Population: 4,017,095 (July 2010 estimate)
Bordering Countries: Israel and Syria
Land Area: 4,015 square miles (10,400 sq km)
Coastline: 140 miles (225 km)
Highest Point: Qurnat as Sawda at 10,131 feet (3,088 m)
Lebanon, officially called the Lebanese Republic, is a country along the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Israel and Syria and rich history because of its location on the Mediterranean. Lebanon is a growing country that is currently recovering after a 2006 war with Israel and the Hezbollah as well as decades of civil war in the late 20th century.
History of Lebanon
Historically, Lebanon is home to the Phoenician people who lived in the region from 2,700 to 450 B.C.E. It was also controlled by the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I, at which time the League of Nations gave the land to France. Lebanon drafted its first constitution in 1926 and in 1943, it gained independence. Since gaining independence however, Lebanon has been unstable as various religious groups have fought for power.
In 1967, the Arab-Israeli war broke out and Palestinian refugees began entering Lebanon in 1969 and again in 1970. This caused conflict to develop between Muslim and Christian groups and in April 1975, a civil war began in Lebanon which lasted until 1981 and eventually included Israel, Syria and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which entered the country in 1970. In 1981, the United States arranged a cease-fire agreement.
In 1982 however, the PLO attacked northern Israel and attempted to assassinate the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom. In June 1982, Israel entered Lebanon to remove the PLO forces. In May 1983, after several attempted interventions by the U.S., France and Italy, Lebanon, Israel and the U.S., signed an agreement for Israeli withdrawal after that of Syrian troops, which had also entered in the 1970s fighting.
Syria opposed the 1983 agreement and fighting continued in Lebanon throughout the rest of that year and into 1984. There were also several terrorist attacks against the U.S. and other western areas in Lebanon such as the U.S. Embassy. The Hezbollah, a militant Lebanese group supported by Iran and Syria, was also formed in the early 1980s.
Between 1985 and 1989, conflicts between the Palestinians and Lebanese groups increased and in 1987, fighting entered Lebanon's capital, Beirut. In 1989, fighting began to ease and the Ta'if Agreement was signed to mark the end of the war.
From 1992 to 2005, Lebanon underwent a postwar reconstruction but it was still plagued with social and political instability. There were also several conflicts with the Hezbollah and the country's economy struggled as its currency collapsed.
In 2006, war returned to Lebanon when the Hezbollah entered Israel and killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two more on July 12. This began a war with Israel and Hezbollah positions throughout Lebanon were attacked. The war lasted until August 14 and one-fourth of Lebanon's population was displaced and much of its infrastructure was destroyed.
Government of Lebanon
Today, Lebanon's government is recovering from these decades of war. Its government is considered a republic with an executive branch made up of a chief of state and a head of government who are elected by the National Assembly. Lebanon's legislative branch is the unicameral National Assembly while its judicial branch is made up of four Courts of Cassation, a Constitutional Council and the Supreme Council. The country is divided into six governorates for local administration.
Economics and Land Use in Lebanon
Lebanon has a free-market economy that is currently focused on the service sector, banking and tourism. In addition to these, Lebanon's industrial sector is focused on food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining and metal fabricating. Agriculture also plays a role in the country's economy and the main products are citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, sheep and goats.
Geography and Climate of Lebanon
Lebanon is in the Middle East to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. Most of its land area is mountainous and its highest point is Qurnat as Sawda at 10,131 feet (3,088 m). The country also has a narrow coastal plain and the Beqaa Valley. This valley is the main agricultural center in Lebanon. The largest cities in the country are Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon.
Lebanon's climate is Mediterranean with mild to cool, wet winters and hot dry summers. The mountainous regions however are cold and receive abundant snow in the winter. Beirut, Lebanon's capital, is located along the coast and has an average January low temperature of 52°F (11°C) and an August average high of 87°F (31°C).
More Facts about Lebanon
• Lebanon's main ethnic groups are Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
• The official language of Lebanon is Arabic but English, French and Armenian are also spoken
To learn more about Lebanon and see recent events in the country, visit the Lebanon News section from the New York Times.
Central Intelligence Agency. (19 August 2010). CIA - The World Factbook - Lebanon. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html
Infoplease.com. (n.d.). Lebanon: History, Geography, Government, and Culture- Infoplease.com. Retrieved from: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107710.html#axzz0xXr5dExK
United States Department of State. (22 March 2010). Lebanon. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35833.htm
Wikipedia.com. (24 August 2010). Lebanon - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon