Arabic : ليبيا Lībiyā) is a country in the
Maghreb region of
North Africa , bordered by the
Mediterranean Sea to
Egypt to the east,
Sudan to the southeast,
Chad and Niger
to the south and
Tunisia to the west. The country is made
of three historical regions,
With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi),
Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest
country in the world .
Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves
of any country in the world.
The largest city and capital,
Tripoli , is located in western Libya
and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The
other large city is
Benghazi , which is located in eastern Libya.
Libya has been inhabited by
Berbers since the late
Bronze Age . The
Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya, and ancient
Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya.
variously ruled by Carthaginians , Persians , Egyptians and Greeks
before becoming a part of the
Roman Empire .
Libya was an early centre
of Christianity. After the fall of the Western
Roman Empire , the area
Libya was mostly occupied by the
Vandals until the 7th century,
when invasions brought
Islam and Arab colonisation. In the 16th
Spanish Empire and the
Knights of St John occupied
Tripoli , until Ottoman rule began in 1551 .
Libya was involved in the
Barbary Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries. Ottoman rule continued
until the Italian occupation of
Libya resulted in the temporary
Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1943. During the Second World War
Libya was an important area of warfare in the
North African Campaign .
The Italian population then went into decline.
Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951 . A military coup in
1969 overthrew King Idris I . The coup leader
Muammar Gaddafi ruled
the country from the
Libyan Cultural Revolution in 1973 until he was
overthrown and killed in the Libyan Civil War of 2011 . Since then,
Libya has been unstable.
In the second Libyan Civil War ongoing since 2014, two authorities
initially claimed to govern Libya: the
Council of Deputies in
and the 2014
General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, which
considered itself the continuation of the
General National Congress ,
elected in 2012 . After UN-led peace talks between the
Tripoli governments, an unified interim UN -backed Government of
National Accord was established in 2015, and the GNC disbanded to
support it. Parts of
Libya remain outside of either government's
control, with various Islamist , rebel, and tribal militias
administering some areas. .
As of July 2017 talks are still ongoing between the GNA and the
Tobruk based authorities to end the strife and unify the divided
establishments of the state including the
Libyan Armed Forces
Libyan Armed Forces and the
Central Bank of Libya .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.2 Islamic
* 2.3 Ottoman
Italian Libya (1911–1943)
* 2.5 Independence,
Kingdom of Libya and
Libya under Gaddafi
* 2.6 2011 Civil War
* 2.7 Post-Gaddafi era
* 3 Geography
* 4 Government and politics
* 4.1 Foreign relations
* 4.2 Military
* 4.3 Administrative divisions
* 4.4 Human rights
* 5 Economy
* 6 Demographics
* 6.1 Local demographics and ethnic groups
* 6.2 Immigrant labour
* 6.3 Languages
* 6.4 Religion
* 6.5 Largest cities
* 7 Culture
* 7.1 Cuisine
* 8 Education
* 9 Health
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 Bibliography
* 13 External links
Ancient Libya and
Site of Sabratha,
Libya (/ˈlɪbiə/ ( listen ) or /ˈlɪbjə/ ;
ليبيا Līb(i)yā ( listen ); Libyan
Arabic : ) was
introduced in 1934 for
Italian Libya , reviving the historical name
Northwest Africa , from the ancient Greek Λιβύη (Libúē).
The name was based on earlier use in 1903 by Italian geographer
Federico Minutilli. It was intended to supplant terms applied to
Tripolitania , the coastal region of what is today Libya
having been ruled by the
Ottoman Empire from 1551 to 1911, as the
Eyalet of Tripolitania.
Libya gained independence in 1951 as the United Libyan Kingdom
Arabic : المملكة الليبية المتحدة
al-Mamlakah al-Lībiyyah al-Muttaḥidah), changing its name to the
Kingdom of Libya (
Arabic : المملكة الليبية
al-Mamlakah al-Lībiyyah) in 1963. Following a coup d\'état led by
Muammar Gaddafi in 1969, the name of the state was changed to the
Libyan Arab Republic (
Arabic : الجمهورية العربية
الليبية al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabiyyah al-Lībiyyah).
The official name was "Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" from
1977 to 1986, and "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya"
Arabic : الجماهيرية العربية الليبية
الشعبية الاشتراكية العظمى
al-Jamāhīriyyah al-‘Arabiyyah al-Lībiyyah ash-Sha‘biyyah
al-Ishtirākiyyah al-‘Uẓmá listen (help ·info )) from 1986 to
National Transitional Council
National Transitional Council , established in 2011, referred to
the state as simply "Libya". The UN formally recognized the country as
"Libya" in September 2011, based on a request from the Permanent
Libya citing the Libyan interim Constitutional Declaration
of 3 August 2011. In November 2011, the
ISO 3166-1 was altered to
reflect the new country name "Libya" in English, "Libye (la)" in
History of Libya
Ancient Libya The temple of
Zeus in the ancient
Greek city of Cyrene
The coastal plain of
Libya was inhabited by
Neolithic peoples from as
early as 8000 BC. The Afroasiatic ancestors of the
Berber people are
assumed to have spread into the area by the Late
Bronze Age . The
earliest known name of such a tribe is that of the
Garamantes , who
were based in
Germa . The Phoenicians were the first to establish
trading posts in Libya. By the 5th century BC, the greatest of the
Carthage , had extended its hegemony across much
of North Africa, where a distinctive civilization, known as
came into being.
In 630 BC, the ancient Greeks colonized Eastern
Libya and founded the
city of Cyrene . Within 200 years, four more important Greek cities
were established in the area that became known as
Cyrenaica . In 525
BC the Persian army of
Cambyses II overran Cyrenaica, which for the
next two centuries remained under Persian or Egyptian rule. Alexander
the Great was greeted by the Greeks when he entered
Cyrenaica in 331
BC, and Eastern
Libya again fell under the control of the Greeks, this
time as part of the
Ptolemaic Kingdom .
After the fall of
Carthage the Romans did not immediately occupy
Tripolitania (the region around Tripoli), but left it under control of
the kings of
Numidia , until the coastal cities asked and obtained its
Ptolemy Apion , the last Greek ruler, bequeathed
Cyrenaica to Rome, which formally annexed the region in 74 BC and
joined it to Crete as a Roman province . As part of the
Tripolitania was prosperous, and reached a golden age in
the 2nd and 3rd centuries, when the city of
Leptis Magna , home to the
Severan dynasty , was at its height.
On the Eastern side, Cyrenaica's first
Christian communities were
established by the time of the Emperor
Claudius but was heavily
devastated during the
Kitos War and almost depopulated of Greeks and
Jews alike, and, although repopulated by
Trajan with military
colonies, from then started its decline.
