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History[edit | edit source]
Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age. The Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya, and ancient Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya. Libya was variously ruled by Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians and Greeks before becoming a part of the Roman Empire. Libya was an early centre of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was mostly occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century, when invasions brought Islam to the region.
In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire occupied Tripoli, until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Libya was involved in the Barbary Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries. Ottoman rule continued until the Italian occupation of Libya resulted in the temporary Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1947. During the Second World War, Libya was an important area of warfare in the North African Campaign. The Italian population then went into decline.
Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. There was a military coup in 1969 and the leader Muammar Gaddafi ruled the country from 1969 and the Libyan Cultural Revolution in 1973. Two authorities initially claimed to govern Libya: the Council of Deputies in Tobruk and the 2014 General National Congress in Tripoli, which considered itself the continuation of the General National Congress, elected in 2012.
After UN-led peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, a unified interim UN-backed Government of National Accord was established in 2015, and the General National Congres disbanded to support it. Parts of Libya remain outside either government's control, with various Islamist, rebel and tribal militias administering some areas. As of July 2017, talks are still ongoing between the General National Congress and the Tobruk-based authorities to end the strife and unify the divided establishments of the state, including the Libyan National Army and the Central Bank of Libya.
The country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
1510 - 1551 After a successful invasion of Tripoli by Habsburg Spain The Ottoman's took control
1551 -Almost the entire population of the Maltese island of Gozo were enslaved and some 6,300 people were sent to Libya
1551 - Ottoman rule began
1911 - 1947 The Italian occupation of Libya resulted in the temporary Italian Libya colony
1927 - 1934 the territory was split into two colonies and 150,000 Italians settled in Libya, constituting roughly 20% of the total population
1934 - Italy adopted the name Libya as the official name of the colony
1947 - Under the terms of the peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya
1951 - Libya became independent as a kingdom
1970 - The 12,000-strong Italian community was expelled from Libya alongside the smaller community of Libyan Jews
2011 - At least 30,000 Libyans died in the civil war. In addition, the National Transitional Council estimated 50,000 wounded
2013 - More than 700,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat since 2013