Magazine article History Today

The Kingdom of Libya Is Established December 24th, 1951. (Months Past)

Magazine article History Today

The Kingdom of Libya Is Established December 24th, 1951. (Months Past)

Article excerpt

After centuries under the Carthaginian, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Libya fell to the Italians in 1911. The Second World War and the Italian defeat raised the question of what to do with it. The British suggested dividing the country into three spheres of influence -- Cyrenaica under Britain, Tripolitania under Italy and the Fezzan desert area under the French. Arab nationalists objected and in 1949 the United Nations decided to create an independent state of Libya. A national assembly devised a monarchical constitution and offered the throne to Sayyid Idris, Emir of Cyrenaica.

The emir was the head of the powerful Senussi religious brotherhood founded by his grandfather in the previous century in reaction against Western influence on the Arab world. This fundamentalist Islamic movement took a firm hold on the loyalty of the desert Bedouin and become a major force in Libyan politics. In the last years of the Ottoman empire it effectively ruled the Libyan interior.

Born in an oasis in Cyrenaica in 1890, Sayyid Idris succeeded to the headship of the Senussi in his teens. He spent years in exile in Egypt during the Italian regime and returned to Libya after the Axis powers had been thrown out in 1943. On December 24th, 1951, as King Idris I, he spoke to the new nation on the radio from Benghazi. `We proclaim to the people of Libya that in fulfillment of their endeavours and of the UN resolution of November 21st, 1949, our beloved country has, with the help of God, attained independence. We offer to Almighty God our prayers of heartfelt praise and thanksgiving for his blessings and rejoice with the Libyan people upon this happy and historic occasion. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.