Lebanon Travel Guide
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The population of Lebanon was estimated to be 4,017,095 in July 2009. As of 2007, Lebanon was host to over 375,000 refugees and asylum seekers: 270,800 Palestinians, 50,000 from Iraq, and 4,500 from Sudan. Lebanon forcibly repatriated more than 300 refugees and asylum seekers in 2007.
No official census has been taken since 1932, reflecting the political sensitivity in Lebanon over confessional balance between different religious groups. The main religious groups of Lebanon consists of Muslims, both Sunni and Shi'a, the Christians, mainly Maronites, and the Druze. Over the past 60 years, there has been a steady decline in the number of Christians as compared to Muslims, because of higher emigration rates among Christians and a high birth rates among the Muslim population. Approximately in 2007, 56% of the population are Muslim, and 44% are part of Christian denominations, 22% are Maronites, 8% Greek Orthodox, 4% Greek Catholic, and the remaining are Armenian Christians, Syrian Orthodox and small numbers of Protestants. The Druze constitute 5% of the population. There are 18 state-recognized religious sects.
Article 11 of Lebanon's Constitution states that "Arabic is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the French language may be used". The majority of Lebanese people speak Lebanese Arabic, and sometimes French and/or English. The Arabic language is mostly used in magazines and newspapers. Use of the French language is the result of the post-World War 1 League of Nations mandate given to France; as of 2004, some 20% of the population used French on a daily basis. Lebanese people of Armenian or Greek descent often speak Armenian or Greek fluently. Kurdish Lebanese are estimated between 100,000 and 150,000, most of whom live around Beirut. There are currently around 150,000 Armenians in Lebanon, or around 4% of the population.
Between 11 and 13 million people of Lebanese descent are spread all over the world, especially in Latin America. The country with the largest expatriate population is Brazil, with 7 million Lebanese Brazilians inhabiting the country. Large numbers of Lebanese migrated to West Africa, particularly in the Ivory Coast and Senegal. Australia is home to over 270,000 Lebanese.
In the last three decades, lengthy and destructive armed conflicts have ravaged the country. The majority of people in Lebanon have been affected by the armed conflict there; those with direct personal experience include 75% of the population, and most others report suffering a range of hardships. In total, almost the entire population has been affected in some way – either personally or because of the wider consequences of armed conflict.
The attention of a traveller, should be particularly turned, in the first place, to the various works of Nature, to mark the distinctions of the climates he may explore, and to offer such useful observations on the different productions as may occur. William Bartram
Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water. W. C. Fields