The Berber and Arab ethnic groups make up about 97 percent of the country’s population. The Berbers are considered the earliest inhabitants of the country and are thought to have arrived in Libya around 1200 B.C. Arabs began to settle in the country around 700 A.D., following the rise in popularity of the religion of Islam. Small populations of Greeks, Egyptians, and Italians live in the country as well.
Today, most Libyans speak the Arabic language, and nearly 97 percent of the country is Muslim, or followers of Islam. A small percentage of the population are Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christians.
Almost 25 percent of Libyans live in Tripoli or Benghazi. Outside of these urban centers, rural Libyans farm near desert oases, where they can access water. Deeper into the desert, animal herders follow the weather and tend to sheep, goats, and camels.
Weaving, embroidery, and metal engraving are popular arts in Libya. Other common activities include horse racing, folk dancing, and soccer, the most popular sport in Libya. Both Tripoli and Benghazi have many teams that locals enjoy watching.