30 Important Facts About Lebanon

Last updated on November 17th, 2017

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic (Al-Jumhuriyah al-Lubnaniyah), is a sovereign state in Western Asia. Let’s learn more about it with these interesting facts that talk about its history, culture, geography, people, government and more.

#1. Lebanon is the smallest recognized country on the entire mainland Asian continent.

#2. Lebanon was referred to as the “Switzerland of the East” during the 1960s because of its financial soundness and diversity.

#3. Lebanon ranks the highest among the other countries in the Arab world in Human Development Index and GDP per capita.

#4. Mount Lebanon is a mountain range in Lebanon which averages above 2500 m in elevation. The name of the country, in fact, comes from this mountain range.

#5. Alexander the Great once conquered what is now Lebanon in 332 BCE.

#6. Between 1516 and 1918, Lebanon was a part of the Ottoman Empire.

Flag of Lebanon

Flag of Lebanon
The flag of Lebanon. image credit – CIA

#7. In Lebanon no census has been undertaken since 1932 due to political sensitivity over religious affiliation.

#8. The country underwent Civil War between 1975 and 1990 due to the fights between Christians and Muslims in the region.

#9. Syria and Israel were actively involved in the Civil War fought in Lebanon. Both these countries sent their troops in the region.

#10. Israel withdrew its troops from the region in May, 2000 and Syria followed suit in April, 2005.

Related: facts about Syria

The Lebanese government

#11. The country’s parliament is equally divided among religious groups. Note that their president must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of Parliament a Shiite Muslim.

#12. They have seven main political parties.

#13. The country operated less a President for more than a year. This has happened due to the movement of large flocks of Christians out of the country and they cannot have someone who is not a Maronite Christian as their president. However, Michel Aoun, the current president of Lebanon, was elected by parliament in October 2016.

#14. Lebanon’s Parliament has 18 recognized sects and 128 seats. In fact, all 18 recognized religious sects in Lebanon are recognized in Parliament.

Lebanon’s geography

#15. An extremely fertile flatland about 16 km wide and 129 km long from north to south, the Bekaa Valley, lies to the east of the Mount Lebanon Range.

#16. Lebanon receives almost 80% of its yearly rainfall between November and March.

#17. Lebanon has over 3,000 species of flora.

Lebanon on Map

Facts about Lebanon: Lebanon on map with neighboring countries
Lebanon on map with neighboring countries

Random facts

#18. In Lebanon a piece of land can have two legal owners. Yes, this is true. The piece of land is owned by one and the crop growing on the land is owned by other. So if you were to buy the piece of land, you would need to pay both these parties before you become the sole owner of the land.

#19. Testimony from a pigeon clapper is not valid in court in Lebanon. As the work of this nature is considered unethical in Lebanon, people who do this job are considered inadequate for marriage, as well.

#20. Since 1945, it is illegal to raise any foreign flag in Lebanon.

You may like: facts about Israel

#21. Lebanon is an important commercial hub for the Middle East.

#22. Lebanon is also the first Arab country to permit private radio and TV.

#23. Lebanon is currently shelter to some 450,000 refugees living in the country. Majority of these live in the 12 refugee camps set up in Lebanon. These refugees suffer from poverty, unemployment, bad infrastructure and poor housing conditions.

#24. An estimated 8-14 million Lebanese live outside Lebanon than those within – approximately, 4.5 million.

#25. Currently, Lebanon has 60% Muslim and 40% Christian population.

#26. You can find the largest concentration of Lebanese outside Lebanon in Brazil, which is estimated to be around 6 million. Countries including Argentina, mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Dominican Republic have large Lebanese communities.

#27. Lebanese people living abroad sent an estimate 9 billion US dollars to their family members in Lebanon in 2014.

#28. Lebanon is the only Middle Eastern country without a desert. They do not even have indigenous camels.

#29. There are 21 major daily newspapers that serve the audience in Lebanon. However, the media is at the mercy of political parties for funding, which is also why most of which are biased.

#30. The country also has the largest population of Christians of any Middle Eastern country.

Lebanon – country at a glance

Independence22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
Capital CityBeirut
(33°54′N 35°32′E)
Largest cityBeirut
(33°54′N 35°32′E)
Total area10,400 sq km
Population6,229,794 (July 2017 est.)
Literacy rate93.9%
National anthem"Kulluna lil-watan" (All Of Us, For Our Country!)
National symbolcedar tree
National holidayIndependence Day, 22 November (1943)
National colorsred, white, green
Official LanguagesArabic
Government typeparliamentary republic
Prime MinisterSaad Hariri
BordersIsrael and Syria
Suffrage21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education; excludes military personnel
CurrencyLebanese pound (LBP)
ReligionMuslim 54% (27% Sunni, 27% Shia), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% Maronite Catholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Greek Catholic, 6.5% other Christian), Druze 5.6%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus, and Mormons (est. 2012)
Life expectancy77.6 Years (2016)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$19,500 (2017 est.)
Industriesbanking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating
Exports - commodities$4.051 billion (2017 est.)
jewelry, base metals, chemicals, consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Imports - commodities$18.05 billion (2017 est.)
petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals
ClimateMediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows
Terrainnarrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
Natural resourceslimestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
Agricultural land63.3%
Birth rate14.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate5 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratio1 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Time ZoneEET (UTC+2)
Internet country code.lb
Calling Code+961
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedJuly 14, 2018