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Country of Libya Flag

Capital: Tripoli

Population: 6,777,452

Brief History of Libya:

The coast of Libya was a popular area for many of the great civilizations that grew up around the Mediterranean Sea. The first to arrive and build settlements were the Phoenicians and later the Carthaginians. Soon the Greeks and Romans moved in and conquered areas. Great cities were built during these times, but about all that is left of these cultures are the ruins they left.

In the 7th century AD, the Arabs conquered Libya. Most of the local people were converted to Islam and learned the Arabic language and culture. In the middle of the 16th century the Ottoman Turks invaded and Libya became part of the Ottoman Empire. They would stay in power until Italy invaded in 1911 and Libya became an Italian colony.

It was in 1934 that the name Libya was given to the Italian colony. Prior to that, Libya was what the Greeks had called all of North Africa besides Egypt.

On December 24, 1951 Libya declared independence. King Idris was the first King of Libya under the new government and constitutional monarchy. In 1959 Libya discovered large oil reserves. These reserves made the country very wealthy. However, the people were unhappy that all the wealth was going to an elite few people. In 1969 Mu'ammar Qadhafi led a rebellion and took over the government. Despite holding no official title in the Libyan government Qadhafi ruled Libya as supreme dictator until 2011 when he died.

Country of Libya Map

The Geography of Libya

Total Size: 1,759,540 square km

Size Comparison: slightly larger than Alaska

Geographical Coordinates: 25 00 N, 17 00 E

World Region or Continent: Africa

General Terrain: mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Geographical Low Point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m

Geographical High Point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

Major cities: TRIPOLI (capital) 1.095 million (2009), Benghazi, Misrata

The People of Libya

Type of Government: Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in fact, a military dictatorship

Languages Spoken: Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities

Independence: 24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National Holiday: Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)

Nationality: Libyan(s)

Religions: Sunni Muslim 97%

National Symbol: star and crescent; hawk

National Anthem or Song: Allahu Akbar (God Is Greatest)

Economy of Libya

Major Industries: petroleum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement

Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle

Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Major Exports: crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas

Major Imports: machinery, transport equipment, semi-finished goods, food, consumer products

Currency: Libyan dinar (LYD)

National GDP: $38,980,000,000

** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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