ottoman sub-provinces, with responsibility for tax-gathering. He extended his control over a substantial part of Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
and its coastal area, even building a fort as far inland as Palmyra.[31] This over-reaching eventually became too much for Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, who sent a punitive expedition to capture him in 1633. He was taken to Istanbul, kept in prison for two years and then executed along with one of his sons in April 1635.[32] Surviving members of Fakhr al-Din's family ruled a reduced area under closer Ottoman control until the end of the 17th century. On the death of the last Maan emir, various members of the Shihab clan ruled Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
until 1830. Approximately 10,000 Christians were killed by the Druzes during inter-communal violence in 1860.[33] Shortly afterwards, the Emirate of Mount Lebanon, which lasted about 400 years, was replaced by the Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mutasarrifate, as a result of a European-Ottoman treaty called the Règlement Organique. The Baalbek
Baalbek
and Beqaa Valley
Beqaa Valley
and Jabal Amel was ruled intermittently by various Shia feudal families, especially the Al Ali Alsagheer in Jabal Amel that remained in power until 1865 when Ottomans took direct ruling of the region. Youssef Bey Karam, a Lebanese nationalist played an influential role in Lebanon's independence during this era. In 1920, following WWI, the area of the Mutasarrifate, plus some surrounding areas which were predominantly Shia and Sunni, became a part of the state of Greater Lebanon
Greater Lebanon
under the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon. Around 100,000 people in Beirut
Beirut
and Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
died of starvation during World War I.[34] In the first half of 1920, Lebanese territory was claimed as part of the Arab
Arab
Kingdom of Syria, but shortly the Franco-Syrian War
Franco-Syrian War
resulted in Arab
Arab
defeat and capitulation of the Hashemites.

Roman baths park on the Serail hill, Beirut.

On 1 September 1920, France
France
reestablished Greater Lebanon
Greater Lebanon
after the Moutasarrifiya rule removed several regions belonging to the Principality of Lebanon
Lebanon
and gave them to Syria.[35] Lebanon
Lebanon
was a largely Christian country (mainly Maronite
Maronite
territory with some Greek Orthodox enclaves) but it also included areas containing many Muslims and Druze.[citation needed] On 1 September 1926, France
France
formed the Lebanese Republic. A constitution was adopted on 25 May 1926 establishing a democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government. Independence from France

Martyrs' Square in Beirut
Beirut
during celebrations marking the release by the French of Lebanon's government from Rashayya prison
Rashayya prison
on 22 November 1943

Lebanon
Lebanon
gained a measure of independence while France
France
was occupied by Germany.[36] General Henri Dentz, the Vichy High Commissioner
High Commissioner
for Syria
Syria
and Lebanon, played a major role in the independence of the nation. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to move aircraft and supplies through Syria
Syria
to Iraq
Iraq
where they were used against British forces. The United Kingdom, fearing that Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
would gain full control of Lebanon
Lebanon
and Syria
Syria
by pressure on the weak Vichy government, sent its army into Syria
Syria
and Lebanon.[citation needed] After the fighting ended in Lebanon, General Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
visited the area. Under political pressure from both inside and outside Lebanon, de Gaulle recognized the independence of Lebanon. On 26 November 1941 General Georges Catroux
Georges Catroux
announced that Lebanon
Lebanon
would become independent under the authority of the Free French
Free French
government. Elections were held in 1943 and on 8 November 1943 the new Lebanese government unilaterally abolished the mandate. The French reacted by imprisoning the new government. In the face of international pressure, the French released the government officials on 22 November 1943. The allies occupied the region until the end of World War II. Following the end of World War II in Europe the French mandate may be said to have been terminated without any formal action on the part of the League of Nations
League of Nations
or its successor the United Nations. The mandate was ended by the declaration of the mandatory power, and of the new states themselves, of their independence, followed by a process of piecemeal unconditional recognition by other powers, culminating in formal admission to the United Nations. Article 78 of the UN Charter ended the status of tutelage for any member state: "The trusteeship system shall not apply to territories which have become Members of the United Nations, relationship among which shall be based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality."[37] So when the UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, after ratification of the United Nations
United Nations
Charter by the five permanent members, as both Syria and Lebanon
Lebanon
were founding member states, the French mandate for both was legally terminated on that date and full independence attained.[38] The last French troops withdrew in December 1946. Lebanon's unwritten National Pact of 1943 required that its president be Maronite
Maronite
Christian, its speaker of the parliament to be a Shiite Muslim, its prime minister be Sunni Muslim, and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and the Deputy Prime Minister be Greek Orthodox.[39] Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance and trade.[40] In May 1948, Lebanon
Lebanon
supported neighbouring Arab
Arab
countries in a war against Israel. While some irregular forces crossed the border and carried out minor skirmishes against Israel, it was without the support of the Lebanese government, and Lebanese troops did not officially invade.[41] Lebanon
Lebanon
agreed to support the forces with covering artillery fire, armored cars, volunteers and logistical support.[42] On 5–6 June 1948, the Lebanese army – led by the then Minister of National Defence, Emir Majid Arslan – captured Al-Malkiyya. This was Lebanon's only success in the war.[43] 100,000 Palestinians fled to Lebanon
Lebanon
because of the war. Israel
Israel
did not permit their return after the cease-fire.[44] Today, more than 400,000 refugees remain in Lebanon, about half in camps.[45] In 1958, during the last months of President Camille Chamoun's term, an insurrection broke out, instigated by Lebanese Muslims who wanted to make Lebanon
Lebanon
a member of the United Arab
Arab
Republic. Chamoun requested assistance, and 5,000 United States Marines
United States Marines
were briefly dispatched to Beirut
Beirut
on 15 July. After the crisis, a new government was formed, led by the popular former general Fuad Chehab. With the defeat of the PLO
PLO
in Jordan, many Palestinian militants relocated to Lebanon, increasing their armed campaign against Israel. The relocation of Palestinian bases also led to increasing sectarian tensions between Palestinians versus the Maronites and other Lebanese factions. Civil war and Syrian occupation Main article: Lebanese Civil War

