Libya (officially the State of Libya) is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. 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.[1] Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world.[2]

The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million[3] of Libya's six million people. The other large city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.

A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I, beginning a period of sweeping social reform. The most prominent coup figure, Muammar Gaddafi, was ultimately able to fully concentrate power in his own hands during the Libyan Cultural Revolution, remaining in power until the Libyan Civil War of 2011, in which the rebels were supported by NATO.[4] Since then, Libya has experienced a period of instability. The European Union is involved in an operation to disrupt human trafficking networks exploiting refugees fleeing from wars in Africa for Europe.[5][6]

At least two political bodies claim to be the government of Libya. The Council of Deputies is internationally recognized as the legitimate government, but it does not hold territory in the capital, Tripoli, instead meeting in the Cyrenaica city of Tobruk. Meanwhile, the 2014 General National Congress purports to be the legal continuation of the General National Congress, elected in the 2012 Libyan General National Congress election and dissolved following the June 2014 elections but then reconvened by a minority of its members.[7][8] The Supreme Court in the Libya Dawn and General National Congress-controlled Tripoli declared the Tobruk government unconstitutional in November 2014,[9] but the internationally recognized government has rejected the ruling as made under threat of violence.[10] Parts of Libya are outside of either government's control, with various Islamist, rebel, and tribal militias administering some cities and areas.[11] The United Nations is sponsoring peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli-based factions.[12] An agreement to form a unified interim government was signed on 17 December 2015.[13] 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.[13][14] The leaders of the new government, called the Government of National Accord (GNA), arrived in Tripoli on April 5, 2016. Since then the GNC, one of the two rival governments, has disbanded to support the new GNA.[15]


  1. Demographic Yearbook (3) Pop., Rate of Pop. Increase, Surface Area & Density (PDF). United Nations Statistics Division. Retrieved on 5 February 2013.
  2. World proven crude oil reserves by country, 1980–2004. Retrieved on 5 February 2013.
  3. Libya Demographics Profile 2014 (2015-06-30). Retrieved on 2016-04-01.
  4. Libya country profile – Overview. BBC (9 June 2015). Retrieved on 31 July 2015.
  5. EU plan for military intervention against "refugee boats" in Libya and the Mediterranean. Council of the European Union (12 May 2015). Retrieved on 28 May 2015.
  6. WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Europe’s Secret Plan for Military Force on Refugee Boats from Libya (27 May 2015). Retrieved on 28 May 2015. “and that the groups that the West says is the government of Libya--Julian Assange”
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  9. The Supreme Court Decision That’s Ripping Libya Apart. Retrieved on 16 January 2015.
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  14. Xypolia, Ilia. Libya's new unity government faces the mother of all rebuilding jobs.
  15. Elumami, Ahmed. Libya's self-declared National Salvation government stepping down.
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