Libya was early to convert
Nicene Christianity and was the home of
Pope Victor I ; however,
Libya was a hotbed for early heresies such as
The decline of the
Roman Empire saw the classical cities fall into
ruin, a process hastened by the
Vandals ' destructive sweep through
North Africa in the 5th century. When the Empire returned (now as East
Romans ) as part of
Justinian 's reconquests of the 6th century,
efforts were made to strengthen the old cities, but it was only a last
gasp before they collapsed into disuse. Cyrenaica, which had remained
an outpost of the
Byzantine Empire during the Vandal period, also took
on the characteristics of an armed camp. Unpopular Byzantine governors
imposed burdensome taxation to meet military costs, while the towns
and public services—including the water system—were left to decay.
By the beginning of the 7th century, Byzantine control over the region
was weak, Berber rebellions were becoming more frequent, and there was
little to oppose Muslim invasion.
Main article: History of Islamic
Atiq Mosque in
Awjila is the oldest mosque in the
Under the command of \'Amr ibn al-\'As , the
Rashidun army conquered
Cyrenaica . In 647 an army led by
Abdullah ibn Saad took
the Byzantines definitively. The
Fezzan was conquered by Uqba ibn
Nafi in 663. The Berber tribes of the hinterland accepted Islam,
however they resisted Arab political rule.
For the next several decades,
Libya was under the purview of the
Caliph of Damascus until the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads
in 750, and
Libya came under the rule of Baghdad. When Caliph Harun
al-Rashid appointed Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab as his governor of Ifriqiya
Libya enjoyed considerable local autonomy under the Aghlabid
dynasty. By the end of the 9th century, the Shiite
Western Libya, and ruled the entire region in 972 and appointed
Bologhine ibn Ziri
Bologhine ibn Ziri as governor.
Ibn Ziri's Berber
Zirid dynasty ultimately broke away from the Shiite
Fatimids, and recognised the Sunni Abbasids of Baghdad as rightful
Caliphs. In retaliation, the
Fatimids brought about the migration of
thousands from mainly two Arab Qaisi tribes, the
Banu Sulaym and Banu
Hilal to North Africa. This act drastically altered the fabric of the
Libyan countryside, and cemented the cultural and linguistic
Arabisation of the region.
Zirid rule in
Tripolitania was short-lived though, and already in
Berbers of the
Banu Khazrun broke away.
under their control until 1146, when the region was overtaken by the
Normans of Sicily . It was not until 1159 that the Moroccan Almohad
leader Abd al-Mu\'min reconquered
Tripoli from European rule. For the
next 50 years,
Tripolitania was the scene of numerous battles among
Ayyubids , the
Almohad rulers and insurgents of the
Banu Ghaniya .
Later, a general of the Almohads , Muhammad ibn Abu Hafs, ruled Libya
from 1207 to 1221 before the later establishment of a Tunisian Hafsid
dynasty independent from the Almohads. The Hafsids ruled
Tripolitania for nearly 300 years. By the 16th century the Hafsids
became increasingly caught up in the power struggle between
Ottoman Empire .
After weakening control of Abbasids,
Cyrenaica was under
states such as
Ottoman conquest in 1517. Finally
Fezzan acquired independence under
Awlad Muhammad dynasty after Kanem rule. Ottomans finally conquered
Fezzan between 1556 and 1577.
OTTOMAN TRIPOLITANIA (1551–1911)
Main article: Ottoman
Tripolitania The Siege of
Tripoli in 1551
allowed the Ottomans to capture the city from the Knights of St. John.
After a successful invasion of
Habsburg Spain in 1510,
and its handover to the
Knights of St. John , the Ottoman admiral
Pasha took control of
Libya in 1551. His successor Turgut Reis
was named the
Tripoli and later
Tripoli in 1556. By
1565, administrative authority as regent in
Tripoli was vested in a
pasha appointed directly by the sultan in
In the 1580s, the rulers of
Fezzan gave their allegiance to the
sultan, and although Ottoman authority was absent in
Cyrenaica , a bey
was stationed in
Benghazi late in the next century to act as agent of
the government in Tripoli. European slaves and large numbers of
enslaved Blacks transported from
Sudan were also a feature of everyday
life in Tripoli. In 1551,
Turgut Reis enslaved almost the entire
population of the Maltese island of
Gozo , some 6,300 people, sending
them to Libya.
In time, real power came to rest with the pasha’s corps of
janissaries . In 1611 the deys staged a coup against the pasha, and
Dey Sulayman Safar was appointed as head of government. For the next
hundred years, a series of deys effectively ruled Tripolitania. The
two most important Deys were
Mehmed Saqizli (r. 1631–49) and Osman
Saqizli (r. 1649–72), both also Pasha, who ruled effectively the
region. The latter conquered also Cyrenaica. The USS Enterprise
of the Mediterranean Squadron capturing a Tripolitan Corsair during
First Barbary War
First Barbary War , 1801
Lacking direction from the Ottoman government,
Tripoli lapsed into a
period of military anarchy during which coup followed coup and few
deys survived in office more than a year. One such coup was led by
Ahmed Karamanli . The Karamanlis ruled from 1711
until 1835 mainly in Tripolitania, and had influence in
Fezzan as well by the mid-18th century. Ahmad's successors proved to
be less capable than himself, however, the region's delicate balance
of power allowed the Karamanli. The 1793–95 Tripolitanian civil war
occurred in those years. In 1793, Turkish officer Ali Benghul deposed
Hamet Karamanli and briefly restored
Tripolitania to Ottoman rule.
Hamet's brother Yusuf (r. 1795–1832) re-established Tripolitania's
In the early 19th century war broke out between the
United States and
Tripolitania, and a series of battles ensued in what came to be known
First Barbary War
First Barbary War and the
Second Barbary War . By 1819, the
various treaties of the
Napoleonic Wars had forced the Barbary states
to give up piracy almost entirely, and Tripolitania's economy began to
crumble. As Yusuf weakened, factions sprung up around his three sons.
Civil war soon resulted.
Mahmud II sent in troops ostensibly to restore order,
marking the end of both the
Karamanli dynasty and an independent
Tripolitania. Order was not recovered easily, and the revolt of the
Libyan under Abd-El-Gelil and Gûma ben Khalifa lasted until the death
of the latter in 1858. The second period of direct Ottoman rule saw
administrative changes, and greater order in the governance of the
three provinces of Libya. Ottoman rule finally reasserted to Fezzan
between 1850 and 1875 for earning income from Saharan commerce.
ITALIAN LIBYA (1911–1943)
Omar Mukhtar was the leader of
Libyan resistance in
Cyrenaica against the Italian colonisation.
