Benghazi (/bɛnˈɡɑːzi/)[3][4][5][note 1] (lit. Son of [the] Ghazi) is a city in Libya. Located on the Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean, Benghazi is a major seaport and the second-most populous city in the country, as well as the largest city in Cyrenaica, with an estimated population of 632,937 in 2019.[2]

Benghazi seafront
رَبّايِةْ الْذَايِحْ (Mother of Migrants) – الْمَدِينََه الْعَصِيّهْ (The Intractable City)
Location in Libya
Coordinates: 32°07′N 20°04′E
Country Libya
Settledas Euesperides (circa 525 BC)
Renamed  Berenice (circa middle of the 3rd century BC)
  Hesperides[clarification needed]
  Barneeq (circa middle of the 7th century AD)
  Marsa ibn Ghazi (circa 16th century)
  Bani Ghazi[clarification needed]
  Benghazi[clarification needed]
  MayorAbdelrahman Elabbar
  City314 km2 (121 sq mi)
Elevation2 m (7 ft)
  Density2,000/km2 (5,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
Area code(s)(+218) 61

A Greek colony named Euesperides had existed in the area from around 525 BC. In the 3rd century BC, it was relocated and refounded as the Ptolemaic city of Berenice. Berenice prospered under the Romans, and after the 3rd century AD it superseded Cyrene and Barca as the centre of Cyrenaica. The city went into decline during the Byzantine period and had already been reduced to a small town before its conquest by the Arabs. In 1911, Italy captured Benghazi and the rest of Tripolitania from the Ottomans. Under Italian rule, Benghazi witnessed a period of extensive development and modernization, particularly in the second half of the 1930s. The city changed hands several times during World War II and was heavily damaged in the process. After the war Benghazi was rebuilt and became the co-capital of the newly independent Kingdom of Libya. Following the 1969 coup d'état by Muammar Gaddafi, Benghazi lost its capital status and all government offices relocated to Tripoli.

On 15 February 2011,[14] an uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi occurred in the city.[15] The revolts spread by 17 February to Bayda, Tobruk, Ajdabya, Al Marj in the East and Zintan, Zawiya in the West, calling for the end of the Gaddafi Regime. Benghazi was taken by Gaddafi opponents on 21 February, who founded the National Transitional Council.[16] On 19 March 2011, the city was the site of the turning point of the Libyan Civil War, when the Libyan Army attempted to score a decisive victory against the NTC by attacking Benghazi, but was forced back by local resistance and intervention from the French Air Force authorized by UNSC Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, allowing the rebellion to continue.

Benghazi remains a centre of Libyan commerce, industry, transport and culture. It continues to hold institutions and organizations normally associated with a capital city, including several national government buildings as well as the National Library of Libya.