25 Interesting Facts About Lebanon

  1. Lebanon is a small country in the Levant Region of West Asia. The Mediterranean Sea is at its west, while it has land borders with Syria and Israel.
  2. Three Lebanese cities (Beirut, Byblos, and Sidon) are among the ten oldest in the world. The human settlements started in nearly 3,000 BC in Beirut, 4,000 BC in Sidon, and 5,000 BC in Byblos. (Source)
  3. The world’s first writing system originated in the 11th Century BC in Phoenicia (modern Lebanon and parts of Syria and Israel). This system only contained consonants without vowels. (Source)
  4. People in Tyre, a city in Lebanon, invented the first purple dye in the world. They produced this costly dye from the mucus of a sea snail found in the Mediterranean. The meaning of Phoenicia, the name of this region in the past, is “land of purple.” (Source)
  5. Lebanon is the only country in the Arab world without a desert. It has enough water resources to fulfill the requirements of its entire population. (Source)
  6. Christianity and Islam became the predominant religions of Lebanon during the 7th Century after the arrival of various sects from neighboring countries. During this period, it became part of the Caliphate after the Muslim conquest of Syria.
  7. Lebanon became part of the Crusader states at the end of the 11th Century. However, Muslims soon regained this area after the conquest of Beirut by Saladin in 1187.
  8. Cedar is the national emblem of Lebanon depicted on its flag and currency notes. These trees can live for up to 3,000 years and were once abundant in its mountains. However, only 0.4% of the original trees are now left due to centuries of exploitation by foreign rulers. Scientists fear climate change and a sawfly can eliminate the remaining cedars in the country. (Source
    Cedar trees in Lebanon
    Only 0.4% of cedar trees are left in Lebanon 

  9. Lebanon remained part of the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years (1516-1918). After WW1 in 1920, the League of Nations handed this region to France. The French established Greater Lebanon by uniting the provinces of Mount Lebanon, the Bekaa, north Lebanon, and south Lebanon.
  10. Lebanon declared independence from France in November 1943. However, the country gained complete freedom after the withdrawal of the French military in April 1946.
  11. Lebanon has a unique form of government where sectarianism plays a vital role in choosing public office holders. According to its constitution, significant positions are reserved for Maronite Christians (President), Sunni Muslims (premier), and Shiite Muslims (speaker of the National Assembly). Muslims and Christians get equal parliamentary seats.
  12. In April 1975, a Christian militia killed dozens of Palestinians in an attack on a bus. This incident initiated the Lebanese Civil War, which continued for over 15 years. Various factions inside Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and other countries actively participated in this multifactional conflict. The war ended in 1990 after the Taif Agreement.
  13. Syria and Israel occupied various parts of Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War, and their occupation lasted for years after the end of the war. Syria took control of northern and eastern Lebanon from 1976 to 2005, while Israel captured southern Lebanon from 1985 to 2000.
  14. The 2006 Lebanon War was a month-long armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite militant group, for control of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa farms. Israel inflicted heavy losses on Hezbollah (nearly 1,000 deaths compared to around 120 casualties for Israelis) but failed to dislodge the organization from its strongholds in border areas.
  15. Lebanon has four prominent physiographic regions: a coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea, Mt. Lebanon, the Beqaa Valley in central Lebanon, and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains along the Syrian border.
  16. The largest ethnic group in Lebanon is Lebanese Arabs, while the other ethnicities include Palestinian Arabs, Armenians, and Kurds. Arabic is the official language, while many people speak and understand French and English.
  17. Compared to 4 million Lebanese in Lebanon, the number of Lebanese diaspora is 14 million, one of the largest in the world. These migrants are present in various countries across five continents. Their remittances assisted in handling one of the worst financial crises the country has been facing since the mid-19th Century. (Source)
  18. Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per percentage of its population. These refugees account for 22% of its population. Regional conflicts have caused the influx of these migrants. (Source)
  19. In April 2020, an explosion in the Port of Beirut resulted in 218 deaths, nearly 7,000 injuries, more than 300,000 displacements, and damaging 77,000 apartments. It was one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions, caused after the detonation of improperly stored 2,750 tones of ammonium nitrate. (Source)
  20. Lebanon has the 5th highest government debt to GDP in the world and the 2nd highest in Asia after Japan. The debt-to-GDP ratio of this Middle Eastern country is 172%. (Source)
  21. Lebanon has not conducted a national census since 1932 due to religious sensitivity. It is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East. The majority of the population follows Sunni Islam (27%), Shia Islam (27%), and Maronite (Roman Catholic) Christianity (21%). Minority religions include Greek Orthodox, Druze, and others.
  22. There are six UNESCO World Heritage sites in Lebanon. All of these depict the rich culture of the country.  
  23. Lebanon was the first Arab country to privatize television broadcasting. During the 1950s, it gave TV licenses to two private groups.
  24. Lebanon was once known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East” due to its stable economy and cultural diversity. However, political crisis and financial mismanagement have ruined the country.
  25. iPod is one of the most successful products from Apple. Tony Fadell, a Lebanese-American, was the inventor of the iPod.

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