- Lebanese people
Infobox Ethnic group
group = Lebanese people
Fairuz· Carlos Slim Helú· Musa al-Sadr
population = 3 million in
Lebanon15 million elsewhere in the world. [ [http://cedarfree.blogspot.com/2006/10/lebanese-diaspora.html Free Cedar: The Lebanese Diaspora ] ]
region1 = flag|Brazil
pop1 = 7 million
ref1 = lower| [ [http://www.estado.com.br/editorias/2006/07/30/int-18.104.22.16860730.10.1.xml Intelectuais de origem libanesa no Brasil descrevem o seu luto :: TXT Estado ] ]
region2 = flag|Lebanon
pop2 = 3,971,941 (July 2008 estimate)
ref2 = lower| [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html#People CIA - The World Factbook - Lebanon ] ]
region3 = flag|Argentina
pop3 = 1,000,000
ref3 = lower| [ [http://www.lp.gov.lb/archive/english/presarvisit.htm - Argentinian President's visit to the Lebanese Parliament ] ]
region4 = flag|United States
pop4 = 440,000
ref4 = lower| [ [http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-23.pdf The Arab Population: 2000 ] ]
region5 = flag|Mexico
pop5 = 400,000
ref5 = [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/07/08/do0806.xml The biggest enchilada] , Telegraph]
region6 = flag|Australia
pop6 = 181,000
region7 = flag|Canada
pop7 = 134,358-250,000
ref7 = [ [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0000263 Arabs ] ] [ [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/middleeast-crisis/canada-lebanon.html Canada and Lebanon, a special tie] , CBC News]
languages = Vernacular
Lebanese Arabic& Cypriot Maronite ArabicTraditional Phoenician, succeeded by Aramaic Liturgical Maronite Christians: Aramaic (Syriac) Muslims: Arabic ( Qur'anic Arabic) Jews: Hebrewand AramaicDiaspora Predominantly Portuguese, Spanish, English and French.
religions = Predominantly Maronite Christianity1 Large
Muslimminority2 (mostly Shi'a3 and Sunni) Other Christian denominations including Greek Orthodox and Protestant. Other Muslim denominations, including Alawitesand Druze4. Others, including non-religious, atheists, agnostics, and Jews.
related = Other
Levantines Arabs, Assyriansand other Semites
#Lebanese Christians comprise a
majorityof all Lebanese, but represent only a large minoritywithin Lebanon.
#Lebanese Muslims of all denominations represent a majority within Lebanon, but comprise only a large
minorityof all Lebanese.
#Lebanese Shi'ite Muslims hold the
pluralityamong religious groups within Lebanon.
#In Lebanon, Lebanese Druze are officially categorized as a Muslim denomination by the Lebanese government.
The Lebanese people ( _ar. الشعب اللبناني, "el shaab el libnene") are a
Middle Easternpeople originating in the country of Lebanon, and this is also applied to people who lived in Mount Lebanonprior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state. The cultural and linguistic heritage of the Lebanese people is a rich blend of both indigenous elements and the foreign cultures that have come to rule the land and its people over the course of thousands of years.
The Lebanese have traditionally spoken only languages of the Semitic branch of the
Afro-Asiaticfamily throughout their history, starting with Phoenician, a Canaanite language most closely related to Hebrew and spoken by the earliest known inhabitants of what is today Lebanon; the Phoenicians. Phoeniciawould see its land and people pass through several waves of foreign rulers, at least two of which would radically transform the cultural, linguistic and religious landscape of the country, as well as the identity of the people; Aramization, and centuries later, Arabization.
