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Misrata (also spellled Misurata or Misratah; ar, مصراتة) is a city in the
Misrata District Misrata ( ar, مصراته , Libyan Arabic: ''Məṣrātah''), also spelt ''Misurata'' or ''Misratah'', is a sha'biyah (Districts of Libya, district) in northwestern Libya. Its capital is the city of Misrata. In 2007 the district was enlarged to i ...
in northwestern
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
, situated to the east of
Tripoli Tripoli (; ar, طرابلس, ; ber, ⵜⵔⵢⴱⵓⵍⵙ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ...

Tripoli
and west of
Benghazi () , ; it, Bengasi; tr, Bingazi; ber, Bernîk, script=Latn; also: ''Bengasi'', ''Benghasi'', ''Banghāzī'', ''Binghāzī'', ''Bengazi''; grc, Βερενίκη (') and '., group=note (''lit. Son of he'') is a city in . Located on the in t ...
on the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
coast near Cape Misrata. With a population of about 881,000, it is the third-largest city in Libya, after Tripoli and Benghazi. It is the capital city of the Misrata District and has been called the trade capital of Libya. The harbor is at
Qasr Ahmad Qasr Ahmad or Gasr Ahmed ( ar, ميناء قصر أحمد) is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Ger ...
.


Etymology

The name "Misrata" derives from the Misrata tribe, a section of the larger Berber Hawwara confederacy, whose homeland in Antiquity and the early Islamic period was coastal
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber language, Berber: '; from Vulgar Latin: ''*Trapoletanius'', from Latin: ', from Greek language, Greek: ''Τριπολιτάνια'') is a historic region and provinces of Libya, former province of Libya ...

Tripolitania
.Deadly fighting rages in Libya's Bani Walid
. ''
Al Jazeera English Al Jazeera English (AJE) is a television news channel broadcast to the world by the Al Jazeera Media Network Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN) is a Qatari international International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between na ...
''. 2012-10-23.
"Trirone Acrone", the oldest description mentioned by
Ptolemy III Euergetes egy, Iwaennetjerwysenwy Sekhemankhre Setepamun#Clayton06, Clayton (2006) p. 208 , predecessor = Ptolemy II , successor = Ptolemy IV , nebty = ''ḳn nḏtj-nṯrw jnb-mnḫ-n-tꜢmrj'Qen nedjtinetjeru inebmenekhentamery''The bra ...

Ptolemy III Euergetes
of Misrata because it consists of three heads of land stretching into the sea depth, and got Misrata importance by being at the crossroads of many convoys and also because it is in the middle of an agricultural area with the name of "Cephalae Promentorium" (Kevalay) of the Greek geographer
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
. And the city of Misrata is one of the commercial stations that have been built by the Phoenicians, since more than 3000 years (The Tenth Century BC) to the north-western parts of the Libyan coast. The flag then by the name of
Thubactis Thubactis was a city founded by the Phoenicia Phoenicia (; from grc, Φοινίκη, ') was an ancient Semitic-speaking thalassocratic civilization that originated in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily modern Syria a ...
Misrata and know that name in relation to the Berber tribe of Misurata (The Misurateens), which means the sailors.


History


Early history

Modern Misrata was established around the 7th century AD during the beginning of modern Libya's rule by the
Caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' ...
. Some contemporary sources claim the town existed prior to Islamic rule, during the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
era and that its initial Arabic name derived from its Roman name
Thubactis Thubactis was a city founded by the Phoenicia Phoenicia (; from grc, Φοινίκη, ') was an ancient Semitic-speaking thalassocratic civilization that originated in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily modern Syria a ...
. David Mattingly, author of ''Tripolitania'', a comprehensive reference book on northwestern Libya, stated that identification of Misrata as the ancient
Thubactis Thubactis was a city founded by the Phoenicia Phoenicia (; from grc, Φοινίκη, ') was an ancient Semitic-speaking thalassocratic civilization that originated in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily modern Syria a ...
is particularly problematic, complicated and "defies an easy answer." Nonetheless the Roman town was located at some point on the
oasis In geography, an oasis (, plural oases, ) is a fertile land in a desert or semi-desert environment.
upon which the modern city sits. The two common identifications are at the eastern and western anchorages of modern Misrata or south and inland of the city, respectively. The Roman town was recorded as one of the six ''municipia'' (small self-governing cities) of the
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber language, Berber: '; from Vulgar Latin: ''*Trapoletanius'', from Latin: ', from Greek language, Greek: ''Τριπολιτάνια'') is a historic region and provinces of Libya, former province of Libya ...