The Green Line that separated west and east Beirut, 1982

In 1975, following increasing sectarian tensions, a full-scale civil war broke out in Lebanon. The Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
pitted a coalition of Christian groups against the joint forces of the PLO, left-wing Druze and Muslim
Muslim
militias. In June 1976 Lebanese President Elias Sarkis asked for the Syrian Army to intervene on the side of the Christians and help restore peace.[46] In October 1976 the Arab
Arab
League agreed to establish a predominantly Syrian Arab
Arab
Deterrent Force, which was charged with restoring calm.[47] In 1982, the PLO
PLO
attacks from Lebanon
Lebanon
on Israel
Israel
led to an Israeli invasion. A multinational force of American, French and Italian contingents (joined in 1983 by a British contingent) were deployed in Beirut
Beirut
after the Israeli siege of the city, to supervise the evacuation of the PLO. It returned in September 1982 after the assassination of Bashir Gemayel
Bashir Gemayel
and subsequent fighting. During this time a number of massacres occurred, such as in Sabra and Shatila,[48] and in several refugee camps.[49] The multinational force was withdrawn in the spring of 1984, following a devastating bombing attack during the previous year. In September 1988, the Parliament failed to elect a successor to President Gemayel as a result of differences between the Christians, Muslims, and Syrians. The Arab
Arab
League Summit of May 1989 led to the formation of a Saudi-Moroccan-Algerian committee to solve the crisis. On 16 September 1989 the committee issued a peace plan which was accepted by all. A ceasefire was established, the ports and airports were re-opened and refugees began to return.[47] In the same month, the Lebanese Parliament agreed to the Taif Agreement, which included an outline timetable for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon
Lebanon
and a formula for the de-confessionalisation of the Lebanese political system.[47] The war ended at the end of 1990 after sixteen years, resulting in massive loss of human life and property, while devastating the country's economy. It is estimated that 150,000 people were killed and another 200,000 wounded.[50] Nearly a million civilians were displaced by the war, and some never returned.[51] Parts of Lebanon
Lebanon
were left in ruins.[52] The Taif Agreement has still not been implemented in full and Lebanon's political system continues to be divided along sectarian lines. Syrian withdrawal and aftermath Main article: Syrian occupation of Lebanon

Demonstrators calling for the withdrawal of Syrian forces.

The internal political situation in Lebanon
Lebanon
significantly changed in the early 2000s. After the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the death of Hafez Al-Assad
Hafez Al-Assad
in 2000, the Syrian military presence faced criticism and resistance from the Lebanese population.[53] On 14 February 2005, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
Rafik Hariri
was assassinated in a car bomb explosion.[54] Leaders of the March 14 Alliance accused Syria
Syria
of the attack,[55] while the March 8 Alliance and Syrian officials claimed that the Mossad
Mossad
was behind the assassination.[56] The Hariri assassination marked the beginning of a series of assassinations that resulted in the death of many prominent Lebanese figures.[nb 4] The assassination triggered the Cedar Revolution, a series of demonstrations which demanded the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon
Lebanon
and the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination. Under pressure from the West, Syria began withdrawing,[57] and by 26 April 2005 all Syrian soldiers had returned to Syria.[58] The UNSC Resolution 1595 called for an investigation into the assassination.[59] The UN International Independent Investigation Commission published its preliminary findings on 20 October 2005 in the Mehlis report, which cited indications that the assassination was organized by Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services.[60][61][62][63] On 12 July 2006, Hezbollah
Hezbollah
launched a series of rocket attacks and raids into Israeli territory, where they killed three Israeli soldiers and captured a further two.[64] Israel
Israel
responded with airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon, and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon, resulting in the 2006 Lebanon
Lebanon
War. The conflict was officially ended by the UNSC Resolution 1701 on 14 August 2006, which ordered a ceasefire.[65] Some 1,191 Lebanese[66] and 160 Israelis[67] were killed in the conflict. Beirut's southern suburb was heavily damaged by Israeli airstrikes.[68] In 2007, the Nahr al-Bared
Nahr al-Bared
refugee camp became the center of the 2007 Lebanon
Lebanon
conflict between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam. At least 169 soldiers, 287 insurgents and 47 civilians were killed in the battle. Funds for the reconstruction of the area have been slow to materialize.[69] Between 2006 and 2008, a series of protests led by groups opposed to the pro-Western Prime Minister Fouad Siniora
Fouad Siniora
demanded the creation of a national unity government, over which the mostly Shia opposition groups would have veto power. When Émile Lahoud's presidential term ended in October 2007, the opposition refused to vote for a successor unless a power-sharing deal was reached, leaving Lebanon
Lebanon
without a president. On 9 May 2008, Hezbollah
Hezbollah
and Amal forces, sparked by a government declaration that Hezbollah's communications network was illegal, seized western Beirut,[70] leading to the 2008 conflict in Lebanon.[71] The Lebanese government denounced the violence as a coup attempt.[72] At least 62 people died in the resulting clashes between pro-government and opposition militias.[73] On 21 May 2008, the signing of the Doha Agreement
Doha Agreement
ended the fighting.[70][73] As part of the accord, which ended 18 months of political paralysis,[74] Michel Suleiman became president and a national unity government was established, granting a veto to the opposition.[70] The agreement was a victory for opposition forces, as the government caved in to all their main demands.[73] In early January 2011, the national unity government collapsed due to growing tensions stemming from the Special
Special
Tribunal for Lebanon, which was expected to indict Hezbollah
Hezbollah
members for the Hariri assassination.[75] The parliament elected Najib Mikati, the candidate for the Hezbollah-led March 8 Alliance, Prime Minister of Lebanon, making him responsible for forming a new government.[76] Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan Nasrallah
insists that Israel
Israel
was responsible for the assassination of Hariri.[77] A report leaked by the Al-Akhbar newspaper in November 2010 stated that Hezbollah
Hezbollah
has drafted plans for a takeover of the country in the event that the Special
Special
Tribunal for Lebanon
Lebanon
issues an indictment against its members.[78][79] In 2012, the Syrian civil war
Syrian civil war
threatened to spill over in Lebanon, causing more incidents of sectarian violence and armed clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli.[80] As of 6 August 2013, more than 677,702 Syrian refugees are in Lebanon.[81] As the number of Syrian refugees increases, the Lebanese Forces Party, the Kataeb Party, and the Free Patriotic Movement
Free Patriotic Movement
fear the country’s sectarian based political system is being undermined.[82] Geography Main article: Geography of Lebanon

Kadisha Valley, a gorge in northern Lebanon

Lebanon
Lebanon
from space. Snow cover can be seen on the western Mount Lebanon
Lebanon
and eastern Anti- Lebanon
Lebanon
mountain ranges

