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It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea.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.The Persians forced some of its population to migrate to Carthage, which remained a powerful nation until the Second Punic War.After two centuries of Persian rule, Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great attacked and burned Tyre, the most prominent Phoenician city.He conquered what is now Lebanon and other nearby regions of the Eastern Mediterranean in 332 BCE.The region that is now Lebanon, as with the rest of Syria and much of Anatolia, became a major center of Christianity in the Roman Empire during the early spread of the religion.As the Arab Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity.

The borders of contemporary Lebanon are a product of the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920.

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.

Though Islam and the Arabic language were officially dominant under this new regime, the general populace still took time to convert from Christianity and the Syriac language.

The Maronite community in particular managed to maintain a large degree of autonomy despite the succession of rulers over Lebanon and Syria.

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