Although imperialism has had a very drastic effect on many countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, it did not have a very significant effect on Libya. Libya had a specific culture, religion, and language before during and after the Italian Imperialism. Although Libya’s government may have varied depending on who was in power, Libya’s culture, what the country really is, has remained more or less the same. Imperialism may have had a significant effect on other countries, but it did not strongly influence Libya. Before the Italians imperialized Libya, many other countries ruled the area.

Starting around the second century BC, all of Africa fell under the Roman rule for about 600 years. The Vandals then invaded Libya in AD 455. The Byzantines invaded Libya within the next century. As of AD 643, the Arabs ruled Libya until 1146 when the Spanish took over . The Spanish rule lasted until the 16th century. The Turks defeated the Spanish and in 1551, Libya became part of the Ottoman Empire . Libya went through a very brief period of time where it broke free from the Ottoman Rule, but shortly thereafter, it was put under Ottoman Rule again.

The Ottoman Rule was the last rule Libya ad to endure before being imperialized by the Italians. Before the Italian imperialization, not much was different about Libya than it is today. The people of Libya mostly spoke Arabic and practiced the Muslim faith. Libya didn’t have very many resources prior to the Italian rule, because petroleum wasn’t accessed until very recently. The type of government varied depending on who was in power at the time Libya had been under the influence of the Roman Empire, the Spanish rule, and the Byzantium Empire.

Libya had never truly reached autonomy, it was constantly being ruled by another country before the Italian Imperialization. In 1912, the Ottoman Empire renounced its claim to Libya. The Sanusi sect ( a very nationalistic group of Sunni Muslims ) resisted Italian occupation for nearly twenty years, but their leaders were exiled for resisting in 1931. In 1934, Libya was officially recognized as an Italian colony. During Italian Imperialism, changes could be seen taking place.

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Instead of the population mainly speaking Arabic, and practicing the Muslim faith, it was realized that there was a lot more French and Italian being spoken. Christians started practicing their faith as well. Even missionaries came over to spread their faith although it did not catch on very well with the natives. The government switched to being under the control of the Italian government, and was ruled from afar. During the Second World War, the Sanusi leaders that had been exiled when the Italians rose to power, returned to Libya.

They fought on the side of the Allies, and succeeded in driving the Italian forces out by 1943 . After the Italians left, the British took control, then the French ruled with the British. In December of 1951, the independent kingdom Libya was created by the United Nations , and was granted complete independence from all foreign countries permanently. In modern day Libya, many things are the same as they were during and even before imperialism. The most popular language of Libya is still Arabic. It is the official language and adheres to the Sunni Muslims.

English comes in as the second most widely used language in Libya, especially in international business and politics. Libya’s most important natural resource is its petroleum reserves. They were first discovered in 1956. The country also has large supplies of natural gas and huge iron ore deposits. The main government is called Jamahiriya. This form of government relies on the people. The people of the country have the most control over their country through councils (group meetings) Libya today is much the country it used to be before and during imperialism.

In 1969, a military coup overthrew the monarchy. This little group of army officers was lead by Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. The country was then re-established as a republic and was henceforth known as the Libyan Arab Republic . His politics are said to blend Arab nationalism, Islamic orthodoxy and revolutionary socialism together, and that he runs the Libyan government as an anti-western dictatorship. He wanted to unify Libya with the other Arab countries, but still oppose Israel. These countries include Egypt and Tunisia.

Since he has taken power, it has become well known that the country supports international terrorism, including extremist Arab and Islamic groups. Despite some of his controversial decisions in the past, Qaddafi has recently reformed, and is now considered by some to be more responsible than previously. For example, two years after the 9/11 attacks, he announced his commitment to fight the Al-Qaeda, instead of supporting them like he used too. There are a couple of reasons people believe as to why he has changed his ways.

The first was the recent drop in oil prices. Prices had dropped a very large amount during the 1990’s, and that lost Libya a lot of money. Since then, Qaddafi has had to rely on other countries for aid more than ever, and hasn’t been able to give out foreign aid. Another possibility is the influence of Western reactions on his decisions. They could have forced him into changing his politics to try to remain popular in today’s world, conforming his ideas into something he may or may not believe in, but still having to support it.

Qaddafi has been a very controversial figure of the Libyan government. Libya was not significantly affected by imperialism. The Italians did not succeed in being able to hold on to control of Libya, and Libya resisted change. Had Italy not imperialized Libya, it would not have made a significant difference. They did not influence the culture, which is the heart of a country, and therefore they did not succeed in their goal. Libya was not greatly affected by Italy and did a great job resisting control and change.


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