A History of Libya in 7 Bullet Points

Recent events have many of us thinking about Libya. So here’s a rundown of some of the surprises and highlights from Libyan history:

  1. Land of the Berbers: We think of the Libyans as Arabs, and that’s true for most, but it hides a more complicated picture. For all of recorded history, the bulk of Libya’s people have been Berbers, and that remains so today, though most of Libya’s Berbers also descend from Arabs. The Berbers were simple farmers during the Bronze Age, living in mountain and oasis villages across North Africa. The Egyptians referred to one of the Berber tribes as the “Levu,” and that’s probably the origin of the name “Libya.” Berbers from Libya actually conquered Egypt in 950 B.C.E., and the “Libyan dynasties” continued until about 730 B.C.E. Many Libyans still speak Berber languages and consider themselves Berbers first and foremost. And modern Libya includes several Berber tribes. Continue reading “A History of Libya in 7 Bullet Points”