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Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity.Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians and their kingdoms, a maritime culture that flourished for over a thousand years (c. In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire, and eventually became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity.Its territory was the core of the Bronze Age Phoenician (Canaanite) city-states.As part of the Levant, it was part of numerous succeeding empires throughout ancient history, including the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Achaemenid Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Sasanid Persian empires.Lebanon gained independence in 1943, establishing confessionalism, a unique, Consociationalism-type of political system with a power-sharing mechanism based on religious communities.Bechara El Khoury, President of Lebanon during the independence, Riad El-Solh, first Lebanese prime minister and Emir Majid Arslan II, first Lebanese minister of defence, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and are national heroes for having led the country's independence.
The northern portion of Mount Lebanon was ruled by Druze feudal families to the early 14th century which was then brought to an end by the Mamluk invasion.Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking.In spite of these troubles, Lebanon has the 7th highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the Arab world after the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Greater Lebanon fell under French mandate in 1920, and gained independence under president Bechara El Khoury in 1943.Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and prosperity based on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance and trade, interspersed with political turmoil and armed conflict (1948 Arab–Israeli War, Lebanese Civil War 1975–1990, 2005 Cedar Revolution, 2006 Lebanon War, 2007 Lebanon conflict, 2006–08 Lebanese protests, 2008 conflict in Lebanon, and since 2011 Syrian Civil War spillover). Archaeologists discovered remnants of prehistoric huts with crushed limestone floors, primitive weapons, and burial jars left by the Neolithic and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea over 7,000 years ago.
Foreign troops withdrew completely from Lebanon on 31 December 1946, although the country was subjected to military occupations by Syria that lasted nearly thirty years before being withdrawn in April 2005 as well as Israel for fifteen years before being withdrawn in May 2000.