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. The Phoenicians established many prosperous colonies including Tyre, Sidon, and Carthage, the last of which would go on to become a great empire. Most importantly, the Phoenicians invented a new alphabet of 22 letters which became the basis for all western alphabets.
The Earth and Its Peoples A Global History, Bulliet et al., 2005.