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The city was founded in the 7th century BC, by the Phoenicians, who named it "Oea". They were probably attracted to the site by its fine natural harbor, flanked on the western shore by the small, easily defendable peninsula, on which they established their colony. The city then passed into the hands of the rulers of Cyrenaica (a Greek colony on the North African shore, east of Tripoli, halfway to Egypt). It was wrested away from the Greeks by the Carthaginians, like Tripoli, another Phoenician colony.

By the later half of the 2nd century BC it belonged to the Romans, who included it in their province of Africa, and gave it the name of Regio Syrtica. Around the beginning of the 3rd century AD, it became known as the Regio Tripolitana, meaning "region of the three cities", namely Oea (i.e. modern Tripoli), Sabratha and Leptis Magna. It was probably raised to the rank of a separate province by Septimius Severus, who was a native of Leptis Magna.

In spite of centuries of Roman habitation, the only visible Roman remains, apart from scattered columns and capitals (usually integrated in later buildings), is the Arch of Marcus Aurelius from the 2nd century AD. The fact that Tripoli has been continuously inhabited, unlike f.x. Sabratha and Leptis Magna, has meant that the inhabitants have either quarried material from older buildings (destroying them in the process), or built on top of them, burying them beneath the streets, where they remain largely unexcavated.

There is evidence to suggest that the Tripolitania region was in some economic decline during the 5th and 6th centuries, in part due to the political unrest spreading across the Mediterranean world in the wake of the collapse of the Roman empire, as well as pressure from the invading Vandals.

Like the rest of North Africa, it was conquered by the Muslims early in the 8th century. Following the conquest, Tripoli was ruled by dynasties based in Cairo, Egypt, first the Fatimids, and later the Mamluks.


- 1500s-1800s
In 1510, it was taken by Don Pedro Navarro, Count of Oliveto for Spain, and, in 1523, it was assigned to the Knights of St. John, who had lately been expelled by the Ottoman Turks from their stronghold on the island of Rhodes. Finding themselves in very hostile territory, the Knights enhanced the city’s walls and other defences. Though built on top of a number of older buildings (possibly including a Roman public bath), much of the earliest defensive structures of the Tripoli castle (or "Assaraya al-Hamra", i.e. the "Red Castel") are attributed to the Knights of St John.

Having previously combated piracy from their base on Rhodes, the reason that the Knights were given charge of the city, was to prevent it from relapsing into the nest of Barbary pirates it had been prior to the Spanish occupation. The disruption the pirates caused to the Christian shipping lanes in the Mediterranean had been one of the main incentives for the Spanish overtake of the city.

The knights kept the city with some trouble until 1551, when they were compelled to surrender to the Ottoman Turks, led by Turgut Reis. Turgut was also buried in Tripoli after his death in 1565. His body was taken from Malta, where he had fallen during the Ottoman siege of the island, to a tomb in the mosque he had established close to his palace in Tripoli. The palace has since disappeared (supposedly it was situated between the so called “Ottoman prison” and the arch of Marcus Aurelius), but the mosque, along with his tomb, still stands, close to the Bab Al-Bahr gate.

After the capture by the Ottoman Turks, Tripoli once again became a base of operation for Barbary pirates. Effective Ottoman rule during this period (1551- 1711) was often hampered by the local Janissary corps. Intended to function as enforcers of local administration, the captain of the Janissaries and his cronies were often the de facto rulers.

In 1711 Ahmed Karamanli, a Janissary officer of Turkish origin, killed the Ottoman governor, the "Pasha", and established himself as ruler of the Tripolitania region. By 1714 he had asserted a sort of semi-independence from the Ottoman Sultan, heralding in the Karamanli dynasty. The Pashas of Tripoli were expected to pay a regular tributary tax to the Sultan, but were in all other aspects rulers of an independent kingdom. This order of things continued under the rule of his descendants, accompanied by the brazen piracy and blackmailing until 1835, when the Ottoman Empire took advantage of an internal struggle and re-established its authority.

