Lebanon (IPA: /ˈlɛbənɒn/ Arabic: لبنان Lubnān), officially the Republic of Lebanon or Lebanese Republic (الجمهورية اللبنانية), is a country in Western Asia, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east, and Israel to the south. It is close to Cyprus through the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its sectarian diversity, Lebanon evolved in 1943 a unique political system, known as confessionalism, based on a community-based power-sharing mechanism. It was created when the ruling French mandatory powers expanded the borders of the former autonomous Ottoman Mount Lebanon district that was mostly populated by Maronite Christians and Druze. ------------------------------------------------------------- Lebanon is the historic home of the Phoenicians, a maritime culture which flourished for more than 2,000 years (2700-450 B.C.). Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the five provinces that comprise present-day Lebanon were mandated to France. The country gained independence in 1943, and French troops withdrew in 1946.---- Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the country enjoyed a period of relative calm and prosperity, driven by the tourism, agriculture, and banking sectors of the economy.It is considered the banking capital of the Levant and was widely known as the "Switzerland of the East" due to its financial power and diversity. Lebanon also attracted large numbers of tourists to the point that the capital Beirut became widely referred to as the "Paris of the East." Immediately following the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.--------------- Before July 2006, a considerable degree of stability had been achieved throughout much of the country, Beirut's reconstruction was almost complete, and an increasing number of foreign tourists were pouring into Lebanon's resorts.This was until the one month long 2006 Lebanon War with Israel which caused significant civilian loss of life and serious damage to Lebanon's civil infrastructure. The conflict lasted from 12 July 2006 until a cessation of hostilities call, by the UN Security Council, went into effect on 14 August 2006.After some turbulent political times, Lebanon is attempting once again to revive its economy and government.