Tripolitania /trɪpɒlɪˈteɪniə/ or Tripolitana (Arabic:
طرابلس Ṭarābulus, Berber: Ṭrables, from Vulgar Latin
Latin Regio Tripolitana, from Greek
Τριπολιτάνια) is a historic region and former province of
Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934. From
1934 to 1963,
Tripolitania was one of three administrative divisions
Libya and the Kingdom of Libya, alongside
the east and
Fezzan to the south.
3.2 Middle Ages
3.3 Modern history
4 Episcopal sees
6 See also
8 External links
Satellite image of
Tripolitania on the upper left half,
showing the green Mediterranean coast in the north and the large
desert in the centre and south
Detailed map of Tripolitania
In the old system,
Tripolitania included Tripoli, the capital city of
Libya and a vast northwestern portion of the country; in the
subsequent systems, the sha'biyah of
Tripoli has become much smaller
than the original Tripolitania, including merely the city of Tripoli
and its immediate surroundings. Because the city and the sha'biyah are
nowadays almost coextensive, the term "Tripolitania" has more
historical than contemporary value. In Arabic the same word
(طرابلس) is used for both the city and the region, and that
word, used alone, would be understood to mean only the city; in order
Tripolitania in Arabic, a qualifier such as "state",
"province" or "sha'biyah" is required.
The system of administrative divisions that included
abolished in the early 1970s in favor of a system of smaller-size
municipalities or baladiyat (singular baladiyah). The baladiyat system
was subsequently changed many times and has lately become the
"Sha'biyat" system. The region that was
Tripolitania is now composed
of several smaller baladiyat or sha'biyat – see administrative
divisions in Libya.
Further information: History of Libya
Further information: Ancient Libya, Roman Libya, Diocese of Africa,
Praetorian prefecture of Africa
The city of Oea, on the site of modern Tripoli, was founded by the
Phoenicians in the 7th century BC. It was conquered by the Greek
rulers of Cyrenaica, who were in turn displaced by the Carthaginians.
The Greek name Τρίπολις "three cities" referred to Oea,
Sabratha and Leptis Magna. The
Roman Republic captured
146 BC, and the area prospered during the
Roman Empire period. The
Latin name Regio
Tripolitania dates to the 3rd century. The Vandals
took over in 435, and were in turn supplanted by the counter offensive
of the Eastern
Roman Empire in the 530s.
Main article: History of Islamic
Tripolitania and Cyrenaica
In the 7th century,
Tripolitania was conquered by the Rashidun
Caliphate, and was inherited by its descendants the
Umayyads and the
Abbasids. The Fatimids, established a Caliphate from Tunisia to Syria.
In the 1140s, the
Normans of Sicily
Normans of Sicily invaded Tripoli, but were ousted
Almohad Caliphate in 1158.
Emir Abu Zakariya, an Almohad
vassal, established an independent state in Tunisia in 1229 and took
Tripolitania shortly after. The
Hafsids would control the
region until the Ottoman conquest of 1553.
See also: Ottoman Tripolitania
Flag of the
Tripolitania Vilayet (1864–1911)
Official coat of arms of the Italian Tripolitania
Flag of the
Tripolitanian Republic (1919-1923).
Ottoman Tripolitania (Trablusgarb) extended beyond the region of
Tripolitania proper, also including Cyrenaica.
effectively independent under the rulers of the
Karamanli dynasty from
1711 until Ottoman control was re-imposed by
Mahmud II in 1835.
Ottoman rule persisted until 1911–12, when it was captured by Italy
in the Italo-Turkish War.
Italy officially granted autonomy after the
war, but gradually occupied the region.
After World War I, an Arab Republic, Al-Jumhuriya al-Trabulsiya, or
"Tripolitanian Republic", declared the independence of Tripolitania
from Italian Libya. The proclamation of the
Tripolitanian Republic in
autumn 1918 was followed by a formal declaration of independence at
the 1919 Paris Peace Conference (Treaty of Versailles). This was the
first formally declared republican form of government in the Arab
world, but it gained little support from international powers, and
disintegrated by 1923.
Italy under Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini
managed to reestablish full control over
Libya by 1930. Originally
administered as part of a single colony, Italian
Tripolitania was a
separate colony from 26 June 1927 to 3 December 1934, when it was
merged into Libya.
The Italian fascists constructed the Marble Arch as a form of an
imperial triumphal arch at the border between Tripolitani and
Cyrenaica near the coast.
During World War II, several see-saw back and forth campaigns with
mobile armour vehicles ebbed and flowed across the North African
coastal deserts between first Italian Fascists and the British, soon
joined by the Nazi Germans in 1941.