Tripolitania
province, a rank below ''coloniae'' (cities with full citizenship rights.) In any case, in the 7th century, it served as a caravan supply center and an important port. Merchant traders from Misrata were well known throughout the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
during the years of the Caliphate (7th–19th centuries) In addition to its strategic location, the city established itself as one of Libya's oldest producers of luxury carpets.Ham, p. 119. The Misrata tribe, a section of the larger Berber Hawwara confederacy, inhabited the coastal region of
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber language, Berber: '; from Vulgar Latin: ''*Trapoletanius'', from Latin: ', from Greek language, Greek: ''Τριπολιτάνια'') is a historic region and provinces of Libya, former province of Libya ...

Tripolitania
during the Roman and early Arab eras.


Ottoman era

The region of
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber language, Berber: '; from Vulgar Latin: ''*Trapoletanius'', from Latin: ', from Greek language, Greek: ''Τριπολιτάνια'') is a historic region and provinces of Libya, former province of Libya ...

Tripolitania
, which included Misrata, came under the regency of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
in 1551. By the beginning of the 19th century, Misrata had been established as a major center for the
Trans-Saharan trade Trans-Saharan trade requires travel across the Sahara between sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically and ethnoculturally, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, i ...
route, where caravans carrying
gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

gold
, leather, and slaves, regularly stopped. Because of the rainfall along the coast, which was abundant compared to other cities in Tripolitania, and supplemental water from underground springs, Misrata's inhabitants were able to engage in unusually fertile agriculture in this largely arid region. The city was filled with thick areas of vegetable gardens while the surrounding countryside included fields of wheat, barley,
date palm ''Phoenix dactylifera'', commonly known as date or date palm, is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae The Arecaceae is a family (biology), family of Perennial plant, perennial flowering plants in the Monocotyledon, monoco ...

date palm
s and olive orchards. Misrata's artisans also expanded on the city's ancient carpet industry for which it was regionally renowned. Although Misrata contained a well-built harbor, most of its long-distance trade was overland because the city of
Benghazi () , ; it, Bengasi; tr, Bingazi; ber, Bernîk, script=Latn; also: ''Bengasi'', ''Benghasi'', ''Banghāzī'', ''Binghāzī'', ''Bengazi''; grc, Βερενίκη (') and '., group=note (''lit. Son of he'') is a city in . Located on the in t ...
to the east served as the preferable substitute for maritime shipping. As a result of the abolition of slavery and increasing European colonial influence in
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

Sub-Saharan Africa
, Trans-Saharan trade declined and consequently Misrata's role in the trade decreased. However, the decline in Trans-Saharan trade saw the establishment of weekly and permanent
market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...

market
s in the city, replacing the seasonal markets associated with long-distance trade. Because of this new economic situation, the residents of the countryside devoted less time to pastoralism, husbandry and guide service for foreign traders and began to shift their focus on agricultural production. Farmers concentrated on growing cash crops, relying on market relations to provide income for their families, instead of
subsistence farming Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmer A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary ...
and periodic barter exchanging.
Bedouin The Bedouin, Beduin or Bedu (; , singular ; , singular ) are nomadic Arab Tribes who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Upper Mesopotamia, and North Africa. However, the Arabian Peninsula is th ...

