Which country’s flag was simply a green rectangle from 1977–2011?

And the answer: Libya.    
Photo credit: Giovanni Boccardi. 

In 1977, Libya decided to introduce a new flag in the wake of the Egyptian-Libyan war. Their previous flag—which had a red, a white, and a black horizontal stripe—was believed to be too similar to Egypt’s flag. Thus, the blank green flag was born, until it was officially retired in 2011 and replaced with a red, black, and green flag.

Libya might be Africa’s fourth largest country, but it boasts the longest African coastline, the largest desert in the world, and a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Libya is a region that has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, and it shows through the geographic and cultural diversity that populates the region. For example, the Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus prove the existence of humans in Libya as far back as 12000 BCE, and provide insights into how much the region changed during this period.

This all being said, over 90% of Libya is desert, or semi-desert. The subsection of the Sahara Desert that dominates Libya’s geography is known fittingly as the Libyan Desert, and is so dry that no permanent rivers flow through its boundaries. Although a network of underground pipelines help deliver water below the desert, most of Libya’s population lives along the Mediterranean coast to avoid the hot, arid, desert conditions.

Did you know?

Libya was once part of the Ancient Greek empire! Sometimes referred to as the “Ancient Crossroads of Civilizations,” Greek imperial history can be seen in Libya in one of the main cities of the Greek Empire in Africa: the UNESCO-listed Archaeological Site of Cyrene.

Learn more about the history of Libya here.

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