Benghazi, Libya, the nation's second largest city. It lies on the Mediterranean Sea in northeastern Libya, about 400 miles (640 km) east of Tripoli, the national capital. Benghazi is the commercial, industrial, and transportation center for a region producing grains, fruits, and livestock. Its port, though overshadowed by that of Tripoli, handles a considerable amount of foreign trade. Food processing and sponge and tuna fishing are the city's chief industries. Benghazi has an international airport, and a highway links the city with Tripoli. The University of Garyounis is in Benghazi.
Benghazi was founded in the 15th century by merchants from Tripolitania on the site of the ancient Greek city of Hesperides. It was destroyed during the Turkish conquest of Libya in the 19th century but was quickly rebuilt. The Italians captured the city in the Libyan War (1911–12) and held it until they were driven out by the British during World War II. From 1951, when Libya became independent, until 1970 Benghazi was one of two national capitals.