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Phoenicia is an ancient civilization that was located in the eastern Mediterranean region. It was a major commercial power in the ancient world and is known for its seafaring prowess, its trade networks, and its contributions to the development of the alphabet. The Phoenicians were a Semitic people that are believed to have originated in the area that is now Lebanon. They were a powerful maritime and trading nation that had established colonies as far away as North Africa and the Iberian peninsula. The Phoenician civilization flourished from around 1100 BC to around 539 BC when it was conquered by the Persians. The Phoenicians were famous for their purple dye, which was made from the murex shell, and for their cedar wood which was used for shipbuilding. They also developed a phonetic alphabet, which was adopted by many civilizations, including the Greeks and the Romans.