- 1a country in the Middle East, with a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea; population 4,017,100 (est. 2009); capital, Beirut; official language, Arabic.
Part of the Ottoman Empire from the early 16th century, Lebanon became a French mandate after World War I and achieved independence in 1943. Until the mid 1970s the country prospered, but conflict between the Christian and Muslim communities, the influx of Palestinian refugees, and repeated Middle Eastern wars destabilized the country. The first general elections in 20 years were held in 1992
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Pronunciation: /ˌlebəˈnēz, -ˈnēs/adjective & noun