Capital : Tripoli
Size: 679 000 sq m Popn: 4 875 000
The area that is now modern Libya came under the influence of dynastic Egypt, Punic Carthage and the Roman Africa Province in ancient times. It was largely Christianised by AD 500 due to the influence of the Roman Empire but converted to Islam during the medieval period when the Mediterranean coastal strip was part of the Muslim Almohad Empire (1140-1250). The whole country later became part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
The Italian invasion of 1911 ended centuries of Ottoman and occasionally tribal rule. Administration was divided between Britain and France after WWII and Libya became independent under the Senussi leader Idris in 1951 but was deposed by Col. Muammar Gaddafi's Arab nationalist government in 1969. Border conflict over the Aozou strip with Chad to the south lasted from 1973-89 but Gaddafi remained in power.
Expanding industry brought in many foreign workers and the oil trade has given it the highest per capita income in Africa but there have been hostilities between Libya and the USA which have weakened Gaddafi's reputation internationally. The USA bombed Tripoli in 1986 in retaliation for terrorist attacks and UN sanctions were imposed in 1992.
Religion is strictly Sunni Muslim and ethnic groups include Arabs, Berbers, Senussi and Negroes in the South.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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