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Libya Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 4:27 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014

(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 sq km (slightly larger than Alaska)

Population: 6,244,174 (July 2014 est.)

Median age: 27.5 years

Capital: Tripoli

Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)

Religion: Sunni Muslim 97%, other 3%

GDP: $73.6 billion (2013 est.)

GDP per capita: $11,300 (2013 est.)

Unemployment: 30% (2004 est. - most recent available)

Other Facts:
Libya has proven oil reserves estimated at 48 billion barrels, making it one of the top ten oil-rich countries in the world.

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.

Timeline:
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 from the country and Libya falls under French and British control postwar.

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 Moammar Gadhafi overthrows the monarchy of King Idris I.

1977 - The General People's Congress (GPC) replaces the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), which has led the country since the 1969 coup.

1979 - Moammar Gadhafi resigns as secretary-general of the GPC, but remains the de factor ruler of Libya.

August 1981 - U.S. 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 U.S. aircraft flying inside the "line of death." In retaliation, the U.S. 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 U.S. 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. 259 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. 170 passengers and crew members are killed. In 1999, six Libyans are tried in absentia and convicted of the bombing 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 U.N. suspends sanctions against Libya.

January 31, 2001 - Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi is found guilty of the Lockerbie bombings and is sentenced to life in prison. Lamen Khalifa Fhimah is acquitted.

September 2003 - U.N. sanctions against Libya are lifted.

December 2003 - Libya announces that it has agreed to end its program of developing weapons of mass destruction.

September 2004 - U.S. 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 U.N. 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 Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is released from a Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds. Al Megrahi, reportedly suffering from terminal cancer, returns to a hero's welcome in Libya.

September 23, 2009 - Gadhafi addresses the U. N. 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 U.N. 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 hundreds of casualties.

February 22, 2011 - Gadhafi appears on television to dispel rumors that he has fled the country, vowing he will never leave Libya, and "will die as a martyr at the end."

February 25, 2011 - U.S. President Barack Obama signs an executive order freezing Gadhafi's assets.

February 26, 2011 - The U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions against Libya, including an arms embargo and asset freezes. The Security Council also refers Libya to the International Criminal Court for investigation of crimes against humanity.

May 16, 2011 - The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, requests arrest warrants for Gadhafi, his son Saif and his brother-in-law, saying the court has evidence that the three committed crimes against humanity during the Libyan civil war.

August 24, 2011 - The National Transitional Council (NTC), the rebels political movement, claims rebels now control 90% of the country and plan to move ministries from its base of Benghazi in the east to Tripoli. The NTC will have the primary responsibility for the restoration of law and order when the conflict is over.

October 20, 2011 - Gadhafi dies of a gunshot wound to the head after being captured by rebel forces in his hometown of Sirte, Libya.

October 23, 2011 - Libya's interim leaders declare the nation's freedom in Benghazi, where uprisings against Gadhafi's regime began in February.

October 27, 2011 - The Security Council votes unanimously to end military operations in Libya. The adopted resolution effectively cancels the NATO mission in Libya as of October 31, 2011.

October 30, 2011 - It is announced that two sites containing chemical weapons have been found in Libya. Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril says the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been notified.

October 31, 2011 - The NTC elects Abdurrahim El-Keib, an electrical engineering professor, as the acting prime minister.

November 19, 2011 - Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, Moammar Gadhafi's son, is captured after a firefight in southern Libya.

November 23, 2011 - Acting Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib names 25 people to the Transitional Executive Board, Libya's new cabinet.

December 16, 2011 - The Security Council lifts sanctions on the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Foreign Bank.

May 20, 2012 - Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi dies in Libya at 60 years old, the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

June 5, 2012 - A device explodes outside of the U.S. mission in the city of Benghazi. No injuries are reported. The cause is alleged to be retaliation for the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a top Al Qaeda leader.

July 7-8, 2012 - Elections are held for the 200-seat national assembly; there are more than 3,500 candidates in the first elections in Libya in 42 years. The winners are expected to be announced within a week.

July 13, 2012 - The National Forces Alliance, a coalition of 58 political parties, leads in 12 of 15 districts counted.

July 17, 2012 - Results show the National Forces Alliance win the most seats in the 200-seat election, 39; the Justice and Construction party, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate came in second with 17 seats.

August 8, 2012 - Libya's NTC hands over power to the General National Congress.

September 11, 2012 - U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three U.S. diplomatic staffers are killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The cause is alleged to be an anti-Islam video produced by an Israeli-American, but U.S. officials believe it could have been a planned attack. Chief suspect is the pro-al Qaeda group the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades.

September 12, 2012 - The General National Congress names Mustafa Abushagur prime minister-elect and gives him approximately three and a half weeks to form a crisis government proposal.

October 7, 2012 - Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur is voted out of office with a "no confidence" 125 to 44 vote against his proposed cabinet.

October 14, 2012 - Ali Zeidan is elected as the country's new prime minister.

October 20, 2012 - Official sources report fighting in the former Gadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid where government forces, at least 200, are wounded and 14 government and pro-government militia members are killed. Among those killed is Khamis Gadhafi, 29, the youngest son of the former leader.

February-March 2014 - Violence levels in Benghazi spike, with assassinations, kidnappings and bombings becoming near daily occurrences. While no group has claimed responsibility for the rising violence in Benghazi, residents and officials blame the violence on Islamist extremist groups.

March 11, 2014 - Libya's parliament votes Prime Minister Ali Zeidan out of office after months of political infighting. Defense Minister Abdallah al-Thinni, who is sworn in after the vote, will hold the position of premier for two weeks until a replacement is picked.

April 13, 2014 - Defense Minister Abdallah al-Thinni steps down after an attack on himself and his family.

May 16, 2014 - Nearly 40 people were killed and and 139 injured during fighting in and near Benghazi.

June 15, 2014 - Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the suspected mastermind behind the 2012 bombing of the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, is captured.

June 25, 2014 - New parliament is elected.

July 14, 2014 - All air traffic in and out Tripoli has been suspended. Also, the United Nations announces that it has evacuated its staff.

July 26, 2014 - Military and civilian personnel from the U.S. embassy are evacuated from Tripoli.

August 4, 2014 - First session of new parliament is held in Tobruk.

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