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Lebanon was a part of northern Canaan, and consequently became the homeland of Canaanite descendants – the Phoenicians, a seafaring people that spread across the Mediterranean before the rise of Cyrus the Great.Their most famous colonies were Carthage in what is present-day Tunisia and Cádiz in present-day Spain.

With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Greater Lebanon fell under French mandate in 1920, and gained independence under president Bechara El Khoury in 1943.

Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and prosperity based on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance and trade, interspersed with political turmoil and armed conflict (1948 Arab–Israeli War, Lebanese Civil War 1975–1990, 2005 Cedar Revolution, 2006 Lebanon War, 2007 Lebanon conflict, 2006–08 Lebanese protests, 2008 conflict in Lebanon, and since 2011 Syrian Civil War spillover). Archaeologists discovered remnants of prehistoric huts with crushed limestone floors, primitive weapons, and burial jars left by the Neolithic and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea over 7,000 years ago.

During the 11th century the Druze faith emerged from a branch of Shia Islam.

The new faith gained followers in the southern portion of Mount Lebanon.

Lebanon has been a member of the United Nations since its founding in 1945 as well as the Arab League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement (1961), Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969) and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (1973).

Despite its small size, the country has developed a well-known culture and has been highly influential in the Arab world, powered by its large diaspora.

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 Canaanite-Phoenicians are also known as the inventors of the alphabet, among many other things.

The area of present-day Lebanon and the wider Eastern Mediterranean were subjugated by Cyrus in 539 BCE.

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