Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Al-Jamahiriyah al-'Arabiyah al-Libiyah ash-Sha'biyah al-Ishtirakiyah

CAPITAL : Tripoli (Tarabulus)

FLAG : The national flag is plain green.

ANTHEM : Almighty God.

MONETARY UNIT : The Libyan dinar ( LD ) of 1,000 dirhams is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dirhams, and notes of 1 / 4 , 1 / 2 , 1, 5, and 10 dinars. LD 1 = $0.8333 (or $1 = LD 1.2) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard, but some local weights and measures are used.

HOLIDAYS : UK Evacuation Day, 28 March; US Evacuation Day, 11 June; Anniversary of the Revolution, 1 September; Constitution Day, 7 October. Muslim religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', the 1st of Muharram, and Milad an-Nabi.

TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.


The primary plant is the deadly carrot ( Thapsia garganica ). Other flora are various cultivated fruit trees, date palms, junipers, and mastic trees. In 1986 there were approximately 3 million productive date palm trees and 3.4 million olive trees. Goats and cattle are found in the extreme north. In the south, sheep and camels are numerous.


For thousands of years the inhabitants of Libya were Berbers. Arabs started arriving in the 7th century AD , displacing or assimilating their Berber predecessors. In 1998, 97% of the total population was comprised of Berbers and Arabs. The remaining 3% was made up of Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians.


Arabic is the official language; since 1969, its use in daily life, even by foreigners, has been encouraged by government decree. English, which is also used in some government publications, has replaced Italian as the second language; however, Italian is still widely understood. Berber is spoken by small communities, especially in Tripolitania. Native speakers constitute about 5% of the population.


In 2002, the armed forces of Libya numbered 76,000 active and some 40,000 reserve personnel. The army had 45,000 personnel armed with 1,600 tanks. The navy had 8,000 personnel including the coast guard. The air force numbered 23,000, operating 400 combat aircraft and 41 armed helicopters. The military budget was $1.3 billion in 1999–00, or 3.9% of GDP.


In 1995, all classes of insurance were available through the Libya Insurance Co. and Al-Mukhtar Insurance Co., both state enterprises. All licensed vehicles require third-party liability insurance, and all imported goods must be insured.


Individual income taxes are levied at different rates for income from real estate, agriculture, commerce, industry, crafts, independent professions, and wages and salaries. Corporate taxes range from 20% to 60%. Also levied are a 16.7% royalty on petroleum production, a general income tax of up to 90% and a Jihad tax. Indirect taxes in 2002 were mainly sales taxes at various rates.


Libya has no territories or colonies.


Ahmida, Ali Abdullatif. The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonization, and Resistance, 1830–1932. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.

Burr, Millard. Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 1963–1993. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999.

Deeb, Mary Jane. Libya's Foreign Policy in North Africa . Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1991.

El-Kikhia, Mansour O. Libya's Qaddafi: The Politics of Contradiction. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.

Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Libya, a Country Study. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1989.

O'Sullivan, Meghan L. Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2003.

Sicker, Martin. The Making of a Pariah State. New York: Praeger, 1987.

Simons, Geoffrey L. Libya: The Struggle for Survival. New York: St. Martin's, 1996.

St. John, Ronald Bruce. Historical Dictionary of Libya. 3d ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1991.

——. Historical Dictionary of Libya. [computer file] Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.

——. Libya and the United States: Two Centuries of Strife. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

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