Libya was finally occupied by the
western Allies, the British moving east from
Egypt after their victory
El Alamein in October 1942 against German Field Marshall Erwin
Rommel and his Afrika Korps, and the Americans from the west after
landings in Operation: Torch in
Algeria in November 1942.
From 1942 continuing to the end of the war in 1945 until 1951, when
Libya gained independence,
Tripolitania and the region of Cyrenaica
were administered by the British Military Administration. Italy
formally renounced its claim upon the territory in 1947.
Tripolitania retained its status as a province in the Kingdom of Libya
from 1951 to 1963, when it was replaced by a new system of
governorates, which divided
Tripolitania into the governorates of
Khoms, Zawiya, Jabal al Gharbi, Misrata, and Tarabulus.
Ancient episcopal sees of the late
Roman province of Tripolitania
listed in the
Annuario Pontificio as titular sees:
Girba (Djerba, Tunisia)
Sinnipsa (ruins of Abd-es-Saade?)
Villamagna in Tripolitania
Villamagna in Tripolitania (Henchir-Sidi-Abdein)
Latin missionary jurisdiction : Apostolic Vicariate of
Tripolitana (later renamed after its see Benghazi).
Tripolitania is Libya's most populous region (compared to
Cyrenaica). Tripolitania's population has grown throughout years, as
has the population of
Libya as a whole. Libya's overall population,
however, has grown at a rate slightly greater. Because of this, the
percentage of Libya's population living within
Source: Gathered from bulletins of censuses 1964, 1973, 1995, 2006.
The majority of the population in
Tripolitania is of Arab-Berber
ancestry. Communities of Berber-speakers lives in the Jebel Nafusa
region, the town of
Zuwara on the coast, and the city-oases of
Airmail stamp of
Banknotes of the Military Authority in Tripolitania
Postage stamps of Tripolitania
List of colonial heads of Tripolitania
Libyan resistance movement
In addition to Tripoli, the following are among the largest and most
important cities of Tripolitania: Misrata, Zawiya, Gharyan, Khoms,
Tarhuna and Sirte.
^ Abdel Aziz Tarih Sharaf, “Jughrafia Libia”, Munsha’at al
Ma’arif, Alexandria, 2nd ed., 1971, pp.232-233.
^ 2006 census, based on the sum of population of districts Misrata,
Murqub, Tripoli, Jafara, Zawiya, Nuqat al Khams, Jabal al Gharbi,
^ "World Statesmen-Libya". Retrieved 12 December 2009.
Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013,
ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tripolitania.
Brief history of Tripolitania
Tripolitania showing its important cities and towns.
Historical regions of Libya
Late Roman provinces (4th–7th centuries AD)
As found in the Notitia Dignitatum. Provincial administration reformed
and dioceses established by Diocletian, c. 293. Permanent
praetorian prefectures established after the death of Constantine I.
Empire permanently partitioned after 395. Exarchates of Ravenna and
Africa established after 584. After massive territorial losses in the
7th century, the remaining provinces were superseded by the theme
system in c. 640–660, although in Asia Minor and parts of
Greece they survived under the themes until the early 9th century.
Western Empire (395–476)
Diocese of Gaul
Alpes Poeninae et Graiae
Diocese of Vienne1
Diocese of Spain
Diocese of the Britains
Diocese of Suburbicarian Italy
Apulia et Calabria
Lucania et Bruttii
Tuscia et Umbria
Diocese of Annonarian Italy
Liguria et Aemilia
Venetia et Istria
Diocese of Africa2
Africa proconsularis (Zeugitana)
Diocese of Pannonia3
Eastern Empire (395–c. 640)
Diocese of Dacia
Diocese of Macedonia
Macedonia II Salutaris
of the East
Diocese of Thrace5
Diocese of Asia5
Diocese of Pontus5
Armenia III (536)
Armenia IV (536)
Galatia II Salutaris5
Diocese of the East5
Palaestina III Salutaris
Phoenice II Libanensis
Syria II Salutaris
Diocese of Egypt5
Quaestura exercitus (536)
1 Later the Septem Provinciae
2 Re-established after reconquest by the Eastern Empire in 534 as
the separate Prefecture of Africa
3 Later the Diocese of Illyricum
4 Placed under the
Quaestura exercitus in 536
5 Affected (i.e. boundaries modified, abolished or renamed) by
Justinian I's administrative reorganization in 534–536
Coordinates: 32°54′00″N 13°11′00″E / 32.9000°N