Libya – the country of the Sahara
The Sahara was once humid and fertile. Only in the 3rd millennium BC It began to dry up in the BC – today it is the largest desert in the world. It runs through Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. But only one country is as closely linked to the Sahara as Libya. About 98 percent of the country is covered by the desert. Traces of hunters and gatherers from wetter days can be found in the stone and sand that go back thousands of years. There is hardly a country that is richer in traces of the past. Greeks, Ptolemies, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Italians, British and Americans – they were all there.
Relations between the western countries and Libya began to relax for a few years. With the final lifting of the UN sanctions in 2003, a new era began – at least that was to be hoped. In addition to the resumption of large-scale oil exports, Libya has also increasingly invested in tourism in recent years. In view of the picturesque Mediterranean beaches, picture book oases and historical sights, these efforts are quite promising. Libya produces around 1.6 million barrels of oil daily – for comparison: Saudi Arabia produces an average of 9 million barrels a day. A barrel is 158.987 liters. At a price of around 100 US dollars, that’s a daily income of 160 million dollars for Libya.
Since February 2011, civil war-like conditions rocked the country. The “Eternal Revolutionary Leader” Gaddafi and his clan fought the uprisings of his people with tanks, heavy weapons and the air force. Many of the security forces were well-paid mercenaries from other African countries. The brutality of Gaddafi supporters led to the resignation of numerous ambassadors abroad, some ministers – and parts of the military had defected. Two air force jets landed on Malta and asked for political asylum. It is estimated that several thousand people were killed by the end of February. At that time, Gaddafi “ruled” only a few cities and parts of Tripoli. He had declared that he did not want to leave the country and would rather die a martyr’s death.
As a result of the capture of the city of Sirte on October 20, 2011, a car convoy that Gaddafi was in was attacked by NATO planes. Gaddafi then took refuge in a sewer, where he was found and injured and taken prisoner. He was probably shot in the head by a freedom fighter afterwards and succumbed to his injuries shortly afterwards. This finally ended Gaddafi’s rule.
Parliament began its work in August 2012. But now there are clans, gangs and criminals in the country. The government’s influence in Tripoli has become extremely small. In addition, more and more refugees end up in notorious camps. Numerous people are still trying to reach Italy with (inflatable) boats, some of which are unseaworthy, with many drowning in the sea.
|Name of the country||Republic of Libya|
|Form of government||Parliamentary republic|
|Geographical location||North africa|
|National anthem||Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest)|
|Population||approx. 6.7 million (Credit: Countryaah: Libya Population)|
|Ethnicities||mostly Arabs, minorities of Berbers|
|Religions||Islam (state religion),for example, around 2.7% Christians|
|Languages||Arabic is the official language|
|Highest mountain||Bikku Bitti with a height of 2,267 m|
|Longest river||There are no major rivers in Libya.|
|Largest lake||There are no larger lakes in Libya.|
|International license plate||LAR|
|National currency||1 Libyan dinar = 1,000 dirhams|
|Time difference to CET||+ 1h|
|International phone code||00218|
|Mains voltage, frequency||150/220 volts and 50 hertz|
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)||.ly|
Until around the year 1000
Traces of the earliest settlement of the then still humid Sahara area are probably rock paintings and engravings from hunters and collectors dating back to around 9,000 BC. To be dated. Around 3,000 BC The Sahara began to dry up into a desert.
According to Abbreviationfinder website, in ancient times “Libya” referred to all of North Africa west of Egypt. Egyptian sources report since the 3rd millennium BC. Again and again from fighting with Libyans. From about 1000 to 500 BC The east of Libya, Cyrenaica, was colonized by the Greeks. Between 331 and 96 BC This part of the country was ruled by the Ptolemies from Egypt. Tripolitania, the western part, was until about 200 BC. Carthaginian province. From the 1st century BC All of Libya belonged to the Roman Empire, later to Byzantium.
Between 644 and 647 the Arabs conquered Libya and introduced the Arabic script and language as well as Islam there.
From the year 1000 to the 19th century
Around 1050 the Bedouins destroyed the last remnants of Roman urban culture in the coastal areas, nomadism became the economic basis of the country. The country’s main source of income, however, had been piracy by the corsairs since the 14th century, which the USA could not successfully combat until 1805. From 1517 Libya came under Ottoman rule.
Between 1711 and 1835 the country was de facto autonomous under the Karamanli dynasty in Tripoli, after which it came back under direct Ottoman administration.
In the 20th century
In 1911/12 the Italians occupied Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in the Italo-Turkish War. Under Mussolini, they also conquered southern Fezzan by 1925 and then acquired the Djaghabub oasis. In 1934 the Italian colony of Libya was formed from these areas.