Lebanon
Lebanon
is located in Western Asia
Western Asia
between latitudes 33° and 35° N and longitudes 35° and 37° E. Its land straddles the "northwest of the Arabian
Arabian
plate".[83] The country's surface area is 10,452 square kilometres (4,036 sq mi) of which 10,230 square kilometres (3,950 sq mi) is land. Lebanon
Lebanon
has a coastline and border of 225 kilometres (140 mi) on the Mediterranean sea
Mediterranean sea
to the west, a 375 kilometres (233 mi) border shared with Syria
Syria
to the north and east and a 79 kilometres (49 mi) long border with Israel
Israel
to the south.[84] The border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
Golan Heights
is disputed by Lebanon
Lebanon
in a small area called Shebaa Farms.[85] Lebanon
Lebanon
is divided into four distinct physiographic regions: the coastal plain, the Lebanon
Lebanon
mountain range, the Beqaa valley
Beqaa valley
and the Anti- Lebanon
Lebanon
mountains. The narrow and discontinuous coastal plain stretches from the Syrian border in the north where it widens to form the Akkar
Akkar
plain to Ras al- Naqoura
Naqoura
at the border with Israel
Israel
in the south. The fertile coastal plain is formed of marine sediments and river deposited alluvium alternating with sandy bays and rocky beaches. The Lebanon
Lebanon
mountains rise steeply parallel to the Mediterranean coast and form a ridge of limestone and sandstone that runs for most of the country's length. The mountain range varies in width between 10 km (6 mi) and 56 km (35 mi); it is carved by narrow and deep gorges. The Lebanon
Lebanon
mountains peak at 3,088 metres (10,131 ft) above sea level in Qurnat as Sawda'
Qurnat as Sawda'
in North Lebanon
Lebanon
and gradually slope to the south before rising again to a height of 2,695 metres (8,842 ft) in Mount Sannine. The Beqaa valley
Beqaa valley
sits between the Lebanon
Lebanon
mountains in the west and the Anti- Lebanon
Lebanon
range in the east; it's a part of the Great Rift Valley
Great Rift Valley
system. The valley is 180 km (112 mi) long and 10 to 26 km (6 to 16 mi) wide, its fertile soil is formed by alluvial deposits. The Anti- Lebanon
Lebanon
range runs parallel to the Lebanon
Lebanon
mountains, its highest peak is in Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
at 2,814 metres (9,232 ft).[84] The mountains of Lebanon
Lebanon
are drained by seasonal torrents and rivers foremost of which is the 145 kilometres (90 mi) long Leontes that rises in the Beqaa Valley
Beqaa Valley
to the west of Baalbek
Baalbek
and empties into the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
north of Tyre.[84] Lebanon
Lebanon
has 16 rivers all of which are non navigable; 13 rivers originate from Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
and run through the steep gorges and into the Mediterranean Sea, the other three arise in the Beqaa Valley.[86] Climate Main article: Climate of Lebanon Lebanon
Lebanon
has a moderate Mediterranean climate. In coastal areas, winters are generally cool and rainy whilst summers are hot and humid. In more elevated areas, temperatures usually drop below freezing during the winter with heavy snow cover that remains until early summer on the higher mountaintops.[84][87] Although most of Lebanon receives a relatively large amount of rainfall, when measured annually in comparison to its arid surroundings, certain areas in north-eastern Lebanon
Lebanon
receive little because of rain shadow created by the high peaks of the western mountain range.[88] Environment Main article: Wildlife of Lebanon

The Lebanon
Lebanon
cedar is the national emblem of Lebanon.

In ancient times, Lebanon
Lebanon
was covered by large forests of cedar trees, the national emblem of the country.[89] Today, forests cover 13.4% of the Lebanese land area;[90] they are under constant threat from wildfires caused by the long dry summer season.[91] As a result of longstanding exploitation, few old cedar trees remain in pockets of forests in Lebanon, but there is an active program to conserve and regenerate the forests. The Lebanese approach has emphasized natural regeneration over planting by creating the right conditions for germination and growth. The Lebanese state has created several nature reserves that contain cedars, including the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, the Jaj Cedar Reserve, the Tannourine
Tannourine
Reserve, the Ammouaa and Karm Shbat Reserves in the Akkar
Akkar
district, and the Forest of the Cedars of God
Cedars of God
near Bsharri.[92][93][94] In 2010, the Environment Ministry set a 10-year plan to increase the national forest coverage by 20%, which is equivalent to the planting of two million new trees each year.[95] The plan, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development
United States Agency for International Development
(USAID), and implemented by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), through the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), was inaugurated in 2011 by planting cedar, pine, wild almond, juniper, fir, oak and other seedlings, in ten regions around Lebanon.[95] Environmental issues Main article: Marine environmental issues in Lebanon Beirut
Beirut
and Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
have been facing a severe garbage crisis. After the closure of the Bourj Hammoud
Bourj Hammoud
dump in 1997, the al-Naameh dumpsite was opened by the government in 1998. The al-Naameh dumpsite was planned to contain 2 million tons of waste for a limited period of six years at the most. It was designed to be a temporary solution, while the government would have devised a long-term plan. Sixteen years later al-Naameh was still open and exceeded its capacity by 13 million tons. In July 2015 the residents of the area, already protesting in the recent years, forced the closure of the dumpsite.The inefficiency of the government, as well as the corruption inside of the waste management company Sukleen in charge of managing the garbage in Lebanon, have resulted in piles of garbage blocking streets in Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
and Beirut.[96] In December 2015 the Lebanese government signed an agreement with Chinook Industrial Mining, part owned by Chinook Sciences, to export over 100,000 tons of untreated waste from Beirut
Beirut
and the surrounding area. The waste had accumulated in temporary locations following the government closure of the county's largest land fill site five months earlier. The contract was jointly signed with Howa International which has offices in Holland and Germany. The contract is reported to cost $212 per ton. The waste, which is compacted and infectious, would have to be sorted and was estimated to be enough to fill 2,000 containers.[97][98][99][100] Initial reports that the waste was to be exported to Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
have been denied by diplomats.[101] In February 2016 the government withdrew from negotiations after it was revealed that documents relating to the export of the trash to Russia were forgeries.[102] On 19 March 2016, the Cabinet reopened the Naameh landfill for 60 days in line with a plan it passed few days earlier to end the trash crisis. The plan also stipulates the establishment of landfills in Bourj Hammoud
Bourj Hammoud
and Costa Brava, east and south of Beirut respectively. Sukleen trucks began removing piled garbage from Karantina and heading to Naameh. Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk announced during a chat with activists that more than 8,000 tons of garbage had been collected so far as part of the government’s trash plan in only 24 hours. The plan's execution is still ongoing.[6] [7] Government and politics Main articles: Politics of Lebanon
Politics of Lebanon
and Human rights in Lebanon

