On 6/16/15 BBC News did a timeline history of Libya. Excerpts of Libya’s more recent history are as follows:

1951 – Libya becomes independent under King Idris al-Sanusi.

1956 – Libya grants two American oil companies a concession of some 14 million acres.

1961 – King Idris opens a 104-mile pipeline, which links important oil fields in the interior to the Mediterranean Sea and makes it possible to export Libyan oil for the first time.


The Gaddafi era

1969 – King Idris deposed in military coup led by Col Muammar Gaddafi, who pursues a pan-Arab agenda by attempting to form mergers with several Arab countries, and introduces state socialism by nationalising most economic activity, including the oil industry.

1970 – Libya orders the closure of a British airbase in Tobruk and the giant US Wheelus air force base in Tripoli; property belonging to Italian settlers nationalised.

1971 – National referendum approves proposed Federation of Arab Republics (FAR) comprising Libya, Egypt and Syria. However, the FAR never takes off.

1973 – Col Gaddafi declares a “cultural revolution”, which includes the formation of “people’s committees” in schools, hospitals, universities, workplaces and administrative districts; Libyan forces occupy Aozou Strip in northern Chad.

1977 – Col 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 and setting up “revolutionary committees” – heralding the start of institutionalised chaos, economic decline and general arbitrariness.


1980 – Libyan troops intervene in civil war in northern Chad.

Confrontation with the US

1981 – US shoots down two Libyan aircraft which challenged its warplanes over the Gulf of Sirte, claimed by Libya as its territorial water.

1984 – UK breaks off diplomatic relations with Libya after a British policewoman is shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London while anti-Gaddafi protests were taking place.

1986 – US bombs Libyan military facilities, residential areas of Tripoli and Benghazi, killing 101 people, and Gaddafi’s house, killing his adopted daughter. US says raids were in response to alleged Libyan involvement in bombing of Berlin disco frequented by US military personnel.

1988 December – Lockerbie bombing – an airliner is blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, allegely by Libyan agents.

1989 – Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia form the Arab Maghreb Union.

Lockerbie plane bombing

1992 – UN imposes sanctions on Libya in an effort to force it to hand over for trial two of its citizens suspected of involvement in the blowing up of a PanAm airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988.

Algeria Square, Triploli
Algeria Square, Triploli

1994 – Libya returns the Aozou Strip to Chad.

1995 – Gaddafi expels some 30,000 Palestinians in protest at the Oslo accords between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel.

1999 – Lockerbie suspects handed over for trial in the Netherlands under Scottish law; UN sanctions suspended; diplomatic relations with UK restored.

2000 September – Dozens of African immigrants are killed by Libyan mobs in the west of Libya who were said to be angry at the large number of African labourers coming into the country.

Lockerbie sentence

2001 31 January- Special Scottish court in the Netherlands finds one of the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, guilty and sentences him to life imprisonment. Megrahi’s co-accused, Al-Amin Khalifa Fahimah, is found not guilty and freed.


2001 May – Libyan troops help to quell a coup attempt against President Ange-Felix Patasse of the Central African Republic.

2002 January – Libya and the US say they have held talks to mend relations after years of hostility over what the Americans termed Libya’s sponsorship of terrorism.

2002 14 March – The Libyan man found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, loses his appeal against the conviction and begins a life sentence of at least 20 years.


2003 January – Libya is elected chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission despite opposition from the US and human rights groups.

2003 August – Libya signs a deal worth $2.7bn to compensate families of the Lockerbie bombing victims. Libya takes responsibility for the bombing in a letter to the UN Security Council.


2003 September – UN Security Council votes to lift sanctions.

2003 December – Libya says will abandon programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction.

2004 January – Libya agrees to compensate families of victims of 1989 bombing of French passenger aircraft over Sahara.

2004 March – British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits, the first such visit since 1943.

Nurses sentenced

2004 May – Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor are sentenced to death having been accused of deliberately infecting some 400 children with HIV. They are eventually freed under a deal with the European union.

-Tripoli, Libyan-Diaspora-Marketplace.
-Tripoli, Libyan-Diaspora-Marketplace.

