Italian Libya

Article

November 28, 2021

Italian Libya was created by Italian colonialism in North Africa which officially lasted, after the separate administration of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, from 1934 to 1943.

Conquer and regain

The Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti began the conquest of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, on 4 October 1911, by sending 1 732 sailors to Tripoli under the command of Captain Umberto Cagni, against the Turks and Arabs of Enver Pascià and Aziz Bey . Over 100,000 Italian soldiers managed to obtain from the Sublime port those regions currently defined as Libyan in the Treaty of Lausanne of 18 October 1912, although only Tripolitania was actually controlled by the Italian Royal Army, under the iron leadership of the governor Giovanni Ameglio. Within present-day Libya, mainly in Fezzan, indigenous guerilla warfare continued for years. In this area, in the years following the end of the First World War, France and Great Britain ceded some desert territories to Italian sovereignty (so as to make the borders more linear), in an attempt to appease Rome's controversy over the alleged "mutilated victory. ". Starting from January 1922 the Facta government, through its minister for the colonies Giovanni Amendola, started a wide military campaign which soon led to the reconquest of Misrata. Between 1921 and 1925 the Governor of Tripolitania, Giuseppe Volpi, started new military campaigns and conquered Misrata, the Gefara, the Gebel Nefusa and Garian. Generals Luigi Bongiovanni and Ernesto Mombelli provided to crush the hard resistance of the Senussi in Cyrenaica. Then it was Emilio De Bono in Tripolitania and Attilio Teruzzi in Cyrenaica who expanded the territory under Italian control. The governor Pietro Badoglio between 1930 and 1931 occupied the whole Fezzan and the oasis of Cufra, under the command of General Rodolfo Graziani, who had managed to obtain the contribution of the indigenous cavalry and the Meharists integrated into the "mobile columns". situation, in 1930, was therefore aimed in favor of the Italians. The struggle continued only in Cyrenaica, where the Senussite leader of the guerrillas, Omar al-Mukhtar, still resisted. Omar Al Mukhtar was gifted with an excellent strategic vision, and with the support of local populations, hostile to Italian colonization in the internal regions of Libya, he prevented the Italians from regaining control of the province. Thanks to a perfect knowledge of the impervious territory, despite having only a modest contingent of men (which never exceeded 3000 units) he unleashed a gang war against the Italian troops, inflicting heavy losses on them. On the orders of Graziani, the Italian forces to eradicate the guerrilla of the Senussites in Cyrenaica resorted to ruthless methods of retaliation against the local population accused of supporting the Senussi, guilty of numerous war crimes. The Senussite brotherhood, which supported the guerrillas, was deprived of its assets and subjected to severe repression (more than thirty religious leaders were deported to Italy and the zavie, political and economic centers of the order, were confiscated). To prevent supplies from Egypt, Graziani erected a long barbed wire fence 270 kilometers long, from the port of Bardîyah (Bardia) to the oasis of al-Giagbūûb (Giarabub), constantly manned by Italian troops. Furthermore, Graziani had the entire population of Jebel deported to concentration camps located on the coast of the Gulf of Sirte, near Agheila; this deportation caused the deaths of some 60,000 people, mainly women and children, from hardship and disease. The population of Jebel amounted to about 100,000 people; the clearing of the Cyrenaic plateau began in June 1930 and lasted for several months. The loss of life was mainly due to epidemics - such as those related to the "Spanish" - and to the fa

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