The Lebanese parliament
Lebanese parliament
building at the Place de l'Étoile

One of many protests in Beirut

Lebanon
Lebanon
is a parliamentary democracy that includes confessionalism,[103] in which high-ranking offices are reserved for members of specific religious groups. The President, for example, has to be a Maronite
Maronite
Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Eastern Orthodox.[104][105] This system is intended to deter sectarian conflict and attempts to represent fairly the demographic distribution of the 18 recognized religious groups in government.[106][107] Until 1975, Freedom House
Freedom House
considered Lebanon
Lebanon
to be one of only two (together with Israel) politically free countries in the Middle East and North Africa region.[108] The country lost this status with the outbreak of the Civil War, and has not regained it since 1975. Lebanon was rated as "Partly Free" in 2013. Even so, the United States still considers Lebanon
Lebanon
to be one of the most democratic nations in the Arab world.[108] Until 2005, Palestinians were forbidden to work in over 70 jobs because they do not have Lebanese citizenship. After liberalization laws were passed in 2007, this was reduced to around 20 jobs.[44] In 2010, Palestinians were granted the same rights to work as other foreigners in the country.[109] Lebanon's national legislature is the unicameral Parliament of Lebanon. Its 128 seats are divided equally between Christians and Muslims, proportionately between the 18 different denominations and proportionately between its 26 regions.[110] Prior to 1990, the ratio stood at 6:5 in favor of Christians; however, the Taif Agreement, which put an end to the 1975–1990 civil war, adjusted the ratio to grant equal representation to followers of the two religions.[104] The Parliament is elected for a four-year term by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation.[7] The executive branch consists of the President, the head of state, and the Prime Minister, the head of government. The parliament elects the president for a non-renewable six-year term by a two-third majority. The president appoints the Prime Minister,[111] following consultations with the parliament. The President and the Prime Minister form the Cabinet, which must also adhere to the sectarian distribution set out by confessionalism. In an unprecedented move, the Lebanese parliament
Lebanese parliament
has extended its own term twice amid protests, the last being on 5 November 2014,[112] an act which comes in direct contradiction with democracy and article #42 of the Lebanese constitution as no elections have taken place.[113] Lebanon
Lebanon
was without a President between May 2014 and October 2016.[2][114] The next nationwide elections are scheduled for May 2018.[115] Law There are 18 officially recognized religious groups in Lebanon, each with its own family law legislation and set of religious courts.[116] The Lebanese legal system is based on the French system, and is a civil law country, with the exception for matters related to personal status (succession, marriage, divorce, adoption, etc.), which are governed by a separate set of laws designed for each sectarian community. For instance, the Islamic personal status laws are inspired by the Sharia
Sharia
law.[117] For Muslims, these tribunals deal with questions of marriage, divorce, custody, and inheritance and wills. For non-Muslims, personal status jurisdiction is split: the law of inheritance and wills falls under national civil jurisdiction, while Christian and Jewish religious courts are competent for marriage, divorce, and custody. Catholics can additionally appeal before the Vatican Rota court.[118] The most notable set of codified laws is the Code des Obligations et des Contrats promulgated in 1932 and equivalent to the French Civil Code.[117] Capital punishment
Capital punishment
is still de facto used to sanction certain crimes, but no longer enforced.[117] The Lebanese court system consists of three levels: courts of first instance, courts of appeal, and the court of cassation. The Constitutional Council rules on constitutionality of laws and electoral frauds. There also is a system of religious courts having jurisdiction over personal status matters within their own communities, with rules on matters such as marriage and inheritance.[119] Foreign relations Main article: Foreign relations of Lebanon Lebanon
Lebanon
concluded negotiations on an association agreement with the European Union in late 2001, and both sides initialed the accord in January 2002. It is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer. Lebanon
Lebanon
also has bilateral trade agreements with several Arab
Arab
states and is working toward accession to the World Trade Organization. Lebanon
Lebanon
enjoys good relations with virtually all of the other Arab countries (despite historic tensions with Libya, the Palestinians, Syria
Syria
and Iraq), and hosted an Arab
Arab
League Summit in March 2002 for the first time in more than 35 years. Lebanon
Lebanon
is a member of the Francophone
Francophone
countries and hosted the Francophone
Francophone
Summit in October 2002 as well as the Jeux de la Francophonie
Jeux de la Francophonie
in 2009. Military Main article: Lebanese Armed Forces

Soldiers of the Lebanese army, 2009

The Lebanese Armed Forces
Lebanese Armed Forces
(LAF) has 72,000 active personnel,[120] including 1,100 in the air force, and 1,000 in the navy.[121] The Lebanese Armed Forces' primary missions include defending Lebanon and its citizens against external aggression, maintaining internal stability and security, confronting threats against the country's vital interests, engaging in social development activities, and undertaking relief operations in coordination with public and humanitarian institutions.[122] Lebanon
Lebanon
is a major recipient of foreign military aid.[123] With more than $400 million since 2005, it is the second largest per capita recipient of American military aid behind Israel.[124] Governorates and districts Main articles: Governorates of Lebanon, Districts of Lebanon, and Municipalities of Lebanon Lebanon
Lebanon
is divided into eight governorates (mohaafazaat, Arabic: محافظات‎; singular mohafazah, Arabic: محافظة‎) which are further subdivided into twenty-six districts (aqdya—singular: qadaa).[125] The districts themselves are also divided into several municipalities, each enclosing a group of cities or villages. The governorates and their respective districts are listed below:

Akkar North Akkar

Miniyeh- Danniyeh

Zgharta Koura Tripoli Bsharri Batroun

Mount Lebanon

Jbeil Kesrwan Matn Beirut ♦ Baabda Aley Chouf South Jezzine Sidon Tyre Baalbek-Hermel Hermel Baalbek Beqaa Zahle

Western Beqaa

Rashaya Nabatieh Hasbaya Nabatieh Marjeyoun

Bint Jbeil

Beirut
Beirut
Governorate

The Beirut
Beirut
Governorate is not divided into districts and is limited to the city of Beirut

Akkar
Akkar
Governorate

Akkar

Baalbek-Hermel Governorate

Baalbek Hermel

Beqaa Governorate

Rashaya Western Beqaa (al-Beqaa al-Gharbi) Zahle

Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Governorate (Jabal Lubnan/Jabal Lebnen)

Aley Baabda Jbeil Chouf Keserwan (Keserwen) Matn

Nabatieh
Nabatieh
Governorate (Jabal Amel)

Bint Jbeil Hasbaya Marjeyoun Nabatieh

North Governorate
North Governorate
(ash-Shamal/shmel)

Batroun Bsharri Koura Miniyeh-Danniyeh Tripoli Zgharta

South Governorate (al-Janoub/Jnub)

Jezzine Sidon
Sidon
(Saida) Tyre (Sur)

Corinthian capitals in Baalbek

Economy Main article: Economy of Lebanon

Graphical depiction of Lebanon
Lebanon
's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.