One curious fact about the Lebanese people is that most of them do not live in
Lebanon. Historically an entrepreneurial people,huh the Lebanese have always travelled the world, many of them settling permanently, most notably in the last two centuries. Today, there are approximately 4 million people in Lebanon and an estimated 15 million people of Lebanese descent elsewhere in the world, the majority of them in Brazil. [ [http://www.brazzilmag.com/content/view/1877/49/ Brazil - Brazzil Mag - Brazil Has More Lebanese than Lebanon ] ]
Christianscomprise the overwhelming majority[http://www.cnewacanada.ca/ecc-bodypg-ca.aspx?eccpageID=56&IndexView=alpha] of Lebanese people worldwide, according to some estimates, outnumbering Lebanese Muslims(both Sunniand Shi'a) at a 3:1 ratioFact|date=August 2008, and concentrated principally in the diaspora. [http://www.hamline.edu/cla/academics/international_studies/diaspora2002/Lebanese/Paper.htm] Reduced in numbers and estimated to have lost their status as a majority in Lebanon itself, largely as a result of their emigration, [http://www.cnewacanada.ca/ecc-bodypg-ca.aspx?eccpageID=56&IndexView=alpha] Christians still remain one of the principal religious groups in the country.
As with the rest of the
Fertile Crescent(or Levant) and most of the rest of the Middle East, Aramization transformed Lebanon into an Aramaic-speaking and identifying region, abandoning their indigenous Phoenician languageand cultural norms. Most of the population would also abandon the polytheistic Canaanite religionof the Phoenicians in favour of Christianity.
Aramaic cultural norms would remain dominant until the commencement of the era of
Arabizationwhich transformed not only Lebanon, but most of the Middle East and North Africaduring the Arabian Muslim conquest. It is from the Arabization of Lebanon that the people receive the strongest cultural and linguistic imprint to date, though most would remain Christian. As a result of this, in modern discourse, the Lebanese are often referred to as Arabs, or as forming part of the Arab world.
Immediately prior to Arabization, the people residing in Lebanon — both those who would become Muslim and the vast majority which would remain
Christian, along with the tiny Jewish minority — still spoke a dialect of Aramaic. [ [http://www.walidphares.com/artman/publish/article_58.shtml Review of Phares Book ] ] However, since at least the 15th century, Lebanese of all faiths have been Arabic-speaking, [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=RL5AAAAAIAAJ&q=%22maronites+have+been+speaking+arabic&dq=%22maronites+have+been+speaking+arabic&pgis=1 The Precarious Republic: Political Modernization in Lebanon] By Michael C. Hudson, 1968] [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=ugpIAAAAMAAJ&q=%22maronites+spoke&dq=%22maronites+spoke&pgis=1 Lebanon: Its Stand in History Among the Near East Countries] By Salim Wakim, 1996.] or more specifically, speakers of Lebanese Arabic. Among the Lebanese Maronites, Aramaic (Syriac) still remains the liturgical languageof the Maronite Church. [ [http://www.stgeorgesa.org/ St. George Maronite Church ] ] As the second of two liturgical languages of Judaism, Aramaic was also retained as a language in the sphere of religion among Lebanese Jews. Among Lebanese Muslims, however, Aramaic was lost twice, once in the shift to Arabic in the vernacular and again in the religious sphere, since Arabic is also the liturgical language of Islam.
Some Lebanese, mainly Christians, identify themselves as
Phoenicianrather than Arab, seeking to draw "on the Phoenician past to try to forge an identity separate from the prevailing Arab culture". [http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0559096520070910] They argue that Arabizationmerely represented a shift to the Arabic languageas the vernacularof the Lebanese people, and that no actual shift of ethnic identity, much less ancestral origins, occurred. The argument based on the premise of ancestry having recently been vindicated by emerging genetic studies as discussed below. Thus, "Phoenicianists" consider the " Arabs" of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, and all other "Arabs" to be different peoples, and therefore an Arab ethnic identity redundant or inapplicable. Lehenationals in particular tend to emphasize aspects of Lebanon's non- Arabhistory as a mark of respect to encompass all of Lebanon's historical stages, instead of only that which began during the Arab conquests, which is an attitude that prevails in the rest of the Arab world.
