Mount Lebanon is the mountain range that extends across the whole country of Lebanon about 161 km (100 mi) parallel to the Mediterranean coast and rising to 3,090 m (10,131 ft). Lebanon is historically defined from the mountains, which have provided for protection for the local population. The snowy peaks may have given Lebanon its name in antiquity; laban is Aramaic for “white.” In Lebanon the change in nature is not connected to geographical distances, but altitudes. The mountains are known for their oak and pine forests. Also, in the high slopes of Mount Lebanon are the remaining groves of the famous Cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus Libani). The Phoenicians used the forests from Mount Lebanon to build their ship fleet and to trade with King Solomon. Before the modern republic of Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943, Mount Lebanon was a semi-autonomous province in the Ottoman Empire.