The Ottoman province (vilayet) of Tripoli (including the dependent sanjak of Cyrenaica) lay along the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea between Tunisia in the west and Egypt in the east. Besides the city itself, the area included Cyrenaica (the Barca plateau), the chain of oases in the Aujila depression, Fezzan and the oases of Ghadames and Ghat, separated by sandy and stony wastelands.

The Barbary Wars
 
Tripoli Harbour during the Tripolitan WarIn the early part of the 19th century, the regency at Tripoli, owing to its piratical practices, was twice involved in war with the United States. In May 1801, the pasha demanded an increase in the tribute ($83,000) which the US government had been paying since 1796 for the protection of their commerce from piracy under the 1796 Treaty with Tripoli. The demand was refused, and a naval force was sent from the United States to blockade Tripoli.

The First Barbary War dragged on for four years. In 1803, Tripolitan fighters captured the US frigate Philadelphia and took its commander, Captain William Bainbridge, and the entire crew as prisoners. The Philadelphia was turned against the Americans and anchored in Tripoli Harbour as a gun battery. The following year, US Navy Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a successful nighttime raid to retake the ship. Decatur's men set fire to the Philadelphia and escaped.

The most colorful incident in the war was the expedition undertaken by William Eaton with the object of replacing the pasha with an elder brother living in exile, who had promised to accede to all the wishes of the United States. Eaton, at the head of a motley crew of 500 US Marines, Greek, Arab and Turkish Mercenaries, marched across the desert from Alexandria, Egypt and with the aid of American ships, succeeded in capturing Derna. Soon afterward, on June 3, 1805, peace was concluded. The pasha ended his demands and received $60,000 as ransom for the Philadelphia prisoners under the 1805 Treaty with Tripoli.

In 1815, in consequence of further outrages, Captains Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur, at the head of an American squadron, again visited Tripoli and forced the pasha to comply with the demands of the United States. See Second Barbary War.

 

Later history


In 1835, the Ottomans took advantage of a local civil war to reassert their direct authority. After that date, Tripoli was under the direct control of the Sublime Porte. Rebellions in 1842 and 1844 were unsuccessful. After the occupation of Tunisia by the French (1881), the Ottomans increased their garrison in Tripoli considerably.

Italy had long claimed that Tripoli fell within its zone of influence and that Italy had the right to preserve order within the state. Under the pretext of protecting its own citizens living in Tripoli from the Ottoman Government, it declared war against the Ottomans on September 29, 1911, and announced its intention of annexing Tripoli. On October 1, 1911, a naval battle was fought at Prevesa, Greece, and three Ottoman vessels were destroyed. By the Treaty of Lausanne, Italian sovereignty was acknowledged by the Ottomans, although the Caliph was permitted to exercise religious authority.

Tripoli was controlled by Italy until 1943. After that, it was occupied by British forces until independence in 1951.

Tripoli was subjected to an air strike by the United States in 1986, in retaliation for what the US saw as Libya's proven support of terrorism. United Nations sanctions against Libya were lifted in 2003, which is expected to increase traffic through the Port of Tripoli and have a positive impact on the city's economy.

 

 

 

 

About Tripoli

Tripoli  is the largest and capital city of Libya.

Tripoli has a population of 1.69 million. The city is located in the northwest of the country on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. Tripoli was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians, who named it Oea

Tripoli International Airport

Tripoli International Airport (IATA: TIP, ICAO: HLLT) serves Tripoli, Libya. It is operated by the Civil Aviation and Meteorology Bureau of Libya and is the nation's largest airport. Located in the town of Ben Ghashir 34km south of the city centre, Tripoli International is a hub for Libyan Airlines. The airport is also a hub for Afriqiyah Airways and Buraq Air.

Most flights leave Tripoli International Airport from the main International Passenger Terminal, while domestic flights leave through the National Terminal. The terminal capacity is 3 million passengers a year and the airport is currently handling around 1.5 million passengers a year.

Transport to and from Tripoli city center usually involves taking a taxi or shared taxi. Tour operators offer coaches to and from the airport connecting it with numerous hotels in the city centre.
 

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