They were seafaring people so moved all over the Mediterranean. Their writing system developed into our modern writing system through the Greeks, then the Romans. They contributed roots of what would eventually become classical civilization as about a quarter of Greek words probably are of Phoenician origin.
They traded and traveled extensively with North Africa, and spread their religion all over the Mediterranean as well. Some scholars link them with the Philistines mentioned in the Bible. Others believe they were Canaanite in origin. Still others believe that they came from Africa.
They were definitely instrumental in mixing the Semite, European and African cultures, and are the ancestors of the modern Lebanese.