Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

E_mail me  My Photos Gallary  My Hoppies  My ID  Home Page1

 

 

 

 

 

Libya

الجماهيرية العربية الليبية الشعبية الاشتراكية العظمى
al-jamāhīriyyatu l-`arabiyyatu l-lībiyyatu š-ša`biyyatu l-ištirākiyyatu l-`uZmŕ

Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Flag of Libya

Coat of arms of Libya

Flag

Coat of arms

AnthemAllahu Akbar
God is the Greatest
 

 

Capital
(and largest city)

Tripoli
32°54′N, 13°11′E

Official languages

Arabic

Demonym

Libyan

Government

Jamahiriya

 - 

Leader and Guide of the Revolution

Muammar al-Gaddafi

 - 

Secretary-General of the General People's Congress

Muhammad al-Zanati

 - 

Prime Minister

Baghdadi Mahmudi

Independence

 - 

Relinquished by Italy

10 February 1947 

 - 

From France/United Kingdom under United Nations Trusteeship


24 December 1951 

Area

 - 

Total

1,759,540 km˛ (17th)
679,359 sq mi 

 - 

Water (%)

Negligible

Population

 - 

 estimate

6,036,914 (105th)

 - 

2006 census

5,670,6881 

 - 

Density

3.2/km˛ (218th)
8.4/sq mi

GDP (PPP)

2006 estimate

 - 

Total

$74.97 billion (67th)

 - 

Per capita

$12,700 (58th)

HDI (2005)

0.818 (High) (56th)

Currency

Dinar (LYD)

Time zone

EET (UTC+2)

 - 

Summer (DST)

Not observed (UTC+2)

Internet TLD

.ly

Calling code

+218

1

Includes 350,000 foreigners; Libyan 2006 census, accessed September 15, 2006; [2]

Libya (Arabic: ليبيا Lībiyā; Libyan vernacular: Lībya; Amazigh: ⵍⵉⴱⵢⴰ), officially the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyaالجماهيرية العربية الليبية الشعبية الإشتراكية العظمىAl-Jamāhīriyyah al-`Arabiyyah al-Lībiyyah aš-Ša`biyyah al-Ištirākiyyah al-`Udhmā), is a country in North Africa. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Libya lies between Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), 90% of which is desert, Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa by area, and the 17th largest in the world.[1] The capital, Tripoli, is home to 1.7 million of Libya's 5.7 million people. The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, the Fezzan and Cyrenaica.

The name "Libya" is an indigenous (i.e. Berber) one, which is attested in ancient Egyptian texts as , R'bw (= Libu), which refers to one of the tribes of Berber peoples living west of the Nile. In Greek the tribesmen were called Libyes and their country became "Libya", although in ancient Greece the term had a broader meaning, encompassing all of North Africa west of Egypt. Later on, at the time of Ibn Khaldun, the same, big tribe was known as Lawata.[2]

Libya has the third highest GDP (PPP) per capita in Africa only behind Seychelles and South Africa. This is largely due to its large petroleum reserves and low population.[3][4]

The country is led by Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, whose foreign policy has often brought him into conflict with the West and governments of other African countries. However, Libya publicly gave up any nuclear aspirations in 2003 and Libya's foreign relations today are less contentious.[5]

The Flag of Libya is the only national flag in the world with just one colour and with no design, insignia, or other details.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] History of Libya

Main article: History of Libya

Archaeological evidence indicates that from as early as the 8th millennium BC, Libya's coastal plain was inhabited by a Neolithic people who were skilled in the domestication of cattle and the cultivation of crops.[6] The area known in modern times as Libya was later occupied by a series of peoples, with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals and Byzantines ruling all or part of the area. Although the Greeks and Romans left ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna and Sabratha, little other evidence remains of these ancient cultures.

Ruins of the theatre in the Roman city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli

Ruins of the theatre in the Roman city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli

The Phoenicians were the first to establish trading posts in Libya, when the merchants of Tyre (in present-day Lebanon) developed commercial relations with the Berber tribes and made treaties with them to ensure their cooperation in the exploitation of raw materials.[7][8] By the 5th century BC, Carthage, the greatest of the Phoenician colonies, had extended its hegemony across much of North Africa, where a distinctive civilisation, known as Punic, came into being. Punic settlements on the Libyan coast included Oea (Tripoli), Libdah (Leptis Magna) and Sabratha. All these were in an area that was later called Tripolis, or "Three Cities". Libya's current-day capital Tripoli takes its name from this.

The Greeks conquered Eastern Libya when, according to tradition, emigrants from the crowded island of Thera were commanded by the oracle at Delphi to seek a new home in North Africa. In 631 BC, they founded the city of Cyrene.[9] Within 200 years, four more important Greek cities were established in the area: Barce (Al Marj); Euhesperides (later Berenice, present-day Benghazi); Teuchira (later Arsinoe, present-day Tukrah); and Apollonia (Susah), the port of Cyrene. Together with Cyrene, they were known as the Pentapolis (Five Cities).

