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
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.
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.