Districts of Libya

Districts of Libya

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There are twenty-two districts of Libya, known by the term shabiyah (Arabic singular شعبية šaʿbiyya, plural šaʿbiyyāt). In the 1990s these replaced the older baladiyat system.

Historically the area of Libya was considered three provinces (or states), Tripolitania in the northwest, Cyrenaica in the east, and Fezzan in the southwest. It was the conquest by Italy in the Italo-Turkish War that united them in a single political unit. Under the Italians Libya was eventually divided into four provinces and one territory: Tripoli, Misrata, Benghazi, Derna, (in the north) and the Territory of the Libyan Sahara (in the south).[1] After the French and British occupied Libya in 1943, it was again split into three provinces: Tripolitania in the northwest, Cyrenaica in the east, and Fezzan-Ghadames in the southwest.[2]

Article 176 of the constitution of Libya stated "The Kingdom of Libya shall be divided into administrative units in conformity with the law to be promulgated in this connection. Local and regional councils may be formed in the Kingdom. The extend of these units shall be determined by law which shall likewise organize these Councils." in exact quote.[citation needed]

After independence (1951), Libya was divided into three governorates (muhafazat), matching the three provinces of before, but in 1963 it was divided into ten governorates. In 1983 a new system was introduced dividing the country into forty-six districts (baladiyat). In 1987 this was reduced to twenty-five districts.

On 2 August 1995, Libya reorganized into thirteen districts (shabiyat). In 1998 this was increased to 26 shabiyat districts. In 2001 it was increased to thirty-two districts plus three administrative regions. Finally in 2007 to was reduced to twenty-two districts.

For historical evolution see also: Subdivisions of Libya.

Libyan districts are further subdivided into Basic People's Congresses which act as townships or boroughs.



Shabiyah (Arabic: شعبيةšaʿbiyyah, plural: شعبيات šaʿbiyyāt) is a neologism exclusive to Libya under Gaddafi, in line with exclusive terms for republic (jamahiriya), ministry (amanah) and embassy (people's-bureau). The term basically means a district, that is, a top level administrative division. Etymologically, it is an adjective meaning "of or pertaining to the people, popular".

22 shabiya (2007)

In 2007 the current twenty-two shabiyah replaced the older thirty-two shabiya.[3][4][5]

The current list is as following:

The current twenty-two shabiyat system in Libya (since 2007)
شعبية English Pop (2006)[6] Number
(on map)
البطنان Butnan 159,536 1
درنة Derna 163,351 2
الجبل الاخضر Jabal al Akhdar 203,156 3
المرج Marj 185,848 4
بنغازي Benghazi 670,797 5
الواحات Al Wahat 177,047 6
الكفرة Kufra 50,104 7
سرت Sirte 141,378 8
مرزق Murzuq 78,621 22
سبها Sabha 134,162 19
وادي الحياة Wadi al Hayaa 76,858 20
مصراتة Misrata 550,938 9
المرقب Murqub 432,202 10
طرابلس Tripoli 1,065,405 11
الجفارة Jafara 453,198 12
الزاوية Zawiya 290,993 13
النقاط الخمس Nuqat al Khams 287,662 14
الجبل الغربي Jabal al Gharbi 304,159 15
نالوت Nalut 93,224 16
غات Ghat 23,518 21
الجفرة Jufra 52,342 17
وادي الشاطئ Wadi al Shatii 78,532 18

32 shabiya (2001)

The 2001 reorganization of Libya into shabiya districts[7] resulted in thirty-two districts and three administrative regions (المنطقة الإدارية):

