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With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Greater Lebanon fell under French mandate in 1920, and gained independence under president Bechara El Khoury in 1943.Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and prosperity based on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance and trade, interspersed with political turmoil and armed conflict (1948 Arab–Israeli War, Lebanese Civil War 1975–1990, 2005 Cedar Revolution, 2006 Lebanon War, 2007 Lebanon conflict, 2006–08 Lebanese protests, 2008 conflict in Lebanon, and since 2011 Syrian Civil War spillover). Archaeologists discovered remnants of prehistoric huts with crushed limestone floors, primitive weapons, and burial jars left by the Neolithic and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea over 7,000 years ago.
The French expanded the borders of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, which was mostly populated by Maronites and Druze, to include more Muslims.In the Mount Lebanon range a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church was established.As the Arab Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity.The Maronite community in particular managed to maintain a large degree of autonomy despite the succession of rulers over Lebanon and Syria.During the 11th century the Druze faith emerged from a branch of Shia Islam.Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity.
Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians and their kingdoms, a maritime culture that flourished for over a thousand years (c. In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire, and eventually became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity.
However, a new religious group, the Druze, established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries.
During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome.
Lebanon was a part of northern Canaan, and consequently became the homeland of Canaanite descendants – the Phoenicians, a seafaring people who spread across the Mediterranean in the first millennium BC .
The most prominent Phoenician cities were Byblos, Sidon and Tyre, while their most famous colonies were Carthage in present-day Tunisia and Cádiz in present-day Spain.
During the 7th century the Muslim Arabs conquered Syria establishing a new regime to replace the Byzantines.