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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Economy
a. Figures
4. Health
5. Education
a. Universities
6. Media
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. History
12. Cities and Towns

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Open map of LebanonFlag of LebanonLebanon /

It is assumed that the region of Lebanon has been inhabited for more than 200,000 years.
Around 3000- 2500 BCE: First traces of settlements of the Phoenicians. Whether these immigrated, or were the native population of the Lebanese coast, is not all too clear. The Phoenicians were traders, involved in international trade between the Middle Eastern hinterland, and countries around the Mediterranean. They were also transmitters of culture, new inventions, alphabet, money and more. These were often believed to have been the product of the Phoenician culture, but in many cases they had their origin in Babylonia. The Phoenicians did not establish larger kingdoms, but limited their states to single cities that accepted compromises with stronger neighbours, and paying for peace and freedom so that they had freedom to trade.
Around 2000 BCE: Invasion by the Amorites, coming from the east.
Around 1800 BCE: City states of Phoenicia become vassals under Egypt.
Around 1100 BCE: Egypt loses its control over Phoenicia, and independence is regained. Tyre grows into becoming the strongest of the city states, casting shadows over rival city Sidon.
867 BCE: Phoenicia is subjugated by Assyria.
612 BCE: Freedom form Assyria is regained.
590s BCE: Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia conquers all Phoenicia, except Tyre.
539 BCE: Phoenicia is conquered by Persia. The time under Persia is a time of major economic growth.
333 BCE: Phoenicia is conquered by Alexander. A siege of Tyre begins.
332 BCE: After 7 month of siege, Tyre gives in. 2,000 men are crucified, 30,000 are sold as prisoners. Phoenicia plays a far less prominent role in trade following the conquest of Alexander. The culture gets heavily influenced by Hellenistic culture.
64 CE: Lebanon is conquered by Rome, and governed as part of Syria. Beirut grows into becoming the most important city. Aramaic replaces Phoenician language.
4th century A long period of religious strife begins. The quality of Christ is the most central question, where the Christians of Lebanon, the Maronites, profess that Jesus was both man and god.
637-9: Arab conquest. Religious freedom si guaranteed by the new rulers, who governed from Damascus.
1098: The first Crusader kingdom is established. In the following two centuries, Lebanon is divided between two crusader kingdoms, the one of Tripoli, and the one of Jerusalem. This period gives strength to the Maronite Christians, who enters an union with the church of Rome.
1197: A slow Muslim reconquest starts, directed by the Ayyubids of Egypt.
1289: All of Lebanon is controlled by the Egyptian rulers, the Mamluks.
1516: The Ottomans takes control over Lebanon. Some autonomy is achieved for Lebanon. Local dynasty, the Maans, rule Lebanon.
1697: Shihabs takes over the local power of Lebanon.
1842: Druze groups remove the Shihabs from power, but Lebanon is still part of the Ottoman empire.
1858: A civil war with many parties results in a lot of bloodshed.
1860: Civil war ends, with the Druze in a dominant position. Intervention from Istanbul, and France, with actions towards the Muslim population. A Christian autonomic province is set up in the middle of Lebanon. Faced with the turbulent times, many Lebanese, primarily Christians, emigrates to the Americas.
1914-18: World War 1 results in famine and hardship, even if Lebanon is not the centre of the fights between the Ottomans and British supported groups.
1920: A French mandate, made up of today's Lebanon, Syria, and Turkish province Antakya, is established.
1926: The republic of Lebanon comes under French protection. Political power is divided between Shi'is, Sunnis and Christians. It's the Christians benefiting most from this structure, by collaborating with the French.
1939: Lebanon is put under French administration.
1941: Joint occupation by British and free French forces.
1944: The French government in London recognizes Lebanese independence.
1945: Lebanon joins the Arab League of States, and UN.
1946: Real independence for Lebanon, after the last French troops have left. Christians assume the leading position in politics, and in the economy.
1948: Influx of Palestinians after war of Palestine, and the establishment of Israel. Palestinians come to play an important, if indirect, part in Lebanese politics.
1949: A coup promoting union with Syria, fails.
1950: Increase in Muslim opposition towards the government.
1958: Short civil war ends with US intervention.
1961: A new coup promoting union with Syria, fails.
1975: Civil war starts, with Muslims against Maronite Christians (Phalange).
1976: PLO joins the Muslims, with reactions from Syria, who were afraid of reactions from Israel. Syria establishes its presence inside Lebanon, with the blessings from the Arab League.
1978: Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, searching for PLO bases. UN force replace the Israelis.
1982 June 6: Israel invades Lebanon for the second time, and this time centered to both southern Lebanon, and Beirut.
August 21: Fights, blockade and US mediation convince PLO that they have to leave Lebanon.
August 23: Christian Bashir Gemayel is elected president, but killed three weeks later (September 14.).
September 18: The Phalangists slaughter more than 1,000 Palestinian refugees in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila in West Beirut, which was occupied by the Israelis. This was a revenge of the killing of president Gemayel.
September 21: Amin Gemayel, Bashir's brother, is elected new president.
1985: Heavy fights over southern Lebanon starts after withdrawal of Israeli troops. Shi'i Hizbullah, who gets their support from Iran, enters the field. They face Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army, SLA, which had been formed in 1982.
1988: Michel Aoun is appointed leader of government. Christians and Muslims form their own governments, and a partition of Lebanon appears to be a possible outcome of the situation.
1989: A new constitution is shaped, giving the Muslims more power. Aoun rejects this. Elias Hrawi is elected new president, Rafiq Hariri prime minister.
1990: Troops loyal to Aoun are defeated by Syrian army. Aoun is exiled to France. The Syrian-backed Lebanese army achieves a strong position in the country. Peace seems to return to Lebanon. Slow restructuring of Beirut starts. At this time 35,000 Syrian troops remains in Lebanon.
1992: Elections for the new National Assembly.
1995: Hariri and Hrawi gets their 6 years extended with 3 years, through a change of the constitution.
— The restructuring of Beirut met an archaeological ground, halting important parts of the plans.
1996: Elections for the National Assembly increase the number of Muslims. The Hizbullah wins 8 seats.
April 11: Israeli attack on southern Lebanon, Beirut, and the southern half of the coast. The motivation is not occupation, but a try to root up positions of the Hizbullah, who had been conducting attacks on settlements in northern Israel. The one-sided fights continued for two weeks.
April 18: Israeli shelling of Qana, Lebanon, where about 100 civilians, and 150 were wounded. This attack can have been a mistake, but much indicate that the attack was planned, but to what avail is, still uncertain.
April 27: Fights end, after the reach of an agreement the day before. More than 150 civilian Lebanese have been killed, and much material damage has been inflicted.
November: Rafiqu l-Hariri forms a new government, following the general elections starting in August.
December: At a conference in Washington, USA, Lebanon is promised US$ 3 billion by the international community to rebuild the country's infrastructure.
1997 January New fighting in the south between Hizbullah and Israeli forces, lasting for 2 months.
1998 October: General Emile Lahoud, who had been cooperating with the Syrians, is elected new president.
November: As a protest against extension of the powers of the president, Hariri resigns as prime minister.
December: Salim al-Hoss is appointed prime minister by the president.
2004 September 21: Syria begins dismantling troops in Lebanon, following international pressure. This is the beginning of the end of the strong Syrian influence over Labanese politics and economy.

By Tore Kjeilen