The old thirty-two shabiyat system in Libya (2001-2007)
شعبية Sha'biyah Population Area
(on map)
إجدابيا Ajdabiya 165,839 91,620 1
البطنان Butnan 144,527 83,860 2
الحزام الاخضر Hizam al Akhdar 108,860 12,800 3
الجبل الاخضر Jabal al Akhdar 194,185 7,800 4
الجفارة Jafara 289,340 1,940 5
الجفرة Jufra 45,117 117,410 6
الكفرة Kufra 51,433 483,510 7
المرج Marj 116,318 10,000 8
المرقب Murqub 328,292 3,000 9
النقاط الخمس Nuqat al Khams 208,954 5,250 10
القبة Quba 93,895 14,722 11
الواحات Al Wahat 29,257 108,670 12
الزاوية Zawiya 197,177 1,520 13
بنغازي Benghazi 636,992 800 14
بنى وليد Bani Walid 77,424 19,710 15
درنة Derna 81,174 4,908 16
غات Ghat 22,770 72,700 17
غدامس Ghadames 19,000 51,750 18
غريان Gharyan 161,408 4,660 19
مرزق Murzuq 68,718 349,790 20
مزدة Mizda 41,476 72,180 21
مصراتة Misrata 360,521 2,770 22
نالوت Nalut 86,801 13,300 23
تاجوراء والنواحي الأربع Tajura wa Arba‘ 267,031 1,430 24
ترهونة و مسلاته Tarhuna wa Msalata 296,092 5,840 25
طرابلس Tripoli 882,926 400 26
سبها Sabha 126,610 15,330 27
سرت Sirte 156,389 77,660 28
صبراته و صرمان Sabratha wa Sorman 152,521 1,370 29
وادي الحياة Wadi al Hayaa 72,587 31,890 30
وادي الشاطئ Wadi al Shatii 77,203 97,160 31
يفرن Yafran 117,647 9,310 32

The three administrative regions are missing from the above map, Qatrun,[8] Marada,[9] and Jaghbub[10]

26 shabiya (1998)

In 1998 Libya was reorganized into twenty-six districts which were: Butnan, Jafara, Jufra, Kufra, Marj, Murqub, Quba, Al Wahat, Bani Walid, Benghazi, Derna, Gharyan, Jabal al Akhdar, Murzuq, Misrata, Nalut, Nuqat al Khams, Sabha, Sabrata/Sorman, Sirte, Tarhuna/Msalata, Tripoli, Wadi al Hayaa, Wadi al Shatii, Yafran, and Zawiya[11]

13 shabiya (1995)

On 2 August 1995 Libya dropped the baladiyat system and reorganized into thirteen districts (shabiyat). Among them were Butnan (formerly Tobruk), Jabal al Akhdar, Jabal al Gharbi, Zawiya, Benghazi, and Tripoli. However there is not agreement about the other seven names.[5]

Former baladiya

Baladiyah (singular) or baladiyat (plural), are Arabic words used in many Arab countries to denote administrative divisions of the country. In Libya, the baladiyat system of districts was introduced in 1983 to replace the governorate system. Originally there were forty-six baladiyat districts,[5] but in 1988 that number was reduced to twenty-five baladiyat. The table hereunder lists the old twenty-five baladiyat in alphabetical order with a link to each one and numbered to be located on the map. Note that each district linked may be both a baladiyah and a shabiyah. The many changes may not always be reflected in the article.

  • 14 Derna
  • 15 Ghadames
  • 16 Gharyan
  • 17 Misrata
  • 18 Murzuq
  • 19 Sabah
  • 20 Sawfajjin
  • 21 Sirte
  • 22 Tripoli
  • 23 Tarhuna
  • 24 Yafran
  • 25 Zlitan
Map showing subdivision of former governates into the 25 baladiya


