Brief history of Libya summarized
We briefly enter the history of Libya, a country with a long tradition, passing through the Roman Empire, the country where Gaddafi was born.
At first Libya was inhabited by Berber tribes. After 1000 BC a Lebanese people called the Phoenicians settled in Tripolitania (western Libya). They founded Tripoli. Later the ancient Greeks settled in Cyrenaica (eastern Libya).
Both areas of Libya later became part of the Roman Empire. A Roman emperor named Septimius Severus (193-211) was a native of the great city of Leptis Magna in Roman Libya. Unfortunately, Leptis Magna was severely damaged by an earthquake in the year 365.
Then, in the fourth century, the Roman Empire split in two. Cyrenaica became part of the Eastern Roman Empire, while Tripolitania became part of the Western Empire. In 431 a Germanic people called the Vandals captured Libya, but Justinian, Emperor of the Eastern Empire, forced them out in 533.
Then, in the years 642-44, the Arabs conquered Libya. During the 16th century Libya became part of the Ottoman Empire. It remained part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, although it was a haven for pirates. However, in 1911 the Italians invaded Libya.
The Turks surrendered Libya to Italy in 1912. However, the resistance of the Libyan people continued for many years. Until 1922 the Italians only controlled the coastal region. However, the fascist regime in Italy was determined to subjugate all of Libya and by 1932 was in control of the entire country.
Fascist Italy’s conquest of Libya was extremely brutal and many Libyans died as a result. Mussolini, the Italian dictator encouraged Italians to emigrate to Libya and in 1939 there were 150,000 of them living in the country.
In 1940 Italy joined World War II on behalf of Germany and Italian forces based in Libya fought the British in Egypt. However, in 1943 the British took Libya. After the war, Libya was controlled by the British and the French.
Through a 1947 peace treaty, Italy renounced all rights to Libya. Then, in 1949, the UN decreed that Libya should be independent on January 1, 1952. A constitution for Libya was drawn up and Muhammad Idris al Sanusi was elected king. King Idris I declared Libya’s independence on December 24, 1951.
At first Libya was an impoverished country. However, Libya changed forever in 1959, when oil was discovered. Oil brought new wealth to the country, and by the mid-1960s Libya was one of the world’s largest oil-producing countries.
However, on September 1, 1969, a group of army officers led by Muammar Gaddafi staged a coup in Libya. The monarchy was abolished. Gaddafi became the dictator of Libya and remained in power for 42 years.
In 1984, the United Kingdom severed diplomatic relations with Libya after a policewoman was murdered outside the Libyan embassy in London. In 1986 a bomb exploded in a German nightclub. The US believed that the Libyans were involved, so they bombed Libya.
In 1992 and 1993 the UN imposed sanctions on Libya for its part in the destruction of a passenger plane over Lockerbie in 1988. In 1999 Gaddafi finally handed over two men suspected of involvement. UN sanctions were suspended but not formally lifted until 2003.
Meanwhile, in 1999 the Italian government apologized for the brutal conquest of Libya decades earlier.
However, in 2011 there was a revolution in Libya and Gaddafi was assassinated.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Libya was still dependent on oil. Libya still has large oil reserves. However, Libya suffered from a high level of unemployment. Currently, the population of Libya is 6.6 million.
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