December

Libya Independence Day: How Libya Gained Independence?

National Day Of Libya 2019

Independence Day in Libya is celebrated annually on December 24. This day is of great significance as it marks the anniversary of the Libyan Independence Declaration from British and French control in 1951. Happy Libya Independence Day!

Libya Independence is celebrated every year on December 24. It was on this day in 1951 that Libya under King Idris al-Sanusi declared independence, being controlled by France and Great Britain. Libya was the first Arab nation to win independence and one of the first independent African countries.

When Did Libya Come Into Existence? Libya Independence Day History Facts

National Day Of Libya 2019

  • Libya ended up being an Italian colony after the end of the Italian-Turkish War. From 1912 to 1927 region of Libya was known as Italian North Africa, and after that, it was divided into two colonies: Italian Cyrenaica and Italian Tripolitania.
  • Italy lost control of Libya amid World War II when Italy was occupied by the Allies. Great Britain controlled Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, while France controlled Fezzan. In 1947 Italy marked the peace treaty, giving up its claims to Libya under its terms.
  • In 1949 the UN General Assembly declared, that Libya should pick up independence by January 1, 1952. A week earlier on December 24, 1951, Libya declared independence from British and French administration and ended up known as the United Kingdom of Libya.

What is celebrated on December 24 in Libya?

Every year on December 24, Libyans celebrate the anniversary of their nation’s independence from Italy, France, and British. Libya Independence Day celebrated on December 24, is a national holiday in Libya celebrated with utmost enthusiasm and pride.

How did Libya gain its independence? Read the History of Libya Here

This content here will cover these topics:

  • How was Libya created?
  • Who was Libya colonized by?
  • Italy, France, and British control in Libya

The Barbary Coast (16th to 20th Century): Turks & French Rule in Libya

When the local Berber dynasties in the 15th and 16th centuries declined, the important coastal strip of North Africa attracted the attention of the two most powerful Mediterranean countries of that time – Spain in the west and Turkey in the east.

The Spanish-Turkish dispute continued until the 16th century, however, it was gradually won by the Turks. This win over Spain permitted Turkish pirates, or corsairs, to establish themselves along the coastal strip of North Africa. The regions seized by the corsairs were then given a formal status as protectorates of the Ottoman empire.

Libya flag on soldiers arm. Libyan army

The first such pirate established himself on the coastal strip of Algeria in 1512. Two other pirates established themselves in Libya by 1551. Tunisia is quickly taken in 1534 by the most strong and famous pirate of all, Khair ed-Din (known to the Europeans as Barbarossa). Recovered for Spain in 1535, Tunisia is at long last brought under Ottoman control in 1574.

Piracy remains the central reason and primary source of income of all these Turkish settlements along the Barbary coast. Furthermore, the ravagings of piracy, following three centuries, finally provoke French intervention in Algeria. This, at any rate, is expressed by the French at an opportunity to be the reason for their intervention.

Algiers was occupied by the French in 1830, yet it isn’t until 1847 that the French conquest of Algeria is complete – after delayed obstruction from the Berber hinterland, which has never been adequately controlled by the Turks on the coast.

Tunisia turned into a French protectorate in 1881, and Morocco (which has kept up an unsteady independence status, under its own local sultans, since the end of the Marinid administration) follows in 1912. Italy took Libya from the Turks in 1912. The districts of the Barbary coastal strip in this way enter their last colonial stage before independence.

Italo-Turkish War in 1911-1912: The Italian Colonization of Libya Begins

Turkish power over the district of present-day Libya had been little more than nominal during a great part of the Ottoman period. In the western area, Tripolitania, the descendants of an Ottoman governor, Ahmed Karamanli, won hereditary rights as pashas in 1711 and retained them until 1832. In the eastern locale of Cyrenaica real power lived with the Senussi, devotees of a 19th-century religious reformer (al-Senussi al-Kabir), whose statement of faith of a strict and simple Sunni life proved popular with the Bedouin tribesmen.