Bedouin
s increasingly abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and began to settle into permanent dwellings within the city limits. To cope with an rising population due to immigration from the surrounding areas, Misrata witnessed a construction boom in the late 19th century. A covered produce market and numerous streets lined with shops were built in addition to new district and municipal government offices, a renovated
Ottoman army The history of the military of the Ottoman Empire can be divided in five main periods. The foundation era covers the years between 1300 (Byzantine expedition) and 1453 (Conquest of Constantinople The fall of Constantinople ( grc-x-byzant, Ἅ ...
barracks and several Turkish-style houses for the city's wealthy families. Two clans, the Muntasir and Adgham, dominated the political, social and economic aspects of Misrata and led the local tribes against their
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
overlords during various periods of tension. There were many wealthy families in the city, but the Muntasirs, who were of
Arabian The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciati ...

Arabian
descent, and the Adghams, who descended from Ottoman officers who settled in the province in previous centuries, were the most prominent. They made their income from commerce and protected their wealth by cooperating with the Ottoman provincial authorities. Both had extended families and economic holdings not just in Misrata, but also the provincial capital of Tripoli as well as the eastern
Cyrenica Cyrenaica ( ; ar, برقة, Barqah; grc-koi, Κυρηναϊκή παρχία Kurēnaïkḗ parkhíā after the city of Cyrene, Libya, Cyrene) is the eastern coastal region of Libya. Also known as ''Pentapolis'' ("Five Cities") in An ...
n towns of Benghazi and Derna. The Aghdams had traditionally resisted efforts by the central Ottoman government in
Istanbul ) , postal_code_type = Postal code A postal code (also known locally in various English-speaking countries throughout the world as a postcode, post code, PIN or ZIP Code) is a series of letters or digits or both, sometimes ...

Istanbul
to reestablish direct control over Tripoli Province and, under the leadership of Osman al-Aghdam, they led a rebellion against the Ottomans and their local allies in 1835. After their eventual defeat in 1858, they were left in an inferior position to that of the Muntasirs. The Aghdams remained a powerful force nonetheless and their competition with the Muntasirs for leading positions within the local and regional government dominated Misratan politics. Misrata's urban residents did not contribute much to the political scene and avoided contact with the Ottoman authorities out of concern of
conscription Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Mili ...

conscription
into the army and provincial tax collection. In contrast, the rural areas of Misrata were populated mostly by ''
fellahin Fellah ( ar, فلاح ; feminine ; plural ''fellaheen'' or ''fellahin'', , ) is a farmer A farmer (also called an agriculturer) is a person engaged in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and ...

fellahin
'' (peasantry) and former Bedouins who had retained their tribal affiliations and loyalties and thus involved themselves in competition for political influence. Up until 1908, the Muntasirs, led by Umar al-Muntasir, controlled the upper echelons of the newly organized bureaucracy in Tripoli Province and were largely accepted by the local notables as the administrators of Misrata along with
Sirte Sirte (; ar, سِرْت, ), also spelled ''Sirt'', ''Surt'', ''Sert'' or ''Syrte'', is a city in Libya. It is located south of the Gulf of Sirte, between Tripoli and Benghazi. It is famously known for its battles, Demographics of Libya, ethni ...

Sirte
,
Gharyan Gharyan is a city in northwestern Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of Libya, ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībīyā) is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to th ...
and
Tarhuna Tarhuna (; ar, ترهونة), also Tarhoona or Tarhunah, is a Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of Libya, ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībīyā) is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered ...
. However, that year, the
Young Turks Young Turks ( tr, Jön Türkler or ) was a political reform movement in the early 20th century that favored the replacement of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CIT ...
acquired power in Istanbul and ousted the traditional Ottoman leadership. Viewing the Muntasirs as loyalists of
Abdul Hamid II Abdul Hamid II or Abdülhamid II ( ota , عبد الحميد ثانی, Abdü’l-Ḥamîd-i-sânî; tr, II. Abdülhamid; 21 September 1842 10 February 1918) reigned as the 34th Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with seve ...
, the ousted sultan, they made efforts to reduce Muntasir power in the region. The Young Turk administration in Tripoli vetoed Muntasir membership in the local parliament and dismissed the governor of Tarhuna who was Umar al-Muntasir's son, Ahmad Dhiya al-Muntasir, from his post. In addition, they allegedly hired a group of local Misratans to assassinate Abd al-Qasim, another one Umar's sons.


