Lebanon, officially called as the Lebanese Republic, is a mountainous country situated in Western Asia bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south. The country lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. There are the Lebanon Mountains running parallel to the western coast and covering most of the country. On the eastern border, there is the Anti-Lebanon Mountain Range. The main agricultural area of the country is found between these two mountain ranges.
The capital city of Lebanon, Beirut, is situated at the midpoint of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coastline and is estimated to have a population of two million. Beirut is the largest city as well as the main seaport of the country. After World War I, Ottoman Empire, which ruled Lebanon from 1516 to 1918, collapsed and the five provinces constituting modern Lebanon were authorized to France. In 1943, the country gained independence and a unique political system – “confessionalism” (power sharing mechanism based on religious communities) came into force. French troops were completely withdrawn from Lebanon on 31 December, 1946. Riad El-Solh was the first Prime Minister of Lebanon after independence.
Here, we have some captivating facts about Lebanon:
- Lebanon has a total area of 4,036 square miles and the country’s landscape is mostly mountainous. The country had a population of 5,882,562 as per the census estimate done in 2014.
- Lebanon has a major population of Arab descent. The country is a home to many Palestinian refugees of Muslim origin. People from South-East Asian countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia are also found in small numbers.
- There are six governorates divided into twenty-five districts which are further divided into many municipalities, in the country.
- There is presence of parliamentary democracy and confessionalism as per the Government of Lebanon. Confessionalism is the mechanism of sharing of political and institutional power proportionally among religious communities.
- The country accommodated a large number of Palestinian refugees after the creation of Israel in May 1948. The peace of the country gets disturbed due to the frequent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters. The battles between Lebanese army and the Palestinians exaggerate the unrest further.
- The industry in Lebanon comprises banking, food processing, jewelry, cement, and textiles, mineral and chemical products. The agricultural products, mainly, include citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, sheep. The products, which are exported, are foodstuffs and tobacco, textiles, chemicals, precious stones and metal products.
- Lebanon has 18 religious communities, 40 daily newspapers, 42 universities and over 100 banks. 70% of the students go to private schools and 40% of the people are Christians. One can find 1 doctor per 10 people in the country as against Europe and America where there is 1 doctor per 100 people.
- The official currency of Lebanon is the Lebanese pound used by the Central Bank of Lebanon, the Banque du Liban.
- The official language of Lebanon is Arabic. English is taught in schools and colleges and French, Lebanese Arabic are also given the national status. So, the people are trilingual speaking three languages – Arabic, French and English.
- The economy of Lebanon is developing and the country has the largest part of skilled labor among Arab states. Services sector is the largest followed by industries and agriculture. The GDP was $61,581 billion and per capita income was $15,557 billion in year 2010.
- Lebanese Independence Day is celebrated on November 22 each year. It was the day when French mandate came to an end and Lebanon was born as a free nation.
- The creator and the production manager of IPOD, Tony Fadell, is based in Lebanon. Another Lebanese, Hasan Kamel Al Sabbah was a technological leader of inventions in electricity who impacted the development of the 20th century technology and he was also the first one to work on creating electricity from sunlight.