North Africa

Libya History Part 1

The first mentions that appear of Libya in history refer to the Libyan mercenaries hired by Ancient Egypt, in the first millennium BC Hannibal Barca’s Carthaginian army will also later have these mercenaries who will constitute the strongest point of the infantry of his army on his famous expedition to the Italian peninsula through the Alps. The country’s coastal strip was visited by Greeks and Phoenicians, and later dominated by the Roman Empire, the Vandal kingdom of Genseric, the Byzantine Empire, the Arabs, and the Ottoman Empire.

Italian Libya

Italo – Turkish War

At the end of the 19th century an important Italian colony began to establish itself in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. The Italian government then began a group of negotiations in order to obtain the support of the European powers in order to annex these territories formally belonging to the Ottoman Empire. In 1887 he obtained the consent of Germany and in 1902, the French government made declarations in which it stated that it would not oppose a landing of Italian forces on the territory of Tripolitania, in exchange for Italian support for French expansion in Morocco, that same year would also obtain the consent of Great Britain and Austria Hungary and finally in 1909 that of Russia.

The Italian press began to present Libya as the “Promised Land” that would prevent transcontinental Italian emigration and ensure the future of its poorest population. This campaign, full of misrepresentations, lies and half-truths presented Libya to the Italian people as immensely rich in minerals, abundant in water and defended by few Ottoman soldiers whom the local population hated. In 1911 the annexation of Libya was popular in Italy even among many sectors of the left and trade unionists.

On September 28 of that year, without consulting Parliament, the Italian government sent an ultimatun to Turkey demanding the immediate abandonment of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. Under the pretext of attacks on the Italian colonies in North Africa the following day the government of Italy declares war on the Ottoman Empire. The Italians in retaliation carry out numerous violent acts against the civilian population, which lead to the fostering of anti-Italian sentiment that will later lead to a strong guerrilla movement supported by Turkey.

In October the Italian troops successively occupy Tobruk, Tripoli, Derna, Benghazi and Horns. On November 5, although it only controlled a small strip of the coast, Italy declared its protectorate over Libya. The Turkish army fell back inland while the local Arab population organized into guerrillas and faced the Italians against whom they declared Holy War. During military operations, combat aviation was used by the Italians for the first time in history. Along with airplanes, the Italians also used balloons and airships in exploration and bombing operations. Despite the Italian victory, the war in Libya extended without being able to definitively defeat the Turks, so the Italian command decided to hit the Ottomans in their Aegean possessions and occupy the Dodecanese archipelago, which they did quickly and effective May 1912. The defeat in the Greek islands ended the Turkish resistance and peace negotiations began.

Italian colony

The 18 of October of 1912 the signed Treaty of Lausanne, which left in Italian hands, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, which were unified into a single colony under the so – called Status Libya, rescuing the name by which he was known in the days of the Roman Empire. The Italian colonial territory in North Africa was later expanded by French concessions. From an economic point of view Libya represented very little for Italy and the local population faced the new occupying power in a long guerrilla war during which the Italian command carried out major massacres against the civilian population.

Despite the recognition of the powers, the effective control of the Italian administration was reduced to the coastal strip by strong opposition from the southern Senussite tribes, whose opposition movement gradually became the national consciousness of the future Libyan state.

After the end of the war, the Count of Volpi was sent to Libya as governor, he launched an offensive against the rebels in the south, sometimes acting without the approval of the Italian government. When Benito Mussolini took power in Rome the Italians began to openly repress Libyan dissent. Count Volpi, who was called to Italy, was replaced in command by General De Bono, one of the most prominent members of the Fascist party.

The resistance of the locals lasted until 1931 when the Libyan leader Great Cheik Omar Mukhtar was caught in an ambush and five days later, after a summary trial, hanged. In 1932 the Italian army occupied the remote oases of Kufra, declaring the country pacified.

From then on, an Italian population colonization began, making a wide effort to win farmland from the desert, building roads and airfields. For Mussolini, who dreamed of the recovery of the Roman Empire, Libya meant a province that had to be romanized, and where Tripoli, the capital, had to become the great city of that new Roman Africa. Mussolini went on a triumphant journey in 1937 as if it were an Emperor.

The Italian rule over Libya lasted until the end of World War II, conflagration in which the territory witnessed the fight between Afrika Korps of Rommel, by the Axis, and the troops of Montgomery, by Britain. Defeated the Axis powers, the territory was occupied by the Allies, who divided the territory. The coastal provinces of Tripoli and Cyrenaica came under British and North American control and Fezzan came under the control of France, whose territory became dependent on the French colonies of Tunisia and Algeria.

Kingdom of Libya

At the end of World War II, the occupying powers entered into contradictions about the future of Libya. The French expressed their intention to annex Tripolitania to French Tunisia, which was objected to by the British, who during the war against German and Italian forces had agreed with Emir Sayed el Senussi that Cyrenaica would be independent in exchange for their support against the Axis powers. The Egyptians for their part hoped that the Libyan territory would be annexed to them as a province, or at least that the borders inherited from Italian colonialism would be subjected to negotiation. The United States for its part supported the British in their intention to recognize the independence of Libya, a country located in Africa according to MATHGENERAL.

In 1947 Italy officially renounced its colonial possession. The English granted independence to Cyrenaica, which became a new state, while Tripolítania remained officially under the control of Italy. While the Arab countries began to press for the creation of a Libyan state under the principle of the union of Tripolitania and Cyrenacia. Anti-Italian sentiment was growing in the local population of Tripolitania, which was the cause of the bloody clashes that occurred in Tripoli on February 17, 1948. Faced with these events, the United Nations agreed to the independence of Libya in 1949, which would become effective on January 1, 1952. Libya would be the first African state to achieve its independence after World War II.

The UN sent a mission to Libya headed by Dutchman Adriany Pelt, who organized the first local authorities to make way for independence. In 1950 these authorities representing the three major provinces: Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan were united in an Assembly which proclaimed the independence of Libya, offering the throne to the Emir Ayed Idriss El Senussi, who would rise to the throne with the name of Idris I.

King Idris I, proclaimed independence on December 24, 1951, becoming King of Libya and exercising a corrupt and criminal government until 1969, the year in which he was overthrown by a military coup.

Libya History 1