Italian occupation

In October 1911,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...
had launched an invasion against Ottoman Tripolitania, but were unable to reach Misrata until June 1912. Ahmad Dhiya al-Muntasir had consulted with the Italians in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
months prior to the invasion and Umar al-Muntasir used his influence to coordinate with them militarily once they landed on the Libyan coastline. In return for their collaboration, the Muntasirs were able to maintain their administrative role and gained positions as advisers to the Italian military authorities. During
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, Misrata played an important role in the Libyan-Ottoman resistance against the occupying
Italian Army "The safeguard of the republic shall be the supreme law" , colors = , colors_labels = , march = ''Parata d'Eroi'' ("Heroes's parade") by Francesco Pellegrino, ''4 Maggio'' (May 4) ...

Italian Army
. Under the leadership of Ramadan al-Swehli, the city was used a base of support for the Ottoman Empire and his Misratan army dealt a major blow to the Italians at
Qasr Abu Hadi Qasr Abu Hadi ( ar, قصر ابو هادي ') is a village with estimated 4,890 inhabitants in the Sirte District Sirte District (or ''Sirt'' or ''Surt'' District; ar, سرت ''Surt'', ), is one of the districts of Libya. It lies in the north o ...
near Sirte in April 1915. Over 500 Italian troops were killed while Swehli's troops captured over 5,000 rifles, various types of machine guns and artillery and several tons of ammunition. As a result of this Libyan victory, Italy's army and their Muntasir allies withdrew from Misrata. By 1916, Misrata had become semi-autonomous and collected taxes from Sirte, the region of
Fezzan Fezzan ( , ; ber, ⴼⵣⵣⴰⵏ, Fezzan; ar, فزان, Fizzān; la, Phazania) is the southwestern region of modern . It is largely , but broken by mountains, uplands, and dry river valleys (s) in the north, where oases enable ancient towns an ...
and the area between it and Sirte as well as the
Warfalla The Warfalla ( ar, ورفلة) is a tribe that resides in the west of Libya, in the town of Bani Walid, their stronghold. Usually estimated to be Libya’s largest tribe with up to one million of the total population of about 6 million people, the ...
tribal area south of Tripoli. Because of its strategic harbor, Ottoman and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
forces used Misrata as one of their principal supply ports during World War I. The city became the headquarters of a wide-ranging administration which supervised military recruitment and tax collection, had its own ammunition factory, printed its own currency and operated its own schools and hospitals. However, once , the Ottoman officer in charge of the Libyan front, was recalled to Istanbul in early 1918, Ottoman influence waned in Misrata. Suwayhli lost his main backer and a huge source of funding as a result. When the Italians reestablished their control of much of Libya following their victory in World War I, but al-Swehli retained his position as administrator of Misrata. In 1920 he expelled his Italian adviser from Misrata and controlled the town independently with about 10,000 fighters. ''Al Rakib'', a Tripoli-based newspaper, commended the order and security in place at Misrata under al-Swehli as well as the strict application of
Islamic law Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a religious law Religious law includes ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Different religious systems hold sacred law in a greater or lesser degree of importance to their beli ...
including the suppression of hard liquor. In June, however, al-Swehli attempted to attack the Muntasirs and Warfalla in the area between Misrata and Tripoli, but his forces were defeated and al-Swehli was executed by Abd al-Qadir al-Muntasir's troops. A few weeks after the battle, the new Italian governor attacked Misrata. During the mid-1920s and 1930s, Misrata became a center of
Italian colonization Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian colonization
. A new town was laid out on a grid pattern and several public buildings were constructed including a new municipal office, the first hospital of the area, a modern state-of-the-art church (which was later converted to a mosque) and a large hotel.
Giuseppe Volpi Tomb in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Giuseppe Volpi, 1st Count of Misurata (19 November 1877 – 16 November 1947) was an Italian businessman and politician. Count Volpi developed utilities which brought electricity to Venice Ven ...
was named Conte di Misrata, or the "Count of Misrata." In 1935 the construction of the road connecting
Zuwara Zuwarah, or Zuwara or Zwara ( Berber language: At Willul or Zwara, ) is a coastal Berber-speaking city in Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of Libya, ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībīyā) is a country in ...
in the west to Misrata was completed. Later in 1937 was built the
Via Balbia Via or VIA may refer to the following: Science and technology * MOS Technology 6522, Versatile Interface Adapter * ''Via'' (moth), a genus of moths in the family Noctuidae * Via (electronics) A via (Latin for ''path'' or ''way'') is an elect ...
, a main road that connected Misrata with Tripoli and Benghazi, and in 1938
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
governor
Italo Balbo Italo Balbo (6 June 1896 – 28 June 1940) was an Italian fascist politician and Blackshirts' leader who served as Italy's Marshal of the Air Force, Governor-General of Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of ...

