Libya, in full, Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, nation of northern Africa. It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Egypt, on the southeast by Sudan, on the south by Chad and Niger, on the west by Algeria, and on the northwest by Tunisia. Libya is one of the largest countries in Africa. It covers an area of 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi), much of which is desert. Tripoli, located on the Mediterranean coast, is the capital and largest city.
Libya is rich with petroleum resources, and oil dominates the nation's economy. The site of ancient Phoenician, Roman, and Arab settlements, Libya was colonized by Italy in the early 20th century. The country became independent in 1951, and in 1969 young army officer Muammar al-Qaddafi seized power and proceeded to create a new Libya based on his unique socialistic and nationalistic theories.
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