شعبية / بلدية Name 2007 (22) 2001 (32) Name in 1998 (26) 1995 (13) 1988 (25) Capital
إجدابيا Ajdabiya District x x Ajdabiya
البطنان Butnan District (Tobruk in 1995, from 1988 Tobruk District) x x Batan x Tobruk Tobruk
الحزام الاخضر Hizam al Akhdar District x Aybar
الجبل الاخضر Jabal al Akhdar x x Jabal al Akhdar x x Bayda
الجبل الغربي Jabal al Gharbi District x x Gharyan
الجغبوب Jaghbub Administrative Region AR Administrative Region
الجفارة Jafara (from 1988 'Aziziya District) x x Jafara 'Aziziya 'Aziziya
الجفرة Jufra District x x Jufra 4 x Hun
الكفرة Kufra District x x Kufra 5 x Al Jawf
المرج Marj District (1983–1988 Fati District) x x Marj Fati Marj, Barca in antiquity
المرقب Murqub District (Morqib) (from 1995 & 1988 Khoms District) x x Murqub 5 Khoms Khoms
القطرون Qatrun Administrative Region AR Administrative Region
القبة Quba District x Quba Quba, or Giovanni Berta
الواحات Al Wahat District (Waha in 1995) x x Wahad 4 Ajdabiya (cf. Ajdabiya District)
Wusta 4
النقاط الخمس Nuqat al Khams (Nikat al Khums in 1995) x x Nikat al Khams 5 x Zuwara
أوباري Awbari District 5a x Ubari
الزاوية Zawiya District x x Zawiya x x Zawiya
بنى وليد Bani Walid District (from 1988 Sawfajjin District) x Bani Walid Bani Walid
بنغازي Benghazi x x Benghazi x x Benghazi
درنة Derna District x x Derna x Derna
فزان Fezzan (or Fazzan) 4 Sabha
غدامس Ghadames District x x Ghadames
غريان Gharyan District x Gharyan x Gharyan
غات Ghat District (from 1988 Ubari) x x Ghat
مرادة Marada Administrative Region AR Administrative Region
مصراتة Misrata District (oincludes 1988 Bani Walid District and Zlitan District) x x Misrata 4 x Misrata
مزدة Mizda District x Mizda
مرزق Murzuq District (Marzug in 1995) x x Murzaq 5 x Murzuk
Naggaza 4
نالوت Nalut District x x Nalout Nalut
سبها Sabha District x x Sabha 5 x Sabha
صبراته و صرمان Sabratha wa Sorman District x Sabratha & Sorman
سوفاجين Sawfajjin District 4 x Bani Walid
سرت Sirte District (Khalij Sirte in 1995) x x Sirte 5 x Sirte
تاجوراء والنواحي الأربع Tajura wa Arba‘ District x Tajura
طرابلس Tripoli District x x Tripoli x x Tripoli
ترهونة و مسلاته Tarhuna wa Msalata District (from 1988 Tarhuna District) x Tarhuna & Msalata Tarhuna Tarhuna
وادي الحياة Wadi al Hayaa District (1995 Wadi al Hait?, from 1988 Ubari) x x Wadi al Hait? 5b
وادي الشاطئ Wadi al Shatii District (Shati' in 1988) x x Wadi al Shaati Shati' Adiri[12] or Brak[13]
يفرن Yafran District (Yifren) x Yefrin x Yafran
زلتان Zlitan District x Zliten

For 1995 data, [4] and [5] are the two different sources mentioned in the bibliography[5]: "The Europa World Year Book 2001" and "Ershiyi (21) Shiji Shijie Diming Lu", Beijing, 2001.

For 1988, name is provided if different from nowadays. As said above, AR stands for the three "Administrative Region" of 2001.

Fazzan wasn't strictly a district, but a historical muhafazah or wilayah alongside with Tripolitania (capital Tripoli) and Cyrenaica (capital Cyrene -near nowadays Shahhat- with Diocletian, moved to Ptolemais after the earthquake of 365, and to Barce -nowadays Barca- with Omer Bin Khattab in 643).

See also


  1. ^ Pan, Chia-Lin (1949) "The Population of Libya" Population Studies, 3(1): pp. 100-125, p. 104
  2. ^ "Map of Libya 1943-1951" Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien
  3. ^ شعبيات الجماهيرية العظمى – Sha'biyat of Great Jamahiriya, accessed 10 May 2009, in Arabic
  4. ^ :"Libya population statistics" (in , English, Arabic). Geohive. http://www.geohive.com/cntry/libya.aspx. Retrieved 30 October 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Districts of Libya". Statoids.com. http://statoids.com/uly.html. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Libyan General Information Authority accessed 22 July 2009
  7. ^ "الشعبيات بالجماهيرية" ("Districts of Libya") Website of the General People's Committee of Libya, from WebArchive dated 30 August 2006
  8. ^ "Districts of Libya:Alqtron Tjrhi" Website of the General People's Committee of Libya, in Arabic, from Web Archive dated 30 August 2006
  9. ^ "Districts of Libya:Mradq" Website of the General People's Committee of Libya, in Arabic, from Web Archive dated 30 August 2006
  10. ^ "Districts of Libya:Aljgbob" Website of the General People's Committee of Libya, in Arabic, from Web Archive dated 30 August 2006
  11. ^ "Libya" 2006 Statesman's Yearbook
  12. ^ "Districts of Libya". statoids.com. http://statoids.com/uly.html. Retrieved 27 October 2009.  and German wikipedia
  13. ^ Spanish, Italian, Polish and Portuguese wikipedias

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