Lebanon’s economy follows a laissez-faire model.[126] Most of the economy is dollarized, and the country has no restrictions on the movement of capital across its borders.[126] The Lebanese government’s intervention in foreign trade is minimal.[126] The Lebanese economy grew 8.5% in 2008 and a revised 9% in 2009[127] despite a global recession.[128] Real GDP growth is estimated to have slowed from 7.5% in 2010 to 1.5% in 2011, according to IMF preliminary estimates, with nominal GDP estimated at $41.5 billion in 2011.[126] The Banque du Liban
Banque du Liban
projects real GDP growth could reach 4% in 2012, with 6% inflation (versus 4% in 2011).[126] The political and security instability in the Arab
Arab
world, especially in Syria, is expected to have a negative impact on the domestic business and economic environment.[126] Lebanon
Lebanon
has a very high level of public debt and large external financing needs.[126] The 2010 public debt exceeded 150.7% of GDP, ranking fourth highest in the world as a percentage of GDP, though down from 154.8% in 2009.[7] At the end 2008, finance minister Mohamad Chatah stated that the debt was going to reach $47 billion in that year and would increase to $49 billion if privatization of two telecoms companies did not occur.[129] The Daily Star wrote that exorbitant debt levels have "slowed down the economy and reduced the government's spending on essential development projects".[130] The urban population in Lebanon
Lebanon
is noted for its commercial enterprise.[131] Emigration has yielded Lebanese "commercial networks" throughout the world.[132] Remittances from Lebanese abroad total $8.2 billion[133] and account for one fifth of the country's economy.[134] Lebanon
Lebanon
has the largest proportion of skilled labor among Arab
Arab
States.[135] The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon was established with the aim of promoting investment in Lebanon. In 2001, Investment Law No.360[136] was enacted to reinforce the organisation's mission. The agricultural sector employs 12% of the total workforce.[137] Agriculture contributed to 5.9% of the country's GDP in 2011.[138] Lebanon's proportion of cultivable land is the highest in the Arab world,[139] Major produce includes apples, peaches, oranges, and lemons.[14] The commodities market in Lebanon
Lebanon
includes substantial gold coin production, however according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards, they must be declared upon exportation to any foreign country.[140] Oil has recently been discovered inland and in the seabed between Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel
Israel
and Egypt
Egypt
and talks are underway between Cyprus
Cyprus
and Egypt
Egypt
to reach an agreement regarding the exploration of these resources. The seabed separating Lebanon
Lebanon
and Cyprus
Cyprus
is believed to hold significant quantities of crude oil and natural gas.[141] Industry in Lebanon
Lebanon
is mainly limited to small businesses that reassemble and package imported parts. In 2004, industry ranked second in workforce, with 26% of the Lebanese working population,[137] and second in GDP contribution, with 21% of Lebanon's GDP.[14] Nearly 65% of the Lebanese workforce attain employment in the services sector.[137] The GDP contribution, accordingly, amounts to roughly 67.3% of the annual Lebanese GDP.[14] However, dependence on the tourism and banking sectors leaves the economy vulnerable to political instability.[17] Lebanese banks are high on liquidity and reputed for their security.[142] Lebanon
Lebanon
was one of the only seven countries in the world in which the value of the stock markets increased in 2008.[143] On 10 May 2013 the Lebanese minister of energy and water clarified that seismic images of the Lebanese's sea bed are undergoing detailed explanation of their contents and that up till now, approximately 10% have been covered. Preliminary inspection of the results showed, with more than 50% probability, that 10% of Lebanon's exclusive economic zone contained up to 660 million barrels of oil and up to 30×1012 cu ft of gas.[144] The Syrian crisis has significantly affected Lebanese economic and financial situation. The demographic pressure imposed by the Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon
Lebanon
has led to competition in the labour market. As a direct consequence unemployment has doubled in three years, reaching 20% in 2014. A loss of 14% of wages regarding the salary of less-skilled workers has also been registered. The financial constraints were also felt: the poverty rate increased with 170.000 Lebanese falling under the poverty threshold. In the period between 2012 and 2014, the public spending increased by $1 billion and losses amounted to $7.5 billion. Expenditures related only to the Syrian refugees were estimated by the Central Bank of Lebanon
Lebanon
as $4.5 billion every year.[145] History

Lebanese real GDP growth

Interestingly, in the 1950s, the second highest level of GDP was initially reached by Lebanon. Despite not having oil reserves, Lebanon, as the banking center of the Middle East
Middle East
and one of the trading centers, had a high national income.[146] The 1975–1990 civil war heavily damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure,[121] cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon's position as a West Asian entrepôt and banking hub.[7] The subsequent period of relative peace enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery has been helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers, with family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports, and international aid as the main sources of foreign exchange.[147] Until July 2006, Lebanon
Lebanon
enjoyed considerable stability, Beirut's reconstruction was almost complete,[148] and increasing numbers of tourists poured into the nation's resorts.[16] The economy witnessed growth, with bank assets reaching over 75 billion US dollars,[149] Market capitalization
Market capitalization
was also at an all-time high, estimated at $10.9 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2006.[149] The month-long 2006 war severely damaged Lebanon's fragile economy, especially the tourism sector. According to a preliminary report published by the Lebanese Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Finance
on 30 August 2006, a major economic decline was expected as a result of the fighting.[150] Over the course of 2008 Lebanon
Lebanon
rebuilt its infrastructure mainly in the real estate and tourism sectors, resulting in a comparatively robust post war economy. Major contributors to the reconstruction of Lebanon
Lebanon
include Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
(with US$1.5 billion pledged),[151] the European Union (with about $1 billion)[152] and a few other Persian Gulf countries with contributions of up to $800 million.[153] Tourism Main article: Tourism in Lebanon

Baalbek, temple of Jupiter

The tourism industry accounts for about 10% of GDP.[154] Lebanon managed to attract around 1,333,000 tourists in 2008, thus placing it as rank 79 out of 191 countries.[155] In 2009, The New York Times ranked Beirut
Beirut
the No. 1 travel destination worldwide due to its nightlife and hospitality.[156] In January 2010, the Ministry of Tourism announced that 1,851,081 tourists had visited Lebanon
Lebanon
in 2009, a 39% increase from 2008.[157] In 2009, Lebanon
Lebanon
hosted the largest number of tourists to date, eclipsing the previous record set before the Lebanese Civil War.[158] Tourist arrivals reached two million in 2010, but fell by 37% for the first 10 months of 2012, a decline caused by the war in neighbouring Syria.[154]

aches at the ruins of Anjar

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Japan
Japan
are the three most popular origin countries of foreign tourists to Lebanon.[159] The recent influx of Japanese tourists has caused the recent rise in popularity of Japanese Cuisine in Lebanon.[160] Demographics Main articles: Demographics of Lebanon
Demographics of Lebanon
and Lebanese people

