The results of archaeological excavations in Lebanon prove that already from the 8th millennium BC. fishing tribes lived in this part of the Mediterranean coast. In 4-1 millennia BC. the Phoenician trading city-states flourished here: Tyre (modern Sur), Sidon (modern Saida), Berytus (modern Beirut) and Byblos or Byblos (modern Jubail). The favorable geographical position of these places attracted numerous conquerors here: Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians and ancient Persians. In the 4th century BC. Phenicia was conquered by Alexander the Great, and, after the collapse of his empire, the dominance of the Seleucids was established on the territory of modern Lebanon. In the 1st century BC. the local lands became part of the Roman province of Syria. The dominance of the Roman Empire continued until the 4th century AD. At the beginning of the 4th century, Christianity began to spread here.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Lebanon fell under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. In the 7th century, it was conquered by the Arab Caliphate, with which Islam and the Arabic language penetrated here. However, the Muslims could not completely oust the Christian communities. Christians began to settle in the mountains, fleeing persecution. The mountainous territories were difficult to access and were a refuge not only for the Christian religious minority – the Maronites, but also for the Druze Islamists. Check a2zdirectory for old history of Lebanon.
In the 11th-13th century, Lebanon belonged to the crusaders. At this time, the Maronites, who settled in the mountains, established contact with the crusaders and recognized the supremacy of the pope. In 1261 the crusaders were expelled by the Egyptian Mamluks, who ruled here until 1516. At the beginning of the 16th century, Lebanon, along with Syria, was conquered by the Turks and became part of Greater Syria. The Ottoman Empire favored the Maronites; under the Turks, the Maronites began to advance to dominant political positions.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire fell and in 1919, under the mandate of the League of Nations, Lebanon, as part of Syria, was ceded to France. Only in 1926, Lebanon separated from Syria and became an independent territorial unit called the Republic of Lebanon. In the same year, a constitution was adopted, which laid the foundations for the confessionalism that exists to this day, according to which representatives of various religious communities take part in the political life of the country. A Christian became the president of the country, and a Muslim became the prime minister. However, since 1934, only Maronite Christians have been elected presidents of the country, and since 1937, only Sunni Muslims have been appointed prime ministers.
On November 22, 1943, the French mandate was canceled, which marked the independence of Lebanon. The last French soldiers left the country in 1946. In 1948, Lebanon took part in the Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in the signing of a ceasefire agreement and the resettlement of a large community of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Until the 1960s, there was an economic boom in Lebanon.
The war unfolding in the Middle East between the Arab world, which did not want to recognize the state of Israel, created in 1948, and the Western world, could not but affect Lebanon. In the period from 1975 to 1989, a civil war took place in Lebanon, which significantly undermined the country’s economy. The war broke out between Muslims, who supported the Palestinians and Syrians, and Christians. The civil war resulted in numerous civilian casualties.
Today, the country’s economy is gradually recovering, but periodic clashes with Israeli troops and the activities of Lebanese extremist groups in southern Lebanon slow down this process. Back in 2000, Israeli troops were withdrawn from the country, only a small piece of land called Shebaa Farm in the Golan Heights was occupied by Israel. This is the only disputed territory on the border of Lebanon.
In relation to tourists, the Lebanese are friendly and very hospitable, but it is worth remembering that this is an eastern country with behavioral norms that differ from European ones. Foreigners should avoid topics related to politics, do not discuss the characteristics of different ethnic groups, do not take pictures of local residents without their permission, and take off their shoes when entering mosques. Women should not wear miniskirts and bright clothes, and even more so topless sunbathing. If you are offered to drink coffee, in no case do not refuse, because in Lebanon it is a sign of respect.