ABSTRACT. The high-redshift (z > 2) galaxies discovered over the last few years with the Lyman-break technique represent, in number density, a major fraction of the galaxies known in the Local Universe. Thus, understanding the properties and the nature of these high-redshift systems is instrumental to our understanding of the cosmic evolution of galaxies and their stellar content. I briefly review the observed characteristics of the Lyman-break galaxies, relate these galaxies to their most likely low-redshift counterparts, and discuss the implications of dust obscuration on the global properties of the Lyman-break population. Finally, the observational properties of the high-redshift population are set in the framework of a simple evolutionary model for the stellar, metal and dust content of galaxies, to derive the intrinsic star formation history of the Universe.
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