The Country & People of Libya
Special Arab Files
This page contains links to sites in Libya and Libya related sites.
For Middle East, North Africa, Arab and regional information visit Arab Countries
Libya, officially Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahirya, republic (1995 est. pop. 5,248,000), 679,358 sq mi (1,759,540 sq km), N Africa, bordered by Algeria and Tunisia (W), the Mediterranean Sea (N), Egypt and Sudan (E), and Chad and Niger (S). The principal cities are Tripoli (the capital) and Tobruk. Most of Libya is part of the Sahara desert; the population is restricted to a coastal strip along the Mediterranean and a few widely scattered oases in the Libyan desert, in the east, and the Fazzan region, in the south. The discovery of oil in 1958 transformed Libya from a poor agricultural country into one of the world's leading petroleum producers, with vast sums to spend on social, agricultural, and military development. Petroleum accounts for 95% of export earnings and about a third of national income; Libya is also an important producer of natural gas. Major crops include cereals, olives, fruits, dates, and vegetables. Lower oil prices and economic sanctions arising from the Lockerbie incident (see below) hurt the economy in the 1990s. The majority of the inhabitants are Arabs, but there are scattered communities of Berbers and, in the southwest, many of mixed Berber and African descent. There are large numbers of foreign workers in Libya; in 1995 several thousand of them without proper papers were expelled. Islam is the official religion (most Libyans are Sunni Muslims), and Arabic is the official language.
At various times in its history the territory that is now Libya was occupied by Carthage, Rome, Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, and Spain. It was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1551 to 1911, serving in the 18th cent. as a base for pirates who, in return for immunity, provided large revenues to the local ruler.
Libya was seized by Italy in 1911, but Libyan resistance continued until the 1930s. During World War II, as an Italian colony, it was one of the main battlegrounds of N Africa, passing under an Anglo-French military government when the Axis were defeated in the area in 1943.
In accordance with a UN decision, in 1951 the country became independent as the United Kingdom of Libya, with King Idris I as ruler.
Idris was ousted in 1969 in a coup led by Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, who established an anti-Western dictatorship. British and American bases were closed in 1970, and unification was sought, unsuccessfully, with several other Arab countries. An implacable foe of Israel, Qaddafi used Libya's vast oil wealth to create an extensive social welfare system and to help support the Palestinian guerrilla movement, particularly radical elements.
In 1979 Libya intervened in Uganda to help keep Idi Amin in power, and in 1981 it dispatched troops into neighboring Chad (Libya had occupied the disputed Aozou Strip, in N Chad, in 1973), withdrawing most of them later that year. Qaddafi's forces continued to take sides in Chadian fighting, for a time occupying much of N Chad.
In 1990 the dispute over the Aozou Strip was submitted to the International Court of Justice, which ruled in Chad's favor, and the strip was returned to Chad in 1994.
As a member of OPEC, Libya has been a leading exponent of limiting production and increasing prices of petroleum. Since 1986 Libya has attempted to form a union with the Arabic countries of the Maghreb, especially Algeria and Tunisia.
In the late 1980s the U.S. took action against Libya for its backing of terrorist activities against U.S. citizens, including an air strike (1986) on Qaddafi's residence and other sites in Libya.
In 1992 the UN Security Council accused Libya of supporting state terrorism and called for a ban on air flights and arms sales to it unless suspects in the Lockerbie and another airplane bombing were turned over to the U.S., Britain, and France. Libya's foreign assets were also frozen.
In Apr. 1999, Libya handed over the suspects in the Lockerbie crash to the UN, which lifted its sanctions, but those imposed by the United States remained in place.
In Dec., 1999, Qaddafi pledged not to aid or protect terrorists.
Libya agreed in 2003 to a $2.7 billion settlement with the families of the victims. and that and a revised settlement for viction of the UTA bombing led the UN Security Council to lift the sanctions imposed more than a decade earlier. The last of three payments due under the 2003 agreement, however, was not made until late 2008. In December 2003, after negotiations with the United States and Great Britain, the government renounced the production and use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and agreed to submit to unannounced international inspections.
Subsequently (Mar., 2004), Libya acknowledged that it had produced and had stockpiles of chemical weapons. As a result of these events, the United States lifted most sanctions and resumed diplomatic relations with Libya, although it continued to list Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism until mid-2006.
In Sept., 2008, Italy and Libya signed a memorandum under which Italy agreed to pay $5 billion over 20 years as compensation for its three decades of colonial rule in Libya.
Copyright (c) 2003 Columbia University Press.
Used by permission of Columbia University Press.
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General Information Also see Travel
- All Referer Earth & environment, history, literature & arts, people, places, plants & animals, religion, science & technology, sports & everyday life....
- ArabInfo Overview, government, history, links
- ArabNet Overview, history, geography, business, culture, government, transport, tour guide, links
- Atlapedia Geography, climate, people, demography, religion, education, modern history, currency, other information....
- BBC Country Profile Key facts, figures and dates
- Britannica.Com Country info, land, people, economy, society, government, history, culture, maps, statistics, links....
