Tripolitania, historic region, W Libya, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. Tripoli is the chief city. The original inhabitants of the region were probably Berbers. In the 7th cent. B.C. the Phoenicians established colonies on the coast at Leptis, Oea (later Tripoli), and Sabratha. The coastal zone was later held by Carthage and was taken by Numidia in 146 B.C. Rome captured Tripolitania in 46 B.C., and in the following centuries, as Roman rule was extended far into the south, the region prospered as a trade and agricultural center. In A.D. 435, Tripolitania fell to the Vandals, and it was captured by the Byzantines a century later. In the 7th cent. the Arabs gained control of Tripolitania, and from the 9th to the 11th cent. numerous Arabs settled there. The Normans briefly held the region in the mid-12th cent., and from the mid-13th to the mid-15th cent. Tripolitania was ruled from Tunisia. The Ottoman Turks captured the region in 1553 and it became a stronghold of Barbary pirates. For later history, see Libya.

Tripolitania or Tripolitana (Arabic: طرابلس, transliterated: Tarābulus) is a historic region and an ex Province or State ("muhafazah" or "wilayah") of Libya (alongside Cyrenaica and Fezzan). ), in an old system of administrative divisions which was abolished in the early 1970s in favour of a system of smaller-size municipality or "baladiyat" (singular "baladiyah") . The "Baladiyat"-system was subsequently changed many times and has lately become "Sha'biyat"-system. What used to be Tripolitania in the old system became divided up into several "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 "Baladiyah" or "Sha'biyah" of Tripoli has become much smaller than the original Tripolitania to include merely the city of Tripoli and its more immediate surroundings. Because the City and the "Sha'biyah" are nowadays almost coextensive, the term Tripolitania is of more value for historical contexts than for contemporary ones. In Arabic the same word (طرابلس ) is used for both the City and the region, and that word alone would be understood to mean only the City; in order to designate Tripolitania in Arabic, a word like "State", "Province" or "Sha'biyah" must be used as a qualifier.

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 Post-Colonial Heads of Tripolitania

It is important to note here that Tripolitania existed as an entity (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), for a more comprehensive and detailed lists, check these two links: (Dates in italics below, indicate de facto continuation of office).

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

See also

External links

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