Libya first emerged as a political entity during
the 20th century, when colonial power merged Italy into
three regions. Oil was found around 1960 and soon became
the dominant product. The country was ruled by iron hand
by Muammar Gaddafi for just over 40 years, until he was
toppled in 2011. Since then, more or less chaos has
prevailed in Libya. Militias fight each other and
control different parts of the territory.
Brief profiles of Libya, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Libya is one of Africa's largest countries,
to the surface just over four times as large as Sweden.
The country has 200 km of coast towards the
Mediterranean, but 90 percent consists of desert. Most
inhabitants live along the coast in the north, where
there is cultivable land and mountain areas.
Before independence in 1951, Libya had no history as
a united state. The inhabitants included one of the
three regions of Tripolitania in the northwest,
Cyrenaika in the northeast and the desert area of Fezzan
in the south.
Tripolitania has a low-lying coast in the north,
which gradually increases to the south and forms a
plateau landscape. It continues into Fezzan. On the
Fezzanic plateau there are extensive sinks where the
groundwater reaches the ground surface and forms oases.
In the southernmost Fezzan there are mountains with
peaks reaching over 2,000 meters above sea level.
A mountain area in northern Cyrenaika is called Jabal
al-Akhdar, the Green Mountain, because the mountains are
lined with pines, junipers, cypresses, wild olive trees
and other evergreen trees. To the south of the mountains
lies a belt of pasture, which transforms into a vast
desert landscape of cliffs and sand. Agriculture can
only be carried out in some scattered oases.
Most of Libya has a desert climate and almost no
rainfall at all. The climate in the coastal area is
characterized by strong changes in both temperature and
humidity. The approximately 400 mm of rainfall that
falls annually in the region of Tripolitania in the
northwest comes in many cases as severe rainfall. The
average temperature in the desert is over 35 degrees in
Under desert areas, however, there may be natural
groundwater reservoirs. At the time of the dictator
Gaddafi, an extensive water network was established for
water called the Great Artificial River, al-Nahr
al-Sinai al-Adhim, and for fresh water, among other
things, to cities on the coast.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
1,759,540 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Egypt
Capital with number of inhabitants
Tripoli 1 000 000 (2012) 1
Other major cities
Benghazi 633 000, Misrata 286 000 (2012) 2
Bette (2,286 m asl)
Average Precipitation / month
Tripoli 105 mm (dec), 0 mm (July)
Average / day
Tripoli 26 °C (Aug), 12 °C (Jan)
Limits are closed
Orders that long border sections in the south -
towards Niger, Chad, Sudan and Algeria - be temporarily
closed; Seven regions in the south are declared military
areas with special restrictions. The reason is stated to
be that it wants to gain control over lawless areas with
large flows of illegal goods and migrants.
The Parliament building is stormed
Hours after the vote, militiamen break in, protesting
the government. They claim that several of the future
ministers have been close to Gaddafi's regime.
After first failing the intended prime minister to
form government, the assignment went to Ali Zidan. He
finally succeeds in getting a government approved, with
representatives of both the NFA and JCP. But only
two-thirds of the 200 members are present at the vote.
Battles in Bani Walid
At least 22 people are killed and hundreds more
injured in fighting between government-friendly militia
from Misrata and former Gaddafi soldiers.
Order for arms abandonment
Speaker Magarief orders all militia groups in the
country to dissolve, stop carrying weapons in public
place and hand over control to the state. After a few
days, hundreds of people mainly in Benghazi and Tripoli
are reported to have handed weapons to the army. But the
authorities estimate that 200,000 Libyans have weapons.
Fighting in Benghazi
At least eleven people die and some 60 are injured in
violence two weeks after the attack on the US consulate.
Deadly attack on US consulate
The US Libyan ambassador and three other Americans
are killed when armed men storm the US consulate and a
CIA office in Benghazi. The attack is gradually becoming
a blow in the US domestic debate, with sharp criticism
of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her handling
of the incident.
The former spy boss is extradited from Mauritania
Abdullah al-Senussi, considered Gaddafi's right-hand
man, is also wanted by the ICC (see June 2011) has also
been sentenced to life imprisonment by a French court
for the shooting down of aircraft in Niger in 1989. al-Senussi
has been detained in Mauritania since March.
New President is elected
The National Congress elects the moderate Islamist
Mohammed Magarief as president. In practice, Magarief
also becomes head of state.
The National Congress takes over
The National Transitional Council formally hands over
power to the elected parliament.
The election is carried out
Despite unrest mainly in Benghazi, the first election
in Libya is conducted since the 1960s. The election
takes place under tense conditions and some violence and
sabotage are reported. By and large, however, the choice
is described as well executed. Over a hundred parties
are in the elections. The largest will be the
National Forces Alliance (NFA),
which receives 39 of the National Congress's 200 seats.
The alliance is considered liberal and predominantly
secular (non-religious) and is led by Mahmud Jibril, who
during his tenure as Prime Minister (see March and
October 2011) was supported by the West. Muslim
Brotherhood Party, Justice and Reconstruction
Party (JCP), gets 17 seats.
The majority of the mandate goes to candidates who have
been elected as independent.
The choice is postponed
The election, which was to be held on June 29, was
postponed for a week. There are unrest in several parts
of the country.
Fighting in Zuwara
Berber in the city of western Libya clashes with
militia groups from nearby areas where Arab populations
predominate. The National Transitional Council sends
forces to the area to try to separate the conflicting
Fighting in Sabha
The fighting rages between various militia groups in
the city of southern Libya. Government troops are sent
there. Many deaths are reported.
Cyrenaika wants self-government
Local leaders in the region proclaim self-government
and demand their own parliament and their own police
force. The National Transitional Council rejects the
initiative, which is considered to threaten Libya's
unity. Violent demonstrations both for and against
federalism in Libya are held in both Benghazi and
Election day is published
The plans are scheduled to be held in June. The 200
seats will be divided between party lists (80 seats) and
individual candidates (120 seats). There is a ban on
candidates who have been associated with the former
Gaddafi regime. Members of the National Transitional
Council are also not allowed to run for office.
Trials against Gaddafian supporters
The first trials begin when 41 men face trial in
Benghazi military court. However, the trial is updated
almost immediately to a later date.