Among the Arabists, most don't dispute the ancestral origins of the Lebanese or disagree with acknowledging those roots. Their point of contention is that Phoenicianism disregards and often altogether seems to relegate the reality of the Arab cultural and linguistic heritage of Lebanon and the Lebanese, given the extent to which the culture and customs of today's Lebanese people are indebted to that period of Lebanon's history. This is argued especially when the Arab cultural elements are quantified against the elements that can be attributed to have originated prior to, and survived, the Arab period into the modern time and culture. Therefore, they see the notion of deriving a Lebanese identity based on
Arabismas valid, and thus many Lebanese, whether Muslim, Christian or other, do identify as Arabs.
In light of this "old controversy about identity" [http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0559096520070910] , some Lebanese prefer to see Lebanon, Lebanese culture and themselves as part of a "Mediterranean" or "
Levantine" civilization, in a concessionto Lebanon's various layers of heritage, both indigenous, foreign non-Arab, and Arab. Arab influence, nevertheless, applies to virtually all aspects of the modern Lebanese culture.
The total population of Lebanese people is estimated at 18 million. Of these, the vast majority, or 15 million, are in the
diaspora(outside of Lebanon), and less than 4 million resident citizens of Lebanon itself.
There are approximately 4 million Lebanese in Lebanon. In addition to this figure, in Lebanon there are an additional 1 million
foreign workersand about 400,000 Palestinian refugees. [ [http://www.uschamber.com/portal/lebanon/investment_overview Business Portal to Lebanon] ]
diasporaconsists of approximately 14 million, both Lebanese-born living abroad and those born-abroad of Lebanese decent. The majority of the Lebanese in the diaspora are Christians [http://www.hamline.edu/cla/academics/international_studies/diaspora2002/Lebanese/Paper.htm] , disproportionately so in the Americaswhere the vast majority reside. An estimate figure show that they represent about 75% of the Lebanese in total.
The largest number of Lebanese is to be found in
Brazil, where there is an estimated 6 million people of Lebanese descent. Large numbers also reside elsewhere in the Americas, most notably in the United Statesand Mexicowith close to half a million each. In the rest of the Americas, significant communities are found in Argentina, [ [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Lebanon-MIGRATION.html Lebanon - Migration] ] Colombia, Ecuadorand Venezuela, with almost every other Latin Americancountry having at least a small presence.
In Africa, the
Ivory Coastis home to over 100,000 Lebanese. [ [http://countrystudies.us/ivory-coast/72.htm Ivory Coast - The Levantine Community] ] Australiahosts over 180,000. In the Arab world, the Gulf Statesharbour around 400,000 Lebanese. [ [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/9cc784a7002d9eb73b339b4d2c840090.htm One in three Lebanese want to leave] , Reuters] Lebanese also reside in Canadaand the countries of the European Union.
Currently, Lebanon provides no automatic right to Lebanese
citizenshipfor emigrants who lost their citizenship upon acquiring the citizenship of their host country, nor for the descendants of emigrants born abroad. This situation disproportionately affects Christians. Recently, the Maronite Institution of Emigrants called for the establishment of an avenue by which emigrants who lost their citizenship may regain it, or their overseas-born descendants (if they so wish) may acquire it. [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=94429]
Christiansrepresent an overwhelming majority[http://www.cnewacanada.ca/ecc-bodypg-ca.aspx?eccpageID=56&IndexView=alpha] of Lebanese people worldwide, outnumbering Muslims (both Sunniand Shi'a) at an estimated 3:1 ratioFact|date=August 2008. Although reduced in numbers and estimated to have lost their status as a majority in Lebanon itself, mostly as a result of emigrationand recently due to higher Muslim birth rates, Christians remain one of the principal religious groups in the country.
Lebanese Muslims in Lebanon are estimated to now represent the majority, and they are principally Shi'a and
Sunni. Approximately 30% of Lebanon's population, and representing the country's plurality, are Shi'a Muslims, approximately another 20% are Sunni Muslims, and another approximate 25% are Maronite Christians. The remainder is composed of other Christian and Muslim denominations and other religious groups.