The Romans unified both regions of Libya, and for more than 400 years Tripolitania and Cyrenaica became prosperous Roman provinces.[10] Roman ruins, such as those of Leptis Magna, attest to the vitality of the region, where populous cities and even small towns enjoyed the amenities of urban life. Merchants and artisans from many parts of the Roman world established themselves in North Africa, but the character of the cities of Tripolitania remained decidedly Punic and, in Cyrenaica, Greek. Arabs conquered Libya in the 7th century AD. In the following centuries, many of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam, and also the Arabic language and culture. The Ottoman Turks conquered the country in the mid-16th century, and the three States or "Wilayat" of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan (which make up Libya) remained part of their empire with the exception of the virtual autonomy of the Karamanlis. The Karamanlis ruled from 1711 until 1835 mainly in Tripolitania, but had influence in Cyrenaica and Fezzan as well by the mid 18th century. This constituted a first glimpse in recent history of the united and independent Libya that was to re-emerge two centuries later. Ironically, reunification came about through the unlikely route of an invasion (Italo-Turkish War, 1911-1912) and occupation starting from 1911 when Italy simultaneously turned the three regions into colonies.[11]

In 1934, Italy adopted the name "Libya" (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony (made up of the three Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan). King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two World Wars. From 1943 to 1951, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal of some aspects of foreign control in 1947. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.[12]

Omar Mukhtar (1858–1931) was the leader of the Libyan uprising against Italian occupation.

Omar Mukhtar (1858–1931) was the leader of the Libyan uprising against Italian occupation.

On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. Idris represented Libya in the subsequent UN negotiations. On December 24, 1951, Libya declared its independence as the United Kingdom of Libya, a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King Idris.

Coat of arms of Libya  History of Libya  

Periods

Ancient Libya

Islamic Tripolitania
and Cyrenaica

Ottoman Libya

Italian Colony

Kingdom of Libya

Modern Libya

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled one of the world's poorest nations to establish an extremely wealthy state. Although oil drastically improved the Libyan government's finances, popular resentment began to build over the increased concentration of the nation's wealth in the hands of King Idris and the national elite. This discontent continued to mount with the rise of Nasserism and Arab nationalism throughout North Africa and the Middle East.

On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 27-year-old army officer Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi staged a coup d’état against King Idris. At the time, Idris was in Turkey for medical treatment. His nephew, Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, became King. It was clear that the revolutionary officers who had announced the deposition of King Idris did not want to appoint him over the instruments of state as King. Sayyid quickly found that he had substantially less power as the new King than he had earlier had as a mere Prince. Before the end of September 1, Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida had been formally deposed by the revolutionary army officers and put under house arrest. Meanwhile, revolutionary officers abolished the monarchy, and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Gaddafi was, and is to this day, referred to as the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution" in government statements and the official press.[13]

[edit] Politics

Main article: Politics of Libya

A wall carpet depicting Col. Gaddafi, in a hotel in Misratah

A wall carpet depicting Col. Gaddafi, in a hotel in Misratah

There are two branches of government in Libya. The "revolutionary sector" comprises Revolutionary Leader Gaddafi, the Revolutionary Committees and the remaining members of the 12-person Revolutionary Command Council, which was established in 1969.[14] The historical revolutionary leadership is not elected and cannot be voted out of office; they are in power by virtue of their involvement in the revolution.

Constituting the legislative branch of government, this sector comprises Local People's Congresses in each of the 1,500 urban wards, 32 Sha'biyat People's Congresses for the regions, and the National General People's Congress. These legislative bodies are represented by corresponding executive bodies (Local People's Committees, Sha'biyat People's Committees and the National General People's Committee/Cabinet).

Every four years, the membership of the Local People's Congresses elects their own leaders and the secretaries for the People's Committees, sometimes after many debates and a critical vote. The leadership of the Local People's Congress represents the local congress at the People's Congress of the next level. The members of the National General People's Congress elect the members of the National General People's Committee (the Cabinet) at their annual meeting.

The government controls both state-run and semi-autonomous media. In cases involving a violation of "certain taboos", the private press, like The Tripoli Post, has been censored,[15] although articles that are critical of policies have been requested and intentionally published by the revolutionary leadership itself as a means of initiating reforms.

Political parties were banned by the 1972 Prohibition of Party Politics Act Number 71.[16] According to the Association Act of 1971, the establishment of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is allowed. However, because they are required to conform to the goals of the revolution, their numbers are small in comparison with those in neighbouring countries. Trade unions do not exist,[17] but numerous professional associations are integrated into the state structure as a third pillar, along with the People's Congresses and Committees. These associations do not have the right to strike. Professional associations send delegates to the General People's Congress, where they have a representative mandate.

