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A view of the Benghazi port, 2013
A view of the Benghazi port, 2013
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Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Libya borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest, as well as maritime borders with Greece, Italy and Malta to the north. Libya comprises three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million km2 (700,000 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest country in Africa and the Arab world, and the 16th-largest in the world. Libya claims 32,000 square kilometers of southeastern Algeria, south of the Libyan town of Ghat. The country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims. The official language of Libya is Arabic, with vernacular Libyan Arabic being spoken most widely. The majority of Libya's population is Arab. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in northwestern Libya and contains over a million of Libya's seven million people.

Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age as descendants from Iberomaurusian and Capsian cultures. In classical antiquity, the Phoenicians established city-states and trading posts in western Libya, while several Greek cities were established in the East. Parts of Libya were variously ruled by Carthaginians, Numidians, Persians, and Greeks before the entire region becoming a part of the Roman Empire. Libya was an early center of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was mostly occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century when invasions brought Islam to the region. From then on, centuries of Arab migration to the Maghreb shifted the demographic scope of Libya in favor of Arabs. In the 16th century, the 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 Italo-Turkish War, which resulted in the Italian occupation of Libya and the establishment of two colonies, Italian Tripolitania and Italian Cyrenaica (1911–1934), later unified in the Italian Libya colony from 1934 to 1943.

During the Second World War, Libya was an area of warfare in the North African Campaign. The Italian population then went into decline. Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A bloodless military coup in 1969, initiated by a coalition led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, overthrew King Idris I and created a republic. Gaddafi was often described by critics as a dictator, and was one of the world's longest serving non-royal leaders, ruling for 42 years. He ruled until being overthrown and killed during the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which was part of the wider Arab Spring, with authority transferred to the National Transitional Council then to the elected General National Congress. By 2014 two rival authorities claimed to govern Libya, which led to a second civil war, with parts of Libya split between the Tobruk and Tripoli-based governments as well as various tribal and Islamist militias. The two main warring sides signed a permanent ceasefire in 2020, and a unity government took authority to plan for democratic elections, though political rivalries continue to delay this. Libya is a developing country ranking 92nd by HDI, the highest score in mainland Africa, and has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves in the world. Libya is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Arab League, the OIC and OPEC.

Libya (Italian: Libia; Arabic: ليبيا الايطالية, romanizedLībyā al-Īṭālīya) was a colony of Fascist Italy located in North Africa, in what is now modern Libya, between 1934 and 1943. It was formed from the unification of the colonies of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, which had been Italian possessions since 1911.

From 1911 until the establishment of a unified colony in 1934, the territory of the two colonies was sometimes referred to as "Italian Libya" or Italian North Africa (Africa Settentrionale Italiana, or ASI). Both names were also used after the unification, with Italian Libya becoming the official name of the newly combined colony. It had a population of around 150,000 Italians. (Full article...)
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Gaddafi in 1970

Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (c. 1942 – 20 October 2011) was a Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist who ruled Libya from 1969 until his assassination by rebel forces in 2011. He first served as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the Brotherly Leader of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. Initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, Gaddafi later ruled according to his own Third International Theory.


Born near Sirte, Italian Libya, to a poor Bedouin Arab family, Gaddafi became an Arab nationalist while at school in Sabha, later enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi. Within the military, he founded a revolutionary group which deposed the Western-backed Senussi monarchy of Idris in a 1969 coup. Having taken power, Gaddafi converted Libya into a republic governed by his Revolutionary Command Council. Ruling by decree, he deported Libya's Italian population and ejected its Western military bases. Strengthening ties to Arab nationalist governments—particularly Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt—he unsuccessfully advocated pan-Arab political union. An Islamic modernist, he introduced sharia as the basis for the legal system and promoted Islamic socialism. He nationalized the oil industry and used the increasing state revenues to bolster the military, fund foreign revolutionaries, and implement social programs emphasizing housebuilding, healthcare and education projects. In 1973, he initiated a "Popular Revolution" with the formation of Basic People's Congresses, presented as a system of direct democracy, but retained personal control over major decisions. He outlined his Third International Theory that year in The Green Book. (Full article...)

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  • ... that to repel migrants, the European Union has paid hundreds of millions of euros to Libyan partners known to be involved in human trafficking, slavery, and torture?

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