Artisan in Tripoli

The population of Lebanon
Lebanon
was estimated to be 6,006,668 in 2016,[3] however no official census has been conducted since 1932 due to the sensitive confessional political balance between Lebanon's various religious groups.[161] Identifying all Lebanese as ethnically Arab
Arab
is a widely employed example of panethnicity since in reality, the Lebanese "are descended from many different peoples who have occupied, invaded, or settled this corner of the world", making Lebanon, "a mosaic of closely interrelated cultures".[162] While at first glance, this ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity might seem to cause civil and political unrest, "for much of Lebanon’s history this multitudinous diversity of religious communities has coexisted with little conflict".[162] The fertility rate fell from 5.00 in 1971 to 1.75 in 2004. Fertility rates vary considerably among the different religious groups: in 2004 it was 2.10 for Shiites, 1.76 Sunnis and 1.61 for Maronites.[163] Lebanon
Lebanon
has witnessed a series of migration waves: over 1,800,000 people emigrated from the country in the 1975–2011 period.[163] Millions of people of Lebanese descent are spread throughout the world, mostly Christians,[164] especially in Latin America.[165] Brazil
Brazil
has the largest expatriate population.[166] (See Lebanese Brazilians). Large numbers of Lebanese migrated to West Africa,[167] particularly to the Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast
(home to over 100,000 Lebanese)[168] and Senegal
Senegal
(roughly 30,000 Lebanese).[169] Australia
Australia
is home to over 270,000 Lebanese (1999 est.).[170] In Canada, there is also a large Lebanese diaspora
Lebanese diaspora
of approximately 250,000–700,000 people having Lebanese descent. (see Lebanese Canadians). Another region with a significant diaspora is the Persian Gulf, where the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar
Qatar
(around 25,000 people),[171] Saudi Arabia and UAE act as host countries to many Lebanese. As of 2012[update], Lebanon
Lebanon
was host to over 1,600,000 refugees and asylum seekers: 449,957 from Palestine,[7] 5,986[citation needed] from Iraq, over 1,100,000 from Syria,[7][172] and 4,000 from Sudan. According to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Western Asia
of the United Nations, among the Syrian refugees, 71% live in poverty.[145] The latest estimates by the United Nations
United Nations
put the number of Syrian refugees at more than 1,250,000.[81] In the last three decades, lengthy and destructive armed conflicts have ravaged the country. The majority of Lebanese have been affected by armed conflict; those with direct personal experience include 75% of the population, and most others report suffering a range of hardships. In total, almost the entire population (96%) has been affected in some way – either personally or because of the wider consequences of armed conflict.[173]

 

v t e

Largest cities or towns in Lebanon Source?

Rank Name Governorate Pop.

Beirut

Tripoli 1 Beirut Beirut 1,916,100

Zahlé

Sidon

2 Tripoli North 730,000

3 Zahlé Beqaa 85,000

4 Sidon South 75,000

5 Aley Mount Lebanon 65,000

6 Tyre South 60,204

7 Nabatieh Nabatieh 50,000

8 Jounieh Mount Lebanon 35,500

9 Batroun North 35,312

10 Baalbek Bekaa 10,392

Religion Main articles: Religion in Lebanon, Islam in Lebanon, Christianity
Christianity
in Lebanon, Secularism in Lebanon, and Irreligion in Lebanon

Religion in Lebanon
Religion in Lebanon
(est. 2014)   Islam (54%)    Christianity
Christianity
(40.4%)   Druze (5.6%)

Distribution of main religious groups of Lebanon
Lebanon
according to last municipal election data.[174]

Lebanon
Lebanon
is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East.[175] As of 2014[update] the CIA World Factbook
CIA World Factbook
estimates the following: Muslim
Muslim
54% (27% Shia Islam, 27% Sunni Islam), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% Maronite
Maronite
Catholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Melkite Catholic, 1% Protestant, 5.5% other Christian), Druze 5.6%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons.[176] A study conducted by the Lebanese Information Center and based on voter registration numbers shows that by 2011 the Christian population was stable compared to that of previous years, making up 34.35% of the population; Muslims, the Druze included, were 65.47% of the population.[177] The World Values Survey of 2014 put the percentage of atheists in Lebanon
Lebanon
at 3.3%.[178] It is believed that there has been a decline in the ratio of Christians to Muslims over the past 60 years, due to higher emigration rates of Christians, and a higher birth rate in the Muslim population.[179] When the last census was held in 1932, Christians made up 53% of Lebanon's population.[163] In 1956, it was estimated that the population was 54% Christian and 44% Muslim.[163] A demographic study conducted by the research firm Statistics Lebanon found that approximately 27% of the population was Shia, 27% Sunni, 21% Maronite, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Druze, 5% Melkite, and 1% Protestant, with the remaining 6% mostly belonging to smaller non-native to Lebanon
Lebanon
Christian denominations.[179] Other sources like Euronews[180] or the Madrid-based diary La Razón[181] estimate the percentage of Christians to be around 53%. Because the relative size of confessional groups remains a sensitive issue, a national census has not been conducted since 1932.[179] There are 18 state-recognized religious sects – four Muslim, 12 Christian, one Druze, and one Jewish.[179] The Shi'a residents primarily live in Southern Beirut, the Beqaa Valley, and Southern Lebanon.[182] The Sunni residents primarily live in Tripoli, Western Beirut, the Southern coast of Lebanon, and Northern Lebanon.[182] The Maronite
Maronite
residents primarily live in Eastern Beirut
Beirut
and the mountains of Lebanon.[182] They are the largest Christian community in Lebanon.[182] The Greek Orthodox, the second largest Christian community in Lebanon, primarily live in Koura, Beirut, Zahleh, Rachaya, Matn, Aley, Akkar, Tripoli, Hasbaya and Marjeyoun. Language See also: Lebanese Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, and French language in Lebanon Article 11 of Lebanon's Constitution states that " Arabic
Arabic
is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the French language
French language
is to be used".[183] The majority of Lebanese people speak Lebanese Arabic, which is grouped in a larger category called Levantine Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic
is mostly used in magazines, newspapers, and formal broadcast media. Lebanese Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. Almost 40% of Lebanese are considered francophone, and another 15% "partial francophone", and 70% of Lebanon's secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction.[184] By comparison, English is used as a secondary language in 30% of Lebanon's secondary schools.[184] The use of French is a legacy of France's historic ties to the region, including its League of Nations
League of Nations
mandate over Lebanon
Lebanon
following World War I; as of 2005[update], some 20% of the population used French on a daily basis.[185] The use of Arabic
Arabic
by Lebanon's educated youth is declining, as they usually prefer to speak in French and, to a lesser extent, English, which are seen as more fashionable.[186][187] English is increasingly used in science and business interactions.[188][189] Lebanese citizens of Armenian, Greek, or Kurdish descent often speak their ancestral languages with varying degrees of fluency. As of 2009[update], there were around 150,000 Armenians in Lebanon, or around 5% of the population.[190] Culture Main article: Culture of Lebanon

Temple of Bacchus
Temple of Bacchus
is considered one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world, c. 150 AD

Ruins at port of Byblos.