[edit] Foreign relations

Foreign Minister Abd al-Rahman Shalgam with his US counterpart U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Libya is keen to shake off its pariah status and rejoin the international community.

Foreign Minister Abd al-Rahman Shalgam with his US counterpart U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Libya is keen to shake off its pariah status and rejoin the international community.

Libya's foreign policies have undergone much fluctuation and change since the state was proclaimed on Christmas Eve, 1951. As a Kingdom, Libya maintained a definitively pro-Western stance, yet was recognized as belonging to the conservative traditionalist bloc in the League of Arab States (Arab League), of which it became a member in 1953.[18] The government was in close alliance with Britain and the United States; both countries maintained military base rights in Libya. Libya also forged close ties with France, Italy, Greece, and established full diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1955.

Although the government supported Arab causes, including the Moroccan and Algerian independence movements, it took little active part in the Arab-Israeli dispute or the tumultuous inter-Arab politics of the 1950s and early 1960s. The Kingdom was noted for its close association with the West, while it steered an essentially conservative course at home.[19]

After the 1969 coup, Gaddafi closed American and British bases and partially nationalized foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. He also played a key role in promoting oil embargoes as a political weapon for challenging the West, hoping that an oil price rise and embargo in 1973 would persuade the West, especially the United States, to end support for Israel. Gaddafi rejected both Eastern (Soviet) communism and Western (United States) capitalism and claimed he was charting a middle course for his government.[20]

In the 1980s, Libya increasingly distanced itself from the West, and was accused of committing mass acts of state sponsored terrorism. When evidence of Libyan complicity was discovered in the Berlin discotheque terrorist bombing that killed two American servicemen, the United States responded by launching an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986.[21]

In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. and Scotland for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. Six other Libyans were put on trial in absentia for the 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772. The UN Security Council demanded that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims' families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya's refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSC Resolution 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions on the state designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to further sanctions by the UN against Libya in November 1993.[22]

In 2003, more than a decade after the sanctions were put in place, Libya began to make dramatic policy changes vis-ŕ-vis the Western world with the open intention of pursuing a Western-Libyan détente. The Libyan government announced its decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs and pay almost 3 billion US dollars in compensation to the families of Pan Am flight 103 as well as UTA Flight 772.[23] The decision was welcomed by many western nations and was seen as an important step for Libya toward rejoining the international community.[24] Since 2003 the country has made efforts to normalize its ties with the European Union and the United States and has even coined the catchphrase, 'The Libya Model', an example intended to show the world what can be achieved through negotiation rather than force when there is goodwill on both sides.

On May 15, 2006 the United States Department announced it would fully restore diplomatic relations with Libya if it dismantled its weapons programs. Also the State Department removed Libya from their state sponsored terrorism list which it had been on for 27 years.

On October 16, 2007 Libya was voted to serve on the United Nations Security Council for two years starting January 2008.[25]

[edit] HIV trials (1999–2007)

Main article: HIV trial in Libya

Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were charged with intentionally infecting 426 Libyan children with HIV at a Benghazi children hospital, as part of a supposed plot by the West to destabilize the regime. Initially there were 23 accused Bulgarians and many Libyan health officials but the investigation narrowed the number to five nurses, two doctors, a Bulgarian, a Palestinian, and a number of Libyan health officials. In 2004, the court cleared one Bulgarian doctor, Dr. Zdravko Georgiev, who was found guilty only of illegal transactions in foreign currency and was sentenced to four years in prison plus a fine of 600 dinars. As he had already been in Libyan custody for more than five years and over served his sentence, he was released from prison, but not allowed to leave Libya for next three years. He lived at the Bulgarian embassy and visited the nurses weekly. The remaining five nurses and the Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death. After a retrial in late 2006, they were again sentenced to death. The court's methods were criticized by a number of human rights organizations, and its verdicts condemned by the United States and the European Union.[26] However, on 17 July 2007, the sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.[27] After prolonged and complex negotiations with the participation of the European Union, Germany, France etc. on 24 July 2007, all five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor were released and arrived in Bulgaria.[28]

[edit] Human rights

According to the U.S. Department of State’s annual human rights report for 2004, Libya’s authoritarian regime continued to have a poor record in the area of human rights. Some of the numerous and serious abuses on the part of the government include poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, prisoners held incommunicado, and political prisoners held for many years without charge or trial. The judiciary is controlled by the state, and there is no right to a fair public trial. Libyans do not have the right to change their government. Freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion are restricted. Independent human rights organizations are prohibited. Ethnic and tribal minorities suffer discrimination, and the state continues to restrict the labor rights of foreign workers.

