Weird Facts about Libya under Gaddafi

Ben Crowley
Nov. 4, 2023


On the 1 st of September 1969, a young Muammar Gaddafi led a group of army officers known as the Revolutionary Command Council in overthrowing the Libyan monarchy and declaring the country a republic. Considered one of the most controversial rulers in modern history, Gaddafi became infamous not only for his support of terrorism and liberation groups, but also for some of his outlandish decisions. Here are some of his weirder rulings.


Libya had the only single colour flag in the world

In 1977 Gaddafi decided to replace the Libyan flag with a single green field. At the time it was the only country’s flag to be just a single colour. The flag was partly changed to differentiate the country from neighbouring Arab countries which all had similar pan-Arab colours. It was also made green to represent Gaddafi’s political ideology of Third International Theory and his book of political philosophy – The Green Book.


All school students spent part of each school day studying Gaddafi’s Green Book

The Green Book, like Mao’s Little Red Book, was a collection of the political philosophies of Gaddafi, his thoughts on issues ranging from democracy to housing, music, and even the differences between men and women. Slogans from the Green Book adorned billboards all over the country and school students were forced to study its contents. In modern Libya the book is now illegal.


The official name of Libya under Gaddafi was the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

In 1977 Gaddafi decided that Libya should no longer be the Libyan Arab Republic. Gaddafi decided that the name of the country should be changed to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The word Jamahiriya being his own invention, meaning ‘state of the masses’. After the US bombed Libya in 1986 it was then changed to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The name of the country is now officially the State of Libya.


Gaddafi forced everyone to raise chickens

In 1977, he declared that Libya would be self-sufficient and would no longer rely on the outside world, especially the west. As part of his goal, Gaddafi ruled that every family should raise chickens. The Libyan government then imported millions of chickens and chicken coops and handed them out to all residents. Raising chickens in apartments in cities like Tripoli proved to be challenging and, instead of living to a ripe old age, many birds found their way immediately into family ovens.


There was a TV channel which played Gaddafi’s favourite film 24/7

Gaddafi’s favourite film was reported to be the little known early 80s science fiction film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. The film which features John Lithgow and Jeff Goldblum was loved so much by the mad dog of Libya that he had a television channel created which just showed this film.


Bank loans were 0%

You read that correctly! Under Gaddafi a bank loan had 0% interest. Anyone in the country could apply for a loan and would not need to pay interest on the loan.


If you want to learn more facts about Libya check out this blog .


And if you'd like to join is in Libya, have a look at all our upcoming tours .


Ben Crowley

Ben Crowley

Co-founder of SAIGAtours, Ben is known for his extensive trivia knowledge, which comes in very handy for long bus rides! He loves a good road trip and has a passion for driving some of the most dangerous and exciting roads in the world. When not traveling he loves playing and watching sport, and is an excellent squash player.

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