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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 city.
The indigenous population of Libya is mostly Berber and Arab in origin; about 17 percent of the population consists of foreign workers and their families. Some 87 percent of the people live in urban areas, although some Libyans still live in nomadic or seminomadic groups.
At the 1984 census, Libya had a population of 3,637,488. The 2000 estimated population was 5,114,032, giving the country an overall population density of 3 persons per sq km (8 per sq mi). The population, however, is unevenly distributed; more than two-thirds live in the more densely settled coastal areas.
The ports of Tripoli (population, 1996 estimate, greater city, 1.8 million) and Banghazi (1994 estimate; 800,000) are the two largest urban areas.
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