In 2005, the Freedom House rated political rights in Libya as "7" (1 representing the most free and 7 the least free rating), civil liberties as "7" and gave it the freedom rating of "Not Free,"[29] although the organisation itself has been criticized as politically slanted. See Freedom House#Criticism and praise

[edit] Municipalities

Libya was divided into several governorates (muhafazat) [3] before being split into 25 municipalities (baladiyat), see map of 25 baladiyat in Municipalities of Libya.[30] Recently, Libya was divided into thirty two sha'biyah.[31] Then these got further rearranged into twenty two. The following list and map show the previous arrangement which is slightly different than the current one.[32]

The 32 municipalities are:

1 Ajdabiya

17 Ghat

 

2 Al Butnan

18 Ghadamis

3 Al Hizam Al Akhdar

19 Gharyan

4 Al Jabal al Akhdar

20 Murzuq

5 Al Jfara

21 Mizdah

6 Al Jufrah

22 Misratah

7 Al Kufrah

23 Nalut

8 Al Marj

24 Tajura Wa Al Nawahi AlArba'

9 Al Murgub

25 Tarhuna Wa Msalata

10 An Nuqat al Khams

26 Tarabulus (Tripoli)

11 Al Qubah

27 Sabha

12 Al Wahat

28 Surt

13 Az Zawiyah

29 Sabratha Wa Surman

14 Benghazi

30 Wadi Al Hayaa

15 Bani Walid

31 Wadi Al Shatii

16 Darnah

32 Yafran

[edit] Geography

Main article: Geography of Libya

Map of Libya

Map of Libya

The Jabal Al Akdhar near Benghazi is Libya's wettest region. Annual rainfall averages at between 400 and 600 millimetres (15-24 inches).

The Jabal Al Akdhar near Benghazi is Libya's wettest region. Annual rainfall averages at between 400 and 600 millimetres (15-24 inches).[33]

Libya extends over 1,759,540 square kilometres (679,182 sq. mi), making it the 17th largest nation in the world by size. Libya is somewhat smaller than Indonesia, and roughly the size of the US state of Alaska. It is bound to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, the west by Tunisia and Algeria, the southwest by Niger, the south by Chad and Sudan and to the east by Egypt. At 1770 kilometres (1100 miles), Libya's coastline is the longest of any African country bordering the Mediterranean.[34][35] The climate is mostly dry and desert-like in nature. However, the northern regions enjoy a milder Mediterranean climate.

Natural hazards come in the form of hot, dry, dust-laden sirocco (known in Libya as the gibli). This is a southern wind blowing from one to four days in spring and autumn. There are also dust storms and sandstorms. Oases can also be found scattered throughout Libya, the most important of which are Ghadames and Kufra as well as others.

[edit] Libyan Desert

Moving sand dunes in Tadrart Acacus

Moving sand dunes in Tadrart Acacus

Satellite image of Libya, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library

Satellite image of Libya, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library

Desert landscape in Libya; 90% of the country is desert

Desert landscape in Libya; 90% of the country is desert

The Libyan Desert, which covers much of eastern Libya, is one of the most arid places on earth. In places, decades may pass without rain, and even in the highlands rainfall happens erratically, once every 5–10 years. At Uweinat, the last recorded rainfall was in September 1998.[36] There is a large depression, the Qattara Depression, just to the south of the northernmost scarp, with Siwa oasis at its western extremity. The depression continues in a shallower form west, to the oases of Jaghbub and Jalo.

Likewise, the temperature in the Libyan desert can be extreme; in 1922, the town of Al 'Aziziyah, which is located west of Tripoli, recorded an air temperature of 57.8 °C (136.0 °F), generally accepted as the highest recorded naturally occurring air temperature reached on Earth.[37]

There are a few scattered uninhabited small oases, usually linked to the major depressions, where water can be found by digging to a few feet in depth. In the west there is a widely dispersed group of oases in unconnected shallow depressions, the Kufra group, consisting of Tazerbo, Rebiana and Kufra.[36] Aside from the scarps, the general flatness is only interrupted by a series of plateaus and massifs near the centre of the Libyan Desert, around the convergence of the Egyptian-Sudanese-Libyan Borders.

Slightly further to the south are the massifs of Arkenu, Uweinat and Kissu. These granite mountains are very ancient, having formed much before the sandstones surrounding them. Arkenu and Western Uweinat are ring complexes very similar to those in the Air Mountains. Eastern Uweinat (the highest point in the Libyan Desert) is a raised sandstone plateau adjacent to the granite part further west.[36] The plain to the north of Uweinat is dotted with eroded volcanic features.

With the discovery of oil in the 1950s also came the discovery of a massive aquifer underneath much of the country. The water in this aquifer pre-dates the last ice ages and the Sahara desert itself.[38] The country is also home to the Arkenu craters, double impact craters found in the desert.

[edit] Economy

Main article: Economy of Libya

The infrastructure of Libya's capital Tripoli has benefited from the country's oil wealth.

The infrastructure of Libya's capital Tripoli has benefited from the country's oil wealth.

