This article is about the country.
and largest city
|Local vernacular||Lebanese Arabic|
|Government||Unitary parliamentary confessionalist constitutional republic|
|Prime Minister||Hassan Diab|
|Speaker of the Parliament||Nabih Berri|
|Greater Lebanon||1 September 1920|
|Constitution||23 May 1926|
|Independence declared||22 November 1943|
|French mandate ended||24 October 1945|
|Withdrawal of French forces||17 April 1946|
|Syrian and Israeli occupations||1976–2005|
|Israeli troops withdrawn||24 May 2000|
|Syrian troops withdrawn||30 April 2005|
|Total||10,452 km (4,036 sq mi) (161st)|
|2018 estimate||6,859,408 (109th)|
|Density||560/km (1,450.4/sq mi) (21st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2020 estimate|
|Per capita||$11,562 (66th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
|Total||$18 billion (82nd)|
high · 93rd
|Currency||Lebanese pound (LBP)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||LB|
Lebanon (/ˈlɛbənɒn, -nən/ (listen); Arabic: لبنان, romanized: Lubnān, Lebanese Arabic pronunciation: [lɪbˈneːn), officially known as the Lebanese Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية, romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah, Lebanese Arabic pronunciation: [lˈʒʊmhuːrijje lˈlɪbneːnijje), is a country in the Levant region of Western Asia, and the transcontinental region of the Middle East.
The official language, Arabic, is the most common language spoken by the citizens of Lebanon.
However, a new religious group, the Druze, established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries.
These ties have influenced the region into the modern era.
Lebanon was conquered by the Ottomans in the 16th century and remained under their rule for the next 400 years.
President Bechara El Khoury, prime minister Riad El-Solh, and minister of defence Emir Majid Arslan II are considered the founders of modern Lebanon and national heroes for their role in independence.
Lebanon initially enjoyed political and economic stability, which was shattered by the bloody Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) between various political and sectarian factions.
Prior to the civil war, the country enjoyed a diversified economy that included tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking.
Its financial power and stability through the 1950s and 1960s earned Lebanon the name of "Switzerland of the East", while its capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the Paris of the Middle East".
Since the end of the war, there have been extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.
While still recovering from the political and economic effects of the conflict, Lebanon remains a cosmopolitan and developing country, with the highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the Arab world outside of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.
Lebanon was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and is a member of the Arab League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement (1961), Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969), and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (1973).
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.
Main article: History of Lebanon
Main article: Geography of Lebanon
Its land straddles the "northwest of the Arabian plate".
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 has a coastline and border of 225 kilometres (140 mi) on the Mediterranean Sea to the west, a 375 kilometres (233 mi) border shared with Syria to the north and east and a 79 kilometres (49 mi) long border with Israel to the south.
The fertile coastal plain is formed of marine sediments and river deposited alluvium alternating with sandy bays and rocky beaches.
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 mountains peak at 3,088 metres (10,131 ft) above sea level in Qurnat as Sawda' in North 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 sits between the Lebanon mountains in the west and the Anti-Lebanon range in the east; it is a part of the 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 range runs parallel to the Lebanon mountains, its highest peak is in Mount Hermon at 2,814 metres (9,232 ft).
The mountains of 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 to the west of Baalbek and empties into the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre.
Lebanon has 16 rivers all of which are non navigable; 13 rivers originate from Mount Lebanon and run through the steep gorges and into the Mediterranean Sea, the other three arise in the Beqaa Valley.
Main article: Climate of 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.
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 receives only little because of the rain shadow created by the high peaks of the western mountain range.
Main article: Wildlife of Lebanon
In ancient times, Lebanon was covered by large forests of cedar trees, the national emblem of the country.
Millennia of deforestation have altered the hydrology in Mount Lebanon and changed the regional climate adversely.
As of 2012, forests covered 13.4% of the Lebanese land area; they are under constant threat from wildfires caused by the long dry summer season.
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 Reserve, the Ammouaa and Karm Shbat Reserves in the Akkar district, and the Forest of the Cedars of God near Bsharri.
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.