2004 August – Libya agrees to pay $35m to compensate victims of the bombing of a Berlin nightclub in 1986.

2005 January – Libya’s first auction of oil and gas exploration licences heralds the return of US energy companies for the first time in more than 20 years.

2006 February – At least 10 people are killed in clashes with police in Benghazi, part of a wave of international protests by Muslims who are angered by a Danish newspaper’s cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

2006 May – The US says it is restoring full diplomatic ties with Libya.

2007 January – Prime minister announces plan to make redundant 400,000 government workers – more than a third of the total workforce – to stimulate the private sector and ease public spending.


2008 January – Libya takes over one-month rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in a step back to respectability after decades as a pariah of the West.

2008 August – Libya and US sign agreement committing each side to compensate all victims of bombing attacks on the other’s citizens.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi apologises to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signs a five billion dollar investment deal by way of compensation.

2008 September – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes historic visit – the highest-level US visit to Libya since 1953. Ms Rice says relations between the US and Libya have entered a “new phase”.


2009 February – Gaddafi elected chairman of the African Union by leaders meeting in Ethiopia. Sets out ambition of “United States of Africa” even embracing the Caribbean.

2009 June – Gaddafi pays first state visit to Italy, Libya’s former colonial ruler and now its main trading partner.

Al-Megrahi released

2009 August – Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is freed from gaol in Scotland on compassionate grounds and returned to Libya. His release and return to a hero’s welcome causes a storm of controversy.

2009 December- Diplomatic row with Switzerland and European Union after one of Gaddafi’s sons is held in Switzerland on charges of mistreating domestic workers.

2010 January – Russia agrees to sell Libya weapons in a deal worth $1.8bn. The deal is thought to include fighter jets, tanks and air defence systems.

2010 June – UN refugee agency UNHCR expelled.

2010 July – US senators push for inquiry into claims that oil giant BP lobbied for Lockerbie bomber’s release.

BP confirms it is about to begin drilling off Libyan coast.

2010 October – European Union and Libya sign agreement designed to slow illegal migration.

2010 December – US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks indicate that Gaddafi threatened to cut trade with Britain if Lockerbie bomber died in prison.


Anti-Gaddafi uprising

2011 February – Arrest of human rights campaigner sparks violent protests in eastern city of Benghazi that rapidly spread to other cities, leading to escalating clashes between security forces and rebels. Gaddafi insists that he will not quit, and remains in control of the capital, Tripoli.

2011 March – UN Security Council authorises a no-fly zone over Libya and air strikes to protect civilians, over which NATO assumes command.

Backed by extensive NATO air raids, Libyan rebels initially capture territory but are then forced back by better-armed pro-Gaddafi forces. Rebels ask West for arms.

2011 July – The international Contact Group on Libya formally recognises the main opposition group, the National Transitional Council (NTC), as the legitimate government of Libya.

2011August – Rebels swarm into Col Gaddafi’s fortress compound in Tripoli, six months after the uprising began. With only a few remaining strongholds under his control, Col Gaddafi goes into hiding. His wife and three of his children flee to neighbouring Algeria.


2011 August-September – African Union joins 60 countries which have recognised the NTC as the new Libyan authority.

2011 20 October – Col Gaddafi is captured and killed.

Three days later, the NTC declares Libya to be officially “liberated” and announces plans to hold elections within eight months.

2011 November – Saif al-Islam, the fugitive son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is captured, becoming the last key Gaddafi family member to be seized or killed.

2012 January Clashes erupt between former rebel forces in Benghazi in sign of discontent with the pace and nature of change under the governing NTC. The deputy head of the NTC, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, resigns.

2012 February – Scores killed in clashes between Arab Zawi and African Tebu groups in Al-Kufra in the remote south-east.

2012 March – NTC officials in the oil-rich east, centred on Benghazi, launch a campaign to re-establish autonomy for the region, further increasing tension with the central NTC in Tripoli.

2012 May – Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi dies in Tripoli. A private funeral is held.

2012 June – Government struggles to control local militias, especially in Zintan in the West. The Al-Awfea Brigade briefly takes over Tripoli International Airport, and a pro-autonomy mob ransacks the election commission building in Benghazi.


