HOME I. Introduction

Libya, in full, Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah, nation of northern Africa, comprising the former Italian colonies of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan. It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Egypt, on the southeast by the Republic of Sudan, on the south by Chad and Niger, on the west by Algeria, and on the northwest by Tunisia. The area of Libya, one of the largest countries in Africa, is 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi). Tripoli is the capital and largest city.

II. Land and Resources

About 90 percent of Libya is made up of barren, rock-strewn plains and sand sea, with two small areas of hills rising to about 900 m (about 3,000 ft) in the northwest and northeast. In the south the land rises to the Tibesti massif along the Chad border.

A. Climate

Climatic conditions in Libya are characterized by extreme heat and aridity. Desert and subdesert regions have little precipitation. On the coast the annual rainfall rarely exceeds 380 mm (15 in).

B. Natural Resources

The principal resource of Libya is petroleum. Natural gas, gypsum, limestone, marine salt, potash, and natron are also exploited.

C. Plants and Animals

Most of Libya is either devoid of vegetation or supports only sparse growth. Date palms and olive and orange trees grow in the scattered oases, and junipers and mastic trees are found in the higher elevations. Wildlife includes desert rodents, hyena, gazelle, and wildcat. Eagles, hawks, and vultures are common.