- CIA World Factbook Map, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, issues
- Country Reports Economy, defense, geography, government, people, anthem, map, news, weather, links....
- Encarta OnLine Info, land & resources, population, economy, government, history, other related items, links....
- Encyclopaedia of the Orient Geography, politics, economy, health, education, religion, people, history, anthem, cities....
- Expedia Almanac, fast facts, communications, on business, health & safety, transportation, traveler's directory
- Info Please General info, map, geography, government, history, land & people....
- Jamahiriya Information: Culture, history, religion, Qadhafi. Green Book, links....
- Libya Connected Information about business, tourism, sports and entertainment
- Libya Online Arts, sport, tourism, music, women, literature, history, gallery....
- Libya on Focus + Comprehensively covers various topics as well as issues pertaining to Libya
- My Libya Information, food, sport, pictures, panorama images, news, financial, links....
- Nation By Nation Info, government, human rights, news, geography, history, people, links....
- US Library of Congress Everything you ever wanted to know about Libya....
- World66 General info, cities, history, people, economy, getting around, getting there, links....
Cities, Towns, Municipalities & Places
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Old Town of Ghadames - The spatial configuration of Ghadames is unusual
Flag, Maps, Useful Information....
- Cellular News Cellular coverage map, systems, frequencies....
- Ethnologue Languages
- Flag Description, meaning, history, interesting facts
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- National Anthem Words (1951-1969)
- World Atlas A brief description, fast facts, flag, landforms, maps, traveller info, weather
- World Clock Local time, sunrise, sunset, GMT offset, daylight saving....
- World Paper Money Paper currency since 1951
* Arab Countries
Business and Economy
General, Economy, Reports & Statistics
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Fact sheet (pdf) & travel information....
- Bilateral Relations with Japan Diplomatic, investment, economic cooperation, residents....
- Libya and the IMF Position in the fund, reports....
- Libyan Investment Provides valuable data and information pretaining to the Libyan Market totally free
- MBendi Business information, news, industries, events
- Muslim Trade Network Trade reference directory and guide....
- Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries - OPEC Statistics....
- Ports Focus Ports, harbours, marinas....
- Rating Developments Independent credit analyses of banks
- US Department of Energy Analysis, information, oil, natural gas, coal, electricity....
Directories, Job Opportunities
- Libya Business Directory Search by Product, ervice, location or company
- Yellow Pages Telephone directory
Investment & Promotion....
- Libyan Investment Consultants Services, project List, tenders, exhibitions....
* Arab Countries
Art, Culture & Sport
General Resources, Heritage....
- The Last Jews of Libya By and for the entire community of Jews of Libya
- Leptis Magna A peek into one of Libya's most amazing archeological and historical sites
- Libyana Dedicated to Libyan culture
Art, Literature, Photography, Cinema....
- Khaled Mattawa Poetry and prose
- Umm el-Khair Libyan poet
- Achitecture Pictures, Leptis Magna, Sabratha (press Next)
- Cities & Landscapes + Photo gallery
- Libyan Arts, Music & Literature + Stories, books and articles, poems, photography, paintings, cartoons....
- Omar Al-Mukhtar in Arabic Poetry By Libyan writer Mustafa Saad el-Hayen
- Arab Film Distribution - Libya Features a wide range of narrative films, documentaries, visual essays and ethnographic films
- Internet Movie Database Movie & TV reports
Music, Song & Dance....
- Libya Music Singers & songs
- Nasser Mizdawi biography, discography, photos, in the press - fusion of local Arabic music with European pop
Cultural, Scientific, Environmental, Sporting Entities & Info
- Animal Info Threatened species, environmental and social data
- AquaStat Information on quantity and quality of freshwater and its availability
- Al-Madina + Social, Cultural and Sports Club - Triploi
* Arab Countries
Schools, Colleges, Academies, Universities & Polytechnics
- Garyounis University + Benghazi - Serving the nation's need for professionals and research excellence
- Omar Al-Mokhtar University Al-Baidaa
Institutions & Organizations
- Society for Libyan Studies
Research, Resources & Projects
* Arab Countries
History, Human Right & Politics
Ancient & Modern....
- BBC Timeline A chronology of key events
- Adam Abdelnabi Sabrah Libyan Mujahid
- A Day to Remember + 21 February 1973 - an unforgettable terrorist act
- The Italian Occupation and the Libyan Resistance
- Lepcis Magna Roman ruins in the Tripolitania region of Libya. Site plan, kids' zone, virtual museum, library....
- Libya's Independence P1 The 50th Anniversary, 24 December, 2001
- Libya's Independence P2 The 50th Anniversary, 24 December, 2001
- Mohammed Bou-Najwa el-Mismari Libyan Mujahid
- Political Geography Land and people, economy, government, history....
- Sulaiman el-Barouni Libyan Mujahid
- US and Libya Part 1 Before Qadhafi
- US and Libya Part 2 Qadhafi era
- World Statesmen Flags, chronology, rulers, governors, ministers, commissioners....
Human Rights, Politics & Political Parties....
- Amnesty International + News, reports, urgent action. Latest annual report....