The plan, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by the U.S. (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. Forest Service
As of 2016, forests covered 13.6% of Lebanon, and other wooded lands represented a further 11%.
Since 2011, more than 600,000 trees, including cedars and other native species, have been planted throughout Lebanon as part of the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI).
Main article: Marine environmental issues in Lebanon
Beirut and Mount Lebanon have been facing a severe garbage crisis.
After the closure of the 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 and Beirut.
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 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.
Initial reports that the waste was to be exported to Sierra Leone have been denied by diplomats.
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.
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 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.
In 2017, Human Rights Watch found that Lebanon's garbage crisis, and open burning of waste in particular, was posing a health risk to residents and violating the state's obligations under international law.
In September 2018, Lebanon's parliament passed a law that banned open dumping and burning of waste.
Despite penalties set in case of violations, Lebanese municipalities have been openly burning the waste, putting the lives of people in danger.
Lebanon forest fire 2019
Main article: Lebanon forest fire 2019
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri confirmed his contact with a number of countries to send assistance via helicopters and firefighting planes, Cyprus, Jordan, Turkey and Greece participated in firefighting.
Government and politics
The President, for example, has to be a 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.
This system is intended to deter sectarian conflict and to represent fairly the demographic distribution of the 18 recognized religious groups in government.
The country lost this status with the outbreak of the Civil War, and has not regained it since.
Lebanon was rated "Partly Free" in 2013.
Even so, Freedom House still ranks Lebanon as one of the most democratic nations in the Arab world.
After liberalization laws were passed in 2007, the number of banned jobs dropped to around 20.
In 2010, Palestinians were granted the same rights to work as other foreigners in the country.
Its 128 seats are divided equally between Christians and Muslims, proportionately between the 18 different denominations and proportionately between its 26 regions.
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.
The Parliament is elected for a four-year term by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation.
The parliament elects the president for a non-renewable six-year term by a two-thirds majority.
The president appoints the Prime Minister, following consultations with the parliament.
The president and the prime minister form a cabinet, which must also adhere to the sectarian distribution set out by confessionalism.
In an unprecedented move, the Lebanese parliament has extended its own term twice amid protests, the last being on 5 November 2014, an act which comes in direct contradiction with democracy and article #42 of the Lebanese constitution as no elections have taken place.
Lebanon was without a President between May 2014 and October 2016.
Nationwide elections were finally scheduled for May 2018.
As of August 2019, the Lebanese cabinet included two ministers directly affiliated with Hezbollah, in addition to a close but officially non-member minister.
There are 18 officially recognized religious groups in Lebanon, each with its own family law legislation and set of religious courts.
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 law.
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.
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.
Capital punishment is still de facto used to sanction certain crimes, but no longer enforced.
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.
Main article: Foreign relations of 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 also has bilateral trade agreements with several Arab states and is working toward accession to the World Trade Organization.
Lebanon enjoys good relations with virtually all of the other Arab countries (despite historic tensions with Libya and Syria), and hosted an Arab League Summit in March 2002 for the first time in more than 35 years.
Main article: Lebanese Armed Forces
The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has 72,000 active personnel, including 1,100 in the air force, and 1,000 in the navy.
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.
Lebanon is a major recipient of foreign military aid.
With more than $400 million since 2005, it is the second largest per capita recipient of American military aid behind Israel.
Human rights groups have repeatedly accused the Lebanese army of torture.
Main article: LGBT rights in Lebanon
Male homosexuality is illegal in Lebanon.
Discrimination against LGBT people in Lebanon is widespread.
According to 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 80% of Lebanese respondents believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
Lebanon is divided into eight governorates (muḥāfaẓāt, Arabic: محافظات; singular muḥāfaẓah, Arabic: محافظة) which are further subdivided into twenty-six districts (aqdyah Arabic: أقضية; singular: qadāʾ Arabic: قضاء).
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:
- Beirut Governorate
- The Beirut Governorate is not divided into districts and is limited to the city of Beirut
- Akkar Governorate
- Baalbek-Hermel Governorate
- Beqaa Governorate
- Mount Lebanon Governorate (Jabal Lubnan/Jabal Lebnen)
- Nabatieh Governorate (Jabal Amel)
- North Governorate (ash-Shamal/shmel)
- South Governorate (al-Janoub/Jnub)
Main article: Economy of Lebanon
Lebanon's constitution states that 'the economic system is free and ensures private initiative and the right to private property'.
