Libya Fast Facts

Demonstrators wave flags and step on posters of some world leaders as they take part in a rally against eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, and in support of the UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA) in Martyrs' Square in the GNA-held capital Tripoli on January 10, 2020. (Photo by MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN)Here's some background information about Libya, an oil-rich country in North Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan.

About Libya

(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 1,759,540 square kilometers (slightly larger than Alaska)
    Population: 7,017,224 (July 2021 est.)
      Median age: 25.8 years
      Capital: Tripoli
      Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians and Tunisians)
        Religion: Sunni Muslim 96.6%, other is 3.4%
        Unemployment: 30% (2004 est.)

        Other Facts

        Libya has proven oil reserves estimated at 48.4 billion barrels, the most in Africa.
        Colonel Moammar Gadhafi ruled Libya from 1969 to 2011. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was known for supporting Palestinian terrorist groups. In the late 1990s, Gadhafi made steps toward rapprochement with the West.
        A Libyan civil war began in 2011 with clashes between the government and rebel forces, and that fueled a second war that is still ongoing. The administration of General Khalifa Haftar, in eastern Libya, is often at odds with the Western-backed government based in Tripoli, the Government of National Accord (GNA). There are also multiple tribes competing for control of Libya's dwindling oil wealth, as well as militant groups, including ISIS, scattered across the vast country.
        According to the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), there are 316,415 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and 567,802 total IDP returnees from 2016 to 2019. (as of October 1, 2020)


        1911-1912 - Italy gains control of the area comprising modern day Libya from the Ottoman Empire.
        1940-1943 - During World War II, Axis and Allied forces battle in Libya. After the Axis troops are defeated, Italy withdraws, and Libya falls under French and British control.
        November 1949 - A United Nations resolution calls for the establishment of a sovereign state of Libya by January 1952.
        December 24, 1951 - King Idris I proclaims the independence of Libya.
        1959 - Significant oil reserves are discovered.
        September 1, 1969 - A group of army officers led by Gadhafi overthrows Idris.
        1977 - The General People's Congress (GPC) replaces the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), which has led the country since the 1969 coup.
        1979 - Gadhafi resigns as secretary-general of the GPC but remains the de factor ruler of Libya.
        August 1981 - US Navy jets shoot down two Libyan fighters in a confrontation over the Gulf of Sidra.
        March 1982 - The United States imposes an oil embargo on Libya.
        January 1986 - Gadhafi draws a "line of death" across the Gulf of Sidra, which he claims is Libyan territory, and warns the United States and other foreign ships not to cross it.
        March 1986 - Libya fires missiles at a US aircraft flying inside the "line of death." In retaliation, the US Navy destroys at least two Libyan patrol boats in the Gulf of Sidra.
        April 1986 - In response to the Libyan sponsored bombing of a German disco frequented by US soldiers, the United States bombs targets in Libya.
        December 21, 1988 - Pan Am Flight 103 explodes 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland, 38 minutes after takeoff from London. Two hundred and fifty-nine people on board the New York-bound Boeing 747 are killed, along with 11 people on the ground.
        September 19, 1989 - UTA Flight 772, a French airliner, explodes over Niger. One hundred and seventy passengers and crew members are killed. In 1999, six Libyans are tried in absentia and convicted in a French court.
        April 15, 1996 - The United Nations imposes sanctions on Libya over the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing in Lockerbie and the 1989 Niger bombing.
        April 5, 1999 - Libya hands over Lockerbie bombing suspects Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah to be tried under Scottish law in The Hague. The United Nations suspends sanctions against Libya.
        January 31, 2001 - Megrahi is found guilty of the Lockerbie bombings and is sentenced to life in prison. Fhimah is acquitted.
        December 2003 - Libya announces that it has agreed to end its program of developing weapons of mass destruction.
        September 2004 - US President George W. Bush issues an executive order that ends most economic sanctions against Libya and lifts a ban on travel to Libya which had been in effect since 1981.
        June 2006 - The United States removes Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
        January 2008 - Libya takes a rotating seat on the UN Security Council.
        August 14, 2008 - Libya and the United States sign an agreement over claims relating to injuries or deaths in the 1986 bombing of the German disco, the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, and the 1989 French airliner bombing.
        October 31, 2008 - The United States receives $1.5 billion from Libya, settling claims from the 1980s bombings.
        January 2009 - The United States and Libya exchange ambassadors for the first time since 1973.
        August 2009 - Convicted Lockerbie bomber Megrahi is released from a Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds. Megrahi, reportedly suffering from terminal cancer, returns to a hero's welcome in Libya.
        September 23, 2009 - Gadhafi addresses the UN General Assembly. In the 1.5-hour speech, he criticizes the United Nations and the Security Council and suggests that they should be moved out of New York.
        May 2010 - Libya is elected to a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Council.
        February 2011 - Demonstrations break out against the rule of Gadhafi in Benghazi and Tripoli. The protestors are reportedly attacked by security forces, warplanes and helicopter gunships, resulting in