On Dec. 24, 1954, the North African nation of Libya declared its independence from colonial Italian rule. The United Libyan Kingdom was established on the same day by King Idris. Before 1954, Italy ruled over the territory known as Libya for more than 40 years after an invasion in 1911.
Shortly after independence, the U.S. established diplomatic relations with Libya. King Idris ruled Libya until 1969, when the army overthrew the king, and coup leader Moammar Gadhafi became head of state. In 2011, after nearly 42 years in power, Gadhafi was killed by rebels during "Operation Unified Protector,” a NATO-led intervention supporting Gadhafi’s overthrow by various rebel groups.
Following Gadhafi’s death, a transitional government took charge until elections for a General National Congress were held in July 2012. As a result of those elections, members of Congress appointed Ali Zidan to the post of prime minister in October.
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