On numerous occasions religious diversity has eclipsed the sense of belonging to a common state.When the civil war erupted in the mid-1970s, all formerly suppressed differences and incongruent loyalties emerged and came to dominate the political arena, fuel hatred, and provide an easy ground for outside powers to interfere in the country's affairs. Under the Ta'if agreement the civil war ended, the Christians lost some of their political power, and a new government of technocrats came into power with reconstruction highest on its agenda.The country's religious diversity has led to the transformation of many religious holidays into national ones.Additionally, the new government has placed much emphasis on secular holidays, particularly Id Il-Jaysh , which celebrates the accomplishments of the Lebanese Army.Lebanon has seen many invasions, which introduced new cultures and languages.The Canaanites, the first known settlers in the country, spoke a Semitic language.Estimates in the 1990s reveal a population composed of nearly 70 percent Muslims and 30 percent Christians. Languages spoken include Arabic, French, English, and Armenian. The Beirut accent is the mellowest and most highly regarded, while country accents are harsher.
The Phoenicians are celebrated today in the government-supervised history books as the inventors of the alphabet and as the symbol of Lebanon's golden past.The capital, Beirut, was chosen for its ideal location on the Mediterranean and acts as the heart of Lebanon's banking industry, tourism, and trade.The port of Beirut is the busiest and most important in the country. As of 1994, the population of Lebanon was estimated to be 3,620,345.Ninety-five percent of the population is Arab, 4 percent is Armenian, and other ethnic backgrounds comprise the remaining 1 percent.
The birth rate is 27.69 per thousand and the death rate is 6.55 per thousand.Lebanese people gather for sports, political events, and concerts.