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tiistai 14. heinäkuuta 2015

Libya, Cool Facts #49

<= 48. Israel                                                                                                                  50. Jordan =>

1. Libya before independence

1200 BC Tripolis is founded by the Phoenicians
630 BC Cyrenaica is founded by the Greeks
600s Arabs conquer Libya
1510 Spanish conquer Tripoli and then hand out it to the Maltan Knights
1551 Ottoman Empire conquers Libya
1911 Italy conquer Tripolitania and Cyrenaica from the Ottomans. First time in the history, Italy uses aerial weapons bombing from planes when they attacked Tripoli
1922 Benito Mussolini creates the colony of Libya attaching Tripolitania together with Cyrenaica. The Italians start emigrating to Libya and building cities and infrastructure
1943 Italy loses Libya after heavy desert battles. Libya is divided into French and British occupation areas. France wants to attach Fezzan to the Francofonic Africa and the British support the aspirations of Cyrenaica's Senussi royalty family to establish their own emirate
1949 Cyrenaica becomes independent
1951 Cyrenaica and unites with Tripolitania and Fezzan because UN wanted to keep the country unified. The emir of the al-Senussi family of Cyrenaica becomes the king of Libya.

Living conditions in the independent Libya weren't good, it was one of the poorest countries. The majority of the people were illiterate and there weren't Libyan doctors or engineers in the country. Italians had all the jobs that required education.

Benito Mussolini (left) in Italian Libya

2. Kingdom of Libya 1951-1969

In 1959 extraordinarily big oil deposits were found in Libya. The oil revenues didn't benefit the majority of the population. Only the big foreign oil companies and small elite in Libya profited from the oil. 
That led to discontent by the people which erupted in 1969 when there was a coup arranged by young officers. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi led the coup and he overthrew the king and rose into power. Gaddafi, the son of an impoverished Bedouin goat herder, started a revolution in Libya, the whole country was changed during Gaddafi's rule. 

The new political system was called the "Third Universal Theory", which was a mixture of Islam, socialism and tribe traditions. 

First and only king of Libya, Idris I (middle)

3. Era of Muammar Gaddafi 1969-2011

- Gaddafi nationalized the oil production, the revenues made Libya's living condition one of the best in Africa in a few decades

- Gaddafi created free healthcare and education, including girls

- Everyone was ensured to have an apartment

- Life expectancy rates rose to western levels

- The American and British military bases were closed

- Started the constructions of world's biggest water supply system of 3862 kilometers in 1984. It brings water from Sahara to the coast and thanks to it tens of thousands of hectares have been turned green

- The government had no public debt at all during Gaddafi

- Libya granted development credits and gift assistance to poorer countries

- Financed the constructions of the Trans-Saharan highway from Niger to Libya

- Gaddafi supported freedom movements like South Africa's ANC, Northern Ireland's IRA, Western Sahara's Polisario and Palestine's PLO

- Gaddafi had a female bodyguard group called the Amazonian Guard

Muammar Gaddafi was a fashion icon

4. Arab Spring and execution of Gaddafi 

The Arab Spring spread in 2011 from Tunisia to Egypt and other Arab countries. In Libya the relative of the king Idris Ahmed al-Senussi started demanding for autonomy to Cyrenaica. The protests grew into mass demonstrations where the old flag of the Libyan Kingdom was used. 

Gaddafi's government suppressed the demonstrations and the western countries started supporting the opposition. The Libyan air space was closed with the mandate of UN and the aerial attacks of NATO troops destroyed the air defense of Libya. In November 20th, 2011 Gaddafi was executed in Sirte. 

Arab Spring in Libya

5. Symbolism in the Flag 

After the execution of Gaddafi, Libya returned the flag used during the kingdom.

The three colors represent the three Emirates of which Libya is constituted: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan.

Fezzan = red, represent the blood sacrificed in the freedom fight
Cyrenaica = black, represents the dark times of the colonial period
Tripolitania = green, represents agriculture and the prosperous future


1200 BC Libya is under Carthaginian rule, three cities were established by the Phoenicians
630 BC The Greek found Cyrenaica which together with Tripolitania flourished as Roman provinces for 400 years
600s Arabs spread Islam and Arabic language, the inner lands are left to the Berbers
1510 The Spaniards conquer Tripoli but they hand it over to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
1551 The Ottomans conquer Libya because of the Christian threat in the coast
1911 Italy conquers Tripolitania and Kyrenaika from the Ottomans
1918-1923 The rebels establish the short-lived Tripolitanian Republic
1922 Benito Mussolini attaches Tripolitania together with Cyrenaica which formed Libya, Italian colony
1943 Libya is divided into British and French occupation zones and after the war under UN surveillance
1949 Cyrenaika becomes independent until the year 1951
1951 Libya was wanted to keep united with the decision of UN and it became united again when Emir of Cyrenaica Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi al-Senussi was crowned as the king Idris I
1959 Exceptionally big oil deposits were found in Libya
1969 The kingdom is banished when colonel Muammar Gaddafi rises in power after a coup
1973 Libya interferes the civil war of Chad and occupies Aouzou strip which had belonged to Fezza before
1984 The constructions of world's biggest water supply system were started
1986 The Americans strike to Tripoli and Benghazi attempting to murder Gaddafi
1988 The Libyans were suspected to have revenged by exploding the American Pan Am - plane over Scotland in Lockerbie
1999 Libyan agents were handed over to the Netherlands for a trial, economic sanctions declared by the UN were dismantled
2003 Libya's international relationships normalize when Gaddafi announces to abandon developing weapons of mass destruction after the Iraq war
2011 Arab Spring leads to unrests in Libya when Cyrenaica starts demanding for autonomy, protests grew into mass demonstrations and the western countries supported the opposition. In the end Gaddafi was executed in Sirt after he had ruled the country for 42 years
2012 First elections in Libya 

Maailman liput maat ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen

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