Located in the Maghreb region of northern Africa and bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Libya’s terrain is mostly desert while also being an oil-rich country. Politically, it has more recently been known for the 42-year rule of the dictatorial Colonel Muammar Gaddafi – and the political instability that followed his death.
The Libyan climate is extremely dry with natural hazards such as the hot, dry, dust-laden sirocco (a southern wind blowing from one to four days in spring and fall). The desert covers most of its landscape and there is very little rainfall during the year. Its economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector given that Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and is a major contributor to the global supply of light, sweet crude.
It is a large country with a small population (about 50 people per km2) who live mostly in only 10% of the land area. Its three largest cities are Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata. Its population is made up of Arabic-speaking Muslims of mixed descent, as well as Turkish and Berber ethnicities. There are also Libyan ethnic minorities, such as the Berber Tuareg and the Tebou.