Australian defenders of
Tobruk during World War II. Beginning on 10
April 1941, the Siege of
Tobruk lasted for 240 days
Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912),
turned the three regions into colonies. From 1912 to 1927, the
Libya was known as Italian
North Africa . From 1927 to
1934, the territory was split into two colonies, Italian
Tripolitania , run by Italian governors. Some 150,000 Italians
settled in Libya, constituting roughly 20% of the total population.
Italy adopted the name "Libya" (used by the Ancient Greeks
for all of
North Africa , except Egypt) as the official name of the
colony (made up of the three provinces of
Omar Mukhtar was the resistance leader against the Italian
colonization and became a national hero despite his capture and
execution on 16 September 1931. His face is currently printed on the
Libyan ten dinar note in memory and recognition of his patriotism.
Idris al-Mahdi as-
Senussi (later King Idris I ), Emir of Cyrenaica,
led the Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two world
Ilan Pappé estimates that between 1928 and 1932 the Italian
military "killed half the
Bedouin population (directly or through
disease and starvation in camps)." Italian historian Emilio Gentile
estimates 50,000 deaths resulting from the suppression of resistance.
In June 1940,
Italy entered World War II .
Libya became the setting
for the hard-fought
North African Campaign that ultimately ended in
Italy and its German ally in 1943.
From 1943 to 1951,
Libya was under Allied occupation . The British
military administered the two former Italian Libyan provinces of
Tripolitana and Cyrenaïca, while the French administered the province
of Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in
Cairo but declined to
resume permanent residence in
Cyrenaica until the removal of some
aspects of foreign control in 1947. Under the terms of the 1947 peace
treaty with the Allies ,
Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.
INDEPENDENCE, KINGDOM OF LIBYA AND LIBYA UNDER GADDAFI (1951–2011)
Kingdom of Libya and
History of Libya under Muammar
Gaddafi King Idris I of the
Senussi order became the first head
of state of
Libya in 1951
On 24 December 1951,
Libya declared its independence as the United
Kingdom of Libya , a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King
Idris , Libya's only monarch. The discovery of significant oil
reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales
enabled one of the world's poorest nations to establish an extremely
wealthy state. Although oil drastically improved the Libyan
government's finances, resentment among some factions began to build
over the increased concentration of the nation's wealth in the hands
of King Idris. Gaddafi (left) with Egyptian President Nasser in
On 1 September 1969, a group of rebel military officers led by
Muammar Gaddafi launched a coup d\'état against King Idris , which
became known as the Al Fateh Revolution. Gaddafi was referred to as
the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution " in government
statements and the official Libyan press.
On 2 March 1977,
Libya officially became the "Great Socialist
People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya". Gaddafi officially passed power to
the General People\'s Committees and henceforth claimed to be no more
than a symbolic figurehead. On 25 October 1975, a coup attempt was
launched by some 20 military officers, mostly from the city of Misrata
. This resulted in the arrest and executions of the coup plotters.
The new "jamahiriya" governance structure he established was
officially referred to as "direct democracy ".
Libya's system of governance during the Jamahiriya era was based on
Gaddafi's theories outlined in his The Green Book , published in 1975.
Under the Jamahiriya system, political issues for debate were raised
at local level around the country, convened by any one of about 2,000
local "people's committees". The committees would then pass their
votes to a central general committee formed by elected members, where
votes at the local congresses would finally influence the outcomes of
In February 1977,
Libya started delivering military supplies to
Goukouni Oueddei and the People\'s Armed Forces in
Chad . The
Chadian–Libyan conflict began in earnest when Libya's support of
rebel forces in northern
Chad escalated into an invasion . Later that
Egypt fought a four-day border war that came to
be known as the
Libyan-Egyptian War , both nations agreed to a
ceasefire under the mediation of the Algerian president Houari
Boumediène . Hundreds of Libyans lost their lives in the war against
Tanzania, when Gaddafi tried to save his friend
Idi Amin . Gaddafi
financed various other groups from anti-nuclear movements to
Australian trade unions.
From 1977 onward, per capita income in the country rose to more than
US $11,000, the fifth-highest in
Africa , while the Human Development
Index became the highest in
Africa and greater than that of Saudi
Arabia . This was achieved without borrowing any foreign loans,
Libya debt-free . The
Great Manmade River
Great Manmade River was also built to
allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country.
In addition, financial support was provided for university
scholarships and employment programs.
Much of Libya's income from oil, which soared in the 1970s, was spent
on arms purchases and on sponsoring dozens of paramilitaries and
terrorist groups around the world. An American airstrike intended
to kill Gaddafi failed in 1986.
Libya was finally put under sanctions
United Nations after the bombing of a commercial flight killed
Muammar Gaddafi gained power in a 1969 coup and was
"leader of the revolution" until his overthrow in 2011.
A gathering of more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers,
meeting on 27 August 2008 in the Libyan town of Benghazi, conferred on
Colonel Gaddafi the title "King of Kings of Africa". Sheikh Abdilmajid
Tanzania said traditional rulers were more influential in Africa
than their respective governments.
2011 CIVIL WAR
This section needs to be UPDATED. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2016)
Parts of this article (those related to The first civil war against
Gaddafi and the second Libyan Civil war 2014 – Present which needs
to be added ) need to be UPDATED. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2016)
Libyan Civil War (2011) Demonstrations in Bayda
on 22 July 2011
Arab Spring movements overturned the rulers of
Libya experienced a full-scale revolt beginning on 17 February
2011 . Libya's authoritarian regime led by
Muammar Gaddafi put up
much more of a resistance compared to the regimes in
Tunisia. While overthrowing the regimes in
Tunisia was a
relatively quick process, Gaddafi's campaign posed significant stalls
on the uprisings in Libya. The first announcement of a competing
political authority appeared online and declared the Interim
Transitional National Council as an alternative government. One of
Gaddafi's senior advisors responded by posting a tweet, wherein he
resigned, defected, and advised Gaddafi to flee. By 20 February, the
unrest had spread to Tripoli. On 27 February 2011, the National
Transitional Council was established to administer the areas of Libya
under rebel control. On 10 March 2011,
France became the first state
to officially recognise the council as the legitimate representative
of the Libyan people.
Pro-Gaddaffi forces were able to respond militarily to rebel pushes
Libya and launched a counterattack along the coast toward
Benghazi, the de facto centre of the uprising. The town of Zawiya ,
48 kilometres (30 mi) from Tripoli, was bombarded by air force planes
and army tanks and seized by Jamahiriya troops , "exercising a level
of brutality not yet seen in the conflict."
Organizations of the
United Nations , including United Nations
Ban Ki-moon and the
United Nations Human Rights
Council , condemned the crackdown as violating international law, with
the latter body expelling
Libya outright in an unprecedented action
urged by Libya's own delegation to the UN.