Italo Balbo
created on the outskirts of Misrata the new cities of "Gioda" and "Crispi" In January 1939, the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = House of Savoy, Savoy , father = Charles Albert o ...
created the 4th Shore, with Libya's four coastal provinces of Tripoli, Misrata, Bengasi, and Derna becoming an integral part of metropolitan Italy. The last railway development in Libya done by the Italians was the "Tripoli-Benghazi line" that was started in 1941 and was never completed because of the Italian defeat during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
: a new railway station was built in Misrata, but was destroyed by the British attacks in 1942


Independence

In response to alleged vote rigging during the 1952 parliamentary elections, Misrata witnessed mass riots which contributed to the Libyan monarchy's permanent ban on political parties. Following
Muammar Gaddafi Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, Modern Standard . Due to the lack of standardization of transcribing written and regionally pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi's name has been romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Ling ...
's coup that overthrew the monarchy of
King Idris Idris ( ar, إدريس الأول; El Sayyid Prince Muhammad Idris bin Muhammad al-Mahdi as-Senussi; 12 March 1889 – 25 May 1983) was a Libyan political and religious leader who served as the Emir of Cyrenaica and then as the King of Kingdom ...
in 1969, Misrata grew rapidly from the 1970s onward. Two
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
and
steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appe ...

steel
mills were established in the city resulting in a mass migration of Libyans from nearby rural areas to Misrata and consequently generated population and economic growth. The
marina A marina (from Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambig ...

marina
was rapidly developed to host shipping to service the steel plants and other factories with raw materials and other goods. During this period Misrata became the principal economic, educational and administrative center of eastern Tripolitania. The majority of government ministries have branch offices in the city in addition to several college universities, schools and hospitals. The commercial area of Misrata contains numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes. The extensive development of the city attracted large numbers of immigrants to Misrata, giving it a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The main square adjacent to the old souk resembles those of major cities.


Revolution

Starting on 20 February 2011, small demonstrations took place in Misrata in solidarity with anti-government protesters in Benghazi. Libyan police immediately arrested the Misratan protesters, sparking larger demonstrations which Libyan government forces sought to quell using live ammunition. Within a few days, 70 protesters were killed provoking outrage among the city's inhabitants.Rice, Xan
Libyan rebels pay a heavy price for resisting Gaddafi in Misrata
. ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
''. 2011-04-21. Retrieved on 2012-02-11.
By 24 February, Benghazi fell under the control of
anti-Gaddafi forces The anti-Gaddafi forces were Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of Libya, ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībīyā) is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the n ...
in the
Libyan uprising Libyans (ليبيون) and their population density, ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of ...

