Lebanon is the historical home of the Phoenicians, Semitic traders whose maritime culture flourished there for more than 2,000 years (c. 2700-450 B.C.). In later centuries, Lebanon's mountains were a refuge for Christians, and Crusaders established several strongholds there. Following the collapse of
the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the five Ottoman provinces that had comprised present-day Lebanon were mandated to France by the League of Nations. The country gained independence in 1943, and French troops were withdrawn in 1946.
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Last changes: September 30, 1997