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630 BC
Battus I of Cyrene (d.600) founded the Greek colony of Cyrenaica and its capital, Cyrene about this time. He was the first king of Cyrenaica, the first Greek king in Africa, and the founder of the Battiad dynasty. His son, Arcesilaus I of Cyrene, served as the second Greek king of Cyrenaica and the second king of the Battiad dynasty. Cyrenaica, the eastern coastal region of Libya, was also known as Pentapolis in antiquity. Herodotus later told of how the oracle at Delphi told the Libyans to organize along tribal lines and to keep the king in charge at his home area.
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404 BC
399 BC
Amyrtaios (Amyrtaeus), believed to be a Libyan, ruled Egypt following the death of Darius II from Sais as the 1st and only ruler of the 28th Dynasty.
Links: Libya, Egypt, Persia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
19 BC
Lucius Cornelius Balbus led 20,000 men of the 3rd Augusta Legion across the Hamada al-Hamra (Red Rocky Plain) in the first Roman attack on the Garamantian heartland (Libya). Romans turned Ghadames, Libya, into a garrison town.
Links: Libya, Romans, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
158
Apulieus of Madaura (~124-~180), Romanised Berber and author of “The Golden Ass” (aka the Metamorphoses) defended himself at the Roman basilica in Sabratha (Libya) against charges of witchcraft in an oration known as Pro de se magia, or more commonly the Apologia. The Golden Ass is the only Latin novel which has survived in its entirety, and is an imaginative, irreverent, and amusing work which relates the ludicrous adventures of one Lucius, who experiments in magic and is accidentally turned into an ass.
Links: Italy, Libya, Romans, Writer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
193 Apr 14
Lucius Septimius Severus (d.211), a native son of Leptis Magna in Libya, was crowned emperor of Rome. Under his rule the empire reached its greatest extent with almost 50 provinces.
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203
Lucius Septimus Severus (d.211), emperor of Rome, returned to visit home at Leptis Magna (Libya).
Links: Italy, Libya, Romans     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
365 Jul 21
An earthquake, whose epicenter was in Crete, leveled the Egyptian Port of Alexandria as well as the Roman outpost of Leptis Magna in Libya. Some 50,000 people died. The ancient Egyptian city, known as Leukaspis or Antiphrae, was hidden for centuries after it was nearly wiped out by the tsunami. When Chinese engineers began cutting into the sandy coast to build the roads for a new resort in 1986, they struck the ancient tombs and houses of the town founded in the second century B.C.
Links: Libya, Earthquake, Egypt, Crete, Disaster     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
632
661
The Rashidun Caliphate, also known as the Rightly Guided Caliphate, comprising the first four caliphs in Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death. At its height, the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant, Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and Central Asia in the east. It was the one of the largest empires in history up until that time.
Links: Azerbaijan, Qatar, UAR, Armenia, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Cyprus, Libya, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Sudan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Afghan, Tunisia, Islam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
700
900
The Hadith, the main guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran, were evaluated and gathered into large collections mostly during the reign of Umar ibn AbdulAziz during the 8th and 9th centuries.
Links: Azerbaijan, Qatar, UAR, Armenia, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Cyprus, Libya, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Sudan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Afghan, Tunisia, Islam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1177 Aug 2
Philip of Flanders arrived in Acre. A Christian army under the joint command of Philip of Flanders and Raymond of Tripoli marched west to campaign against the Muslims around Tripoli.
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1795
In Tripoli Pasha Yusef Karamanli deposed his older brother Hamet in a bloodless coup.
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1801 May 14
The Pasha of Tripoli symbolically declared war on the US by cutting down the glagstaff in front of the US Consulate, after learning that Pres. Jefferson had refused to pay a renewed tribute of $225,000.
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1803 Oct
The USS Philadelphia was captured by the Tripolitans. 307 sailors were held for ransom by the Pasha of Tripoli.
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1805 Apr 27
US navy ships began to bombard the Tripoli port of Derna. Mercenaries gathered in Egypt and a small contingent of US Marines under former Tunis consul William Eaton attacked Tripoli and captured the city of Derna [later part of Libya].
Links: Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Tripoli     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1815 Aug 5
A peace treaty with Tripoli, which followed treaties with Algeria (Jun 30) and Tunis (Aug 28), brought an end to the Barbary Wars. Commodores Stephen Decatur and William Bainbridge had conducted successful operations against the Barbary States of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli.