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which constitute practically all export earnings and about one-quarter of gross domestic product (GDP). These oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest GDPs per person in Africa and have allowed the Libyan state to provide an extensive and impressive level of social security, particularly in the fields of housing and education.[39]

Tripoli's Old City - (El-Madina El-Kadima) - situated in the city centre, is one of the classical sites of the Mediterranean and an important tourist attraction.

Tripoli's Old City - (El-Madina El-Kadima) - situated in the city centre, is one of the classical sites of the Mediterranean and an important tourist attraction.

Compared to its neighbours, Libya enjoys an extremely low level of both absolute and relative poverty. Libyan officials in the past three years have carried out economic reforms as part of a broader campaign to reintegrate the country into the global capitalist economy.[40] This effort picked up steam after UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003, and as Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass destruction.[41]

Libya has begun some market-oriented reforms. Initial steps have included applying for membership of the World Trade Organisation, reducing subsidies, and announcing plans for privatisation.[42] The non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for about 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel and aluminium. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food.[40] Water is also a problem, with some 28% of the population not having access to safe drinking water in 2000.[43]

Under the previous Prime Minister, Shukri Ghanem, and current prime minister Baghdadi Mahmudi, Libya is undergoing a business boom. Many government-run industries are being privatised. Many international oil companies have returned to the country, including oil giants Shell and ExxonMobil.[44] Tourism is on the rise, bringing increased demand for hotel accommodation and for capacity at airports such as Tripoli International. A multi-million dollar renovation of Libyan airports has recently been approved by the government to help meet such demands.[45] At present 130,000 people visit the country annually; the Libyan government hopes to increase this figure to 10,000,000 tourists.[46] Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the oldest son of Muammar al-Gaddafi, is involved in a green development project called the Green Mountain Sustainable Development Area, which seeks to bring tourism to Cyrene and to preserve Greek ruins in the area.[47]
 

[edit] Demographics

A map indicating the ethnic composition of Libya.

A map indicating the ethnic composition of Libya.

Libya has a small population within its large territory, with a population density of about 3 people per square kilometre (8.5/mi˛) in the two northern regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, and less than one person per square kilometre (1.6/mi˛) elsewhere. Libya is thus one of the least dense nations by area in the world.[48] 90% of the people live in less than 10% of the area, mostly along the coast. More than half the population is urban, concentrated to a greater extent, in the two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi.[49] Native Libyans are a mixture of indigenous Berber peoples and the later arriving Arabs.

There are small Tuareg (a Berber population) and Tebu tribal groups concentrated in the south, living nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyles. Among foreign residents, the largest groups are citizens of other African nations, including North Africans (primarily Egyptians and Tunisians), and Sub-Saharan Africans.[50] According to the CIA Factbook, Libyan Berbers and Arabs constitute 97% of the population; the other 3% are Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Afghanis, Turks, Indians, and Sub-Saharan Africans.[51] However, this only counts legal residents, as Libya is also home to a large illegal Sub-Saharan African population which according to some estimates numbers as much as a million. [52]

The main language spoken in Libya is Arabic, which is also the official language. Tamazight (i.e. Berber languages), which do not have official status, are spoken by Libyan Berbers.[53] Berber speakers live above all in the Jebel Nafusa region (Tripolitania), the town of Zuwarah on the coast, and the city-oases of Ghadames, Ghat and Awjila. In addition, Tuaregs speak Tamahaq, the only known Northern Tamasheq language. Italian and English are sometimes spoken in the big cities, although Italian speakers are mainly among the older generation.

Family life is important for Libyan families, the majority of which live in apartment blocks and other independent housing units, with precise modes of housing depending on their income and wealth. Although the Libyan Arabs traditionally lived nomadic lifestyles in tents, they have now settled in various towns and cities.[54] Because of this, their old ways of life are gradually fading out. An unknown small number of Libyans still live in the desert as their families have done for centuries. Most of the population has occupations in industry and services, and a small percentage is in agriculture.

[edit] Education

The Benghazi campus of the former University of Libya (Al-Jami'a al-Libiya), Libya's first university.

The Benghazi campus of the former University of Libya (Al-Jami'a al-Libiya), Libya's first university.

Libya's population includes 1.7 million students, over 270,000 of whom study at the tertiary level.[55] Education in Libya is free for all citizens,[56] and compulsory up until secondary level. The literacy rate is the highest in North Africa; over 82% of the population can read and write.[57] After Libya's independence in 1951, its first university, the University of Libya, was established in Benghazi.[58] In academic year 1975/76 the number of university students was estimated to be 13,418. As of 2004, this number has increased to more than 200,000, with an extra 70,000 enrolled in the higher technical and vocational sector.[55] The rapid increase in the number of students in the higher education sector has been mirrored by an increase in the number of institutions of higher education. Since 1975 the number of universities has grown from two to nine and after their introduction in 1980, the number of higher technical and vocational institutes currently stands at 84 (with 12 public universities).[55] Libya's higher education is financed by the public budget. In 1998 the budget allocated for education represented 38.2% of the national budget.[58]

The main universities in Libya are:

[edit] Religion

Main article: Islam in Libya

By far the predominant religion in Libya is Islam with 97% of the population associating with the faith.[59] The vast majority of Libyan Muslims adhere to Sunni Islam, which provides both a spiritual guide for individuals and a keystone for government policy, but a minority (between 5 and 10%) adhere to Ibadism (a branch of Kharijism), above all in the Jebel Nefusa and the town of Zuwarah.