On 17 March 2011 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 ,
with a 10–0 vote and five abstentions including Russia, China,
Brazil and Germany. The resolution sanctioned the establishment
of a no-fly zone and the use of "all means necessary" to protect
civilians within Libya. On 19 March, the first act of NATO allies to
secure the no-fly zone by destroying Libyan air defences began when
French military jets entered Libyan airspace on a reconnaissance
mission heralding attacks on enemy targets.
In the weeks that followed, American forces were in the forefront of
NATO operations against Libya. More than 8,000 American personnel in
warships and aircraft were deployed in the area. At least 3,000
targets were struck in 14,202 strike sorties, 716 of them in Tripoli
and 492 in Brega. The American air offensive included flights of B-2
Stealth bombers, each bomber armed with sixteen 2000-pound bombs,
flying out of and returning to their base in Missouri on the
continental United States. The support provided by the NATO airforces
contributed to the ultimate success of the revolution.
By 22 August 2011, rebel fighters had entered
Tripoli and occupied
Green Square , which they renamed Martyrs' Square in honour of those
killed since 17 February 2011. On 20 October 2011 the last heavy
fighting of the uprising came to an end in the city of
Sirte , where
Gaddafi was captured and killed. The defeat of loyalist forces was
celebrated on 23 October 2011, three days after the fall of Sirte.
At least 30,000 Libyans died in the civil war.
Main articles: Aftermath of the
2011 Libyan Civil War
2011 Libyan Civil War and Libyan
Civil War (2014–present) Areas of control in the Civil War ,
updated 10 December 2016:
Government of National Accord Petroleum
Facilities Guard Tuareg tribes Local forces
Since the defeat of loyalist forces,
Libya has been torn among
numerous rival, armed militias affiliated with distinct regions,
cities and tribes, while the central government has been weak and
unable effectively to exert its authority over the country. Competing
militias have pitted themselves against each other in a political
struggle between Islamist politicians and their opponents. On 7 July
2012, Libyans held their first parliamentary elections since the end
of the former regime. On 8 August 2012, the National Transitional
Council officially handed power over to the wholly elected General
National Congress , which was then tasked with the formation of an
interim government and the drafting of a new Libyan Constitution to be
approved in a general referendum .
On 25 August 2012, in what Reuters reported as "the most blatant
sectarian attack" since the end of the civil war, unnamed organized
assailants bulldozed a Sufi mosque with graves, in broad daylight in
the center of the Libyan capital
Tripoli . It was the second such
razing of a Sufi site in two days. Numerous acts of vandalism and
destruction of heritage were carried out by suspected Islamist
militias, most notably with the removal of the Nude Gazelle Statue and
the destruction and desecration of World War II-era British grave
sites near Benghazi. Many other cases of Heritage vandalism were
carried out and were reported to be carried out by Islamist related
radical militias and mobs that either destroyed, robbed, or looted a
number of Historic sites which remain in danger at present.
On 11 September 2012, Islamist militants mounted a surprise attack on
the American consulate in Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador to
J. Christopher Stevens , and three others. The incident
generated outrage in the
United States and Libya.
On 7 October 2012, Libya's Prime Minister-elect Mustafa A.G.
Abushagur was ousted after failing a second time to win parliamentary
approval for a new cabinet. On 14 October 2012, the General National
Congress elected former GNC member and human rights lawyer Ali Zeidan
as prime minister-designate. Zeidan was sworn in after his cabinet
was approved by the GNC. On 11 March 2014, after having been ousted
by the GNC for his inability to halt a rogue oil shipment, Prime
Minister Zeiden stepped down, and was replaced by Prime Minister
Abdullah al-Thani . On 25 March 2014, in the face of mounting
instability, al-Thani's government briefly explored the possibility of
the restoration of the Libyan monarchy.
In June 2014, elections were held to the
Council of Deputies , a new
legislative body intended to take over from the General National
Congress . The elections were marred by violence and low turnout, with
voting stations closed in some areas. Secularists and liberals did
well in the elections, to the consternation of Islamist lawmakers in
the GNC, who reconvened and declared a continuing mandate for the GNC
, refusing to recognise the new Council of Deputies. Armed supporters
General National Congress occupied Tripoli, forcing the newly
elected parliament to flee to
Libya has been riven by conflict between the rival parliaments since
mid-2014. Tribal militias and jihadist groups have taken advantage of
the power vacuum. Most notably, radical Islamist fighters seized Derna
in 2014 and
Sirte in 2015 in the name of the Islamic State of
the Levant . In early 2015, neighbouring
Egypt launched airstrikes
against ISIL in support of the
Tobruk government. Field
Khalifa Haftar , the head of the
Libyan National Army
Libyan National Army . One of
the main factions in the 2014 civil war
In January 2015, meetings were held with the aim to find a peaceful
agreement between the rival parties in Libya. The so-called
Ghadames talks were supposed to bring the GNC and the Tobruk
government together at one table to find a solution of the internal
conflict. However, the GNC actually never participated, a sign that
internal division not only affected the "
Tobruk Camp", but also the
Tripoli Camp". Meanwhile, terrorism within
Libya has steadily
increased, affecting also neighbouring countries. The terrorist attack
against the Bardo Museum on 18 March 2015, was reportedly carried on
by two Libyan-trained militants.
During 2015 an extended series of diplomatic meetings and peace
negotiations were supported by the United Nations, as conducted by the
Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Spanish
diplomat Bernardino Leon. UN support for the SRSG-led process of
dialogue carried on in addition to the usual work of the United
Nations Support Mission in
In July 2015 SRSG Leon reported to the UN Security Council on the
progress of the negotiations, which at that point had just achieved a
political agreement on 11 July setting out "a comprehensive
framework…includ guiding principles…institutions and
decision-making mechanisms to guide the transition until the adoption
of a permanent constitution." The stated purpose of that process was
"…intended to culminate in the creation of a modern, democratic
state based on the principle of inclusion, the rule of law, separation
of powers and respect for human rights." The SRSG praised the
participants for achieving agreement, stating that "The Libyan people
have unequivocally expressed themselves in favour of peace." The SRSG
then informed the Security Council that "
Libya is at a critical stage"
and urging "all parties in
Libya to continue to engage constructively
in the dialogue process", stating that "only through dialogue and
political compromise, can a peaceful resolution of the conflict be
achieved. A peaceful transition will only succeed in
Libya through a
significant and coordinated effort in supporting a future Government
of National Accord…". Talks, negotiations and dialogue continued on
during mid-2015 at various international locations, culminating at
Morocco in early September.
Also in 2015, as part of the ongoing support from the international
community, the UN Human Rights Council requested a report about the
Libyan situation and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid
Ra’ad Al Hussein, established an investigative body (OIOL) to report
on human rights and rebuilding the Libyan justice system.
