A profile of Libya

Pre- and post-Gaddafi flags are shown on a map of Libya

Libya, a largely arid and oil-rich country, has emerged as a major entry point for migrants traveling to Europe and a source of tension between rival governments in the west and east that want to establish statewide rule.

Prior to its independence in 1951, Libya was ruled by foreign powers for centuries. Soon after, oil was found, bringing the nation tremendous wealth.

From the time he took control in 1969 until his overthrow in 2011 with the help of Western military intervention, Colonel Gaddafi ruled for four decades.

Libya has been split into rival political and military factions with bases in various regions of the country since 2014. Despite a long-term ceasefire that the two sides agreed to in 2020, political animosity persists.

  • Capital:. Tripoli.
  • Area:. 1,759,541 sq km.
  • Population:. 7.5 million.
  • Language:. Arabic.
  • Typical lifespan: Men aged 70 and women aged 75.

Prime Minister: Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh (National Unity Government).

Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh

The internationally recognized prime minister of the newly established Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, was appointed in March 2021.

For the first time in nearly seven years, Libya had a single government, successfully displacing the concurrent regimes that had existed since 2014.

However, this was only temporary, and when the eastern-based parliament established the rival Government of National Stability (GNS) under the leadership of Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha in March 2022, the country was divided once more.

To assert its legitimacy on a global scale, the GNS has struggled.

Ancient Roman arch in modern Tripoli
A blend of historic and contemporary structures can be found in Tripoli.

Due to the political unrest in the nation, Libya's media landscape is highly polarized and essentially unregulated.

One important source of news is satellite TV, and many outlets are based outside of Libya.

Reporters receive threats and assaults because journalism is risky.

Libya's Col Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi took over as a young officer and developed an increasing level of hysteria over the course of his 40 years in power.

Several significant dates in contemporary Libyan history are as follows:.

AD 643. - Amr Ibn al-As's Arab armies conquer Libya and spread Islam.

the 16th century. - Libya joins the Ottoman Empire and the three provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan are combined into a single regency in Tripoli.

1911-12 . - Italy takes over Libya from the Ottomans.

1920s  . Libyan opposition to Italian rule is intensifying.

1931 . Italy dismantles the resistance through a combination of massive military operations and internment facilities for the rebel population.

1934 . - As part of a long-term plan to incorporate Libya into a Greater Italy, Italy increases its immigration of Italians.

1942 . - Following a two-year offensive, the Allies drive the Italians and their German allies out of Libya.

1951 . - King Idris establishes Libya's independence.

1956 . Libya's oil reserves begin to be developed.

1969 . - Muammar Gaddafi removes King Idris from power.

1971 . - A national vote in favor of the proposed Federation of Arab Republics (FAR), which would include Libya, Egypt, and Syria. But the FAR never lifts off.

1977 . - Col. Gaddafi announces a "people's revolution," renaming the nation from the Libyan Arab Republic to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah, and establishing "revolutionary committees.".

Wreckage of the airliner that came down over Lockerbie
The PanAm 747 that blew up and crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, was downed, and Libya was blamed for it.

1992 . - The UN imposes sanctions on Libya for the bombing of a PanAm airliner in December 1988 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

2011 . Benghazi-based violent protests spread to other cities. In the end, Colonel Gaddafi is overthrown and killed as a result of civil war, foreign intervention, and other events.

2016. - A new government in Tripoli is erected after years of conflict with UN support. Competing governments and numerous militias oppose it.

2021. - Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh is appointed prime minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, which is backed by the UN.

British tanks in pursuit of German forces in Libya
During World War Two, Libya saw extensive combat.

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