Mosque in Ghadames, close to the Tunisian and Algerian border. About 97% of Libyans are followers of Islam.

Mosque in Ghadames, close to the Tunisian and Algerian border. About 97% of Libyans are followers of Islam.

Before the 1930s, the Sanusi Movement was the primary Islamic movement in Libya. This was a religious revival adapted to desert life. Its zawaayaa (lodges) were found in Tripolitania and Fezzan, but Sanusi influence was strongest in Cyrenaica. Rescuing the region from unrest and anarchy, the Sanusi movement gave the Cyrenaican tribal people a religious attachment and feelings of unity and purpose.[60] This Islamic movement, which was eventually destroyed by both Italian invasion and later the Gaddafi government,[60] was very conservative and somewhat different from the Islam that exists in Libya today. Gaddafi asserts that he is a devout Muslim, and his government is taking a role in supporting Islamic institutions and in worldwide proselytizing on behalf of Islam.[61] A Libyan form of Sufism is also common in parts of the country.[62]

Other than the overwhelming majority of Sunni Muslims, there are also small Christian communities, composed almost exclusively of foreigners. There is a small Anglican community, made up mostly of African immigrant workers in Tripoli; it is part of the Egyptian Diocese.[63] There are also an estimated 40,000 Roman Catholics in Libya who are served by two Bishops, one in Tripoli (serving the Italian community) and one in Benghazi (serving the Maltese community).

Libya was until recent times the home of one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back to at least 300 BC.[64] A series of pogroms beginning in November of 1945 lasted for almost three years, drastically reducing Libya's Jewish population.[65] In 1948, about 38,000 Jews remained in the country. Upon Libya's independence in 1951, most of the Jewish community emigrated. After the Suez Crisis in 1956, all but about 100 Jews were forced to flee.

[edit] Culture

Main article: Culture of Libya

Coastline of Benghazi, Libya's second largest city. With the longest Mediterranean coastline among African nations, Libya's mostly unspoilt beaches are a social gathering place.

Coastline of Benghazi, Libya's second largest city. With the longest Mediterranean coastline among African nations, Libya's mostly unspoilt beaches are a social gathering place.

Libya is culturally similar to its neighboring Maghrebian states. Libyans consider themselves very much a part of a wider Arab community. The Libyan state tends to strengthen this feeling by considering Arabic as the only official language, and forbidding the teaching and even the use of the Berber language. Libyan Arabs have a heritage in the traditions of the nomadic Bedouin and associate themselves with a particular Bedouin tribe.

As with some other countries in the Arab world, Libya boasts few theatres or art galleries. [66] .[67] Conversely, for many years there have been no public theatres, and only a few cinemas showing foreign films. The tradition of folk culture is still alive and well, with troupes performing music and dance at frequent festivals, both in Libya and abroad. The main output of Libyan television is devoted to showing various styles of traditional Libyan music. Tuareg music and dance are popular in Ghadames and the south. Libyan television programmes are mostly in Arabic with a 30-minute news broadcast each evening in English and French. The government maintains strict control over all media outlets. A new analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found Libya’s media the most tightly controlled in the Arab world.[15] To combat this, the government plans to introduce private media, an initiative intended to bring the country's media in from the cold.[68]

Many Libyans frequent the country's beaches. They also visit Libya's beautifully-preserved archaeological sites—especially Leptis Magna, which is widely considered to be one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in the world.[69]

The nation's capital, Tripoli, boasts many good museums and archives; these include the Government Library, the Ethnographic Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the National Archives, the Epigraphy Museum and the Islamic Museum. The Jamahiriya Museum, built in consultation with UNESCO, may be the country's most famous. It houses one of the finest collections of classical art in the Mediterranean.[70]

Further information: Music of Libya

Further information: Literature of Libya

[edit] International rankings

Organisation

Survey

Ranking

Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal

2007 Index of Economic Freedom

155 out of 157

The Economist

The World in 2005 - Worldwide quality-of-life index, 2005

70 out of 111

Energy Information Administration

Greatest Oil Reserves by Country, 2006

9 out of 20

Reporters Without Borders

Press Freedom Index (2005)

162 out of 167

Transparency International

Corruption Perceptions Index 2007

131 out of 180

United Nations Development Programme

Human Development Index 2005

56 out of 177

[edit] References

  1. ^ U.N. Demographic Yearbook, (2003), "Demographic Yearbook (3) Pop., Rate of Pop. Increase, Surface Area & Density", United Nations Statistics Division, Accessed July 15 2006

