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Libya

Ahmed Karamanli, an Ottoman cavalry officer, seized control of the area in 1711, and established the Karamanli dynasty that lasted for 124 years.

The Italians arrived in 1911, but only remained for about 30 years. It was in 1934 that the name "Libya" was officially adopted for the region.

On December 24, 1951 Libya declared their independence, after the UN General Assembly began to push the country in that direction two years prior, and the United Kingdom of Libya was established under the ruling of King Idris.

In 1959, oil reserves were discovered, and the income generated from petroleum sales pushed Libya into an extremely wealthy state.

Egypt in 1969, after Muammar Gadhafi staged a coup against the monarchy, and Libya was transformed into the new Libyan Arab Republic.

By 1977, Gadhafi had passed all power down to the General People's Committees, claiming that he was only to be known as a symbolic figurehead and nothing more. Libya then officially became known as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Although Gadhafi claimed to have released power, critics proclaimed that he in fact had given himself virtually unlimited power, and ultimately Gaddafi assumed the title of "King of Kings of Africa" in 2008.

In 2003 the United Nations finally voted to lift the 11-year-long sanctions because of Libya's payment of indemnity to victims and relatives of terrorism. In 2004, the United States removed all remaining sanctions, and began to establish normal diplomatic relations.

Taking a lead from their neighbors to the west and east, as the rulers of both Egypt were overturned, the citizens of Libya sparked a full-scale revolt on February 17, 2011 against the Gadhafi regime.

A violent civil war followed, and ultimately resulted in the ousting and death of Muammar Gaddafi, as well as the collapse of his 34-year-old Jamahiriya state. As a result, Libya is currently undergoing political reconstruction, and is governed under an interim constitution drawn up by the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Libyans voted in a first ever parliamentary election, since Gadhafi's dictatorship, on July 7, 2012. A few weeks later, the General National Congress was given the task of forming an interim government and drafting a new constitution.

The immediate future of this country remains uncertain as they begin to rebuild their internal structure; oil remains the driving force in Libya's economy, and in fact, the country has the highest standard of living in Africa

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.