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Libya History Timeline

Libya's Information

Flag of Libya
Land Area 1,759,540 km2
Total Area 1,759,540km2 (#16)
Population 6,541,948 (#106)
Population Density 3.72/km2
Government Type In Transition
GDP (PPP) $90.89 Billion
GDP Per Capita $14,200
Currency Dinar (LYD)
Largest Cities
  • (7th century BC) Phoenicians settled in Tripolitania in western Libya
  • (6th century BC) Tripolitania is conquered by Carthage
  • (630 BC) The eastern part of Libya is colonized by the Greeks; the city of Cyrene is founded
  • (74 BC) Libya was conquered by Romans
643 AD - 1800s
  • (643 AD) Arabs conquered Libya and spread Islam under the command of Amr Ibn al-As
  • (1551) Libya was overtaken by the Ottoman Empire; the three provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan joined together to form Tripoli
  • (1600s - 1700s) Tripoli lapsed into a period of military anarchy following a lack of direction from the Ottoman government
  • (1793) Tripolitanian civil war
  • (1785) Independence was re-established in Tripolitania following the civil war
  • (1819) Tripolitania's economy crumbled; Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II sent troops to Libya restoring Ottoman power and marking the end of Tipolitania's independence
  • (1911) Libya was seized from the Ottomans by Italian forces following the Italo-Turkish War
  • (1940) Italy entered World War II and Libya became the setting for the North African Campaign
  • (1943-1951) Allied forces occupied Libya with the territory being administered by the British military
  • (1947) Italy relinquished all claims to Libya following a peace treaty with the Allies
  • (1951) Libya declared independence as the United Kingdom of Libya under King Idris
  • (1956) Two American oil companies were granted access to nearly 14 million acres in Libya
  • (1961) A 104-mile pipeline was opened linking important oil fields in the interior to the Mediterranean Sea
  • (1969) King Idris was deposed of in a military coup led by Col. Muammar Gaddafi
  • (1977) Gaddafi declared a "cultural revolution" and the country's official name was changed to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya; Gaddafi claimed to be nothing more than a symbolic figure head and passed power to the General People's Committees
  • (1980) Libyan troops intervened in the Chad civil war
  • (1984) Diplomatic relations with the UK were severed after a British policewoman was shot dead outside of the Libyan embassy in London during anti-Gaddafi protests
  • (1986) Areas of Tripoli and Benghazi were bombed by the U.S., killing 101 people, the U.S. claimed the raids were in response to alleged Libyan involvement in the bombing of a Berlin disco frequented by U.S. military personnel
  • (1989) Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia joined together to form the Arab Maghreb Union
  • (1992) Sanctions are imposed on Libya by the UN in an effort to force them to hand over two of its citizens for trial following a plane explosion over the Scottish town of Lockerbie
  • (1999) The Lockerbia suspects were handed over for trial in the Netherlands under Scottish law; UN sanctions suspended and diplomatic relations with the UK are restored
  • (2000) Dozens of African immigrants were killed by mobs in western Libya
  • (2001) The Scottish court in the Netherlands found one of the two Libyans, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, accused of the Lockerbia bombing guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison, the other was freed
  • (2003) Libya was elected chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission despite opposition
  • (2003) A deal was signed by Libya worth $2.7 billion to compensate families of the Lockerbie bombing victims
  • (2004) Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death after being accused of deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV
  • (2006) The United States began restoring diplomatic ties with Libya
  • (2008) An agreement was signed between Libya and the U.S. wherein each side agreed to compensate all victims of bombing attacks on the other's citizens
  • (2008) Gaddafi assumed the honorific title of "King of Kings of Africa"
  • (2009) Gaddafi was elected chairman of the African Union by leaders meeting in Ethiopia and planned the ambitious "United States of Africa"
  • (2009) Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was freed from Scottish prison on compassionate grounds and returned to Libya
  • (2010) Oil giant BP was accused of lobbying for the Lockerbie bomber's release; WikiLeaks indicated that Gaddafi threatened to cut trade with Britain if the Lockerbie bomber died in prison
  • (2011) A full-scale revolt of the Libyan government was sparked following the Arab Spring movements in Tunisia and Egypt; a no-fly zone was issued over Libya by the UN Security Council; Gaddafi went into hiding, and was later captured and killed; the main opposition group, the National Transitional Council (NTC), was recognized as the legitimate government of Libya
  • (2012) Former rebel forces clashed with each other in Benghazi over the nature of change under the governing NTC; a campaign is launched to re-establish autonomy for Benghazi; further revolts are witnessed in remote parts of Libya; local militias became increasingly harder for the government to control; power is handed over to the General National Congress
  • (2012) A U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi reportedly in response to a film produced in the U.S. mocking the Muslim prophet Muhammad
  • (2012) Former Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi went on trial in Tripoli on charges of "acts that led to the unjust killing of Libyans" as well as the funneling of public money through Tunisia in an effort to help Gaddafi loyalists
  • (2013) The British Foreign Office withdrew embassy staff in response to security concerns
  • (2013) A bill was passed banning anyone who worked for the government of Gaddafi from public office
  • (2013) A months-long blockade of oil terminals was staged by rebels; Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly abducted from a hotel in Tripoli by armed militiamen; nine people were killed in clashes between the army and armed Islamists in Benghazi
  • (2014) Protests erupted in response to the GNC extending its parliamentary term to allow for the drafting of a new constitution
  • (2014) Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was removed from office after an oil-laden tanker broke through a Libyan navy blockade; the GNC elected Ahmed Maiteg as prime minister
This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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