After being the theater of war during the Second World War and then administered as a UN mandate by Great Britain and France, Libya was incorporated under King Idris I as-Sanussi (1890-1983) on December 24, 1951, in accordance with the United Nations resolution of 1949 independent kingdom. At that time it was one of the poorest countries in the world. On January 1, 1952, the country’s independence was officially declared, which from that point on was a federal monarchy. On March 28, 1952, Libya joined the “Arab League” founded in 1945 and became its full member in mid-February 1953. King Idris I left Great Britain and the United States with military bases in the country. In 1955 the first Libyan University of Garyouni was founded in Benghazi. In 1958 the first oil wells were discovered. On the 5th In December 1959 the approximately 665 kilometer long oil pipeline from Hassi Messaud to Bougie was officially opened by the French Prime Minister M. Debré, from 1961 oil production boomed and brought wealth for the state and above all for the upper class. In 1963 the administration of the country was centralized.
In 1969, Colonel Muammar el-Gaddafi overthrew the monarchy. The new government pursued a militant nationalist and pan-Arab policy. On December 11, 1969, a new Libyan constitution was announced, which also provided for the establishment of the Revolutionary Command Council as the highest state organ. A decree was also issued to protect the revolution, so anyone who questioned the foundations of the revolution could be punished with death. In October 1971 it was decided to make Sharia law the legal basis in Libya. On July 16, 1972, Colonel el-Gaddafi resigned from the post of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. But he retained the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.
In 1977 the term “republic” was changed to “people’s rule” (People’s Jamahiriya) and a “direct democracy” based on the Koran was formally introduced. Banks, insurance companies and foreign oil companies were nationalized and the western military bases were dissolved. In March 1979, Muammar el-Gaddafi officially resigned from office, but remained the true ruler of the country as the “leader of the revolution”.
Libya supported Iran in the First Gulf War. In 1980 the Libyan army intervened in the civil war in Chad, and the troops were only fully withdrawn in 1994 following a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Libya supported terrorist organizations, particularly in attacks against the United States or Israel. The Libyan government was also one of the staunch opponents of an understanding between the Arab countries and Israel. After a series of attacks allegedly supported or initiated by Libya, including on the West Berlin discotheque “La Belle” (April 5, 1986) with three dead, and on December 21, 1986 on a jumbo jet operated by the US airline Pan Am over the Scottish city of Lockerbie with 259 dead, the USA broke off all economic relations with Libya in 1986. In 1986, the US bombed Tripoli and Benghazi in response to the terrorist attacks.
In 1992 and 1993 the UN imposed sanctions on Libya because the government refused to extradite two suspected bombers (bombing an American airliner in 1988).
A military revolt was put down in Tripoli in late 1993. After the extradition of the Lockerbie bombers in April 1999, UN sanctions were suspended again and completely lifted in 2003 after the government admitted guilt and paid compensation. Libya sided with Iraq during the Second Gulf War.
Since February 2011, civil war-like conditions rocked the country. The “Eternal Revolutionary Leader” Gaddafi and his clan fought the uprisings of his people with tanks, heavy weapons and the air force. Many of the security forces were mercenaries from other African countries. The brutality of the Gaddafi supporters led to the resignation of numerous ambassadors abroad, some ministers – and parts of the military had defected. Two air force jets landed on Malta and asked for political asylum.
At that time, Gaddafi “ruled” only a few cities and parts of Tripoli. He had declared that he did not want to leave the country and would rather die a martyr’s death. In the course of time, however, his troops were able to recapture numerous cities and regions.
But from March 19, French, British and American jets attacked Libyan military facilities – based on a UN Security Council resolution. On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council decided unanimously with five abstentions – including Germany – that all necessary measures to protect the civilian population may be taken.
On June 13, 2011, the two ministers Westerwelle (foreign minister) and Niebel (development minister) visited the city of Benghazi to present the transitional council’s recognition by Germany and to unveil a plaque from the Federal Republic’s liaison office to the transitional council. The victory over the Gaddafi regime was celebrated in early September 2011.
Gaddafi’s end, the new Libya
As a result of the capture of the city of Sirte on October 20, 2011, a car convoy that Gaddafi was in was attacked by NATO planes. Gaddafi then took refuge in a sewer, where he was found and injured and taken prisoner. He was probably shot in the head by a freedom fighter afterwards and succumbed to his injuries shortly afterwards. This finally ended Gaddafi’s rule. The liberation from Gaddafi’s rule was officially celebrated on October 23, 2011.
The new freely elected parliament began its work in August 2012.