Lebanon's economy follows a laissez-faire model.
Most of the economy is dollarized, and the country has no restrictions on the movement of capital across its borders.
The Lebanese government's intervention in foreign trade is minimal.
The Lebanese economy went through a significant expansion after the war of 2006, with growth averaging 9.1% between 2007 and 2010.
After 2011 the local economy was affected by the Syrian civil war, growing by a yearly average of 1.7% on the 2011-2016 period and by 1.5% in 2017.
In 2018, the size of the GDP was estimated to be $54.1 billion.
Lebanon has a very high level of public debt and large external financing needs.
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.
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.
The Daily Star wrote that exorbitant debt levels have "slowed down the economy and reduced the government's spending on essential development projects".
The urban population in Lebanon is noted for its commercial enterprise.
Emigration has yielded Lebanese "commercial networks" throughout the world.
Remittances from Lebanese abroad total $8.2 billion and account for one-fifth of the country's economy.
Lebanon has the largest proportion of skilled labor among Arab States.
The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon was established with the aim of promoting investment in Lebanon.
In 2001, Investment Law No.360 was enacted to reinforce the organisation's mission.
Agriculture contributed to 5.9% of the country's GDP in 2011.
Lebanon's proportion of cultivable land is the highest in the Arab world, Major produce includes apples, peaches, oranges, and lemons.
The commodities market in 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.
Oil has recently been discovered inland and in the seabed between Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt and talks are underway between Cyprus and Egypt to reach an agreement regarding the exploration of these resources.
The seabed separating Lebanon and Cyprus is believed to hold significant quantities of crude oil and natural gas.
Industry in 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, and second in GDP contribution, with 21% of Lebanon's GDP.
Nearly 65% of the Lebanese workforce attain employment in the services sector.
The GDP contribution, accordingly, amounts to roughly 67.3% of the annual Lebanese GDP.
However, dependence on the tourism and banking sectors leaves the economy vulnerable to political instability.
Lebanese banks are high on liquidity and reputed for their security.
Lebanon was one of the only seven countries in the world in which the value of the stock markets increased in 2008.
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 30×10 cu ft of gas.
The Syrian crisis has significantly affected Lebanese economic and financial situation.
The demographic pressure imposed by the Syrian refugees now living in 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 as $4.5 billion every year.
In the 1950s, GDP growth was the second highest in the world.
Despite not having oil reserves, Lebanon, as the banking center of the Middle East and one of the trading centers, had a high national income.
The 1975–1990 civil war heavily damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon's position as a West Asian entrepôt and banking hub.
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.
Until July 2006, Lebanon enjoyed considerable stability, Beirut's reconstruction was almost complete, and increasing numbers of tourists poured into the nation's resorts.
The economy witnessed growth, with bank assets reaching over 75 billion US dollars, Market capitalization was also at an all-time high, estimated at $10.9 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2006.
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 on 30 August 2006, a major economic decline was expected as a result of the fighting.
Over the course of 2008 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 include Saudi Arabia (with US$1.5 billion pledged), the European Union (with about $1 billion) and a few other Persian Gulf countries with contributions of up to $800 million.
Main article: Tourism in Lebanon
The tourism industry accounts for about 10% of GDP.
Lebanon managed to attract around 1,333,000 tourists in 2008, thus placing it as rank 79 out of 191 countries.
In 2009, The New York Times ranked Beirut the No.
1 travel destination worldwide due to its nightlife and hospitality.
In January 2010, the Ministry of Tourism announced that 1,851,081 tourists had visited Lebanon in 2009, a 39% increase from 2008.
In 2009, Lebanon hosted the largest number of tourists to date, eclipsing the previous record set before the Lebanese Civil War.
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.
Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Japan are the three most popular origin countries of foreign tourists to Lebanon.
The recent influx of Japanese tourists has caused the recent rise in popularity of Japanese Cuisine in Lebanon.
