Lebanon is situated on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria. Most of Lebanon is mountainous terrain and historically its rugged terrain helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity. It is not a large country, just over 10400 square kilometers in size and has 225 kilometers of coastline. The capital of Lebanon is Beirut and languages are Arabic (official) however French and English are also spoken. It boasts a Mediterranean climate with a population of approximately 3.8 million. Evidence of the earliest known settlements in Lebanon was found in Byblos, which is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and dates back to earlier than 5000 BC. Since independence in 1943, Lebanon’s history has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and turmoil. In 1975 civil war broke out and lasted 15 years, however today Lebanon is enjoying economic growth and hosts a growing number of tourists.