  2. ^ See e. g., the chapter "Les Loouatah" in René Basset, Le dialecte de Syouah, Paris, Leroux, 1890 (pdf text online)(p. 1-14). P. 3: "On voit que les Lebou figurent au premier rang des barbares qui menaçaient l'Egypte du côté de l'ouest ; c'est aussi dans les régions qu'ils occupaient que les auteurs arabes placent les Loouata dont le nom correspond aux Lebou des Egyptiens, aux Loubim de la Bible, aux Levathae (Λευαθαι) de Procope et aux Ilaguaten de Corripus" ("We see that the Lebu are recorded in the first line among the barbarians who threatened Egypt on the western side; in the very regions where they dwelled, the Arab authors place the Lawata, whose name corresponds to the Egyptian Lebu, to the Lubim of the Bible, to the Levathae of Procopius and to the Ilaguaten of Corippus")

  3. ^ Annual Statistical Bulletin, (2004), "World proven crude oil reserves by country, 1980–2004", O.P.E.C., Accessed July 20 2006

  4. ^ World Economic Outlook Database, (April, 2006), "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects", International Monetary Fund, Accessed July 15 2006

  5. ^ Koppel, Andrea. "ElBaradei: Libya nuclear program dismantled", CNN, 2003-12-29. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 

  6. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1987), "Early History of Libya", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 11 2006

  7. ^ Herodotus, (c.430 BC), "'The Histories', Book IV.42–43" Fordham University, New York, Accessed July 18 2006

  8. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1987), "Tripolitania and the Phoenicians", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 11 2006

  9. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1987), "Cyrenaica and the Greeks", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 11 2006

  10. ^ Heuser, Stephen, (July 24, 2005), "When Romans lived in Libya", The Boston Globe Accessed July 18 2006

  11. ^ Country Profiles, (May 16, 2006), "Timeline: Libya, a chronology of key events" BBC News, Accessed July 18 2006

  12. ^ Hagos, Tecola W., (November 20, 2004), "Treaty Of Peace With Italy (1947), Evaluation And Conclusion", Ethiopia Tecola Hagos, Accessed July 18 2006

  13. ^ US Department of State's Background Notes, (November 2005) "Libya - History", U.S. Dept. of State, Accessed July 14 2006

  14. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1987), "Government and Politics of Libya", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 14 2006

  15. ^ a b Special Report 2006, (May 2, 2006), "North Korea Tops CPJ list of '10 Most Censored Countries'", Committee to Protect Journalists, Accessed July 19 2006

  16. ^ Case Study: Libya, (2001), "Political Culture", Educational Module on Chemical & Biological Weapons Nonproliferation, Accessed July 14 2006

  17. ^ Hodder, Kathryn, (2000), "Violations of Trade Union Rights", Social Watch Africa, Accessed July 14 2006

  18. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1987), "Independent Libya", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 14 2006

  19. ^ Abadi, Jacob (2000), "Pragmatism and Rhetoric in Libya's Policy Toward Israel", The Journal of Conflict Studies: Volume XX Number 1 Fall 2000, University of New Brunswick, Accessed July 19 2006

  20. ^ The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, (2001–2005), "Qaddafi, Muammar al-", Bartleby Books, Accessed July 19 2006

  21. ^ Boyne, Walter J., (March, 1999), "El Dorado Canyon", Air Force Association Journal, Vol. 82, No. 3, Accessed July 19, 2006

  22. ^ (2003), "Libya", Global Policy Forum, Accessed July 19 2006

  23. ^ Marcus, Jonathan, (May 15, 2006), "Washington's Libyan fairy tale", BBC News, Accessed July 15 2006

  24. ^ U.K. Politics, (March 25, 2004), "Blair hails new Libyan relations", BBC news, Accessed July 15 2006

  25. ^ Libya secures UN council posting. BBC News. Retrieved on 2007-10-17.

  26. ^ December 19, 2006 "Statement by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner on Libyan Court verdict on the Benghazi case".

  27. ^ "Libya revokes HIV death sentences", BBC, 2007-7-17. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 

  28. ^ "HIV medics released to Bulgaria", BBC, 2007-07-24. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 

  29. ^ Freedom in the World 2006 (PDF). Freedom House (2005-12-16). Retrieved on 2006-07-27.
    See also Freedom in the World 2006, List of indices of freedom

  30. ^ Lahmeyer, Jan, (November 26, 2004), "Historical demographical data of the administrative division", Universiteit Utrecht, Accessed July 19 2006

  31. ^ Jamahiriya News Agency, (July 19, 2004), "Masses of the Basic People's Congresses select their Secretariats and People's Committees" Mathaba News, Accessed July 19 2006