Geography of Libya A map of
map of Köppen climate classification
Libya extends over 1,759,540 square kilometres (679,362 sq mi),
making it the 16th largest nation in the world by size .
bound to the north by the
Mediterranean Sea , the west by
Algeria , the southwest by
Niger , the south by
Sudan on the
southeast, and to the east by
Libya lies between latitudes
19° and 34°N , and longitudes 9° and 26°E .
At 1,770 kilometres (1,100 mi), Libya's coastline is the longest of
any African country bordering the Mediterranean. The portion of the
Mediterranean Sea north of
Libya is often called the
Libyan Sea . The
climate is mostly extremely dry and desertlike in nature. However, the
northern regions enjoy a milder
Mediterranean climate .
Natural hazards come in the form of hot, dry, dust-laden sirocco
Libya as the gibli). This is a southern wind blowing from
one to four days in spring and autumn. There are also dust storms and
sandstorms . Oases can also be found scattered throughout Libya, the
most important of which are
Libya is one of the
sunniest and driest countries in the world due to prevailing presence
of desert environment.
Libya is a predominantly desert country. Up to 90% of the land
area is covered in desert.
Libyan Desert , which covers much of Libya, is one of the most
arid and sun-baked places on earth. In places, decades may pass
without seeing any rainfall at all, and even in the highlands rainfall
seldom happens, once every 5–10 years. At Uweinat , as of 2006 the
last recorded rainfall was in September 1998.
Likewise, the temperature in the
Libyan Desert can be extreme; on 13
September 1922 the town of \
'Aziziya , which is located southwest of
Tripoli , recorded an air temperature of 58 °C (136.4 °F ),
considered to be a world record. In September 2012, however, the
world record figure of 58 °C was overturned by the World
Meteorological Organization .
There are a few scattered uninhabited small oases, usually linked to
the major depressions, where water can be found by digging to a few
feet in depth. In the west there is a widely dispersed group of oases
in unconnected shallow depressions, the
Kufra group, consisting of
Tazerbo, Rebianae and
Kufra . Aside from the scarps, the general
flatness is only interrupted by a series of plateaus and massifs near
the centre of the Libyan Desert, around the convergence of the
Slightly further to the south are the massifs of Arkenu, Uweinat and
Kissu. These granite mountains are ancient, having formed long before
the sandstones surrounding them. Arkenu and Western Uweinat are ring
complexes very similar to those in the
Aïr Mountains . Eastern
Uweinat (the highest point in the Libyan Desert) is a raised sandstone
plateau adjacent to the granite part further west.
The plain to the north of Uweinat is dotted with eroded volcanic
features. With the discovery of oil in the 1950s also came the
discovery of a massive aquifer underneath much of Libya. The water in
this aquifer pre-dates the last ice ages and the
Sahara Desert itself.
This area also contains the
Arkenu structures , which were once
thought to be two impact craters.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
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Politics of Libya
The legislature of
Libya is the unicameral
Council of Deputies which
The former legislature was the
General National Congress , which had
200 seats. The
General National Congress (2014) , a largely
unrecognised rival parliament based in the de jure capital of Tripoli
, claims to be a legal continuation of the GNC.
On 7 July 2012, Libyans voted in parliamentary elections , the first
free elections in almost 40 years. Around thirty women were elected
to become members of parliament. Early results of the vote showed the
National Forces Alliance , led by former interim Prime Minister
Mahmoud Jibril, as front runner. The
Justice and Construction Party ,
affiliated to the
Muslim Brotherhood , has done less well than similar
Egypt and Tunisia. It won 17 out of 80 seats that were
contested by parties, but about 60 independents have since joined its
As of January 2013, there was mounting public pressure on the
National Congress to set up a drafting body to create a new
constitution. Congress had not yet decided whether the members of the
body would be elected or appointed.
On 30 March 2014
General National Congress voted to replace itself
Council of Deputies . The new legislature allocates 30 seats
for women, will have 200 seats overall (with individuals able to run
as members of political parties) and allows Libyans of foreign
nationalities to run for office.
Following the 2012 elections,
Freedom House improved Libya's rating
from Not Free to Partly Free, and now considers the country to be an
Gaddafi merged civil and sharia courts in 1973. Civil courts now
employ sharia judges who sit in regular courts of appeal and
specialise in sharia appellate cases. Laws regarding personal status
are derived from Islamic law.
At a meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs
on 2 December 2014, UN
Special Representative Bernardino León
Libya as a non-state.
An agreement to form a unified interim government was signed on 17
December 2015. Under the terms of the agreement, a nine-member
Presidency Council and a seventeen-member interim Government of
National Accord would be formed, with a view to holding new elections
within two years. The House of Representatives would continue to
exist as a legislature and an advisory body, to be known as the State
Council , will be formed with members nominated by the General
National Congress (2014) .
Foreign relations of Libya UK Foreign Secretary
William Hague with Libyan Prime Minister
Ali Zeidan and U.S. Secretary
John Kerry , November 2013
Libya's foreign policies have fluctuated since 1951. As a Kingdom,
Libya maintained a definitively pro-Western stance, and was recognized
as belonging to the conservative traditionalist bloc in the League of
Arab States (the present-day
Arab League ), of which it became a
member in 1953. The government was also friendly towards Western
countries such as the United Kingdom, United States,
Greece , and established full diplomatic relations with the Soviet
Union in 1955.
Although the government supported Arab causes, including the Moroccan
and Algerian independence movements, it took little active part in the
Arab-Israeli dispute or the tumultuous inter-Arab politics of the
1950s and early 1960s. The Kingdom was noted for its close association
with the West, while it steered a conservative course at home.
Libyan National Security Adviser
Mutassim Gaddafi with U.S. Secretary
Hillary Clinton in 2009
After the 1969 coup ,
Muammar Gaddafi closed American and British
bases and partly nationalized foreign oil and commercial interests in
Gaddafi was known for backing a number of leaders viewed as anathema
Westernization and political liberalism , including Ugandan
Idi Amin , Central African Emperor
Jean-Bédel Bokassa ,
Haile Mariam Mengistu
Haile Mariam Mengistu , Liberian President
Charles Taylor , and Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milošević .
Relations with the West were strained by a series of incidents for
most of Gaddafi's rule, including the killing of London policewoman
Yvonne Fletcher , the bombing of a
West Berlin nightclub frequented by
U.S. servicemen, and the bombing of
Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103 , which led to
UN sanctions in the 1990s, though by the late 2000s, the United States
and other Western powers had normalised relations with Libya.
Gaddafi's decision to abandon the pursuit of weapons of mass
destruction after the
Iraq War saw Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
overthrown and put on trial led to
Libya being hailed as a success for
Western soft power initiatives in the
War on Terror . In October
2010, Gaddafi apologized to African leaders on behalf of Arab nations
for their involvement in the African slave trade .
Libya is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood
Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer.
