Libya: History

  1. 74 BC

    The Romans conquer Libya.

  2. 1500s

    Libya joins three other provinces: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan, to become one regency in the Ottoman Empire.

  3. 1911

    Italy takes control of Libya. A 20 year insurgency begins in the country against Italian rule.

  4. 1942

    The Allies expel the Italians from Libya, which is then divided between the French, who administer Fezzan, and the British, who control Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.

  5. 1951

    Libya gains its independence.

  6. 1956

    Two American oil companies are granted 14 million acres of Libyan land.

  7. 1961

    It is now possible for Libya to export oil, its main economic driver.

  8. 1977

    Colonel Muammar Gaddafi declares a “people’s revolution”, changing the country’s official name from the Libyan Arab Republic to the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah.

  9. 1989

    Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia form the Arab Maghreb Union.

  10. 2005

    Libya's first auction of oil and gas exploration licenses heralds the return of United States energy companies for the first time in more than 20 years.

  11. 2010

    The European Union and Libya sign an agreement that is designed to slow current illegal migration.

  12. 2012

    A new parliamentary government arises, led by Ali Zeidan.


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