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The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya's official name, achieved independence from Italy on 24 December 1951, although it had been held under British (for Tripolitania and Cyrenaica) and French (Fezzan) administration since 1943. Initially ruled as a monarchy under King Idris, the country became a republic when Gadaffi took power in 1969.

Libya - Library of Congress Country Studies
The Library of Congress Country Study for Libya provides an excellent and fairly detailed history of the country. This information was originally compiled for the US Department of Army in case of potential deployment -- examining the historical, social, economic, and political background the country. (The only problem with this site is the awkwardness of navigating so many pages.)

Background Notes: Libya
A useful potted history is included with these US Department of State Background Notes on Libya. Also included is a range of political, economic, and geographical data, as well as information on its people, defence, and relations with the US.

Libya History from Lonely Planet
A quirky, colloquial presentation of Libya’s history presented by LonelyPlanet.com. Makes awfully good reading and may galvanise your interest in Africa’s regional history. Not only suitable for travellers.

Libya - a Country Profile from the BBC
An extremely brief historical overview accompanies this BBC Country Profile of Libya. Of particular interest are the simplified regional map (see where the country is in Africa), a photograph of Libya’s current Chief of State, and details about the countries media.

Timeline for Libya from the BBC
A chronology of important events in the history of Libya given by year (and for more recent events by month also).

CIA World Fact Book: Libya
A useful map and a range of geographical, political, and economic facts which are mostly up-to-date. Unfortunately this country profile lacks historical information (except for independence date), but the population statistics are probably the best available.

Libya's Chief of State and Cabinet Ministers
Updated weekly, this list of Libya's Chief of State and Cabinet Ministers is provided by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America.

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