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Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French separated out the region of Lebanon in 1920, and granted this area independence in 1943. A lengthy civil war (1975-90) devastated the country, but Lebanon has since made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, Lebanon has conducted several successful elections. Most militias have been reduced or disbanded, with the exception of Hizballah, designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and Palestinian militant groups. During Lebanon's civil war, the Arab League legitimized in the Ta'if Accord Syria's troop deployment, numbering about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000 and the passage in September 2004 of UNSCR 1559 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its interference in Lebanese affairs - encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI and 22 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"), and Syria withdrew the remainder of its military forces in April 2005. In May-June 2005, Lebanon held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free of foreign interference, handing a majority to the bloc led by Sa'ad HARIRI, the slain prime minister's son. In July 2006, Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers leading to a 34-day conflict with Israel in which approximately 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed. UNSCR 1701 ended the war in August 2006, and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) deployed throughout the country for the first time in decades, charged with securing Lebanon's borders against weapons smuggling and maintaining a weapons-free zone in south Lebanon with the help of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The LAF in May-September 2007 battled Sunni extremist group Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Barid Palestinian refugee camp, winning a decisive victory, but destroying the camp and displacing 30,000 Palestinian residents. Lebanese politicians in November 2007 were unable to agree on a successor to Emile LAHUD when he stepped down as president, creating a political vacuum until the election of LAF Commander Gen. Michel SULAYMAN in May 2008 and the formation of a new unity government in July 2008. Legislative elections in June 2009 again produced victory for the bloc led by Sa'ad HARIRI, but a period of prolonged negotiation over the composition of the cabinet ensued. A national unity government was finally formed in November 2009 and approved by the National Assembly the following month. Inspired by the popular revolts that began in late 2010 against dictatorships across the Middle East and North Africa, marches and demonstrations in Lebanon were directed instead against sectarian politics. Although the protests gained some traction, they were limited in size and unsuccessful in changing the system. Opposition politicians collapsed the national unity government under Prime Minister Sa'ad HARIRI in February 2011. After several months in caretaker status, the government named Najib MIQATI Prime Minister.


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People And Society

Noun Lebanese (singular and plural)
Adjective Lebanese

Ethnic groups
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendents of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians

Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian

Muslim 59.7% (Shia, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Coptic, Protestant), other 1.3%
Note 17 religious sects recognized

Population World Ranking: 126
4,140,289 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
23% (male 487,930/female 464,678)
15-64 years
68% (male 1,370,628/female 1,446,173)
65 years and over
9% (male 173,073/female 200,619) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 30.4 years
Male 29.2 years
Female 31.5 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 216
-0.38% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 134
14.92 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 146
6.63 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 212
-12.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 87% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
BEIRUT (capital) 1.909 million (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.86 male(s)/female
Total population
0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 130
25 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 113
Total 15.32 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 15.48 deaths/1,000 live births
15.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 91
Total population 75.23 years
Male 73.67 years
Female 76.88 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 162
1.76 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 50
8.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
3.54 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density
3.5 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 136
0.1% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 124
3,600 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 92
Fewer than 500 (2009 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 43
13.5% (2004)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 91
4.2% (2004)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 158
1.8% of GDP (2009)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 87.4%
Male 93.1%
Female 82.2% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 14 years
Male 13 years
Female 14 years (2009)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 43
Total 22.1%
Male 22.3%
Female 21.5% (2007)


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Lebanon (Beirut):

GPS points from Lebanon (Beirut)

Marah Al Hajj Liban-nord

Bahr Al Mubarakah Mohafazat Liban-sud

Al Mashra` Mohafazat Mont-liban

Es-sma`iyah (le02)

Al Qurqariyah Mont-liban

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