Oceans Travel & Tour Services
Ahlan Wa Sahlan:
Ocean Tours Welcomes You to Libya


PO BOX 9225
Benghazi, Libya

Tripoli Office:
Tel. 00218 913713581
Fax 00218 21 3692075
Libyan History Page

In Ancient Times
Libya was one of the focal points of the ancient world, playing host throughout history to the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines. The Greeks and Romans left impressive ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha. The Roman ruins at Leptis Magna are widely renowned as the best outside Italy.

Libya's best ancient sites: Leptis Magna, Cyrene

Berbers and Tuaregs
The Greek name 'Libya' has its origins in the Egyptian word 'Lebu', which referred to the Indigenous Berber people of the region. Some of their ancestors still lead a traditional desert lifestyle today. The Tuareg are the indigenes of the Sahara. Their origins are not fully understood, and 'Tuareg' is thought to be a name bestowed on them by Arabs. They have been known as the 'blue people of the Sahara', due to the custom of wearing blue headscarves which can stain the skin with indigo dye.

Al Muheet can take you to the Libyan Sahara to meet Berber and Tuareg people in their traditional lands.

Libya's best Berber towns: Awjila, Gharyan, Qasr al Haj
Libya's best Tuareg towns: Ghadames, Ghat

The Arabs conquered Libya in the 7th century AD, and in subsequent centuries most of the population adopted the Arabic language and culture and later, Islam. Libya remained under the control of Islamic rulers (from Persia, Egypt and Morocco) until the early 16th century. Successive invasions of Libya have not displaced the people's strong Islamic faith.

Libya's best Islamic sites: Zliten, Ghadames, Awjila, Derna, Al Bayda, Al Faiediy Ah Jalu, Zletin, Sebha and more.

Ottoman Rule
Discovering the coast of Libya to be run by pirates (notably Barbarossa, or Red Beard), the Ottoman Turks in 1551 decided to occupy the coast of the Maghreb (Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania), leaving the rest of the country, for the time being, in the hands of the Moroccan Awlad Suleiman dynasty. Throughout the next three centuries, the Ottomans furthered their claim across the Sahara, launching campaigns against the rulers and tribes of Libya. The Ottomans faced insurgency from the Tuareg and Berber tribes and the religious followers of The Grand Sanusi throughout its rule of Libya, but it maintained a tenuous grip over the country, the 20th century hailing the end of the Ottoman reign.

Libya's best Ottoman sites: Scattered throughout Tripoli and Benghazi

Italian Occupation
Deciding to enter the race for African colonies, Italy invaded Libya in October 1911, under the guise of liberating the Libyan people from oppressive Ottoman rule. Unimpressed by the obvious ruse, the Libyan people mounted a massive revolt, with battles occurring across the country. The Ottomans, concerned with more important matters, ceded Libya to the Italians. By 1914 Italy had secured control of Tripolitania but continued to do battle with Sanusi rebels from Cyrenaica and the Fezzan. During WW1 the resistance escalated to the point that, in 1921, Mussolini was compelled to launch a campaign to 're-conquer' Libya. This was the era of Libya's modern hero, Omar al-Mukhtar, who was the leader of the rebellion during the 1920's.  Although he was captured and killed in 1931, Mukhtar's followers continued to fight until 1937, when Italian control had overtaken all of Libya. This was short lived, however, as Libya became embroiled in WWII.

Libya's Best Italian sites: Scattered throughout Tripoli and Benghazi

Libya was one of the most fiercely contested territories of the war, the fight for Tobruk igniting the hearts and imaginations of generations to come. Fighting alongside the Allied forces, the Libyan rebels served to secure victory. Britain established a care-taker administration, with France controlling the Fezzan from its stronghold in southern Algeria. United Nations talks revealed a promise Britain had made to rebel leaders to ensure Libyan independence after the war - in light of this, the UN, in November 1949, approved the formation of an independent state. The Libyans, for the first time, were free, and crowned their first King in front of the National Assembly in 1951.  Libya was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations and one of the first former European colonies in Africa to gain independence.

Libya's best WWII historic sites: Tobruk

Modern Libya
Centuries of oppressive rule, war and neglect meant the new ruler faced many challenges in re-building the shattered country, but treaties with Britain, America, France and, eventually, Italy, allowed the Libyan government to progress. In 1959, oil was discovered in Libya and the direction of the new nation changed completely. The subsequent years saw economic growth and social and political upheaval, as successive governments struggled to cope with the rapid rate of change.

Modern Libya: Tripoli, Benghazi

Gaddafi and onward...
A decade of disquiet amongst the Libyan people meant the military coup on September 1st, 1969, was generally supported. The Revolutionary Command Council took control of the government and installed the young and charismatic Mu'ammar Gaddafi as leader. Although Gaddafi's rule has experienced its fair share of controversy, a recent shift in the political status and the lifting of United Nations sanctions has seen Libya rejoin the international community and become a fashionable tourist destination.

For more information on Libya, including climate, religion, population and language, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya 

Ruins of Cyrene

Ancient Desert village

Old Medina

Temple of Isis, Sabratha

Bir Hakim French Memorial

German memorial

Traditional House, Benghazi

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