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Lebanon map
Fast Facts
Official Name: Lebanese Republic
Population: 4,3 million (UN)
Capital: Beirut
Government: Republic
Leaders: Michel Suleiman (President), Tammam Salam (Prime Minister-designate)
Religion: 59,7% Muslim, 39% Christian, 1,3% other (CIA)
Languages: Arabic (official), English and French spoken
GDP: $59.37 billion (CIA 2010 est.)
GDP/Capita: $14,400 (2010 est.)
Main exports: Jewelry, base metals, chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Time zone: GMT + 2
International dialing code: +961
Currency: 1 Lebanese Pound (LBP) = USD 8
Country briefing
Lebanon flag
Lebanon was a French mandate until independence in 1943. The French were eager to implement their culture, which gave Lebanon a certain Euro-centric outlook, in a sense making it more liberal than its Arab neighbors. But Lebanon has faced tremendous challenges. The country was carved out from the Ottoman province of Syria, and within its borders is a complex structure of ethnicities, ranging from Sunni and Shiite Muslims to Druze and Maronite Christians. 
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