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Libya, General Information

Area: 1,757,00 sq km (678,400 sq miles).

Population: 5,484,202 (official estimate 1997).

Population Density: 8 per sq km.

Capital: Tripoli.

Geography: Size: About 1,760,000 square kilometers (excluding Aouzou Strip claimed by Chad) consisting mainly of desert. Land boundaries 4,345 kilometers long and coastline 1,770 kilometers long. Twelve-nautical- mile maritime claim, including disputed Gulf of Sidra.
Topography: Main contrast between narrow enclaves of fertile lowlands along Mediterranean coast and vast expanse of arid, rocky plains and sand seas to south. Coastal lowlands separated from one another by predesert zone and backed by plateaus with steep, north-facing scarps; country's only true mountains, Tibesti, rise in southern desert. Country has several saline lakes but no perennial watercourses. Less than 5 percent of territory economically useful.
Climate: Dominant climate influences Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert. In coastal lowlands, where 80 percent of population lives, climate Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild winters. Climate in desert interior characterized by very hot summers and extreme diurnal temperature ranges. Precipitation ranges from light to negligible; less than 2 percent of country receives enough rainfall for settled agriculture.
Government:: Jamahiriya, or 'state of the masses', theoretically governed by the people
Head of State: de facto head of state Colonel Mu'ammar Abu Minyar Gaddafi
Head of Government: Secretary of the General People's Congress Shukri Muhammad Ghanim

Language: Arabic, English, Italian

Religion: Sunni Muslim (95%), Christian (5%).

People: Arab (92%), Berbers (5%), plus Tuareg, Toubou, Black Africans and some Europeans - mostly Italians

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia

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