Tunisia extradites former prime minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi.

2012 August – Transitional government hands power to the General National Congress, which was elected in July. The Congress elects Mohammed Magarief of the liberal National Front Party as its chairman, thereby making him interim head of state.

Benghazi attack

2012 September – US ambassador and three other Americans are killed when Islamist militants, including Ansar al-Sharia, storm the consulate in Benghazi.

Crowds in Benghazi drive out the Ansar al-Sharia and other militias from the city and nearby Derna, prompting General National Congress head Mohammed al-Magarief to vow to disband all illegal militias.

Mauritania extradites former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi to Libya to stand trial over crimes allegedly committed under Col Gaddafi’s rule.

2012 October – National Congress elects Ali Zeidan, a liberal and leading opposition envoy during the civil war, to to the post of prime minister.

2012 December – Former Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi goes on trial in Tripoli on charges of “acts that led to the unjust killing of Libyans” and of funnelling about $25m of public money through Tunisia to help forces loyal to Col Gaddafi.

2013 May – New law bans Gaddafi-era officials from holding public office. Chairman of General National Congress (GNC), Muhammad al-Magarief, announces his resignation in compliance with the new law.


2013 June – The General National Congress elects independent MP Nuri Abu Sahmein as chairman. He is a member of the Berber minority that suffered discrimination under Col Gaddafi.

2013 August – Petroleum Facilities Guard militia begins blockade of oil export terminals.

2013 October – US special forces seize Anas al-Liby, a Libyan suspect in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in Tripoli and remove him abroad. Libya demands an explanation. Al-Liby dies in 2015, days before going on trial in New York, and is returned to Libya for burial.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is briefly abducted from a Tripoli hotel by armed militiamen, prompting the US and European Union to express concern at the state of public order.

2013 November – Nine people are killed in clashes between the army and the Ansar al-Sharia armed Islamists in Benghazi.

2013 December – Libya experiences what is believed to be its first suicide attack – a car bomb attack in Benghazi.


Civil war

2014 February – Protests erupt in response to the General National Congress refusal to disband after mandate expires.

2014 March – GNC sacks Prime Minister Ali Zeidan after a tanker laden with oil from a rebel-held port breaks through a Libyan navy blockade. Elects businessman Ahmed Maiteg prime minister in heated scenes.

2014 April – Petroleum Facilities Guard militia lifts closure of two oil terminals.

2014 May – “Libyan National Army” renegade general Khalifa Haftar launches military assault including airstrikes against militant Islamist groups in Benghazi; tries to seize parliament building, accusing Prime Minister Maiteg of being in thrall to Islamist groups.

2014 June – Prime Minister Maiteg resigns after supreme court rules his appointment illegal.

New parliament chosen in elections marred by a low turn-out attributed to security fears and boycotts; Islamists suffer heavy defeat. Fighting breaks out between forces loyal to outgoing GNC and new parliament.

2014 July – UN staff pull out, embassies shut, foreigners evacuated as security situation deteriorates. Tripoli international airport largely destroyed by fighting.


Ansar al-Sharia seizes control of most of Benghazi.

2014 October – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits to continue UN-brokered talks between the new parliament and government based in Tobruk and Islamist Libya Dawn militias holding Tripoli. UN says 100,000s displaced by clashes.

Islamic State extremist militia seizes control of port of Derna in eastern Libya.

2014 December – After recapturing most of Benghazi in October, Army recaptures approaches to Derna.

2015 January – Libyan army and Tripoli-based militia alliance declare partial ceasefire after UN-sponsored talks in Geneva.

Islamist militants kill nine people in gun and bomb attack on Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli.

2015 February – Egyptian jets bomb Islamic State targets in Derna, a day after the group there released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. Libyan Army offensive to retake Derna in March fails to dislodge the group.Islamic State establishes contrl over port-city of Sirte, halfway along coast between Tripoli and Benghazi.

2015 June – UN plan for national unity government founders at talks in Morocco between Tobruk and Tripoli administrations.

US airstrike reported to kill Mokhtar Belmokhtar, notorious Algerian Islamist armed group leader, in eastern Libya. His supporters deny this.


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