History of Libya

History of Libya

History of Libya We shall examine Libya history from the Ottoman Empire, as well as Italy’s colonial control of Libya from 1912 onwards. In addition, we shall examine the politics of Libya during colonialism, as well as after Italy left the country. Then, we shall discuss Libya history during the Cold War, as well as following the rule of Muammar Gaddafi in 1969. We will also discuss the uprisings in Libya, and the Libyan civil war. It is important to talk about Libya history when examining the current events in the country, and thus, we shall discuss the events that have helped shape the current situation in the country.

Libya and the Ottoman Empire


The Ottoman Empire was an empire that was centered primarily around modern day Turkey, and was in existence from the early 1300s (although much of their power has been noted to begin in the mid 1500s) until the end of World War I. During this time, the Ottoman Empire not only expanded their territorial control in the Middle East and Europe, but they also established holds on northern parts of North Africa. This included influence in areas such as Tripoli, as well as Tunis, Morocco, etc… In terms of Libyan history,

the Ottoman Empire established control in 1551. While the leaders of the empire had political influence in North Africa in 1551, it was in 1565 that the Ottomans “governed Libya through a pasha appointed by the sultan of Istanbul. The pasha was dependent upon the janissaries, an elite military caste stationed in Libya in support of Ottoman rule (St. John, 2011: 31).

But while the pasha and the janissaries were important to ensuring Ottoman rule in Libya and North Africa, “it was the Barbary corsairs who supplied the regency’s treasury with steady income from corsairing or privateering…” (St. John, 2011: 31). The Barbary corsairs were very important to the Ottomans, not only financially, but also in terms of military strength, as they gave the Ottoman Empire a much stronger sea presence on the Mediterranean (St. John, 2011).

But while the Ottomans maintained control of Libya until 1911, they were starting to lose power as wearily as the mid-1600s. As St. John (2011) explains:

“After 1661, Ottoman power declined and the janissaries, together with local corsairs, often manipulated the divan. The role of the pasha was reduced to that of ceremonial head of state and figurehead representative of Ottoman suzerainty, with real power in the hands of the military. In the end, the janissaries began designating a dey among themselves. Between 1672 and 1711, some twenty-four deys attempted to control the increasingly chaotic political situation in Libya. Absent firm direction from the Ottoman government in Istanbul, Tripoli lapsed into a period of military anarchy in which coup followed coup and few deys survived more than one year in office” (33).

After the struggle for various internal powers, it was in 1711 that a man named Ahmad Kermanli was expelled and established by Pasha, known as the Kermani family in Libya. Relations with the Ottoman Empire were not disconnected, but instead, “[oh] he took control, Kermanli immediately pledged allegiance to the Ottoman Sultan and bought his endorsement from the Great Port because stolen goods from Ottoman officials. Pasha was assassinated with “rebellion” (St. John, 2011: 34) However,

this did not mean that the Ottoman Empire had complete control over Libya. The Kremlin was able to establish a great sovereignty within Libya. (St. John, 2011) This empire was able to remain in power until the year 1835. This was the time when “… Greater Perth abolished the Kermanli family and the former independence. Direct control of Tripoli province was restored.The restoration of the Ottoman rule marked the end of a long period of decentralized political rule under the Kremlin and marked a turning point in Libya’s history. Strengthened its control over the region (St. John, 2011: 43-44). However, as we shall see, it was within a century that another external power, Italy, would seek to control Libya.

Libya’s control of Italy


Italy was a European which, unlike many of its most powerful neighbors in the region, did not (at that time) settle other territories. One of the reasons was that Italy itself was united only in the mid-1800s. But since Libya was not colonized by European states at that time, Italy’s goal was to bring Libya under its control. Italy argued that Libya already has important historical ties, dating to the Roman Empire. Political leaders also tried to take advantage of this historic relationship. In fact, some in Rome

hoped to return Italy to the greatness of its creators by creating a modern empire. In this regard, many Italians believed that the Roman Empire was dominated by these territories. But to exercise Italian sovereignty is a historic right, and at the same time a responsibility. “(St. John, 2011). And it was after the defeat of Ethiopia in the late 1800s (ie 1896) that Italy began to look more seriously at colonizing Libya. And some who went to Libya were saying that there are numerous economic and other benefits to leaving Libya behind (St. John, 2011). In fact, many people in Italy, in their mind, see many reasons why they should occupy Libya. This is explained by Bruce St. John (2011)

In addition to the issues of historical right and national pride, many Italians see the expansion abroad as the best solution to many domestic problems. On the morning of the twentieth century, a new united Italy was still subjected to mutual doubts and territorial disputes. Italian leaders viewed the foreign war as a distraction from internal divisions, uniting the population and increasing pride in patriotism. The overseas expansion also offered a means of testing the capabilities and weapons of the Armed Forces, which is highly rated at home but not appreciated all over Europe. (58)

He added that “[o] th three Italians believe that the Libyan colonies offered an excellent region for resettling immigrant citizens. The Italian emigration alone in the United States from 650,000 people in 1910. And in 1913, as the year progressed, more than 860,000 Italians emigrated to Europe, South America, or the United States. Nevertheless, in many areas like South America, migration and expenditure On the contrary, Libya, with a very small population, was closer to Italy and happier with the allegedly favorable coastal areas. Enjoyed the tropical climate “(59). In addition, Italy hopes to use Libya’s land for its own resources (St. John, 2011).

And so, in 1911, Italy asked the Ottoman Empire to accept Italy’s occupation of Libya. And, on September 29, 1911, Italy invaded Libya. Then, in 1912, the Ottoman Empire made an agreement with Italy that they would grant Libya sovereignty, but not Italy, and as a result, Italy merged with Sarnia, as well as Tripolitania, knowing that It will not be fully supported. By International Law until 1924 (St. John, 2011: 61).

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