Libya Home

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A virtual guide to Libya, a country in North Africa's Maghreb region. About 90% of the country is covered by the Libyan desert (part of the Sahara) where agriculture and therefore life is possible only in a few scattered oases.

The fourth-largest country in Africa is about the size of Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and the UK combined. Libya's main population centres are spread along the more fertile strip at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Since he took power in a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI has espoused his own political system - a combination of socialism and Islam - which he called the Third International Theory. Viewing himself as a revolutionary leader, he used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libya, even supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism.

Libyan military adventures failed, e.g., the prolonged foray of Libyan troops into the Aozou Strip in northern Chad was finally repulsed in 1987. Libyan support for terrorism decreased after UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. Those sanctions were suspended in April 1999.

The unrest that began in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in late 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in early 2011. QADHAFI's crackdown on protesters spawned a civil war that triggered UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community. QADHAFI's regime was toppled in mid-2011 and replaced by a transitional government.

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Official Name:
Short form: Lībiyā

ISO Country Code: ly
Local Time = UTC +2h
Actual Time: Thu-Mar-10 21:51
Country Calling Code: +218

Capital City: Tripoli (pop. est. 1.68 million)
Other Cities: Benghazi (pop. est. 640 000)

Provisional government.
The National Transitional Council of Libya was formed by anti-Gaddafi forces to represent Libya in the 2011 Libyan uprising.

Independence: 24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship).
Revolution: 1 September 1969.
Constitution: 11 December 1969, amended 2 March 1977--established popular congresses and people's committees.

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia.
Area: 1,759,540 km² (679,362 sq. mi., more than three times the size of France)
Terrain: Mediterranean coastline, highlands and deserts (90% of Libya) in interior.

Climate: Mediterranean along the coast; dry and extreme hot in desert interior.