The culture of Lebanon
Lebanon
reflects the legacy of various civilizations spanning thousands of years. Originally home to the Canaanite- Phoenicians, and then subsequently conquered and occupied by the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Fatimids, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks and most recently the French, Lebanese culture has over the millennia evolved by borrowing from all of these groups. Lebanon's diverse population, composed of different ethnic and religious groups, has further contributed to the country's festivals, musical styles and literature as well as cuisine. Despite the ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity of the Lebanese, they "share an almost common culture".[191] Lebanese Arabic
Arabic
is universally spoken while food, music, and literature are deep-rooted "in wider Mediterranean and Arab
Arab
Levantine norms".[191] Arts

Votive marble statue of a royal child, inscribed in Phoenician from the Eshmun
Eshmun
sanctuary, c. 400s BC

In literature, Khalil Gibran
Khalil Gibran
is particularly known for his book The Prophet (1923), which has been translated into more than twenty different languages.[192] Several contemporary Lebanese writers have also achieved international success; including Elias Khoury, Amin Maalouf, Hanan al-Shaykh, and Georges Schehadé. In visual arts, Moustafa Farroukh was one of Lebanon's most prominent painters of the 20th century. Formally trained in Rome and Paris, he exhibited in venues from Paris to New York to Beirut
Beirut
over his career.[193] Many more contemporary artists are currently active, such as Walid Raad, a contemporary media artist currently residing in New York.[194] In the field of photography, the Arab
Arab
Image Foundation has a collection of over 400,000 photographs from Lebanon
Lebanon
and the Middle East. The photographs can be viewed in a research center and various events and publications have been produced in Lebanon
Lebanon
and worldwide to promote the collection.

Fairuz

Music

Lydia Canaan, first rock star in the Middle East

The music of Lebanon
Lebanon
is pervasive in Lebanese society.[195] While traditional folk music remains popular in Lebanon, modern music reconciling Western and traditional Arabic
Arabic
styles, pop, and fusion are rapidly advancing in popularity.[196] Lebanese artists like Fairuz, Wadih El Safi
Wadih El Safi
or Sabah are widely known and appreciated in Lebanon
Lebanon
and in the Arab
Arab
world. Lebanese singer Lydia Canaan
Canaan
is listed in the catalog of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, USA[197][198] as the first rock star of the Middle East.[198][199][200][201][202] Radio stations feature a variety of music, including traditional Lebanese, classical Arabic, Armenian[203] and modern French, English, American, and Latin tunes.[204] Media and cinema The cinema of Lebanon, according to film critic and historian, Roy Armes, was the only cinema in the Arabic-speaking region, other than Egypt's, that could amount to a national cinema.[205] Cinema in Lebanon
Lebanon
has been in existence since the 1920s, and the country has produced over 500 films.[206] The media of Lebanon
Lebanon
is not only a regional center of production but also the most liberal and free in the Arab
Arab
world.[207] According to Press freedom's Reporters Without Borders, "the media have more freedom in Lebanon
Lebanon
than in any other Arab
Arab
country".[208] Despite its small population and geographic size, Lebanon
Lebanon
plays an influential role in the production of information in the Arab
Arab
world and is "at the core of a regional media network with global implications".[209]

Holidays and festivals Main article: Public holidays in Lebanon

Beiteddine Palace, venue of the Beiteddine Festival

Lebanon
Lebanon
celebrates national and both Christian and Muslim
Muslim
holidays. Christian holidays are celebrated following both the Gregorian Calendar and Julian Calendar. Greek Orthodox (with the exception of Easter), Catholics, Protestants, and Melkite Christians follow the Gregorian Calendar
Gregorian Calendar
and thus celebrate Christmas on 25 December. Armenian Apostolic Christians celebrate Christmas on 6 January, as they follow the Julian Calendar. Muslim
Muslim
holidays are followed based on the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslim
Muslim
holidays that are celebrated include Eid al-Fitr (the three-day feast at the end of the Ramadan month), Eid al-Adha (The Feast of the Sacrifice) which is celebrated during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and also celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God, the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, and Ashura (the Shiite Day of Mourning). Lebanon's National Holidays include Workers Day, Independence day, and Martyrs Day. Music festivals, often hosted at historical sites, are a customary element of Lebanese culture.[210] Among the most famous are Baalbeck International Festival, Byblos
Byblos
International Festival, Beiteddine International Festival, Jounieh
Jounieh
International Festival, Broumana Festival, Batroun
Batroun
International Festival, Ehmej Festival, Dhour Chwer Festival and Tyr Festival.[210][211] These festivals are promoted by Lebanon's Ministry of Tourism. Lebanon
Lebanon
hosts about 15 concerts from international performers each year, ranking 1st for nightlife in the Middle East, and 6th worldwide.[212] Sports Main article: Sport in Lebanon Lebanon
Lebanon
has six ski resorts. Because of Lebanon's unique geography, it is possible to go skiing in the morning and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
in the afternoon.[213] At the competitive level, basketball and football are among Lebanon’s most popular sports. Canoeing, cycling, rafting, climbing, swimming, sailing and caving are among the other common leisure sports in Lebanon. The Beirut
Beirut
Marathon is held every fall, drawing top runners from Lebanon
Lebanon
and abroad.[214] Rugby league is a relatively new but growing sport in Lebanon. The Lebanon national rugby league team
Lebanon national rugby league team
participated in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup,[215] and narrowly missed qualification for the 2008[216] and 2013 tournaments.[217] Lebanon
Lebanon
also took part in the 2009 European Cup
2009 European Cup
where, after narrowly failing to qualify for the final, the team defeated Ireland to finish 3rd in the tournament.[218] Hazem El Masri, who was born in Tripoli, will always be considered to be the greatest Lebanese to ever play the game. He immigrated to Sydney, Australia
Australia
from Lebanon
Lebanon
in 1988. He became the greatest point-scorer in National Rugby League
National Rugby League
history in 2009 by scoring himself 2418 points while playing for Australian club, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
where he also holds the record for most first grade appearances for the club with 317 games and most tries for the club with 159 tries. At international level, He also hold the records as top-try scorer with 12 tries and top-point scorer with 136 points for the Lebanese national team.[219] Lebanon
Lebanon
participates in Basketball. The Lebanese National Team qualified for the FIBA World Championship
FIBA World Championship
3 times in a row.[220][221] Dominant Basketball
Basketball
teams in Lebanon
Lebanon
are Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut,[222] who are the current Arab
Arab
and Asian champions, Club Sagesse who were able to earn the Asian and Arab
Arab
championships before. Fadi El Khatib is the most decorated player in the Lebanese National Basketball
Basketball
League. Football is also one of the more popular sports in the country with the Lebanese Premier League, whose most successful clubs are the Al-Ansar Club
Al-Ansar Club
and the Nejmeh SC, with notable players being Roda Antar and Youssef Mohamad, the first Arab
Arab
to captain a European premier league team. In recent years, Lebanon
Lebanon
has hosted the AFC Asian Cup[223] and the Pan Arab
Arab
Games.[224][225] Lebanon
Lebanon
hosted the 2009 Jeux de la Francophonie[226] from 27 September to 6 October, and have participated in every Olympic Games
Olympic Games
since its independence, winning a total of four medals.[227] Prominent Lebanese bodybuilders include Samir Bannout, Mohammad Bannout and Ahmad Haidar. Water sports have also shown to be very active in the past years, in Lebanon. Since 2012 and with the emergence of the Lebanon
Lebanon
Water Festival NGO, more emphasis has been placed on those sports, and Lebanon
Lebanon
has been pushed forward as a water sport destination internationally.[228] They host different contests and water show sports that encourage their fans to participate and win big [229] Education Main article: Education in Lebanon