Libya flag pennants

But the immediate removal of the Turks from the district isn’t the consequence of local threat. It derived from the desire of Italy, a latecomer in the supreme scramble, to expand her stake in Africa while there is time.

By the first decade of the 20th century, Algeria and Tunisia were French. Egypt was British. Libya, situated between these French and British areas, was part of North Africa in which Italy has been creating broad commercial interests. In the 1900s the French and Italian governments signed a secret agreement – France has plans on Morocco, Italy on Libya. Each will permit the other a free hand!

In 1911 Italy found a trumped-up reason to send a 24-hour-final proposal to Istanbul, requesting the presence of Italian troops in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica to secure the local Italian population. This was followed a day later by an announcement of war and almost immediate invasion of North Africa.

The Italians made generally little progress, incompletely as a result of a lively opposition by the Senussi tribesmen on behalf of their imperial masters. However, by the autumn of 1912 Turkey, plagued by troubles elsewhere, was prepared to surrender. Under the terms of an agreement marked in October at Ouchy (the lakeside district of Lausanne), Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were surrendered to Italy.

Hand holds a heart Shape Libya flag

The new imperial power soon also captured Fezzan, a district toward the southwest under Sennusi control. With the control of Fezzan, present-day Libya took shape – however so far just as an expansive zone suffering and enormously resenting Italian colonization.

World Wars and Fascism (1914-1945): Libya On Road To Independence

In its short existence, the Italian colony of Libya went through two world wars and the ascent of fascism. These occasions had significant and varying impacts in the region.

The demands of World War I caused Italian troops to be pulled back until only the coastal towns of Libya were securely held. Elsewhere control returned back to the network of local Senussi zawiya. After the war, the Senussi leader, Mohammed Idris, endeavored to achieve a compromise with the Italians. In 1920 he recognized their supremacy over coastal Cyrenaica. In return to this, Mohammed Idris was granted the title of ’emir’. But, this uneasy relationship soon crumbled with the beginning of fascism.

Idris escaped in 1923 to Egypt, while fascist governors in Libya took solid measures – including the utilization of concentration camps – to curb resistance in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (the two provinces were joined in 1934 to form the colony of Libya.)

World War II finally brought the Senussi into a winning group. As tough enemies of Italy, they were natural partners of Britain and the USA. They had their impact in the all-important campaign of 1942-3 which drove the Italian and German armed forces out of North Africa.

Amid the later phases of the war and in the post-war years, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were administered by the British, while Fezzan was under the control of the French. But, it was agreed that the eventual fate of Libya shall be referred to the United Nations. The outcome was a resolution for Libyan independence.

the day of independence of the country.Firework on the background of the flag of Libya

Libya wins Independence – When did Libya get its independence?

In December 1950 a national assembly representing all three provinces elected Mohammed Idris to be Libya’s king. The UN General Assembly declared, that Libya should pick up independence by January 1, 1952. A week earlier on December 24, 1951, Libya declared independence from British and French administration and ended up known as the United Kingdom of Libya.  Mohammad Idris, as Idris I, officially declared the independence of the new state.

Check when did Bahrain Became Independent

Libyan Independence Day Celebrations: How Independence Day is celebrated in Libya?

Independence Day in Libya is celebrated with great zeal and fervor. The Libyan Independence Day celebrations are centered around the capital city with a grand parade, presidential address, and laying of memorial wreaths.

happy independence day of libya banner design layout with paper cut colorful layered textLibya’s armed forces start the Independence Day celebrations early morning with a parade in the capital city of Tripoli. The military attended by government key officials and hundreds of Libyans, showcases the strength of Libya’s armed forces and display of advanced armories.

The military parade is followed by an official address by Libya’s prime minister. The Prime Minister of the state congratulates Libyans all around the world on the Independence Day and urges the nation to work hard with faithful spirit to build and develop the country. The prime minister also pays special tribute to the ancient leaders who struggled for Libya’s independence.

