Libya - October 18, 1912

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by EDelahanty, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

    May 7, 2010
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    An important early stage in the formation of modern Libya occurred 100 years ago. On this day in 1912, the decrepit Ottoman Empire ceded to Italy its provinces of Tripolitania (Tripoli), Cyrenaica (Benghazi) and Fezzan, ending the Italo-Turkish War.

    Italy (then the Kingdom of Italy) was late to the European game of colonial empire. Its re-unification had only been completed in 1870, the first time in 1,400 years it was united and not under foreign rule. Italian interests had been eager to take their place among the modern colonial nations, and some visionaries believed the destitute, sparsely populated lands which had once been a Roman province would be a suitable outlet for over-population, particularly landless farmers. (The presence of vast oil reserves was not discovered until the late 1950s). After its conquest Italy revived the ancient name Libya.

    Among the bitterest Italian opponents of the Italo-Turkish war was the young socialist, Benito Mussolini. Several years later, Mussolini broke with the socialists by supporting Italy's involvement in World War One (against the hated Austrians and on the side of the French and British). Eventually, he founded the fascist movement, had himself declared dictator and adopted the ultimately disastrous goal of making the Mediterranean "Mare Nostrum"

    The switch to active Italian rule in 1912 was not well received, and local populations resisted the Italians, who only controlled the coast and a narrow inland strip. The increasingly brutal campaign was not completed until the 1930s, when Italy captured and executed the resistance's elderly leader, Omar Muktar. Mukhtar remains an important figure to Libyans, and both Qaddafi and those who overthrew him used him as a symbol.

    The brief war witnessed the first military use of airplanes, which the Italians used for reconnaisance and bombing of Turkish troops. The relative ease with which the Italians defeated the Turks encouraged the Balkan states of Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece to unite to oust the Turks, in what became known as the First Balkan war. In turn the nationalistic passions ignited by the First and Second Balkan Wars sparked World War 1.


    This crowd may be too young, but I wonder if anyone here has any recollection of Wheelus Base, which was turned over as scheduled back to Libya in 1970 following Qaddafi's overthrow of King Idris.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  2. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

    Mar 4, 2007
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    And then the Brits messed it all up with the "Treaty of Lausanne" and the division of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. The French have some historical problems there also.

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