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These efforts are ongoing at the end of the twentieth century.

From 1516 until 1916, when the Ottoman Empire was dismembered by the victors of World War I, the area that is now Lebanon was part of the Ottoman province of Greater Syria.

The earliest immigrants from the Eastern Mediterranean were generally lumped together under the common rubric of Syrian-Lebanese, and it is consequently difficult to separate the number of ethnic Lebanese immigrants from ethnic Syrian immigrants.

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This identity strengthened in the 1940s, when Lebanon gained independence.

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.

Lebanon is named for the major mountain range that runs north to south through the middle of the country.

The Cedars of Lebanon, famous since Biblical times, are now protected in a few mountain groves.

Lebanon's land mass is 4,015 square miles (10,400 square kilometers), and its population is estimated at between 3 and 3.5 million.

The capital, Beirut, was often referred to as the "Paris of the Middle East." Beirut was also considered the commercial center of the Middle East before the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s.Christians, who account for under two-fifths of the total Lebanese population, include the Maronites (the most numerous and the most powerful) at 22 percent, the Eastern Orthodox at 10 percent; Melkites (Greek Catholics) and Armenians, each at 6 percent, and Protestants at 2.5 percent.Through Lebanon's unwritten National Pact of 1943, political power was apportioned between Christians and Muslims.The population of the country is made up of ethnic groups from every Middle Eastern country, which is reflective of Lebanon's long history. Both Muslims and Christians have many sectarian subdivisions, 17 in all.Among the Muslim population, the Shi'a are the most numerous with about 35 percent, the Sunni number around 23 percent, and the Druze comprise 6 percent.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.

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