Main article: Education in Lebanon
Listed by the World Economic Forum's 2013 Global Information Technology Report, 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.
The United Nations assigned 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.
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, 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.
Lebanon has forty-one nationally accredited universities, several of which are internationally recognized.
Universities in Lebanon, both public and private, largely operate in French or English.
The top-ranking universities in the country are the American University of Beirut (#220 worldwide, #2 in the Middle East as of 2021), University of Balamand (#501 worldwide as of 2021 Lebanese American University(#551 worldwide as of 2021), Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth (#541 worldwide as of 2021), Université Libanaise (#3,826 worldwide) and Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (#600s worldwide as of 2020).
Notre Dame University-Louaize NDU #701 as of 2021
Main article: Health in Lebanon
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.
The life expectancy at birth was 72.59 years in 2011, or 70.48 years for males and 74.80 years for females.
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, while currently the country had an approximate of 25 public hospitals.
At public hospitals, hospitalized uninsured patients pay 5% of the bill, in comparison with 15% in private hospitals, with the reimbursing the remainder.
The Ministry of Public Health contracts with 138 private hospitals and 25 public hospitals.
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.
According to the Ministry of Public Health in Lebanon, the top 10 leading causes of reported hospital deaths in 2017 were: malignant neoplasm of bronchus or lung (4.6%), Acute myocardial infarction (3%), pneumonia (2.2%), exposure to unspecified factor, unspecified place (2.1%), acute kidney injury (1.4%), intra-cerebral hemorrhage (1.2%), malignant neoplasm of colon (1.2%), malignant neoplasm of pancreas (1.1%), malignant neoplasm of prostate (1.1%), malignant neoplasm of bladder (0.8%).
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.
Main article: Demographics of Lebanon
See also: Lebanese people
The population of Lebanon was estimated to be 6,859,408 in 2018; however, no official census has been conducted since 1932 due to the sensitive confessional political balance between Lebanon's various religious groups.
Identifying all Lebanese as ethnically Arab is a widely employed example of panethnicity since in reality, the Lebanese "are descended from many different peoples who are either indigenous, or have occupied, invaded, or settled this corner of the world", making Lebanon, "a mosaic of closely interrelated cultures".
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".
The fertility rate fell from 5.00 in 1971 to 1.75 in 2004.
Lebanon has witnessed a series of migration waves: over 1,800,000 people emigrated from the country in the 1975–2011 period.
(See Lebanese people).
In Canada, there is also a large 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 (around 25,000 people), Saudi Arabia and UAE act as host countries to many Lebanese.
According to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia of the United Nations, among the Syrian refugees, 71% live in poverty.
A 2013 estimate by the United Nations put the number of Syrian refugees at more than 1,250,000.
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.
Main article: Religion in Lebanon
Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East.
As of 2014 the CIA World Factbook estimates the following: Muslim 54% (27% Sunni Islam, 27% Shia Islam), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% 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.
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.
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.
When the last census was held in 1932, Christians made up 53% of Lebanon's population.
In 1956, it was estimated that the population was 54% Christian and 44% Muslim.
A demographic study conducted by the research firm Statistics Lebanon found that approximately 27% of the population was Sunni, 27% Shia, 21% Maronite, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Druze, 5% Melkite, and 1% Protestant, with the remaining 6% mostly belonging to smaller non-native to Lebanon Christian denominations.
Because the relative size of confessional groups remains a sensitive issue, a national census has not been conducted since 1932.
The Sunni residents primarily live in Tripoli, Western Beirut, the Southern coast of Lebanon, and Northern Lebanon.
The Maronite residents primarily live in Eastern Beirut and the mountains of Lebanon.
They are the largest Christian community in Lebanon.
The Greek Orthodox, the second largest Christian community in Lebanon, primarily live in Koura, Beirut, Rachaya, Matn, Aley, Akkar, in the countryside around Tripoli, Hasbaya and Marjeyoun.
They are a minority of 10% in Zahle.
The Greek Catholics live mainly in Beirut, on the eastern slopes of the Lebanon mountains and in Zahle which is predominantly Greek Catholic.
