From 1516 to 1918 Lebanon was under the administrative rule and political sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire. The area became a part of the French influence following World War I. By the end of the war, famine had
killed an estimated 100,000 people in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, about 30% of the total population.

In 1920, the territory defined by the present-day boundaries became a state called “Grand –Liban” (Great Lebanon) by decree of General Gouraud, head of the French troops in the Levant. The state remained under French Mandate until November 26,1941. A constitution was adopted on May 25, 1926 establishing a democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government. Effective political independence of the Republic occurred on November 22, 1943 (Independence Day). In 1945 Lebanon became a founding member of the League of Arab states, then of the United Nations. Departure of the foreign troops then on the Republic’s territory was completed on December 31, 1946.

Over the next 30 years, Lebanon became a melting pot with a diverse cultural heritage. The instability in surrounding countries caused Lebanon to experience large waves of immigration from neighboring countries and attracted thousands of skilled laborers, entrepreneurs and intellectuals. The economic force of the Republic has mainly revolved around its entrepreneurs. In addition, Lebanon’s democratic traditions, attachment to freedom of speech and expression and its educated population enabled the Republic to become the cultural, academic and medical center of the region


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