The small Middle East
mountainous country of Lebanon was first settled around 3000 BC by the Phoenicians. It was eventually absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire.
Invaded and conquered over the centuries by the Assyrians, Ayyubids, Babylonians, Byzantines, Mamluks and Ottomans, it was Turkey's
defeat in World War I, and the subsequent influence of the French
that transformed the country into the modern land we know today.
Lebanon finally gained its independence in 1943, but was unfortunately ravaged by a 15-year civil war that ended in 1990.
At the war's conclusion, the Lebanese economy had been destroyed, hundreds of thousands were killed, and part of the country was left in ruins. Despite the chaos and turmoil, the Lebanese government and people established a more equitable political system, and began rebuilding the damaged infrastructure of their country.
Admittedly, some historic cultural and religious conflicts (rather common in the Middle East
) do remain, and the country still struggles with needed reforms.
In February of 2005, Lebanon's former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in a car bomb explosion, subsequently provoking a series of protests in Beirut, known as the Cedar Revolution - whose main goal was the withdrawal of Syrian
troops from Lebanon.
Following the Cedar Revolution, in the summer of 2006, a group of Hezbollah forces within Lebanon fired rockets at Israeli
border towns sparking a war between Israel
and Lebanon. Although the war lasted only a few months, the conflict was brutal and bloody resulting in the deaths of over 1,200 citizens.
Conflict with Lebanon continued in 2007 as fighting broke out in Nahr al-Bared, a Palestinian refugee camp, against Lebanese Armed Forces and an Islamist militant organization causing the 40,000 residents of the camp to flee the area.
In 2011, the national unity government collapsed, pushing Lebanon into a major political crisis. Parliament elected Najib Mikati as Prime Minister making him responsible for the forming of a new government.
The 2012 Syrian Civil War caused incidents of sectarian violence and armed clashes between the Sunnis and Alawites. By April, 2014, more than 1 million Syrian
refugees had fled to Lebanon.
Currently, the U.S.
Department of State and other world governments strongly warn citizens against travel to Lebanon during this time, as the country struggles to regain its footing.