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General information
Common nameLebanon
Local name 
AnthemLebanese National Anthem
Largest cityBeirut
Official languagesLebanese Arabic, French (conditional) 
Ethnic groups95% Arab,{{#tag:ref|The Lebanese are ethnically a mixture of Phoenician, Greek, Armenian, and Arab elements. Some Christian Lebanese do not identify as Arab, and prefer to be called Phoenician.|name="infobox_fn_2"|group="infobox"}}, 4% Armenian, 1% other
GovernmentUnitary confessionalist and Parliamentary republic
PresidentMichel Suleiman
Prime MinisterNajib Mikati
Speaker of ParliamentNabih Berri
LegislatureChamber of Deputies
IndependenceIndependence (End of French League of Nations Mandate)
Declaration of Greater Lebanon1 September 1920
Constitution23 May 1926
Declared26 November 1941
Recognized22 November 1943
Total Area4036 sq mi (10453.2 km2) (166th)
Water %1.6
Population Est.4224000 (124th)
Density (pop.)403.8/km2 (25th) (1046/sq mi)
GDP PPP$61.581 billion (2010)
GDP (PPP) per capita$15,557
GDP (nominal)$42.539 billion (2010)
GDP (nominal) per capita$10,746
Other information
HDI(+) 0.803 (2009) (high)
CurrencyLebanese pound (LBP)
Time zoneEET (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST)EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on theright
Calling code961

     Home | Country | Lebanon

Lebanon (c-enaudio=en-US-Lebanon, officially the Republic of Lebanon (Arabic: ; French: ), is a country in Western Asia, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east, and Israel to the south. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland has dictated its rich history, and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity.

The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back more than 7,000 years-predating recorded history. Lebanon was the home of the Phoenicians, a maritime culture that flourished for nearly 2,500 years (3000 � 539 BC). Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the five provinces that comprise modern Lebanon were mandated to France. The French expanded the borders of Mount Lebanon, which was mostly populated by Maronite Catholics and Druze, to include more Muslims. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, and established a unique political system, known as confessionalism, a power-sharing mechanism based on religious communities � Bechara El Khoury who became independent Lebanon first President and Riad El-Solh, who became Lebanon's first prime minister, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and are national heroes for having led the country's independence. French troops withdrew from Lebanon in 1946.

Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975 � 1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity, Lebanon was known in its heyday as the "Switzerland of the East". It attracted large numbers of tourists, such that the capital Beirut was referred to as "Paris of the Middle East." At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.

Until July 2006, Lebanon enjoyed considerable stability, Beirut's reconstruction was almost complete, and increasing numbers of tourists poured into the nation's resorts. Then, the month-long 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah caused significant civilian death and heavy damage to Lebanon's civil infrastructure.

Due to its tightly regulated financial system, Lebanese banks largely avoided the financial crisis of 2007 � 2010. In 2009, despite a global recession, Lebanon enjoyed 9% economic growth and hosted the largest number of tourists in its history; however, by 2011, economic growth had slowed to below average for the region.

Lebanon is known for its unique efforts in the Middle East to guarantee civil rights and freedom to its citizens, ranking first in the Middle East and 26th worldwide (out of 66 countries) in the The World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index 2011.

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