Links: Algeria, USA, Libya, Tunisia, Tripoli     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1825
Alexander Gordon Laing (32), British Army Major, set off on camel from Tripoli in an attempt to become the 1st European to cross the Sahara Desert and reach the fabled city of Timbuktu.
Links: Mali, Britain, Libya     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1843
Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi returned to North Africa from Mecca, settling in Jabal Akhdar in Cyrenaica (Libya). In the mountainous fastness of the area he founded a center of operations at al-Beida with the organization of the al-Sanusi Sufi lodge and built the Zawiya al-Baida (White Monastery).
Links: Libya, Islam, Sufi     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1911
1931
Omar Mukhtar harassed the Italian forces attempting to subdue Libya. The 1981 film “Lion in the Desert” starred Anthony Quinn as Omar Mukhtar.
Links: Italy, Libya, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1915
In Libya during the war against the Italian colonial rulers, a Misratan rebel commander named Ramadan al-Sweihy was betrayed and then killed by the tribesmen of Bani Walid, who were taking money from the Italians.
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1931 Sep 16
Omar Mukhtar (b.1862), Libyan hero, was hanged by Italian authorities in the concentration camp of Solluqon. From 1912 he had led an insurrection against Italian invaders.
Links: Italy, Libya     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1941 Nov
The first British SAS operation, planned to see troops parachute deep behind enemy lines and destroy German and Italian aircraft at two airfields in Libya, took place. Strong winds and driving rain caused chaotic conditions, with several soldiers becoming injured as they attempted to parachute and one plane shot down, killing 15 troops and the crew. In 2011 a 600-page book, called "The SAS War Diary," detailed the regiment's role in the invasions of Sicily and Italy and famed D-Day landings in France.
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1942 Aug 10
Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery was named commandant of the British 8th Army campaigning in N. Africa. He arrived Aug 13.
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1945
In Libya deadly attacks took place against the Jewish community, which numbered some 40,000, prompting many to leave.
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1948
In Libya more deadly attacks took place against the Jewish community, prompting most of those remaining to leave. A few thousand remained until 1967.
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1949
The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt (1928), formed in Libya. It was later banned by Colonel Qaddafi.
Links: Libya, Islam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1951
Libya enacted a constitution that formally protected the minority rights of Jews, Italians, Maltese and Greeks.
Links: Italy, Malta, Libya, Greece, Jews     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1951
1963
Libya was a federal union during this period under King Idris I, which divided the country into three administrative states: Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan.
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1952
Libya’s King Idris banned political parties.
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1969 Sep 1
A coup in Libya overthrew the monarchy of King Idris and brought Moammar Gadhafi (27) to power. Gadhafi emerged as leader of the revolutionary government and ordered the closure of a U.S. Air Force base.
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1970 Jun 11
The United States presence in Libya came to an end as the last detachment left Wheelus Air Base.
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1970 Jul 21
Libya ordered the confiscation of all Jewish property.
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1970 Nov 27
Syria joined a pact linking Libya, Egypt and Sudan.
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1970
Colonel Qaddafi expelled 20,000 Italians from Libya.
Links: Italy, Libya     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972
Libya’s leader Muammar Qaddafi proclaimed his Third Universal Theory, aimed at turning Libya into a model of applied socialism and popular democracy.
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1973 Feb 21
Israeli fighter planes shot down a Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 over the Sinai Desert, killing over 100 people.
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1973 Mar 28
The Irish Navy caught Joe Cahill (1920-2004) as he tried to smuggle 5 tons of Russian-made explosives, guns and ammunition from Libya.
Links: Russia, Libya, Ireland, Guns     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973 Jul 20
The Japanese Red Army and Lebanese guerrillas hijacked a Japan Airlines plane over the Netherlands. The passengers and crew were released in Libya where the hijackers blew up the plane.
Links: Japan, Libya, Netherlands, Lebanon, Hijacking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973 Oct 16
OPEC, the Arab oil-producing nations, announced they would begin cutting back on oil exports to Western nations and Japan. The next day, the five Arab members of the OPEC committee were joined in Kuwait by the oil ministers of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The result was a total embargo that lasted until March 1974 and caused oil prices to quadruple. During the OPEC oil embargo oil prices were increased fourfold. Japan experienced its first oil crises with the Middle East war. The US experienced a gasoline shortage.
