As a result of its location at the crossroads of three continents, the area that is modern-day Lebanon is rich in cultural and religious diversity. This region was subject to various foreign conquests for much of its history, including by the Romans, Arabs, and Ottomans. Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. From it the French demarcated the region of Lebanon in 1920, and it gained independence in 1943. Since then, Lebanon has experienced periods of political turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on its historical position as a regional center for finance and trade, although that status has significantly diminished since the beginning of Lebanon’s economic crisis in 2019, which includes simultaneous currency, debt, and banking crises. The country's 1975-90 civil war, which resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities, was followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has historically influenced Lebanon's foreign and domestic policies, and its military occupied Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. Hizballah - a major Lebanese political party, militia, and US-designated foreign terrorist organization - and Israel continued attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria's withdrawal and fought a brief war in 2006. Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel remain unresolved.
Since 2019, Lebanon has experienced a severe economic crisis that has crippled its economy, shut down its previously lucrative banking sector, reduced the value of its currency, and caused many Lebanese to emigrate in search of better prospects.
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NOTE: The information regarding Lebanon on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Lebanon 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Lebanon 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
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