name: Lebanese Republic
holiday: Independence Day, 22 November
background: Lebanon was the biblical 'land of milk and honey'. By around
2500 BC the coast had been colonised by the Phoenicians. In the 9th century
BC, the Assyrians clomped in, then the Neo-Babylonians and then the Persians.
The Phoenicians finally declined when Alexander the Great swept through
the Middle East in the 4th century BC and Phoenicia was gradually Hellenised.
In 64 BC, Pompey the Great conquered Phoenicia and it became part of the
Roman province of Syria. As the Roman empire crumbled, Christianity gained
momentum and Lebanon became part of the eastern Byzantine Empire in the
4th century AD. The Umayyuds, the first great Muslim dynasty, held sway
in Lebanon for about a century. They were followed by the Abbasids in 750
until the 11th century and then by Fatimid dynasty. The Crusaders had their
sights set on Jerusalem, but marched down the Syrian and Lebanese coast.
The Muslim Ayyubids got their claws into Lebanon until they were overthrown
by the Mamlukes, who ruled Lebanon for the next 300 years. The Ottoman
Sultan Selim I conquered Lebanon in 1516-17. In 1842, the Ottomans divided
Mount Lebanon into two administrative regions, one Druze and the other
Maronite. The Ottomans, under pressure from Europe, created a single Lebanese
administrative unit. Following the Allied victory in 1918, Lebanon came
under French rule. During WWII Lebanon became fully independent and developed
into a major trade centre. The combination of an internal unbalanced of
power in favor of the Christian and the arrival of large numbers of diplaced
displaced Palestinians create a civil war situation which broke out in
1975. Over the next 20 years, insanely complicated civil and international
wars. The long war has cost some 150,000 Lebanese lives and left the country
in a ruinous state.
N, 35 50 E
point: Qurnat as Sawda' 3,088 m
countries: Israel & Syria
cities: Tripoli, Zahle, Saïda, Tyr
3.7 millions (2003)
expectancy: 72 years
groups: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Muslim 70% (including Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri),
Christian 30% (including Orthodox Christian, Catholic, Protestant)
per capita: € 4,800 (2002 est)
country code: .lb
description: three horizontal bands of red (top), white (double width),
and red with a green cedar tree centered in the white band Flag.
anthem: listen the anthem
illustrated with the Lebnaise coat of arms.