In the Christian village of Hadat, there has been a municipal ban on Muslims from buying or renting property.
It has been claimed that it is due to an underlying fear of mixing with one another's salvation since for three decades, the village of Hadat has been predominantly Christian.
Article 11 of Lebanon's Constitution states that "Arabic is the official national language.
A law determines the cases in which the French language is to be used".
The majority of Lebanese people speak Lebanese Arabic, which is grouped in a larger category called Levantine Arabic, while 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.
By comparison, English is used as a secondary language in 30% of Lebanon's secondary schools.
The use of French is a legacy of France's historic ties to the region, including its League of Nations mandate over Lebanon following World War I; as of 2005, some 20% of the population used French on a daily basis.
The use of 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.
English is increasingly used in science and business interactions.
As of 2009, there were around 150,000 Armenians in Lebanon, or around 5% of the population.
Main article: Culture of Lebanon
The culture of 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".
Lebanese Arabic is universally spoken while food, music, and literature are deep-rooted "in wider Mediterranean and Arab Levantine norms".
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 over his career.
Many more contemporary artists are currently active, such as Walid Raad, a contemporary media artist currently residing in New York.
In the field of photography, the Arab Image Foundation has a collection of over 400,000 photographs from Lebanon and the Middle East.
The photographs can be viewed in a research center and various events and publications have been produced in Lebanon and worldwide to promote the collection.
Mikha'il Na'ima is widely recognized as one of the most important figures in modern Arabic letters and one of the most important spiritual writers of the 20th century.
Main article: Music of Lebanon
While traditional folk music remains popular in Lebanon, modern music reconciling Western and traditional Arabic styles, pop, and fusion are rapidly advancing in popularity.
Radio stations feature a variety of music, including traditional Lebanese, classical Arabic, Armenian and modern French, English, American, and Latin tunes.
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.
Cinema in Lebanon has been in existence since the 1920s, and the country has produced over 500 films.
The media of Lebanon is not only a regional center of production but also the most liberal and free in the Arab world.
According to Press freedom's Reporters Without Borders, "the media have more freedom in Lebanon than in any other Arab country".
Despite its small population and geographic size, Lebanon plays an influential role in the production of information in the Arab world and is "at the core of a regional media network with global implications".
Holidays and festivals
Main article: Public holidays in Lebanon
Armenian Apostolic Christians celebrate Christmas on 6 January, as they follow the Julian Calendar.
Muslim holidays are followed based on the Islamic lunar calendar.
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.
These festivals are promoted by Lebanon's Ministry of Tourism.
Lebanon hosts about 15 concerts from international performers each year, ranking 1st for nightlife in the Middle East, and 6th worldwide.
Main article: Lebanese cuisine
It is usually drunk with water and ice, which turns the clear liquid milky-white, and usually accompanies food.
Arak is a strong spirit similar to the Greek ouzo and the Turkish raki.
Lebanese restaurant meals begin with a wide array of mezze - small savoury dishes, such as dips, salads, and pastries.
Beirut and its environs contain many restaurants of various national origins.
Main article: Sport in 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 in the afternoon.
At the competitive level, basketball and football are among Lebanon's most popular sports.
The Beirut Marathon is held every fall, drawing top runners from Lebanon and abroad.
Rugby league is a relatively new but growing sport in Lebanon.
He became the greatest point-scorer in National Rugby League history in 2009 by scoring himself 2418 points while playing for Australian club, 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.
Lebanon participates in Basketball.
Fadi El Khatib is the most decorated player in the Lebanese National 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 and the Nejmeh SC, with notable players being Roda Antar and Youssef Mohamad, the first Arab to captain a European premier league team.
Water sports have also shown to be very active in the past years, in Lebanon.
Since 2012 and with the emergence of the Lebanon Water Festival NGO, more emphasis has been placed on those sports, and Lebanon has been pushed forward as a water sport destination internationally.
They host different contests and water show sports that encourage their fans to participate and win big.
Science and Technology
In 1960, a science club from a university in Beirut started with a Lebanese space program, thus "the Lebanese Rocket Society" was emerged.
They achieved great success until 1966 where the program was stopped because of both war and external pressure.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon.