TRIPOLI (AFP) - Enormous challenges await the new Libyan authorities after 42 years of rule by Muammer Gaddafi, whose death was announced by the new rulers on Thursday following a final assault on his hometown Sirte. Here are some key facts on the oil-rich country: Geography: Libya is bordered by the Mediterranean to the north, Egypt to the east and Tunisia and Algeria to the west. It borders Niger, Chad and Sudan in the south. Around 93 percent of its territory is desert. Area: 1,760,000 square kilometres (710,200 square miles). Population: About 6.3 million, of whom some one and a half million were immigrants, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, before the uprising. Capital: Tripoli. Benghazi is the countrys second city. Official Language: Arabic Religion: Islam 97 percent (almost entirely Sunni), Christianity three percent. History: Coastal areas were settled successively by Phoenician traders, Romans and Byzantines before the area became part of successive Islamic empires from the seventh century AD. In the early 20th century, the country was seized from the declining Ottoman Empire by Italy, which gave it its modern name and ruled it with considerable violence until World War II, when its deserts saw some epic tank battles between Allied and Axis troops, which left some heavily mined. Libya became independent in 1951 with King Mohammed Idriss al-Senussi as its head of state. Idriss was overthrown on September 1, 1969 by Gaddafi, who ruled for 42 years before his regime fell in August 2011. Through much of the 1980s and 1990s, Libya was considered a pariah state by the West, and its capital was bombed by US aircraft in 1986 in retaliation for alleged support for terrorism. On the same grounds, the country was subjected to UN and US trade embargoes, which were lifted in 2003 and 2004 respectively. February, 2011 saw the start of an unprecedented uprising against Gaddafis regime, which turned into an armed conflict. On March 19, French, US and British forces launched UN-mandated air attacks with Nato taking over the operation on March 31. The rebels National Transitional Council (NTC), created in late February in Benghazi, was the political motor of the rebellion and has gradually taken over its countrys affairs on the international stage. Economy: Oil was discovered in 1959 and is Libyas main natural resource, with a production capacity before the uprising of around 1.6 million barrels per day, accounting for more than 95 percent of exports and 75 percent of the state budget. After total paralysis early in the uprising, oil activity has progressively resumed since August. The countrys oil reserves are estimated at 44 billion barrels. GDP: $62.4 billion in 2009 (World Bank). Gross national income per capita: $9,714 in 2009 (World Bank). Currency: Dinar. Military: Estimated before the uprising at 76,000 men, with 50,000 in the army. The auxiliary Peoples Militia numbers about 40,000 reservists (the International Institute of Strategic Studies, 2010).