In recent years efforts have been made by various genetic researchers, both based in Lebanon and abroad, to identify the ancestral origins of the Lebanese people, their relationship to each other, and to other neighbouring and distant human populations. Like most
DNAstudies attempting to identify the origins of a given human population, and any migration patterns in or out of the region which may have influenced their genetic make-up, these studies have focused on two segments of the human genome, the Y chromosome(inherited only by males and passed only by fathers) and mtDNA(mitochondrial DNA, which passes only from mother to child). Both segments are unaffected by recombination, thus they provide an indicator of paternal and maternal origins, respectively.
Results of research yielded so far appear to coincide with the history of Lebanon, corroborating that, naturally, the Lebanese trace descent from the region's earliest known inhabitants, the
Phoenicians, regardless of their membership to any of Lebanon's different religious communities today. "The genetic marker which identifies descendants of the ancient Levantines is found among members of all of Lebanon's religious communities" [http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0559096520070910] as well as some Syrians and Palestinians. By identifying the ancient type of DNA attributed to the Phoenicians, geneticist Pierre Zalloua was also able to chart their spread out of the eastern Mediterranean. These markers were found in unusually high proportions in non-Lebanese samples from other parts of the "Mediterranean coast where the Phoenicians are known to have established colonies, such as Carthagein today's Tunisia." [http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0559096520070910] The markers were also found among samples of Maltese and Spaniards, where the Phoenicians were also known to have established colonies.
Beyond this, more recent finds have also been of interest to geneticists and Lebanese
anthropologistsalike — which indicate foreign non-Levantine admixture from some unexpected but not surprising sources, even if only in a small proportion of the samples. Like a story written in DNA, it recounts some of the major historical events seen in the land today known as Lebanon.
Among the more interesting genetic markers to be found are those which seem to indicate that a small proportion of Lebanese Christians (2%) and a small proportion of Lebanese Muslims are descended, in part, from European Crusader Christians and
Arabian Muslims respectively. The author states that the "study tells us that some [European Crusaders] did not just conquer and leave behind castles. They left a subtle genetic connection as well." [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080328-crusaders-dna.html] In much the same manner, some of the Arabian Muslims did not just conquer and leave behind mosques.
It was during a broader survey of
Middle Eastern populations conducted for the Genographic Projectof the National Geographic Societythat the findings were stumbled upon. "We noticed some interesting lineages in the dataset. Among Lebanese Christians, in particular, we found higher frequency [2%] of a genetic marker — R1b— that we typically see only in Western Europe." [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080328-crusaders-dna.html] The lineage was seen at that "higher" frequency only in the Christian populations in Lebanon, even though among the Muslims it was not altogether absent. "The study matched the western European Y-chromosome lineage against thousands of people in France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom." [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080328-crusaders-dna.html] On the other hand, in the Lebanese Muslim population a similar pattern, this time associated with genetic markers from Arabia, was also observed in "higher" preferential frequencies, although they too were not altogether absent in the Christian population. "We found that a lineage that is very common in the Arabian Peninsula— Hg J*— is found in slightly higher frequencies preferentially in the Muslim population." [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080328-crusaders-dna.html] The author of the study added that the findings "certainly doesn't undermine the similarities among the various Lebanese communities, but it does agree with oral tradition." [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080328-crusaders-dna.html]
Other unrelated studies have sought to establish relationships between the Lebanese people and other groups. At least one study by the International Institute of Anthropology in
Paris, France, confirmed similarities in the Y-haplotype frequencies in Lebanese, Palestinian, and Sephardic Jewish men, identifying them as "three Near-Eastern populations sharing a common geographic origin." [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12820706] The study surveyed one Y-specific DNA polymorphism(p49/Taq I) in 54 Lebanese and 69 Palestinian males, and compared with the results found in 693 Jews from three distinct Jewish ethnic divisions; Mizrahi Jews, Sephardi Jews, and Ashkenazi Jews.
List of Lebanese people
* [http://thejewsoflebanon.org The Jews of Lebanon]
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