Lebanon is an independent nation in Western Asia. With the capital city of Beirut, Lebanon 2020 population is estimated at 6,825,456 according to countryaah. In Lebanese soil, remains have been found for people who lived there about 200,000 years ago, but the area’s history is known through written sources only from about 3000 BC.
The small area that makes up Lebanon today had good ports. Along the coast, and through the Beka Valley, two central roads for caravans and warlords followed. Control over these trade routes was attractive to conquerors. The only thing Lebanon itself could offer was good quality cedar.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Lebanon, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
On the coast, some 3,000 years before Christ lived a Semitic people, the Canaanites, better known by their Greek name the Phoenicians. They built fortified cities along the coast and as skilled boatbuilders they were able to expand their empire around large parts of the Mediterranean. After a heyday of 400 years, the Phoenicians were oppressed by Assyria to the east. Then the Persians came further east, from present-day Iran. At the same time, Greece emerged as a shipping nation. At the battle of Salami’s 480 years before Christ between Persians and Greeks, the Phoenicians were incorporated into the Persian Empire. For Lebanon political system, please check carswers.
Alexander the Great conquered Lebanon today in the 330s BC. The century before the beginning of our era, the Romans arrived. From the 300s the area was ruled from Christian Östrom (Byzantium). Struggles between the Persians and the Byzantine Empire facilitated the conquest of the Arabs in the 600s. The entire region on the eastern Mediterranean coast went to the Arabs after the Battle of Yarmuk on the Jordan River in 636.
But Lebanon retained its Christian character until the 8th century. Then Arab tribes settled near Beirut and became a counterpost to the Christian Maronites. A little later, groups of Shi’a Muslims and Drusians also began to establish themselves. Islamic politics was gentle on Christians who were largely left in peace.
For more than a thousand years, Lebanon was ruled by Muslim great powers. The crusade period in the 12th and 13th centuries, when Christian crusaders ravaged, meant an unwelcome change for the Muslim rulers. In 1251 the Egyptian Mamluks took over Lebanon and a period of war and hardship ensued. In 1516, today’s Lebanon was incorporated into the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The Turkish sultan gave the occupied peoples a great measure of self-government, but in the 1830s the Turks tried to gain better control over the area. A peasant uprising broke out in the mid-19th century when poor Maronites rose up against Drusian feudal lords. The uprising mainly had social causes, but France and other European great powers interfered in demanding better conditions for the Christians. The Ottoman Empire was forced to promise that Mount Lebanon, part of the province of Syria, would be administered under a Christian governor.
After World War I, in 1920, the League of Nations gave France a mandate to administer Lebanon and Syria, as an area. In Damascus, Arab leaders tried to rebel against the French, but leading Lebanese who were Maronites were satisfied with French rule. Lebanon was separated from Syria to become a favored French colony.
But instead of drawing the new border around the Christian core area at Mount Lebanon, the French chose a larger territory. As a result, Muslim groups in the area of France ended up as a Christian state. Many in the Arab world, not just in Syria, still see the border as unnatural.
In 1926, France gave Lebanon a certain autonomy – and the world’s oldest constitution. Towards the end of the 1930s, the Lebanese demanded increased self-determination, but in 1939 France regained control. This united the Lebanese opposition, which in 1943 agreed on the so-called National Pact, an agreement on how the religious communities in Lebanon would divide power. A census of 1932 was established as the basis for the division of power, which showed that the Christians were in the majority.
The Pact allocated the highest offices (see Political system). The larger groups would be represented in the government while others were left outside. The mandate in Parliament and other important posts would be added according to the principle of 5: 6, that is, for five Muslims there would be six Christians.
When, during World War II, France split between the German-friendly Vichy government and General Charles de Gaulle’s Free French forces, the French administration in Beirut chose to ally with Vichy. It was seen as a threat to British interests in the region. Britain occupied Lebanon in 1941 with the French exile government troops. Exiller de Gaulle realized that he needed the Lebanese on his side and agreed that the country was declared independent in November of that year. However, the surrender of power led to conflicts and dragged on over time. It was not until December 31, 1946, that Lebanon was free of foreign soldiers.
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More deaths after further clashes
A group of 14 Sunni Muslim Lebanese and Palestinians are shot dead in a border town in Syria. They are believed to have been on their way to engage on the part of the rebels in the civil war in Syria. The incident leads to new clashes between Alawites and Sunni Muslims in Tripoli and up to twenty people lose their lives. Far more people are injured.
Intelligence service leaders are killed
The head of the country’s internal intelligence service, Wissam al-Hassan, is killed by a car bomb in central Beirut. A total of eight people lose their lives in the attack. Al-Hassan was a well-known Syrian critic, and the opposition accuses Syria of being behind the bomb. The council triggered extensive demonstrations in Beirut and in a number of other cities. The protesters protest against Syria and the country’s government. In Tripoli, three people, including two children, are killed in the unrest that is taking place. Prime Minister Najib Mikati offers to resign but is asked to stay at his post by President Suleiman.
At the end of the month, fifteen people, including a Sunni Muslim priest, are killed in a new outbreak of violence between Alawites and Sunni Muslims in Tripoli. Over a hundred people are injured.
Several dead in clashes
Ten people lose their lives in new clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Tripoli.
Clashes between Alawites and Sunni Muslims
Sunni Muslims and Alawites hit Tripoli at the end of the month and five people are killed. A few days later, unrest spreads to Beirut, where a few people are reported to have been killed and about twenty injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime.
Struggles between Alawites and Sunni Muslims
Struggles occur in the city of Tripoli between Alawites, ie Shia Muslims belonging to the same minority as Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, and Sunni Muslims who feel solidarity with Sunni neighboring rebels. At least two people are reported killed in the fighting.
Trial will be held despite absence
The Hariri tribunal announces that it will hold a trial even though the four Hezbollah members suspected of Hariri’s murder have not been able to be arrested and therefore unable to attend.