On Libya Independence Day, the Libyans decorate their houses and streets with Libya’s flags, pennants, and lights. Major buildings and iconic landmarks in the country are beautifully decorated on this day.

The independence day celebrations in Libya also include festivals, cultural exhibitions, game competitions, discount bazaars, and much more. As Libya Independence Day is a national holiday, so many Libyans also head out to recreational spots with their loved ones and cherish a memorable picnic. Fireworks are also a staple of Independence Day celebrations in Libya.

*Do you know? Libyans celebrated their independence day for the first time in December 2011. It was after more than four decades that Libyans were allowed to celebrate the anniversary of their nation’s independence from Italy and France. After Col Gaddafi came to power in 1969, he banned the holiday, replacing it instead with a day commemorating the anniversary of his coup – 1 September – which has been marked for the past 42 years. A Libyan Independence Public holiday was announced after Gaddafi’s death in 2011.

Libya’s Road To Independence – History Timeline

  • 74 BC – Romans take control of Libya
  • 643 AD – Arabs under Amr Ibn al-As occupy Libya and spread Islam
  • The 16th century – Libya becomes part of the Ottoman Empire, which merges the three provinces of Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripolitania into one regency in Tripoli
  • 1911 to 1912 – Italy seizes Libya from the Ottoman Empire. Omar Al Mukhtar starts a 20-year insurgency against Italian rule
  • 1920s – Libyan resistance rises as Senussi Dynasty joins in alongside the Ommar Al Mukhtar campaign against Italian rule
  • 1931 – Italy breaks the Mukhtar resistance through armed operations and concentration camps. Omar Al Mukhtar is captured and later executed.
  • 1934 – Italy unites the three provinces (Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripolitania) as the colony of Libya and steps up Italian migration to make possible the incorporation of Libya into a Greater Italy
  • 1942 – Allies throw Italians out of Libya. Libya gets divided between the French, who administered Fezzan, and the British, who administered Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.
  • 1951 – Libya becomes independent under King Idris

Teddy bear holding Libya heart shape flag on bokeh background

Libya National Flag introduced on Libyan Independence Day

The flag of Libya was introduced in 1951 after Libya got its independence and turned into the Kingdom of Libya. The Libyan flag consists of a horizontal triband of red, black, and green. There are a white crescent and 5-pointed star centered on the black stripe.

Here’s what the Libyan flag represents:

Red color – represents the blood sacrificed for Libya’s independence

Black color – represents the dark days when Libyans lived under Italian rule

Green color – represents the wealth and agriculture of Libya

Star & Crescent – used as a reference to the Senussi flag and represents the role of King Idris in leading Libya to independence

Libya Fast Facts

*Do you know? Libya has oil reserves estimated at 48 billion barrels, making it one of the top 10 oil-rich countries in the world.

  • Capital city: Tripoli
  • Official Language: Libyan Arabic Berber
  • Religion: Sunni Muslim
  • Demonym: Libyan
  • Independence Day: 24 December
  • Population: 6,653,210 (July 2017 est.)

National public holidays of Libya in 2019

Day Date Holiday Comments
Sunday February 17 February 17th Revolution
Wednesday May 01 Labor Day
Wednesday June 05 Eid ul-Fitr End of Ramadan
Thursday June 06 Eid Al Fitr Holiday End of Ramadan
Sunday August 11 Arafat Day Date to be confirmed. Arafat (Haj) Day
Monday August 12 Eid Al-Adha Date varies on Lunar cycle
Tuesday August 13 Eid Al-Adha Holiday Date varies on Lunar cycle
Wednesday August 14 Eid Al-Adha Holiday Date varies on Lunar cycle
Sunday September 01 Hijri New Year Islamic New Year
Monday September 16 Martyr’s Day
Wednesday October 23 Liberation Day
Sunday November 10 Birthday of Prophet Muhammad
Tuesday December 24 Independence Day
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