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city capital lebanon war

Beirut (pop. 700,000), capital city and chief port of the Republic of Lebanon, situated on the Mediterranean Sea. During early Roman times the city became famous as a center of learning. The Arabs conquered the city in A.D. 635. In 1110 it was captured by the Crusaders, who held it for two centuries. It eventually became part of the Ottoman Empire. During World War I it came under French rule and was proclaimed the capital of Lebanon in 1920. Beirut has excellent railroad connections with other nearby cities, which have enlarged the region served by its harbor. Growth of the city during the 20th century was rapid until the Lebanese civil war of 1975–76 between Muslims and Christians caused severe damage and ended Beirut's success as a financial center and tourist resort. Much of the city was left in ruins following a siege by Israeli forces in 1982, which brought about the expulsion of thousands of PLO guerrillas.

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