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Arabic is the official language of the country, and is even spoken by the minority population of Lebanese Jews.
The Armenian population speaks mostly Armenian or Turkish, while Assyrians speak Syriac. A land of varied terrain, Lebanon encompasses coastline, mountain, and fertile growing regions such as the Bekáa Valley, which is a primary cereal-producing region.
Originally, the ratio was six to five, Christian to Muslim.
Since 1992, power has been shared equally by both groups.
Various government offices are still reserved for specific sects: the prime minister is always a Sunni Muslim; the president is always a Maronite, and the speaker of the house is always a Shiite.
Throughout its history, there have been movements within Lebanon to "deconfessionalize"—to create a one-person, one-vote system instead of apportioning representation and political offices by religious affiliation.
A succession of peoples, including Persians, Greeks, and Romans, challenged Phoenician power.
As a witness to the rise and fall of the Mesopotamian, Hittite, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Greek empires, Lebanon has a distinct history. C., the Canaanites, who became known as Phoenicians, were the first inhabitants of Lebanon.England assumed control of what became Palestine and Jordan, and France took over what became Syria and Lebanon.At this time, France divided Mount Lebanon from Syria and, adding the coastal area, created an entity called "The State of Greater Lebanon." In 1926 the Republics of Lebanon and Syria were created, but it was not until 1941 that each gained full independence, and the last French troops did not depart until 1946.After gaining independence from the French in 1943, Lebanon became known as the "Switzerland of the Middle East." However, its delicate political and demographic equilibrium was shattered in 1975 when civil war erupted.The political inequities that had existed within Lebanon for decades were exacerbated by severe economic divisions, the resistance of those in power to addressing the needs of the poor, and the weakness of the public sector.
Famous as sailors and traders, the Phoenicians lived along the Lebanese coast in the port cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Biblos.