Links: Algeria, Bahrain, USA, Oil, Japan, EU, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, OPEC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973 Nov 19
Saudi Arabia, Libya and other Arab states proclaimed a total ban on oil exports to the United States. Gasoline prices quadrupled from twenty-five cents per gallon to over one dollar. The New York stock market took its sharpest drop in 19 years.
Links: USA, Oil, Libya, Saudi Arabia, NYSE     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 Mar 17
Arab oil ministers, with the exception of Libya, announced the end the oil embargo on the US.
Links: USA, Oil, Libya, Arab     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1974 May
Major Abdel Jalloud, Libya's second in command, traveled to Moscow and concluded the first in a series of arms sales agreements that remain the largest ever reached by the Soviets.
Links: Russia, Libya, USSR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975
Libya’s leader Muammar Qaddafi published The Green Book. The 3-part book rejects modern conceptions of liberal democracy and encourages the institution of a form of direct democracy based on popular committees.
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1977 Mar 2
Libya amended its constitution and changed its name from The Libyan Arab Republic to The Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahirya.
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1977 Nov 19
The Libyan flag was adopted, after Libya left the Federation of Arabs Republic, which consisted of Libya, Egypt and Syria.
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1978 Aug 31
Imam Moussa al-Sadr, the spiritual leader of Lebanon's Shiite Muslim community, disappeared along with 2 companions during a visit to Libya. In 2008 a Lebanese prosecutor charged Moammar Khadafy and 6 other Libyan officials in the disappearance.
Links: Libya, Lebanon     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1979 Jan 10
Billy Carter, the brother of US Pres. Jimmy Carter, made allegedly anti-Semitic remarks. Billy eventually registered as a foreign agent of the Libyan government and received a $220,000 loan. This led to a Senate hearing over alleged influence peddling which some in the press dubbed "Billygate."
Links: USA, Libya, CarterJ     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Apr 11
Idi Amin was deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seized control of Kampala. Amin escaped to Libya and settled into exile in Saudi Arabia.
Links: Libya, Tanzania, Uganda, Saudi Arabia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Dec 2
Some 2,000 Libyans ransacked the US embassy at Tripoli, Libya, chanting support for the radical Islamic regime that took power in Iran earlier in the year.
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1980 Jul 23
The US Senate Judiciary Committee was reported to be officially joining those investigating allegations of misconduct in Billy Carter's relationship with Libya.
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1980
Colonel Muammar Khaddafi of Libya recruited the nationless, disenfranchised nomads by implying that he would train the Kel Tamashek and provide weapons to fight for their independence from the Malian government. The rebels slowly realized that Khadaffi's only intention was to use them in his own wars. Some of these dejected fighters formed the band Tinariwen in Khadaffi's rebel camp.
Links: Libya     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1981 May 6
The US expelled Libyan diplomats.
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1981 Aug 12
President Reagan, citing alleged Libyan involvement in terrorism, ordered U.S. jets to attack targets in Libya.
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1981 Aug 19
Two U.S. Navy F-14 jet fighters shot down a pair of Soviet-built Libyan SU-22s in a dogfight over the Gulf of Sidra.
Links: USA, Libya, Aviation     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Dec 11
Concerned about the safety of Americans in Libya, the Reagan administration asked them to leave. It also invalidated the use of US passports for travel to Libya.
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1981
The film “Lion in the Desert” by Syrian-American producer Moustapha Akkad (d.2005) told the story of Omar Mukhtar, hero of the Libyan resistance to Italian colonization during the Mussolini era.
Links: Italy, USA, Libya, Syria, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1981
Libya froze state wages.
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1982 Mar 10
Pres Reagan proclaimed economic sanctions against Libya and banned Libyan oil imports, because of the continued support of terrorism.
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1982 Jun 7
Hissene Habre (b.1942) deposed PM Goukouni Oueddei and became dictator of Chad until 1990. Under Habre the secret police allegedly killed tens of thousands of people and tortured as many as 200,000. Habre received US support because he opposed Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy. Habre was deposed on Dec 1, 1990, by Idriss Deby and fled to Senegal with $11 million.
Links: USA, Chad, Libya     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983 Nov 25
Syria and Saudi Arabia announced a cease-fire in PLO civil war in Tripoli.
Links: Libya, Palestine, Syria, Saudi Arabia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983
Edwin Wilson was convicted of running arms to Libya. In 2003 the conviction was thrown out because prosecutors knew he worked for the CIA and misled the court.
Links: USA, Libya, CIA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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