- 2.1Ancient Libya:
- 2.2Achaemenid Libya:
- 2.1Islamic Libya:
- 2.2Ottoman Tripolitania (1551–1911):
- 2.1Italian Colonization (1911–1943):
- 2.1Independence, Kingdom of Libya and Libya under the direction of Gaddafi (1951–2011):
- 2.1First Libyan Civil War:
- 2.1Post-Gaddafi Era and the Second Libyan Civil War:
- 6Flag of Libya:
The so-called “pacification of Libya” by the Italians resulted in mass deaths of the indigenous people in Cyrenaica, killing approximately one quarter of Cyrenaica’s population of 225,000. Ilan Pappé estimates that between 1928 and 1932 the Italian military “killed half the Bedouin population (directly or through disease and starvation in Italian concentration camps in Libya).”
In 1934, Italy combined Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan and adopted the name “Libya” (used by the Ancient Greeks for all of North Africa except Egypt) for the unified colony, with Tripoli as its capital. The Italians emphasized infrastructure improvements and public works. In particular, they greatly expanded Libyan railway and road networks from 1934 to 1940, building hundreds of kilometers of new roads and railways and encouraging the establishment of new industries and dozen of new agricultural villages.
From 1943 to 1951, Libya was under Allied occupation. The British military administered the two former Italian Libyan provinces of Tripolitana and Cyrenaïca, while the French administered the province of Fezzan.
In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal of some aspects of foreign control in 1947. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.
Independence, Kingdom of Libya and Libya under the direction of Gaddafi (1951–2011):
On 24 December 1951, Libya declared its independence as the United Kingdom of Libya, a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King Idris, Libya’s only monarch. The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled one of the world’s poorest nations to establish an extremely wealthy state. Although oil drastically improved the Libyan government’s finances, resentment among some factions began to build over the increased concentration of the nation’s wealth in the hands of King Idris.
On 1 September 1969, a group of rebel military officers led by Muammar Gaddafi launched a coup d’état against King Idris, which became known as the Al Fateh Revolution. Gaddafi was referred to as the “Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution” in government statements and the official Libyan press. Moving to reduce Italian influence, in October 1970 all Italian-owned assets were expropriated and the 12,000-strong Italian community was expelled from Libya alongside the smaller community of Libyan Jews. The day became a national holiday known as “Vengeance Day”. Libya’s increase in prosperity was accompanied by increased internal political repression, and political dissent was made illegal under Law 75 of 1973. Widespread surveillance of the population was carried out through Gaddafi’s Revolutionary Committees.
Gaddafi also wanted to combat the strict social restrictions that had been imposed on women by the previous regime, establishing the Revolutionary Women’s Formation to encourage reform. In 1970, a law was introduced affirming equality of the sexes and insisting on wage parity. In 1971, Gaddafi sponsored the creation of a Libyan General Women’s Federation. In 1972, a law was passed criminalizing the marriage of any females under the age of sixteen and ensuring that a woman’s consent was a necessary prerequisite for a marriage.