Libya is a country in Africa. This nation is beside the Mediterranean Sea. The section of the Mediterranean that is Libya’s coast is called the Gulf of Sirte. The neighbours of Libya are Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt. Libya is on the northern edge of Africa. The climate is warm to hot all year. There are very strong winds sometimes. The country’s biome is almost entirely desert.
The ANCIENT Greeks founded three cities in Libya. They called them ‘tripolis’ as in ”three cities.” This is not called Tripoli. It is the capital of Libya.
The Romans conquered this country two millennia ago. There are Roman ruins such as at Leptis Major.
The Arabs brought Islam to Egypt in the 7th century AD. They also brought the Arabic language. This is the official language of Libya. SOme people speak Berber too. Libya was part of the Muslim Empire. In turn it became part of the Ottoman Empire.
Libya split into different provinces – Tripolitania was one around Tripoli. Cyrenaica was the other which is western Libya. Then there is the Fezzan which is southern Libya.
Barbary pirates based in Libya raided ships in the Mediterranean and the coast of Europe. They kidnapped people and took them into servitude. The United States sent a military mission to suppress these pirates. There is a song ‘The Shores of Tripoli’ describes this mission by the US Marines. The US Government asked the local ruler why he took Americans as slaves. He said that his faith entitled him to do so.
By the late 19th century Ottoman rule was solely nominal. Although the Sultan in Istanbul was the titular ruler of Libya the Dey of Tripoli was effectively an independent monarch. This title was held by the Senussi family.
In 1911 Italy declared war on the Ottomans. They annexed Libya as well as the Dodecanese Islands. The Ottomans were given short shrift. The Ottomans ceded Libya as they had no control over it anyway. The Libyans fought at little. They did not perceive themselves to be Libyans. The Italians controlled the coast but had difficulty pacifying the hinterland. They wrote a song ”A Tripoli” to hail their victory but it was a damp squib.
The Senussi family fled to Egypt which was under the British aegis. Guerrilla fighting in Libya continued inexorably.
Italians came to settle in Libya. In 1922 Mussolini became Prime Minister of Italy. His fascists government looked back into the annals to see what these provinces had been called in Roman times. They revived the name Libya which had been forgotten for centuries. Mussolini was a Christian but said he was a friend of Islam.
In the Second World War some crucial battles were fought here. The Allies prevailed. After the war Italy renounced any claim to extra-metropolitan territory. The Senussis came back. Libya became a kingdom. The king Idris has British troops for a while. The Soviets agitated for a naval base there but they were not given one.
In 1970 King Idris was overthrown by a 27 year old colonel called Mummar Al Gadaffi. The man proclaimed himself Brotherly Guide of the Revolution. Gadaffi was the dictator. He claimed to live simply. He made the country the Great Libyan Arab People’s Socialist Islamic Jumuhuriya. Jumuhuriya is literally ‘mass state’ but this is usually translated ‘republic’. However, the government insisted on using the word Jumuhuriya even in English.
Under Gadaffi there was much development. He built a man made river in the desert. He also outlawed servants. The country became a Soviet ally. Soviet experts moved there.
Gadaffi invade a few of his neighbours. He was repulsed. He launched terrorist attacks on US targets. The US launched air raids on Libya.
Gadaffi had a ridiculous cult of the personality. He had female bodyguards and drank camel’s milk while living in a tent. The Brotherly Guide would not allow free expression. He kept thousands of political prisoners. Torture as widely used. Hundreds of people were executed without trial in 1998.
In the late 1990s he reformed. He met Blair and dismantled his nuclear arms programme in 2003. Sanctions had forced this.
In 2011 a revolt began in Libya. This was part of the Arab Spring. The UN authorised air strikes to prevent Gadaffi’s army from massacring civilians. NATO acted as the air force of the insurgents. Gadaffi’s forces were smashed. Gadaffi was finally cornered and summarily executed.
The Flag of Libya is black, red and green horizontal bars. There is a white crescent moon and star on the central bar.
The capital city is Tripoli. It is on the coast. Benghazi is the second city.
The Libyans are a Semitic people and partly black too. There has been significant immigration from Subsaharan Africa.
- Which continent is Libya in?
- Name five neighbours of Libya? Five marks.
- Which sea is Libya beside?
- What is the climate like?
- What is the landscape like?
- Which culture founded Tripoli?
- What does Tripolis mean?
- What is the main religion of Libya?
- Draw the flag. Five marks.
- Which European country conquered Libya in 1911?
- Name the three provinces of Libya. Three marks.
- In what year was the Libyan Revolution?
- Who was the Brotherly Guide of the Revolution?
- What was the constitutional title of Libya under Gaddafi?
- In which year did the Arab Spring occur?