Libyan National Army
Libyan National Army
This article needs to be UPDATED. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2016)
Libyan National Army
Libyan National Army comprises a ground army , an air force and a
navy . It is currently being re-established by the Libyan government,
as Libya's previous national army was defeated in the Libyan Civil War
and disbanded. As of May 2012, an estimated 35,000 personnel have
joined its ranks.
As of November 2012, it was deemed to be still in the embryonic stage
of development. President Mohammed el-Megarif promised that
empowering the army and police force is the government's biggest
priority. President el-Megarif also ordered that all of the country's
militias must come under government authority or disband.
Militias have so far refused to be integrated into a central security
force. Many of these militias are disciplined, but the most powerful
of them answer only to the executive councils of various Libyan
cities. These militias make up the so-called Libyan Shield , a
parallel national force, which operates at the request, rather than at
the order, of the defence ministry.
Subdivisions of Libya and
Districts of Libya
Districts of Libya since 2007
Historically the area of
Libya was considered three provinces (or
Tripolitania in the northwest, Barka (Cyrenaica) in the east,
Fezzan in the southwest. It was the conquest by
Italy in the
Italo-Turkish War that united them in a single political unit.
Libya has been divided into 22 districts (baladiyat ):
Nuqat al Khams
Nuqat al Khams
Jabal al Akhdar
* Jabal al Gharbi
* Wadi al Shatii
* Al Wahat
* Wadi al Hayaa
Human rights in Libya
Homosexuality is illegal in Libya. According to Human Rights Watch
annual report 2016, journalists are still being targeted by the armed
groups in Libya. The organization added that
Libya has very low rank
in the 2015 press freedom index as it occupied 154 out of 180
Economy of Libya
This article needs to be UPDATED. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2016)
The ENI Oil Bouri DP4 in the
The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil
sector , which accounts for 80% of GDP and 97% of exports. Libya
holds the largest proven oil reserves in
Africa and is an important
contributor to the global supply of light, sweet crude . Apart from
petroleum, the other natural resources are natural gas and gypsum .
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund estimated Libya's real GDP growth at
122% in 2012 and 16.7% in 2013, after a 60% plunge in 2011.
World Bank defines
Libya as an 'Upper Middle Income Economy',
along with only seven other African countries. Substantial revenues
from the energy sector, coupled with a small population, give Libya
one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa. This allowed the Libyan
Arab Jamahiriya state to provide an extensive level of social security
, particularly in the fields of housing and education.
Libya faces many structural problems including a lack of
institutions, weak governance, and chronic structural unemployment .
The economy displays a lack of economic diversification and
significant reliance on immigrant labour.
Libya has traditionally
relied on unsustainably high levels of public sector hiring to create
employment. In the mid-2000s, the government employed about 70% of
all national employees.
Unemployment has risen from 8% in 2008 to 21%, according to the
latest census figures. According to an
Arab League report, based on
data from 2010, unemployment for women stands at 18% while for the
figure for men is 21%, making
Libya the only Arab country where there
are more unemployed men than women.
Libya has high levels of social
inequality, high rates of youth unemployment and regional economic
disparities. Water supply is also a problem, with some 28% of the
population not having access to safe drinking water in 2000.
Pivot irrigation in
Kufra , southeast
Libya imports up to 90% of its cereal consumption requirements, and
imports of wheat in 2012/13 was estimated at about 1 million tonnes.
The 2012 wheat production was estimated at about 200,000 tonnes. The
government hopes to increase food production to 800,000 tonnes of
cereals by 2020. However, natural and environmental conditions limit
Libya’s agricultural production potential. Before 1958, agriculture
was the country’s main source of revenue, making up about 30% of
GDP. With the discovery of oil in 1958, the size of the agriculture
sector declined rapidly, comprising less than 5% GDP by 2005.
The country joined
OPEC in 1962.
Libya is not a
WTO member, but
negotiations for its accession started in 2004.
In the early 1980s,
Libya was one of the wealthiest countries in the
GDP per capita
GDP per capita was higher than some developed countries.
Oil is the major natural resource of Libya, with estimated reserves
of 43.6 billion barrels .
In the early 2000s officials of the Jamahiriya era carried out
economic reforms to reintegrate
Libya into the global economy. UN
sanctions were lifted in September 2003, and
Libya announced in
December 2003 that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass
destruction. Other steps have included applying for membership of the
World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization , reducing subsidies , and announcing plans
for privatization .
Authorities privatized more than 100 government owned companies after
2003 in industries including oil refining, tourism and real estate, of
which 29 were 100% foreign owned. Many international oil companies
returned to the country, including oil giants Shell and
After sanctions were lifted there was a gradual increase of air
traffic, and by 2005 there were 1.5 million yearly air travellers.
Libya had long been a notoriously difficult country for Western
tourists to visit due to stringent visa requirements.
In 2007 Saif al-
Islam Gaddafi , the second-eldest son of Muammar
Gaddafi, was involved in a green development project called the Green
Mountain Sustainable Development Area, which sought to bring tourism
to Cyrene and to preserve Greek ruins in the area.
In August 2011 it was estimated that it would take at least 10 years
to rebuild Libya's infrastructure. Even before the 2011 war, Libya's
infrastructure was in a poor state due to "utter neglect" by Gaddafi's
administration, according to the NTC. By October 2012, the economy
had recovered from the 2011 conflict, with oil production returning to
near normal levels. Oil production was more than 1.6 million barrels
per day before the war. By October 2012, the average oil production
has surpassed 1.4 million bpd. The resumption of production was made
possible due to the quick return of major Western companies, like
Wintershall and Occidental . In 2016, an
announcement from the company said the company aims 900,000 barrel per
day in the next year. Oil production has fallen from 1.6 million
barrel per day to 900,000 in four years of war.
Demographics of Libya Libyan Arab men in Bayda .
Libya is a large country with a relatively small population, and the
population is concentrated very narrowly along the coast. Population
density is about 50 persons per km² (130/sq. mi.) in the two northern
Cyrenaica , but falls to less than one
person per km² (2.6/sq. mi.) elsewhere. Ninety percent of the people
live in less than 10% of the area, primarily along the coast. About
88% of the population is urban, mostly concentrated in the three
Libya has a
population of about 6.5 million, 27.7% of whom are under the age of
15. In 1984 the population was 3.6 million, an increase from the 1.54
million reported in 1964.
There are about 140 tribes and clans in Libya. Family life is
important for Libyan families, the majority of which live in apartment
blocks and other independent housing units, with precise modes of
housing depending on their income and wealth. Although the Libyan
Arabs traditionally lived nomadic lifestyles in tents, they have now
settled in various towns and cities. Because of this, their old ways
of life are gradually fading out. An unknown small number of Libyans
still live in the desert as their families have done for centuries.
Most of the population has occupations in industry and services , and
a small percentage is in agriculture .
