Republic of Lebanon

Al-Jumhuriyah al-Lubnaniyah

CAPITAL : Beirut (Bayrut)

FLAG : The national flag, introduced in 1943, consists of two horizontal red stripes separated by a white stripe which is twice as wide; at the center, in green and brown, is a cedar tree.

ANTHEM : Kulluna lil watan lil'ula lil'alam (All of Us for the Country, Glory, Flag).

MONETARY UNIT : The Lebanese pound, or livre libanaise ( LL ), is a paper currency of 100 piasters. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 piasters and 1 Lebanese pound, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 1,000 and 10,000 Lebanese pounds. LL 1 = $0.000666 (or $1 = LL 1,501) as of March 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard, but traditional weights and measures are still used.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Arab League Day, 22 March; Independence Day, 22 November; Evacuation Day, 31 December. Christian religious holidays include Feast of St. Maron, 9 February; Good Friday; Easter Monday; Ascension; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; and Christmas, 25 December. Muslim religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', and Milad an-Nabi.

TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.


Arabic is the official language and is spoken throughout the country. Much of the population is bilingual, with French as the main second language. There are also significant numbers of English, Armenian, and Turkish speakers. The distinctive Lebanese Arabic dialect contains various relics of pre-Arabic languages and also shows considerable European influence in vocabulary.


Lebanon has been a charter member of the UN since 24 October 1945 and belongs to ESCWA and all the nonregional specialized agencies. It is the host to UNRWA and UNIFIL and is one of the founding members of the Arab League. Lebanon also is a member of G-77, and a signatory of the Law of the Sea. Lebanon has observer status at the WTO.


Much of Lebanon's livestock was lost during the protracted hostilities since the 1975–76 war and the Israeli invasion in 1982. In 2001 there were an estimated 399,000 goats, 329,000 sheep, 78,000 head of cattle, and 32,000,000 poultry. As Lebanon's own meat and milk production is below consumption needs, animal and milk products are imported.


The fishing industry has not progressed significantly, despite a government-sponsored effort to reduce fish imports and provide employment in the canned-fish industry. The catch in 2000 was 3,666 tons.


Forests comprised about 36,000 hectares (89,000 acres), or nearly 3.5% of the total area, in 2000. Most of the forests are in the central part of the country, with pine and oak predominant. Few of the ancient cedars have survived; small cedar forests have been planted at high altitudes. Roundwood production in 2000 was 26,000 cu m (917,000 cu ft).


Activities of insurance companies are regulated by the National Insurance Council. All insurance companies must deposit a specific amount of money or real investments in an approved bank and must retain in Lebanon reserves commensurate with their volume of business. There are at least 85 insurance companies operating in Lebanon, most of them national insurance companies. In 1999, there was $134 million spent on insurance in Lebanon.


A graduated tax is imposed on individual salaries, real profits, and real estate income. Corporations and joint stock companies generally are taxed on net real profits derived in Lebanon at a flat rate of 10%, and 5% on dividends. Also levied are inheritance and gift taxes, social security payroll taxes, flat and graduated property taxes, and a stamp duty.


Khalil Gibran (Jibran, 1883–1931), a native of Lebanon, achieved international renown through his paintings and literary works. He is best known for his long poem The Prophet. Charles Habib Malik (1906–87), for many years Lebanon's leading diplomat, was president of the 13th UN General Assembly in 1958/59.


Lebanon has no territories or colonies.


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Akarli, Engin Deniz. The Long Peace: Ottoman Lebanon, 1861– 1920. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Bleaney, C. H. Lebanon. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1991.

Bustros, Gabriel M. Who's Who in Lebanon: 1990–1991. 11th ed. Beirut: Publitec, 1990.

El-Khazen, Farid. The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967–1976. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.

Harris, William W. Faces of Lebanon: Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions . Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997.

Hiro, Dilip. Lebanon: Fire and Embers: A History of the Lebanese Civil War. New York: St. Martin's, 1993.

Khalaf, Samir. Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization of Communal Contact. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Khater, Akram Fouad. Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

Najem, Tom. Lebanon: The Politics of a Penetrated Society. London: Routledge, 2002.

Picard, Elizabeth. Lebanon, A Shattered Country: Myths and Realities of the Wars in Lebanon . New York: Holmes and Meier, 1996.

Winslow, Charles. Lebanon: War and Politics in a Fragmented Society . New York: Routledge, 1996.

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