  32. ^ [1] شعبيات الجماهيرية العظمى - Sha'biyat of Great Jamahiriya, Accessed July 6, 2007

  33. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1987), "Climate & Hydrology of Libya", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 15 2006

  34. ^ (2005), "Demographics of Libya", Education Libya, Accessed June 29, 2006

  35. ^ (July 20, 2006), "Field Listings - Coastlines", CIA World Factbook, Accessed July 23 2006

  36. ^ a b c Zboray, András, "Flora and Fauna of the Libyan Desert", Fliegel Jezerniczky Expeditions, Accessed July 14 2006

  37. ^ Hottest Place, "El Azizia Libya, 'How Hot is Hot?'", Extreme Science, Accessed July 14 2006

  38. ^ ""Fossil Water" in Libya", NASA, Accessed March 24, 2007

  39. ^ United Nations Economic & Social Council, (February 16, 1996), "Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Report", Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Accessed July 14 2006

  40. ^ a b The World Factbook, (2006), "Economy - Libya", CIA World Factbook, Accessed July 14 2006

  41. ^ W.M.D., (2003), "Libya Special Weapons News", Global Security Report, Accessed July 14, 2006

  42. ^ Reuters, (July 28, 2004), "Libya to start WTO membership talks", Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa, Accessed July 16 2006

  43. ^ (2001), "Safe Drinking Water", WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, Accessed October 8 2006

  44. ^ Volume: 23, No. 27, (2006), "Shell returns to Libya with gas exploration pact", Oil & Gas Worldwide News, Accessed July 14 2006

  45. ^ Jawad, Rana, (May 31, 2006), "Libyan aviation ready for take-off" BBC News, Accessed July 22 2006

  46. ^ Bangs, Richard; Ammar Mabrouk Eltaye. "Libya sees thriving tourism industry ahead", MSNBC. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 

  47. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/16/science/16liby.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

  48. ^ Earth Trends, Environmental Information, (2004), "Population: Population density", World Resources Institute, Accessed July 19 2006

  49. ^ Al-Amari, Mailud, (November 2004), "Population Dynamics and Fertility Trends in Libya", American Public Health Association, Accessed July 17 2006

  50. ^ Libya Demographics and Geography, (2005), "Libya - Population" The Columbia Gazetteer of the World, Accessed July 17 2006

  51. ^ The World Factbook, (2006), "People - Libya", CIA World Factbook, Accessed July 19, 2006

  52. ^ http://migration.ucdavis.edu/MN/more.php?id=2248_0_5_0

  53. ^ Anderson, Lisa, (2006), "'Libya', III. People, B. Religion & Language", MSN Encarta, Accessed July 17 2006

  54. ^ Al-Hawaat, Dr. Ali, (1994), "The Family and the work of women, A study in the Libyan Society" National Center for Research and Scientific Studies of Libya, Accessed July 19, 2006

  55. ^ a b c Clark, Nick, (July 2004), "Education in Libya", World Education News and Reviews, Volume 17, Issue 4, Accessed July 22 2006

  56. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1987), "Education of Libya", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 22 2006

  57. ^ About Libya. Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative. United States Department of State (2003). Retrieved on 2007-10-10.

  58. ^ a b El-Hawat, Ali, (2000), "Country Higher Education Profiles - Libya", International Network for Higher Education in Africa", Accessed July 22 2006

  59. ^ Religious adherents by location, "'42,000 religious geography and religion statistics', Libya" Adherents.com, Accessed July 15, 2006

  60. ^ a b Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1989), "The Sanusis", U.S. Library of Congress, Accessed July 22, 2006

  61. ^ Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, (1989), "Islam in Revolutionary Libya", US Library of Congress, Accessed July 19 2006

  62. ^ Libya - Religion, (July 8, 2006), "Sufi Movement to be involved in Libya" Arabic News, Accessed July 19 2006

  63. ^ (2004), "International Religious Freedom Report: Libya" Jewish Virtual Library, Accessed July 19 2006

  64. ^ The World Jewish Congress, "History of the Jewish Community in Libya", University of California at Berkeley, Accessed July 16 2006

  65. ^ Harris, David A. (2001), "In the Trenches: Selected Speeches and Writings of an American Jewish Activist", 1979–1999, pp. 149–150

  66. ^ News and Trends: Africa, (September 17, 1999), "Libya looking at economic diversification" Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections, Accessed July 19 2006.

  67. ^ About Libya, "Libya Today", Discover Libya Travel, Accessed July 14 2006.

  68. ^ (January 30, 2006), "Libya to allow independent media", Middle East Times, Accessed July 21 2006

  69. ^ Donkin, Mike, (July 23, 2005), "Libya's tourist treasures", BBC News, Accessed July 19 2006

  70. ^ Bouchenaki, Mounir, (1989), "The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Museum: a first in the Arab world", UNESCO, Museum Architecture: beyond the <<temple>> and ... beyond, Accessed July 19, 2006