According to the UNHCR, there were around 8,000 registered refugees,
5,500 unregistered refugees, and 7,000 asylum seekers of various
Libya in January 2013. Additionally, 47,000 Libyan
nationals were internally displaced and 46,570 were internally
LOCAL DEMOGRAPHICS AND ETHNIC GROUPS
The original inhabitants of
Libya belonged predominantly to various
Berber ethnic groups; however, the long series of foreign invasions
– particularly by
Arabs and Turks – have had a profound and
lasting influence on Libya's demographics. Today, the majority of
Libyans are Arab mainly from
Banu Sulaym tribe, beside Turkish and
Berber ethnicities. The Turkish minority are often called
Kouloughlis " and are concentrated in and around villages and towns.
Additionally, there are some Libyan ethnic minorities, such as the
Berber-speaking Tuareg and the Tebou .
Most Italian settlers left after Italian Libya's independence in
1947. More repatriated in 1970 after the accession of Muammar Gaddafi.
A map indicating the ethnic composition of
Libya in 1974
As of 2013 , the UN estimates that around 12% of Libya's population
(upwards of 740,000 people) was made up of foreign migrants. Prior to
the 2011 revolution official and unofficial figures of migrant labour
range from 25% to 40% of the population (between 1.5 and 2.4 million
Libya has been a host state for millions of
low- and high-skilled Egyptian migrants, in particular.
It is difficult to estimate the total number of immigrants in Libya
as there are often differences between census figures, official counts
and usually more accurate unofficial estimates. In the 2006 census,
around 359,540 foreign nationals were resident in
Libya out of a
population of over 5.5 million (6.35% of the population). Almost half
of these were Egyptians, followed by Sudanese and Palestinian
immigrants. During the 2011 revolution, 768,362 immigrants fled Libya
as calculated by the IOM , around 13% of the population at the time,
although many more stayed on in the country.
If consular records prior to the revolution are used to estimate the
immigrant population, as many as 2 million Egyptian migrants were
recorded by the Egyptian embassy in
Tripoli in 2009, followed by
87,200 Tunisians, and 68,200 Moroccans by their respective embassies.
The number of Asian migrants before the revolution were roughly
100,000 (60,000 Bangladeshis, 18,000 Indians, 10,000 Pakistanis, 8000
Filipinos as well as Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and other
workers). This would put the immigrant population at almost 40%
before the revolution and is a figure more consistent with government
estimates in 2004 which put the regular and irregular migrant numbers
at 1.35 to 1.8 million (25–33% of the population at the time).
Libya's native population of
Berbers as well as Arab
migrants of various nationalities collectively make up 97% of the
population as of 2014 . The remaining 3% of residents include mostly
Bangladeshies , Greeks , Indians , Italians , Maltese , Turks , and
Ukrainians as well as other nationalities.
Languages of Libya
According to the CIA, the official language of
Arabic . The
Arabic variety is spoken alongside Modern Standard Arabic
Berber languages are also spoken, including Tamasheq ,
Ghadamis, Nafusi, Suknah and Awjilah. In addition, Italian and
English are widely understood in the major cities, with the former
used in commerce and still spoken among the remaining Italian
Religion in Libya
Islam (97%) Christianity (0.7%) Buddhism
(0.3%) Main article:
Religion in Libya Mosque in
close to the Tunisian and Algerian border. 97% of Libyans are
followers of Islam.
About 97% of the population in
Libya are Muslims , most of whom
belong to the Sunni branch . Small numbers of
Ibadi Muslims , Sufis
and Ahmadis also live in the country.
Before the 1930s, the
Senussi Movement was the primary Islamic
movement in Libya. This was a religious revival adapted to desert
life. Its zawaaya (lodges) were found in
Fezzan , but
Senussi influence was strongest in
Cyrenaica . Rescuing the region
from unrest and anarchy, the
Senussi movement gave the Cyrenaican
tribal people a religious attachment and feelings of unity and
purpose. This Islamic movement, which was eventually destroyed by
both Italian invasion and later the Gaddafi government, was very
conservative and somewhat different from the
Islam that exists in
Libya today. Gaddafi asserted that he was a devout Muslim, and his
government was taking a role in supporting Islamic institutions and in
worldwide proselytising on behalf of Islam.
Since the fall of Gaddafi , ultra-conservative strains of
reasserted themselves in places. Derna in eastern Libya, historically
a hotbed of jihadist thought, came under the control of militants
aligned with the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2014.
Jihadist elements have also spread to
Benghazi , among other
areas, as a result of the Second Libyan Civil War . The
Tripoli before its conversion into a mosque
There are small foreign communities of Christians . Coptic Orthodox
Christianity , which is the
Christian Church of Egypt, is the largest
and most historical
Christian denomination in
Libya . There are about
60,000 Egyptian Copts in Libya. Copts in
Libya are Egyptian. There
are three Coptic Churches in Libya, one in Tripoli, one in Benghazi,
and one in Misurata.
The Coptic Church has grown in recent years in Libya, due to the
growing immigration of Egyptian Copts to Libya. As all followers of
Christianity in Libya are foreigners who came to the country under
work permits. There are an estimated 40,000 Roman Catholics in Libya
who are served by two Bishops, one in
Tripoli (serving the Italian
community) and one in
Benghazi (serving the Maltese community). There
is also a small
Anglican community, made up mostly of African
immigrant workers in Tripoli; it is part of the
Anglican Diocese of
Egypt . People have been arrested on suspicion of being Christian
missionaries , as proselytising is illegal. Christians have also
faced the threat of violence from radical Islamists in some parts of
the country, with a well-publicised video released by the Islamic
Iraq and the Levant in February 2015 depicting the mass
Libya was once the home of one of the oldest Jewish communities in
the world, dating back to at least 300 BC. In 1942, the Italian
Fascist authorities set up forced labor camps south of
Tripoli for the
Jews, including Giado (about 3,000 Jews) and Gharyan, Jeren, and
Tigrinna. In Giado some 500 Jews died of weakness, hunger, and
disease. In 1942, Jews who were not in the concentration camps were
heavily restricted in their economic activity and all men between 18
and 45 years were drafted for forced labor. In August 1942, Jews from
Tripolitania were interned in a concentration camp at Sidi Azaz. In
the three years after November 1945, more than 140 Jews were murdered,
and hundreds more wounded, in a series of pogroms . By 1948, about
38,000 Jews remained in the country. Upon Libya's independence in
1951, most of the Jewish community emigrated.
