Tripolitania: Wikis


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This 1-lire airmail stamp, depicting an Arab horseman pointing to an airplane passing overhead, was used in 1931.

Tripolitania or Tripolitana (Arabic: طرابلس, transliterated: Ṭarābulus) is a historic region and former province (muhafazah or wilayah) of Libya, situated alongside Cyrenaica and Fezzan. The system of administrative divisions that included Tripolitania was abolished in the early 1970s in favour of a system of smaller-size municipalities or baladiyat (singular baladiyah). The baladiyat system was subsequently changed many times and has lately become the "Sha'biyat" system. The region that was Tripolitania is now composed of several smaller baladiyat or sha'biyat – see administrative divisions in Libya.

In the old system, Tripolitania included Tripoli, the capital city of Libya and a vast north-western portion of the country; in the subsequent systems, the sha'biyah of Tripoli has become much smaller than the original Tripolitania, including merely the city of Tripoli and its immediate surroundings. Because the city and the sha'biyah are nowadays almost coextensive, the term "Tripolitania" has more historical than contemporary value. In Arabic the same word ( طرابلس ) is used for both the city and the region, and that word, used alone, would be understood to mean only the city; in order to designate Tripolitania in Arabic, a qualifier such as "state", "province" or "sha'biyah" is required.


Historical background

The region was originally inhabited by Berbers; in the 7th century BC Phoenicians settled in colonies along the coast, which later came under the control of Carthage. Numidia captured it in 146 BC, then the Romans came a century later, under whom Tripolitania became a prosperous area. The Vandals took over in 435, and were in turn supplanted by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century. The Arabs swept through in the 7th century. The Ottoman Turks took charge in 1553, and kept it as the "vilayet of Tripoli" until 1911, when it was captured by Italy in the Italo-Turkish War.

Italy officially granted autonomy after the war, but gradually occupied the region. Originally administered as part of a single colony, Tripolitania was a separate colony from 26 June 1927 to 3 December 1934, when it was merged into Libya.

During World War II Libya was occupied by the Allies and until 1947 Tripolitania (and the region of Cyrenaica) were administered by the United Kingdom. Italy formally renounced its claim upon the territory in the same year.

Colonial and postcolonial heads of Tripolitania

Tripolitania existed as a political entity (a state or welaiya) at least since early Ottoman times (if not before in Islamic or Roman times), the list below starts from 1911 (onset of the Italian colonization era). See the timeline under external links, below, for a more comprehensive.

Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office.

Term Incumbent Notes
1911 Independent government In rebellion against Ottoman sovereignty
3 October 1911 Italian occupation
1911 – March 1913 Sulayman ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Baruni, Ruler of Tripolitania
16 November 1918 Tripolitanian Republic
16 November 1918 – November 1920 Ahmad Tahir al-Murayyid, Chairman of the Council of the Republic
18 May 1919 nominally under Italian Suzerainty
November 1920 – 1923 Ahmad Tahir al-Murayyid, Chairman of the Central Reform Board
12 November 1922 Annexed by Italy
October 1911 Raffaele Borea Ricci d'Olmo, Governor
11 October 1911 – 1912 Carlo Francesco Giovanni Battista Caneva, Governor
1912–1913 Ottavio Ragni, Governor
2 June 1913 – 1914 Vincenzo Garioni, Governor
1914–1915 Luigi Druetti, Governor
1915–1915 Iulio Cesare Tassoni, Governor
1915–1918 Giovanni Battista Ameglio, Governor
6 July 1920 – July 1921 Luigi Mercatelli, Governor
July 1921 – July 1925 Giuseppe Volpi, conte di Misurata, Governor
July 1925 – 24 January 1929 Emilio De Bono, Governor
24 January 1929 – 31 December 1933 Pietro Badoglio, Governor
1 January 1934 Incorporated into Libya
23 October 1942 British Administration
December 1942 – 26 January 1943 Maurice Stanley Lush, Governor
1943–1946 Travers Robert Blackley, Administrator
1946 UN Administration
1946April 1949 Travers Robert Blackley, Administrator
April 1949 – 24 December 1951 Travers Robert Blackley, Resident
24 December 1951 Incorporated into the Kingdom of Libya

See also

External links




Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. A historic region of western Libya, centered around the coastal city of Tripoli.


  • French: Tripolitaine


Proper noun

Tripolitania f.

  1. Tripolitania

Related terms


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