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Lebanon Fast Facts

By CNN Library
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)

(CNN) -- Here's a look at what you need to know about Lebanon, a Middle Eastern country with a history of civil war and political instability, bordering Syria, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea.

About Lebanon:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 10,400 sq km (slightly larger than Connecticut)

Population: 5,882,562 (July 2014 est.)

Median age: 29.3 years

Capital: Beirut

Ethnic Groups: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

Religion: Muslim 59.7%, Christian 39%, other 1.3%

GDP: $64.31 billion (2013 est.)

GDP per capita: $15,800 (2013 est.)

Unemployment: n/a

Timeline:
1918 - After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, France gains control of the area that comprises modern day Lebanon.

November 23, 1943 - Lebanon gains independence.

1948-1975 - A large number of Palestinian refugees settle in Lebanon after the creation of Israel in May 1948. The frequent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters unsettle the country. Also at times, the Lebanese army fights battles against the Palestinians causing further unrest.

July-October 1958 - U.S. forces help to control civil unrest.

1975 - Civil war breaks out between Christians and the Muslim-PLO alliance.

1976 - At the invitation of the Lebanese government, Syria sends troops, called the Arab Deterrent Force, to help end the civil war.

March 1978 - Israel invades Lebanon and occupies area in the south. After protest from the U.N., Israel withdraws, but creates a "security zone" in the south of the country, administered by the Army of South Lebanon.

June 6, 1982 - Israel invades Lebanon with the intention of destroying the PLO.

August 1982 - Bashir Gemayel is elected president. However, he is assassinated on September 14. His brother, Amin Gemayel replaces him as president on September 23.

September 15-18, 1982 - Hundreds of Palestinian refugees are massacred in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut. The murders are committed by Lebanese militia members but Israel is accused of complicity in the massacres.

April 18, 1983 - The U.S. embassy in Beirut is bombed, killing 63.

October 23, 1983 - The French and U.S. headquarters of the Multi-National force is bombed, killing 241 Americans and approximately 40 French soldiers.

February 1984 - The Lebanese Army collapses, due to defections of Muslim and Druze soldiers.

March 1984 - U.S. Marines withdraw from Lebanon.

1988 - President Gemayel, a Christian, leaves office, although he has no successor. He appoints General Michel Aoun, a Christian, interim prime minister. However the current Prime Minister Salim al-Huss, a Muslim, doesn't leave office. The government then becomes divided into Christian and Muslim factions.

1989 - The Lebanese Parliament meets in Saudi Arabia and creates the Taif agreement to end the civil war.

November 1989 - Rene Moawad is elected president. General Aoun rejects the election of Moawad and the Taif agreement. Moawad is assassinated in November and replaced by Elias Hrawi, who names Salim al-Huss prime minister and fires Aoun as army commander.

1991 - All militias, with the exception of Hezbollah, are disbanded.

1991 - Lebanon participates in the Madrid peace talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

1998 - General Emile Lahoud becomes president.

May 2000 - Israel withdraws its forces from the south.

February 14, 2005 - Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is killed by a car bomb in Beirut.

April 26, 2005 - Syria withdraws troops from Lebanon after 29 years of military intervention.

July 12, 2006 - Hezbollah guerrillas kill three Israeli soldiers and kidnap two others, Ehud "Udi" Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, during an attack along Israel's border with Lebanon, between the towns of Zar'it and Shetula. Israel sends ground troops into Lebanon and launches air strikes for the first time since its 2000 pullout.
Death toll: (sources vary)
- Lebanese: approximately 850 - 1,190 civilians and combatants killed, 4,409 wounded.
- Israeli: approximately 44 civilians killed, 119 soldiers killed, 1,000+ wounded.

November 21, 2006 - Lebanese Minister of Industry Pierre Gemayel, son of former president Amin Gemayel, is shot and killed while driving though Beirut.

June 13, 2007 - Anti-Syrian Lebanese lawmaker Walid Eido, along with nine other people, is killed in an explosion believed to be an assassination attempt. Eido was a vocal supporter of a U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and was a member of a political block led by Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri's son.

November 24, 2007 - Before leaving office, Emile Lahoud declares a state of emergency in Lebanon and hands security over to the military. The vacancy left by Lahoud will be filled by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora until a new president can be elected.

May 6, 2008 - The Lebanese government announces plans to shut down Hezbollah's private telecommunications network, calling it a threat to state security.

May 8, 2008 - The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, says the plan to shut down his group's telecommunications system amounts to "a declaration of open war." Gun battles erupt on the streets on Beirut between Hezbollah supporters and government forces.

May 25, 2008 - After a six-month vacancy in the position, Lebanon's Parliament elects army general Michel Sleiman as the new president.

June 7, 2009 - Parliamentary elections are held. Lebanon's pro-Western block, the "March 14" coalition wins 71 seats and the Hezbollah-dominated "March 8" alliance wins 57 seats.

June 27, 2009 - President Michel Sleiman appoints Saad Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as the country's new prime minister.

November 9, 2009 - After five months of deliberations, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announces the formation of a cabinet, comprised of members of Hariri's party and members of Hezbollah.

January 12, 2011 - Eleven Hezbollah members of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's cabinet resign, causing his coalition government to collapse.

January 17, 2011 - The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon hands down indictments in the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The details of the indictments are being kept secret by the International Court Justice in the Netherlands in order not to provoke violence in the country.

January 25, 2011 - President Michel Suleiman appoints Najib Mikati as Lebanon's new Prime Minister.

March 2011-present - Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria's civil war flood Lebanon.

June 13, 2011 - Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, a Sunni political independent backed by Hezbollah, announces the formation of a new government.

June 30, 2011 - The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues an indictment and arrest warrants for an unspecified number of suspects, including at least four Hezbollah members, in the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri.

July 8, 2011 - Judge Daniel Fransen with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues arrest warrants for suspects in the killing of former Prime Minister Hariri and 22 others.

July 29, 2011 - The judge of the U.N. special tribunal lifts a confidentiality order and reveals the names of people sought in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. They are: Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi, and Assad Hassan Sabra.

November 29-30, 2011 - Rockets are fired from Lebanon into Israel for the first time in more than two years. And Israel retaliates with artillery fire into Lebanon. No injuries are claimed on either side.

December 9-11, 2011 - A roadside bomb hits a U.N. vehicle in Lebanon wounding five French peacekeepers and a Lebanese civilian. Two days later a rocket is fired from Lebanon aimed at Israel, but falls short and wounds a Lebanese woman.

October 19, 2012 - Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, First Sgt. Sahyouni and a bystander are killed in a massive car bomb explosion in Beirut. Al-Hassan was the chief of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch and opposed the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

March 22, 2013 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati announces the resignation of his government after disputes over parliamentary elections.

April 6, 2013 - Tammam Salam is named the new prime minister.

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