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The Phoenicians were an ancient people who lived on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of ancient Canaan, in parts of what today is Lebanon and Syria. The term "Phoenician" comes from the Greek name for their people, phoiniki.

They were excellent maritime traders who provided the Cedars of Lebanon mentioned in the Bible which were used in King Solomon's Temple. The Phoenicians established many prosperous colonies including Tyre, Sidon, and Carthage, the last of which would go on to become a great empire.

Perhaps most importantly, the Phoenicians invented a new alphabet of 22 letters which became the basis for all western alphabets. The Persian Empire, under Cyrus the Great conquered Phoenicia in 539 BC.


The Earth and Its Peoples A Global History, Bulliet et al., 2005.