Libyan uprising
against Gaddafi. That same day, Gaddafi regime forces attempted to wrest control of the city, but were repelled. The battle was renewed with shelling on 20 March as pro-Gaddafi tanks and artillery pushed forward and besieged Misrata. Eyewitnesses reported that pro-Gaddafi soldiers were shooting, killing and injuring unarmed civilians. The city was shelled by artillery, tanks, and snipers, and for over 40 days and had its water supply shut off by Gaddafi's forces. By late April, over 1,000 people in the city were reported killed while around 3,000 were injured. With air support from
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
which entered the conflict on the rebels' side on March 19, and a vital sea-based life line from neighbouring country the Island of Malta, anti-Gaddafi forces managed to force loyalist troops to retreat on April 21, gaining control of most of the city by mid-May. Thereafter, forces from Misrata played an important role in other theaters of the war, such as the Battle of Tripoli, the Battle of Sirte and the Battle of Bani Walid (2011).


Geography

Misrata lies on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea east of Tripoli and west of Benghazi. The location of the city creates a dualism of sea and sand, bounded by the sea to the north and east and to the south by golden sands dotted with palm and olive trees. Like Benghazi and Tripoli, Misrata is divided into two distinct sections. Older Misrata consists of small stone houses and narrow arched streets while the newer part of the city, which began to develop in the 20th century, consists of modern buildings, homes, factories and industrial areas. Aside from its distinct location, which makes it a centre for the exchange of commodities and materials with the rest of the cities of the country, Misrata has modern
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An ec ...

infrastructure
, including paved roads, electricity and communications.


Climate

Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as hot semi-arid (BSh).


Demographics

The city is considered to be the "main center of the Turkish-origin community in Libya"; in total, the Turks form approximately two-thirds (est.270,000 in 2019) of Misrata's 400,000 inhabitants.


Economy

Serving the role of Libya's commercial hub, Misrata is notably clean and construction is well-organized. Its citizens are largely viewed by other Libyans as business oriented. The city's steel mill industry (which is dominated by the government-owned Libyan Iron and Steel Company) is one its principal income producers and sources of employment. Due to the 1970s-80s renovation of Misrata's marina to better supply the industrial plants with raw material, the industry has been able to expand and the steel mill authorities hold considerable influence in the city. Al-Naseem Dairy, one of the largest private companies in Libya, is also located in Misrata and employs around 750 workers.Young, Rob
Libya's commercial hub recovers slowly
. ''
BBC News BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster Public broadcasting involves radio Radio is the technology of signali ...

BBC News
''.
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
. 2012-01-03. Accessed on 2012-01-07.
A historic aspect of the local economy is the cloth and textile industry. Situated near the city's central square are ''
souk A bazaar or souk, is a permanently enclosed marketplace or street where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The term bazaar originates from the Persian language, Persian word ''bāzār''. The term bazaar is sometimes also used to refer ...

souk
s'' ("open-air markets") where, usually three times a week, merchants continue to sell luxury carpets, furniture cloth and traditional clothing, including ''
abaya The abaya "cloak" (colloquially Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in ...

abaya
s'' (cloaks worn by males for celebratory occasions.) Most major businesses, shops and social centers are located on Tripoli Street, Misrata's main thoroughfare. During the Siege of Misrata, most of the buildings housing these assets were destroyed. However, several small businesses are beginning to rebuild and reopen. Nonetheless, recovery remains relatively slow partially due to the shortage of banknotes since Libyan banks are only allowing citizens to withdraw or borrow limited amounts of funds. Once the Libyan Central Bank receives most of the assets that had been internationally frozen during the civil war, it is probable that local banks would ease these restrictions. The city has a great potential for expansion since it attracts a lot of internal immigration and is surrounded by uninhabited flat land with no obstacles. It is home to
Misrata Airport Misrata Airport is an international airport serving Misrata, a Mediterranean coastal city in the Misrata District of Libya. It also acts as an air base and training center for the Libyan Air Force (1951-2011), Libyan Air Force. The runway length ...
, one of Libya's largest airports. There is a port in the neighbouring town of
Qasr Ahmad Qasr Ahmad or Gasr Ahmed ( ar, ميناء قصر أحمد) is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Ger ...
. Misrata is the seat of many national companies such as the Libyan Ports Company, Libyan Iron and Steel Company, the Libyan publishing, distribution and Advertising Company. Besides that, it has branches of public and private sector banks and one locally and privately owned bank.


