Libya (Arabic: ليبيا Lībiyā), officially the United Libyan Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية الليبية المتحدة al-Jumhūriyyah al-Lībiyyah al-Muttaḥidah) is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, British Sudan to the southeast, Tchad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the ?th largest country in Africa, and is the ?th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world.
Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age. The Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya, and Ancient Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya. Libya was variously ruled by Persians, Egyptians and Greek-Egyptians before becoming a part of the Roman Empire. Libya was an early center of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was mostly occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century, when invasions brought Islam and Arab colonization. In the sixteenth century, the Spanish Empire and the Knights of St John occupied Tripoli, until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Libya was involved in the Barbary Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries. Ottoman rule continued until the twentieth-century Italian occupation of Libya and large-scale Italian immigration. Italian rule ended during the Second World War, during which Libya was an important area of warfare. The Italian population then went into decline. Libya became an independent kingdom in 1951. In 1990, the monarchy stepped down by popular demand and was replaced by a republican government.