Lebanon, An Introduction
History knew Lebanon from the earliest of times and never forgot it. No other country can match it in volume of historical events and in their relevance to world progress. Small in size, Lebanon has been massive in influence and its people can rightfully claim to be true benefactors of many ages. A few miles north of Beirut, where the Mount Lebanon touches the sea, the face of the rock of the Dog River gorge bears nineteen inscriptions in almost as many languages. Beginning in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian,  and Babylonian, continuing in Greek and Latin, and ending in French, English, and Arabic. The inscriptions record at this narrow pass where native mountaineers took their decisive stand, the military feats of foreign invaders. The first to leave such a mark was Ramses II some 1300 years before the birth of Christ; followed by many other notables such as Esarhaddon, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Caracalla, Saladin, Baldwin I, Napoleon III, General Allenby, and General Gourand. Through these records we can gain a tiny glimpse of the awesome past of Lebanon.

The ancients seem to have regarded Lebanon as a place where the abnormal happened, a land of prodigies, of rare coincidences and curious events. They had good reason for doing so. The rapid growth of early religious frenzy and strange natural phenomena observed in the mountains had given the country a strange and provoking reputation. Even today Lebanon has not lost its strangeness. The pleasure which one derives from its striking natural beauty or the sheer scale of its ancient monuments is repeatedly sharpened by a sense of the curious and the unusual. The Adonis River still runs blood red to the sea, and the modern scene offers spectacles as bizarre as anything the Romans wondered at. Lebanon is a land where the imagination can run wild, standing in the surf at Tyre in the very spot where Richard the Lion Heart disembarked, one can picture Alexander inspecting his most difficult conquest. Sitting under a cedar tree on Mount Sannine watching the night sea mist roll in across the bay where St. George killed his dragon it is easy to understand why the Crusaders where inspired into not only making him their patron but also the patron of their distant lands.

The glory of Lebanon, its mountains, its sweet fragrance, and its cedars, were sung by prophets, poets and psalmists. In its arms hermits and saints found sanctuary and its people journeyed to Galilee to hear Christ and witness his wondrous works. Christ's feet blessed Lebanese soil, as did those of Mary, Peter and Paul. The Bible itself is named, after and so immortalizes, the Lebanese town of Byblos.

The first historic inhabitants of Lebanon where called the Phoenicians by the Greeks. It was these Phoenicians that invented 22 magic signs called the alphabet and passed them onto the world. This is considered among the greatest, if not the greatest, inventions of man. Had these ancient Lebanese done nothing but this, it would have been enough to place them among the leading benefactors of mankind. But they did. They established colonies all over the Mediterranean, discovered the Atlantic and sailed around Africa. Lebanese contribution to world progress was continued through the Greek, Roman, and Arab periods. Outstanding among the names on the roster of Stoic and Neo-Platonic philosophers were several of Lebanese nationality. To the Justinian code professors at the school of law in Beirut made the richest offering. In medieval times Lebanese traders established settlements in many European cities and traded the products of Asia and Europe. In the years that followed powerful Lebanese leaders resisted subjugation and promoted freedom. By the 19th century Lebanon was leading and transforming the entire region economically, socially, and intellectually.

Today Lebanese settlements and communities flourish all over the globe. The Lebanese continue to contribute to world progress by providing many of  the world's leading authors, philosophers, doctors, bankers, engineers, scientists, and philanthropists.