Government

Misrata is governed by a
local councilLocal council may refer to: Political subdivision * Local council (Israel) * Local council (Jordan) * Local councils of Malta * An elected authority in the local government in the United Kingdom * An elected authority in the local government in Aus ...
consisting of 28 seats. The city held its first free elections on 20 February 2012 after a month of organizing. It was the first major city to hold local elections in post-Gaddafi Libya while other cities had their municipal officials by the national interim government.Gatehouse, Gabriel
Misrata votes for brighter Libyan future
. ''
BBC News BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster Public broadcasting involves radio Radio is the technology of signali ...

BBC News
''. 2012-02-20. Retrieved on 2012-02-22.
Voter registration was at 101,486 and the number of candidates was 28, all of whom were
independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independen ...
s.Misrata stages first Libyan election in decades
. ''
ABC News ABC News is the news News is information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single customer’s sale at a restaurant is data ...
''. 2012-02-21. Retrieved on 2012-02-22.
The mayor of Misrata during the civil war was Khalifa al-Zwawy, while first elected mayor became Yousef Ben Yousef.Misrata mayor elected
''Libya Herald''. 2012-02-26. Retrieved on 2012-02-26.


Education

Misurata University, with its 15 faculties, is located in the city of Misrata. There are several higher education institutions including a number of university faculties that are administratively linked to universities of other cities in Libya. Misurata University is a modern university which was established in 1983, persisting a long-term goal to have an educated community and to end illiteracy and innumeracy in society. Despite its short age, the university has gained excellence in providing the knowledge and skills required for higher education studies, and has enjoyed a great reputation for the teaching, research and training it provides. It has constantly topped the university rankings league in Libya and was recently ranked first in Libya and the 55th in Africa according to the Webometrics Rankings 2013. (e.g.
Al-Tahadi UniversitySirte University ( ar, جامعة سرت) is a public university in the city of Sirte, Libya, with a campus also at Hun, Libya, Hun. It was established as a university in 1991; for the two years before that, it was operated as a branch of Benghazi Un ...
of
Sirte Sirte (; ar, سِرْت, ), also spelled ''Sirt'', ''Surt'', ''Sert'' or ''Syrte'', is a city in Libya. It is located south of the Gulf of Sirte, between Tripoli and Benghazi. It is famously known for its battles, Demographics of Libya, ethni ...

Sirte
and Tripoli University of Tripoli).


Sports clubs

* Asswehly S.C., Asswehly Sports Club (founded 1944) * Alittihad Misurata SC, Alittihad Misurata Sports Club (founded 1965) * Alahly Misurata Sports Club (founded 1974) * Assabah Sports Club (founded 1976) * Attahaddy Misurata Sports Club (founded 1979) * Annajem Arrefi Sports Club (founded 1979) * Aschumooe Sports Club (founded 1982) * Attasaddy Misurata Sports Club (founded 1983) * Aljihad Sports Club (founded 1984) * Assakhra Sports Club (founded 1984)


Transport

A Transport in Libya, railway line and port is proposed in 2008. It is also served by Misrata Airport.


Notable people

* Ali Elmusrati * Ahmad Zarruq * Ramadan Asswehly


See also

* Apostolic Prefecture of Misurata, pre-diocesan Catholic jurisdiction * List of cities in Libya * Transport in Libya *
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber language, Berber: '; from Vulgar Latin: ''*Trapoletanius'', from Latin: ', from Greek language, Greek: ''Τριπολιτάνια'') is a historic region and provinces of Libya, former province of Libya ...

Tripolitania


References


Bibliography

* * * * * *


External links


Misrata Page on ''Encarta Online'' (encarta.msn.com).Archived
2009-11-01)

* * {{Authority control Misrata, Port cities and towns in Libya Populated places established in the 7th century Populated places in Misrata District Ports and harbours of the Arab League Transport in the Arab League Roman sites in Libya Tripolitania Baladiyat of Libya