- Italian Libya
Infobox Former Subdivision
native_name = "Libia Italiana"
conventional_long_name = Italian Libya
common_name = Libya
continent = Africa
country = Italy
empire = Italy
government_type = Colony
year_start = 1934
year_end = 1943
p1 = Italian Cyrenaica
flag_p1 = Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg
p2 = Italian Tripolitania
flag_p2 = Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg
|thumb|right|300px|Map of Italian East Africa
s1 = Tripolitania
flag_s1 = Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
s2 = Cyrenaica
flag_s2 = Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
s3 = Fezzan
flag_s3 = Flag of France.svg
image_map_caption = Map of Libya as a colony
common_languages = Italian,
Roman Catholicism, Islam
Italian Libya was a unified colony of
Italian North Africa("Africa Settentrionale Italiana", or ASI) established in 1934 [http://law.fsu.edu/library/collection/LimitsinSeas/IBS003.pdf] in what represents present-day Libya. Italian Libya was formed from the colonies of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania which were taken by Italy from the Ottoman Empirein 1912 after the Italo-Turkish Warof 1911 to 1912. Both Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, along with Fezzan, were merged into Italian Libya in 1934. The colony expanded after concessions were made from the British colony of Sudan and a territorial agreement with Egypt. Libya was lost as a colony in 1943 when it was occupied by the Allied powers in World War II.
Colonial Policy under Fascism
Initially the Fascist regime took a hard line against Libyan Arab nationalists who had been fighting a civil war for independence for many years under the leadership of
Omar Mukhtar. Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolinisent Rodolfo Grazianito lead military forces to crush Mukhtar's resistance. The Arab resistance movement was violently crushed and Mukhtar was executed in 1931. In the aftermath of the violence, Mussolini attempted to improve the image of his government to Libyan Arabs and pursued policies to woo the trust of Arab leaders there. In December 1934, individual freedom, inviolability of home and property, right to join the military or civil administrations, and the right to freely pursue a career or employment were guaranteed to Libyans. [Sarti, p190.] and in a famous trip to Libya in 1937, a propaganda event was created when on March 18he posed with Arabdignitaries who gave him an honourary " Sword of Islam" (that had actually been made in Florence) which was to symbolize Mussolini as a protector of the MuslimArab peoples there. [Sarti, p194.] In 1939, laws were passed that allowed Muslims to be permitted to join the National Fascist Partyand in particular the Muslim Association of the Lictor("Associazione Musulmana del Littorio"), and the 1939 reforms allowed the creation of Libyan military units within the Italian army. [Sarti, p196.]
Fascismmany Italians moved to Libya and colonized the coastal areas. In 1940 the Libyan Italianswere nearly 110,000, or 12% of the total population of Libya. The governor Italo Balbodeveloped the Italian Libya from 1934 to 1940, creating a huge infrastructure (from 4,000 km of roads to 400 km of narrow gaugerailways to new industries and to dozen of new agricultural villages).
World War II
A number of major battles took place in Libya during the
North African campaignof World War II. In September1940, the Italian invasion of Egyptwas launched from Libya. Starting in Decemberof the same year, the British launched a counterattackcalled Operation Compassand the Italian forces were pushed back into Libya. After losing all of Cyrenaicaand almost all of its Tenth Army, Italy asked for German assistance to aide the failing North African Campaign.
With German support, the lost Libyan territory was regained and by the conclusion of
Operation Brevity, German and Italian forces were entering Egypt. The Siege of Tobrukin April1941, where German General Erwin Rommel's forces were defeated, marked the first failure of Blitzkriegtactics. Defeat during the Second Battle of El Alameinin Egypt spelled the doom of the Axis forces in Libya and meant the end of the Western Desert Campaign.
February1943, retreating German and Italian forces were forced to abandon Libya as they were pushed out of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, thus ending Italian jurisdiction over Libya.
Italian invasion of Libya
History of Libya as Italian Colony
Frontier Wire (Libya)
Italian North Africa
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