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The Lebanon File

Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page B03


About half the size of New Jersey


1976: Syrian troops entering Beirut after Lebanon requests that they intervene in its civil war. Eventually, Syrian troop strength in Lebanon would grow to at least 30,000. (Rihan -- AP)

Population: About 4.4 million (2004 estimate)

Ages 26.9 percent under 14, 6.9 percent over 65; median age, 26.9 years

Ethnic groups 93 percent Arab, 6 percent Armenian

Internet users 400,000

Major religions Muslim 59.7 percent, Christian 39 percent

Refugees Nearly 400,000 Palestinians


Lebanon is the historic home of the Phoenicians, traders whose maritime culture flourished for more than 2,000 years. The country's fortunes have taken a series of dramatic turns since the end of World War I:

1920 Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations grants France the mandate for five provinces forming the new state of Lebanon.

1926 The Lebanese Republic is declared.

1940 Lebanon comes under control of Vichy France.

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