- Human Rights Watch + Human rights developments & report
- US Department of State Country reports on human rights practices
- Al-Mukhtar Libyan Islamic Group
Related Sites, Articles....
- Constitution Background, history & news (1969)
- Constitution Declaration on the Establishment of the Authority of the People (1977)
* Arab Countries
Visit Arab Media for satellite stations & Arab newspapers
- Libyan Press includes the following publications....
- Al-Biyt Weekly home magazine....
- Al-Fajr Al-Jadeed Daily newspaper....
- Al-Fajr Al-Jadeed English Bi-monthly newspaper....
- Al-Jamahiria Daily newspaper....
- Al-Shames Daily newspaper....
- Al-Zahf Al-Akhder Daily newspaper....
OnLine News, Newsletters, News Agencies....
- Akhbar Libya News, views and articles....
- AllAfrica.Com News plus, news wire....
- JANA + The Jamahiriya News Agency, Libya's official news provider
- Libya1 + News & views
- Washington Post Libya - News & references
- Yahoo full news coverage
Radio, TV, Internet....
- LJBC + Libyan Jamahiriyah Broadcasting Corporation
- Libda Cafe Food, Health & Life Style, Travel & Tourism....
Articles, Reports, Cartoons....
- Libyan Cartoon Gallery A selection from Mohamed Zwawi. Social, political, medical & health themes
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Visit Arab Organizations for Pan-Arab, middle East, North Africa and regional organizations
Government & Organizations....
Government, Ministries, Overseas Missions, Embassies....
- Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members
- Political Leaders Dates and figures of the leadership since 1951 (with pictures)
- Permanent Mission of Libya to the U.N. + Lockerbie issue documents, resolutions & U.N. documents, press releases....
Corporations, Organizations, Public Hospitals and Industrial Entities
- General Electricity Company Of Libya (GECOL) + Generation, transport and distribution of electric power
- Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISCO) Designed to produce 1,324,000 tons of liquid steel annually
- Libya Telecom & Technology + Communication and information technology
Centers, Institutions, Societies....
- National Center for Research and Scientific Studies + Conducts political, economic and social research
- British Embassy + The Embassy offers consular, commercial and visa services to members of the public....
- United Nations United Nations Development Programme
- World Health Organization Tobacco & health, socio-economic situation
* Arab Countries
Travel & Tourism
Airlines, Air, Sea & Coach Charters Services
- Afriqiyah Airways Link the African continent. Destinations, timetables, cargo....
Travel, Tours, Guides.... More country info
- ABC Libya Offer the classic range of visits to cultural sites and/or desert
- Arkno Tours Tourism and cultural trips all around the country....
- Azar Travel and Tours Group and individual tours....
- Badran Tours Sahara Desert Tours & Adventures
- Medusa Libyan Travel & Tourism Offer services for group and individual tours in Libya
- Sea Desert Tours Dedicated to maximizing the ease and comfort for travelers both within Libya , Egypt and Sudan
- Shati Zuara Travel & Tourism +
Expertise in different field of tourism: Sahara Tourism, Archeological Tourism and Cultural Tourism
- Temehu Tours Information on Libya, cities & sites, prehistoric art, tours, Zwara
- Wadi Tidwa Tours Specialising in overland tours including, Sahara desert adventures, cultural tours, prehistoric art explorations and adventures in the Libyan Sahara
- Wesaam Touring Services Visit Libya: trips & tips, what tourist should know....
- Adventures of Libya Getting there & costs, safety & health, visa, climate, cities, holidays....
- Africa Guide Introduction, visitor info, accommodation, tours....
- Lonely Planet Travel information, maps, photos, background historical and cultural information
- Middle East Travel Accommodation, history, after hours, travel info, addresses, cities & sights, business....
- Travel Guide General & travel info, money, duty free, health, accommodation, visas....
- World Travel Guide Travel information, regions & places....
Hotels, Resorts, Inns, Hostels....
- Tripoli Apartments A fully furnished luxury self-catering studio apartment that is available for short-term rent at very affordable prices
- Libya Hotels Travel Guide Offers hotels and resorts online reservations
Health & Travel Tips
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel information, country advise, latest travel updates....
- Travel Document Systems Passports, visas, travel documents
- US Consular Information Warning, visa, security, health, crime/drug penalties....
- Weather Underground Temperature, humidity, pressure and conditions by city
- Yahoo Weather By city. Forcast, sunrise, sunset, humidity, wind, dewpoint....
* Arab Countries
Visit Arab Gateways for Arab and other country links
Gateways to Libya
- Al-Wasla Libya web directory
* Arab Countries
Here is a selection of books, CDs and videos that will eventually cover various subjects related to Libya.
Click on the book title for full details and reviews.
The Politics of Contradiction
By Mansour O. El-Kikhia
A first-rate objective analysis of the complexities of modern Libyan politics with a special focus on that country's controversial leader, Muammar Qaddafi
For "Learning Arabic" books and CDs, visit Writing & Pronouncing of Arabic names
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Created 1 November 2000. Last updated 23 February 2011
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