V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > C. The Middle East and North Africa, 1792–1914 > 3. North Africa, 1792–1914 > d. Libya
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1799, March 26)
d. Libya
YUSUF PASHA QARAMANLI. Coming to power in the wake of a disruptive civil war, Yusuf Pasha restored order and revived the economy of his country, whose population was estimated at about half a million people. For the first 20 years or so of his reign he drew large revenues from piracy, a state monopoly on the exportation of agricultural produce and livestock, and the trans-Saharan trade, especially in slaves. He reorganized and expanded the army, and built an impressive fleet. But the sharp decline of piracy by the 1820s caused severe financial hardships that led to an erosion of his authority and a rebellion that forced his downfall.  1
Expansion of Tripoli's naval power. Yusuf Pasha built a fleet that by 1805 included 24 warships in addition to other vessels. Most of the ships were European and American merchant vessels captured by the pirates and converted to military uses. With this maritime power the pasha's piratical activities drew in large revenues in the form of captured property, protection money, and ransom payments for captives.  2
War with the United States (See 1805). The conflict began in May 1801 when Yusuf Pasha Qaramanli, in an attempt to extort more tribute, permitted his corsairs to attack American merchant vessels. In 1803 the American frigate Philadelphia was captured and its crew imprisoned. President Jefferson permitted the organization of a naval expedition that, together with mercenary troops, captured the city of Darna in April 1805. The peace treaty signed on June 10, 1805, allowed the United States to ransom 200 prisoners, but avoided the payment of increased tribute.  3
Yusuf Pasha mounted expeditions against tribes in Cyrenaica and the Fezzan, bringing the two areas under his direct control.  4
Yusuf Pasha began borrowing large sums from European merchants to help cover his deficits due to the decline of piracy. The mounting financial crisis in the following years led him also to debase the currency several times, to confiscate property, and to impose new taxes. European pressures on him to repay his debts combined with a rebellion by discontented groups at home led to his abdication in 1832 in favor of his son Ali.  5
ALI PASHA QARAMANLI. The last ruler of the dynasty faced a continuing civil war at home, with the British and French supporting the two rival parties and the Tunisian government scheming to annex Tripoli. The Ottoman government, which wanted to maintain Qaramanli rule, decided finally to forestall possible outside intervention by taking control of the country.  6
1835, May 28
RESTORATION OF DIRECT OTTOMAN CONTROL OVER LIBYA. An Ottoman force landed in Tripoli and put an end to the long rule (since 1711) of the Qaramanli family. The move was designed to contain the French penetration of North Africa as well as Tunisian designs on Libya. Tripolitania was organized into a province (vilayet) under a governor appointed by the Ottomans, while Cyrenaica formed a separate subprovince responsible directly to Istanbul. Ottoman sovereignty over Libya lasted until the Italian occupation, but effective Ottoman control was strongest in the coastal areas and major towns, with the Fezzan and the interior of Cyrenaica enjoying a great measure of autonomy under tribal and Sanusi authorities. The Ottomans introduced their program of Tanzimat reforms into Libya, setting the foundations for the modernization of the country.  7
CREATION OF THE SANUSIYYA SUFI ORDER, by Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi (1787–1859), an Algerian educated in North Africa and Mecca. He advocated a return to the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad and emphasized asceticism and austerity in worship. His movement had the most appeal for the bedouin in Cyrenaica where the main lodge was established in 1843. Under al-Sanusi and his son Muhammad al-Mahdi (1845–1902) the order established a network of over 140 lodges scattered throughout the Libyan desert oases and beyond. These became centers of religious missionary activity and teaching as well as of agricultural settlement and trade. The order acquired political authority among the tribesmen by providing services and mediating disputes. The Ottoman government cultivated the support of the order, granting it in 1856 exemption from taxes on its property and recognizing the right of its leaders to tax members.  8
Implementation of the Ottoman urbanization policy. Forts were constructed at al-Marj (1842), Bu Nujaym (1844–46), and Gharyan and Murzuq (1847). Each outpost fostered settlement and the growth of village populations, particularly in the northern provinces. Trade was encouraged by the foundation of numerous trading posts and by the establishment of a route for commerce between the Jabal al-Gharb and Tripoli.  9
Abolition of slavery. The slave trade had traditionally formed the most lucrative part of Libya's export economy. Slaves were brought to Tripoli from sub-Saharan Africa by caravan routes. The trade increased with the abolition of slavery in Algeria and Tunisia a decade earlier. Despite the official ban, slaves continued to be covertly sold to markets in Istanbul and Egypt until the 1890s, when the slave trade in the Middle East was finally suppressed.  10
Ottoman educational reform. In Tripoli a modern secondary school was established, and by 1868 Turkish and French were the languages of instruction. Six of these modern secondary schools (rushdiyya) were eventually established. A separate secondary school for girls was founded in Tripoli by 1900, along with a training school for village primary-level schoolteachers. A military academy in Tripoli was established during the governorship of Ahmed Resim Pasha (1881–96); it prepared students in history, engineering, mathematics, and French for further study at the Military College in Istanbul.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.