Haigazian University
Haigazian University
in Beirut.

AUB College Hall in Beirut.

Listed by the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Global Information Technology Report, Lebanon
Lebanon
has been ranked globally as the fourth best country for math and science education, and as the tenth best overall for quality of education. In quality of management schools, the country was ranked 13th worldwide.[230] The United Nations
United Nations
assigned Lebanon
Lebanon
an education index of 0.871 in 2008. The index, which is determined by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio, ranked the country 88th out of the 177 countries participating.[231] All Lebanese schools are required to follow a prescribed curriculum designed by the Ministry of Education. Some of the 1400 private schools offer IB programs,[232] and may also add more courses to their curriculum with approval from the Ministry of Education. The first eight years of education are, by law, compulsory.[14] Lebanon
Lebanon
has forty-one nationally accredited universities, several of which are internationally recognized.[233][234] The American University of Beirut
Beirut
(AUB) and the Université Saint-Joseph
Université Saint-Joseph
(USJ) were the first Anglophone and the first Francophone
Francophone
universities to open in Lebanon, respectively.[235][236] Universities in Lebanon, both public and private, largely operate in French or English.[237] According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities's, the top-ranking universities in the country are the American University of Beirut
Beirut
(#989 worldwide), Lebanese American University (#2,178 worldwide), Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth
Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth
(#2,603 worldwide), Université Libanaise
Université Libanaise
(#3,826 worldwide) and Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (#5,525 worldwide).[238] Health In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 7.03% of the country's GDP. In 2009, there were 31.29 physicians and 19.71 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants.[239] The life expectancy at birth was 72.59 years in 2011, or 70.48 years for males and 74.80 years for females.[240] By the end of the civil war, only one third of the country’s public hospitals were operational, each with an average of only 20 beds. By 2009 the country had 28 public hospitals, with a total of 2,550 beds.[241] At public hospitals, hospitalized uninsured patients pay 5% of the bill, in comparison with 15% in private hospitals, with the Ministry of Public Health reimbursing the remainder.[241] The Ministry of Public Health contracts with 138 private hospitals and 25 public hospitals.[242] In 2011, there were 236,643 subsidized admissions to hospitals; 164,244 in private hospitals, and 72,399 in public hospitals. More patients visit private hospitals than public hospitals, because the private beds supply is higher.[242] Recently, there has been an increase in foodborne illnesses which has put an emphasis on the importance of the safety of the food chain in Lebanon. This raised the illues public awareness. More restaurants are seeking information and compliance with International Organization for Standardization.[243] See also

Book: Lebanon

Lebanon
Lebanon
portal Asia
Asia
portal

Constitution of Lebanon Driving licence in Lebanon Index of Lebanon-related articles Lebanese diaspora Lebanese identity card Lebanese nationality law Lebanese passport List of Lebanese people
Lebanese people
(diaspora) Outline of Lebanon Water supply and sanitation in Lebanon French language
French language
in Lebanon Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon List of museums in Lebanon

Notes

^ Article 11 of the Constitution of Lebanon
Constitution of Lebanon
states: " Arabic
Arabic
is the official national language. A law shall determine the cases in which the French language
French language
can be used." See: French language
French language
in Lebanon ^ Republic
Republic
of Lebanon
Lebanon
is the most common phrase used by Lebanese government agencies. The phrase Lebanese Republic
Republic
is a literal translation of the official Arabic
Arabic
and French names that is not used in today's world. Lebanese Arabic
Lebanese Arabic
is the most common language spoken among the citizens of Lebanon. ^ Excluding the partially-recognized State of Palestine. Cyprus, Brunei, Bahrain, Singapore, and the Maldives, whilst all smaller than Lebanon
Lebanon
and considered parts of Asia, are entirely on islands, and therefore off the Asian continental mass. ^ 2005: Bassel Fleihan, Lebanese legislator and Minister of Economy and Commerce; Samir Kassir, Columnist and Democratic Left Movement leader; George Hawi, former head of Lebanese Communist Party; Gibran Tueni, Editor in Chief of "An Nahar" newspaper. 2006: Pierre Gemayel, Minister of Industry. 2007: Walid Eido, MP; Antoine Ghanim, MP.

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Bibliography

Morris, Benny (April 2008). 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-12696-9. 

Further reading

Arkadiusz, Plonka. L’idée de langue libanaise d’après Sa‘īd ‘Aql, Paris, Geuthner, 2004 (French) ISBN 2-7053-3739-3 Firzli, Nicola Y. Al-Baath wa-Lubnân [ Arabic
Arabic
only] ("The Baath and Lebanon"). Beirut: Dar-al-Tali'a Books, 1973 Fisk, Robert. Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon. New York: Nation Books, 2002. Glass, Charles, "Tribes with Flags: A Dangerous Passage Through the Chaos of the Middle East", Atlantic Monthly Press (New York) and Picador (London), 1990 ISBN 0-436-18130-4 Gorton, TJ and Feghali Gorton, AG. Lebanon: through Writers' Eyes. London: Eland Books, 2009. Hitti Philip K. History of Syria
Syria
Including Lebanon
Lebanon
and Palestine, Vol. 2 (2002) (ISBN 1-931956-61-8) Norton, Augustus R. Amal and the Shi'a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1987. Sobelman, Daniel. New Rules of the Game: Israel
Israel
and Hizbollah After the Withdrawal From Lebanon, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel-Aviv University, 2004. Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Salibi, Kamal. A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Schlicht, Alfred. The role of Foreign Powers in the History of Syria and Lebanon
Lebanon
1799–1861 in: Journal of Asian History 14 (1982)

Georges Corm, Le Liban contemporain. Histoire et société (La découverte, 2003 et 2005)

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