Largest cities or towns in Libya
Jabal al Akhdar
Culture of Libya Further information: Music of Libya
Libyan literature Ancient Roman mosaic in
Arabic speaking Libyans consider themselves as part of a wider
Arab community. This was strengthened by the spread of
the mid-20th century, and their reach to power in
Libya where they
Arabic as the only official language of the state. Under
their dictatorship the teaching and even use of indigenous Tamazight
language was strictly forbidden. In addition to banning foreign
languages previously taught in academic institutions, leaving entire
generations of Libyans with limitations in their comprehension of the
English language. Both the spoken
Arabic dialects and Tamazight, still
retain words from Italian, that were acquired before and during the
Libia Italiana period.
Libyans have a heritage in the traditions of the previously nomadic
Arabic speakers and sedentary Amazigh tribes. Most Libyans
associate themselves with a particular family name originating from
tribal or conquest based, typically from Ottoman forefathers,
Reflecting the "nature of giving" (
Arabic : الاحسان
Ihsan, Tamazight : ⴰⵏⴰⴽⴽⴰⴼ Anakkaf ), amongst the Libyan
people as well as the sense of hospitality, recently the state of
Libya made it to the top 20 on the world giving index in 2013.
According to CAF; In a typical month, almost three quarters (72%) of
all Libyans helped somebody they did not know – the third highest
level across all 135 countries surveyed.
There are few theaters or art galleries due to the decades of
cultural repression under the Qaddafi regime and lack of
infrastructure development under the regime of dictatorship. For many
years there have been no public theaters, and only very few cinemas
showing foreign films. The tradition of folk culture is still alive
and well, with troupes performing music and dance at frequent
festivals, both in
Libya and abroad.
A large number of Libyan television stations are devoted to political
review, Islamic topics and cultural phenomena. A number of TV stations
air various styles of traditional Libyan music.
Tuareg music and dance
are popular in
Ghadames and the south. Libyan television broadcasts
air programs mostly in
Arabic though usually have time slots for
English and French programs. A 1996 analysis by the Committee to
Protect Journalists found Libya’s media was the most tightly
controlled in the Arab world during the country's dictatorship. As of
2012 hundreds of TV stations have begun to air due to the collapse of
censorship from the old regime and the initiation of "free media".
Traditional dancing in Bayda in 1976
Many Libyans frequent the country's beach and they also visit Libya's
Leptis Magna , which is widely
considered to be one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites
in the world. The most common form of public transport between cities
is the bus, though many people travel by automobile. There are no
railway services in Libya, but these are planned for construction in
the near future (see rail transport in
Tripoli , has many museums and archives. These
include the Government Library, the Ethnographic Museum, the
Archaeological Museum, the National Archives, the Epigraphy Museum and
the Islamic Museum. The
Red Castle Museum located in the capital near
the coast and right in the city center, built in consultation with
UNESCO , may be the country's most famous.
Libyan cuisine is a vibrant fusion between the different Italian ,
Bedouin and traditional Arab culinary influences.
Pasta is the staple
food in the Western side of Libya, whereas rice is generally the
staple food in the east.
Common Libyan foods include several variations of red (tomato) sauce
based pasta dishes (similar to the Italian Sugo all\'arrabbiata dish);
rice, usually served with lamb or chicken (typically stewed, fried,
grilled, or boiled in-sauce); and couscous , which is steam cooked
whilst held over boiling red (tomato) sauce and meat (sometimes also
containing courgettes/zucchini and chickpeas), which is typically
served along with cucumber slices, lettuce and olives.
Bazeen , a dish made from barley flour and served with red tomato
sauce, is customarily eaten communally, with several people sharing
the same dish, usually by hand. This dish is commonly served at
traditional weddings or festivities.
Asida is a sweet version of
Bazeen, made from white flour and served with a mix of honey, ghee or
butter. Another favorite way to serve
Asida is with rub (fresh date
syrup) and olive oil.
Usban is animal tripe stitched and stuffed with
rice and vegetables cooked in tomato based soup or steamed. Shurba is
a red tomato sauce-based soup, usually served with small grains of
A very common snack eaten by Libyans is known as khubs bi' tun,
literally meaning "bread with tuna fish", usually served as a baked
baguette or pita bread stuffed with tuna fish that has been mixed with
harissa (chili sauce) and olive oil. Many snack vendors prepare these
sandwiches and they can be found all over Libya. Libyan restaurants
may serve international cuisine, or may serve simpler fare such as
lamb, chicken, vegetable stew, potatoes and macaroni . Due to severe
lack of infrastructure, many under-developed areas and small towns do
not have restaurants and instead food stores may be the only source to
obtain food products. Alcohol consumption is illegal in the entire
There are four main ingredients of traditional Libyan food: olives
(and olive oil ), dates , grains and milk . Grains are roasted,
ground, sieved and used for making bread, cakes, soups and bazeen.
Dates are harvested, dried and can be eaten as they are, made into
syrup or slightly fried and eaten with bsisa and milk. After eating,
Libyans often drink black tea. This is normally repeated a second time
(for the second glass of tea), and in the third round of tea, it is
served with roasted peanuts or roasted almonds known as shay bi'l-luz
(mixed with the tea in the same glass).
Education in Libya
Parts of this article (those related to POST-23 OCTOBER 2011 NATIONAL
TERTIARY LEVEL EDUCATION IN LIBYA) need to be UPDATED. Please update
this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.
Last update: 22 July 2006 (October 2012)
Al Manar Royal Palace in central
Benghazi – the location of
University of Libya
University of Libya 's first campus, founded by royal decree in
Libya's population includes 1.7 million students, over 270,000 of
whom study at the tertiary level . Basic education in
Libya is free
for all citizens, and is compulsory up to the secondary level . The
adult literacy rate in 2010 was 89.2%.
After Libya's independence in 1951, its first university – the
University of Libya
University of Libya – was established in
Benghazi by royal decree.
In the 1975–76 academic year the number of university students was
estimated to be 13,418. As of 2004 , this number has increased to more
than 200,000, with an extra 70,000 enrolled in the higher technical
and vocational sector. The rapid increase in the number of students
in the higher education sector has been mirrored by an increase in the
number of institutions of higher education.
Since 1975 the number of universities has grown from two to nine and
after their introduction in 1980, the number of higher technical and
vocational institutes currently stands at 84 (with 12 public
universities). Since 2007 some new private universities such as the
Libyan International Medical University have been established.
Although before 2011 a small number of private institutions were given
accreditation, the majority of Libya's higher education has always
been financed by the public budget. In 1998 the budget allocation for
education represented 38.2% of Libya's total national budget.
Health in Libya
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it .
In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 3.88% of the country's
GDP. In 2009, there were 18.71 physicians and 66.95 nurses per 10,000
inhabitants. The life expectancy at birth was 74.95 years in 2011, or
72.44 years for males and 77.59 years for females.
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Outline of Libya
List of heads of state of Libya
List of heads of government of Libya
List of Libyans
* list of African countries
Index of Libya-related articles
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States Department of State website
Background Notes ).
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