Fast Facts

Beirut; 1,792,000
10,452 square kilometers (4,036 square miles)
Arabic, French, English, Armenian
Muslim, Christian
Lebanese pound
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $4,800
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Lebanon
Map: Lebanon

Lebanon is a small, mountainous country in the Middle East. After independence in 1943, Lebanon prospered as a banking, resort, and university center. It is estimated that two-thirds of the resident population are Muslim, with the rest being Christian. No census has been taken since 1932 due to political sensitivity over religious affiliation. Fighting between Christian and Muslim militias escalated into civil war from 1975 to 1991. Democracy was restored in 1992—allocating government positions based on religion. During the civil war both Israel and Syria sent troops into Lebanon. Israel withdrew its army in 2000, and Syria withdrew its forces in 2005.


  • Industry: Banking, food processing, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products
  • Agriculture: Citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples; sheep
  • Exports: Foodstuffs and tobacco, textiles, chemicals, precious stones, metal products

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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