The region eventually was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1918.Following the collapse of the empire after World War I, the five provinces that constitute modern Lebanon came under the French Mandate of Lebanon.The French expanded the borders of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, which was mostly populated by Maronites and Druze, to include more Muslims.
Bechara El Khoury, first Lebanese president, Riad El-Solh, first Lebanese prime minister and Emir Majid Arslan II, first Lebanese minister of defence, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and are national heroes for having led the country's independence.
Foreign troops withdrew completely from Lebanon on 31 December 1946.
Lebanon has been a member of the Organisation internationale de la francophonie since 1973.
As the Arab Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity.
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.
The ties they established with the Latins have influenced the region into the modern era.
It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south.
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.