Subdivisions of Libya

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The 3 main historical subdivisions of Libya

Subdivisions of Libya are the different names for the areas of Libya in the last two centuries. Initially Libya under Ottoman and Italian control was organized into three to four provinces, then into three governorates (muhafazah) and after World War II into twenty-five districts (baladiyah). Successively into thirty-two districts (shabiyat) with three administrative regions, and finally into twenty-two districts (shabiyat).

History[edit]

Prior to the Italian invasion of 1911, the area of Libya was administered as three separate provinces ("Vilayets") of the Ottoman Empire: Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica.

At first, Italy continued the tripartite administration, but soon consolidated the area into a single province/gobernatorate administered as the "Libyan Colony". Indeed until about 1931 -when the last of the native resistance to the Italians was subdued- the area was divided into three historical regions (Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan/"Territorio Sahara").

Then, in 1937, Italian governor Italo Balbo created the political entity called Libya. His Italian Libya was with four provinces and one territory: Tripoli, Misurata, Benghazi, Derna, (in the coastal north) and the "Territory of the Libyan Sahara" (in the Saharan south).[1]

After the French and British occupied Libya in 1943, it was again split into three provinces: Tripolitania in the northwest, Cyrenaica in the east, and Fezzan-Ghadames in the southwest.[2]

After independence, Libya was divided into three governorates (muhafazat), matching the three provinces of before, but in 1963 it was divided into ten governorates.

Provinces[edit]

Main article: Provinces of Libya

The Provinces of Libya existed during the last period of colonial Italian Libya through post-independence Libya. The country was divided into provinces from 1934 in the colonial era to 1963 when the Governorates system was instituted.

Governorates[edit]

Main article: Governorates of Libya

The Governorates of Libya (muhafazah) were an administrative division of Libya from 1963 until 1983. Initially there were 46 governorates-districts, called baladiyah, that were reduced to 25 in 1987.

Libyan governorates-districts ("Baladiyah") in 1987
بلدية Baladiyah Main city Population
(in 1984)
Number
(on the map)
طبرق Butnan Tobruk 94,006 3
درنة Darnah Derna 105,031 14
الجبل الاخضر Jabal al Akhdar Bayda 120,662 5
المرج Marj Marj 102,763 4
بنغازي Benghazi Benghazi 485,386 13
إجدابيا Al Wahat Ajdabiya 100,547 1
الكفرة Kufra Al Jawf 25,139 8
سرت Sirte Sirte 110,996 21
مصراتة Misratah Misrata 178,295 17
Khoms Khoms 149,642 7
طرابلس Tripoli (Tarabulus) Tripoli 990,697 22
العزيزيه Al 'Aziziyah 'Aziziya 85,068 2
الزاوية Az Zawiyah Zawiya 220,075 12
النقاط الخمس An Nuqat al Khams Zuwara 181,584 9
الجبل الغربي Gharyan Gharyan 117,073 16
Zlitan Zliten 101,107 25
الجفرة Al Jufrah Waddan  ? 6
الشاطئ Ash Shati' Brak 46,749 10
سبها Sabha Sabha 76,171 19
أوباري Awbari Ubari 48,701 11
غدامس Ghadamès Ghadames 52,247 15
Sawfajjin Bani Walid 45,195 20
مرزق Mourzouq Murzuk 42,294 18
ترهونة Tarhounah Tarhuna 84,640 23
يفرن Yafran Yafran 73,420 24
Total 3,637,488

Municipalities[edit]

In 1983, a new system was introduced dividing the country into forty-six municipalities (baladiyat, ). In 1987 this was reduced to twenty-five.

Districts[edit]

Main article: Districts of Libya

On 2 August 1995, Libya reorganized into thirteen districts (sha`biyat - singular sha`biyah, also translated as municipalities or popularates). In 1998 this was increased to twenty-six districts (sha`biyat). In 2001 it was increased to thirty-two districts plus three administrative regions. Finally in 2007 the number was reduced to twenty-two districts.[3]

Basic People's Congresses[edit]

Libyan districts are further subdivided into Basic People's Congresses Arabic: مؤتمر شعبي أساسي‎ (Mu'tamar shaʿbi asāsi ). Geographically they correspond approximately to the level of a township or borough. In desert areas they can have an extensive land area with very low population, and are generally centered around, and named for, an oasis.

Overview[edit]

year number of divisions name of divisions
historically (Greeks) 1(?) Libya Satrapy satrapy
historically Roman Empire Roman Libya: Creta et Cyrenaica province
historically Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Tripolitania) Ottoman Tripolitania 1 vilayet
colonised territory (1st phase)
Italian North Africa,
from 1912 to 1927
1[4] (Italian Libya) or
2[5]
governorate or province
colonised territory (2nd phase)
Italian North Africa
from 1927 to 1934
2 (Italian Cyrenaica,[6] Italian Tripolitania[7])
also Fezzan?[8]
governorate or province
colonised territory (3rd phase)
Italian Libya
from 1934 to 1937
3[9] (Cyrenaica, Fezzan, Tripolitania) or
4[10] or
1[11]
province
colonised territory (4th phase)
Provinces of the Fourth Shore
within the Italian Colonial Empire
from 1937 to 1940
4[10] (Tripoli, Bengazi, Derna, Misurata) or
5[12] (along with Southern Military Territory) or
1 [11]
province[13]
colonised territory (5th phase)
after World War II
from 1943 to 1951
3[14] (Cyrenaica and Tripolitania were British; Fezzan-Ghadames was French) province
after independence in 1951-1952 (Kingdom of Libya) 3 muhafazah (governorate)
in Kingdom of Libya after 1963 and
in Libyan Jamahiriya after 1969 coup d'état
10 muhafazah (governorate)
after 1983 46 baladiyah (municipality)
after 1987-1988 25 baladiyah (municipality)
after 1995 13 shabiyah (district)
after 1998 26 shabiyah (district)
after 2001 32 shabiyah (district)
after 2007 22 shabiyah (district)

Libyan districts are further subdivided into Basic People's Congresses which act as townships or boroughs.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pan, Chia-Lin (1949) "The Population of Libya" Population Studies, 3(1): pp. 100-125, p. 104
  2. ^ "Map of Libya 1943-1951" Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien
  3. ^ [1] شعبيات الجماهيرية العظمى – Sha'biyat of Great Jamahiriya, accessed July 6, 2007
  4. ^ Italian Libya states "Italian Libya was formed from the colonies of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania which were taken by Italy from the Ottoman Empire in 1912".
  5. ^ Italian North Africa states "from 1912 to 1934, as Tripolitania and Cyrenaica"
  6. ^ Italian Cyrenaica states "was formed in 1927" and "In 1934, Cyrenaica became part of Italian Libya". Italian Libya states "Italian Libya was formed from the colonies of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania which were taken by Italy from the Ottoman Empire in 1912 after the Italo-Turkish War of 1911 to 1912".
    Provinces of Libya states "From 1927 to 1934, the territory was split into two separate colonies, each run by their own Italian governor: Italian Cyrenaica and Italian Tripolitania".
  7. ^ Italian Tripolitania states "was formed in 1927" and "In 1934, Cyrenaica became part of Italian Libya". Italian Libya states "Italian Libya was formed from the colonies of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania which were taken by Italy from the Ottoman Empire in 1912 after the Italo-Turkish War of 1911 to 1912".
  8. ^ Italian Libya states "Both Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, along with Fezzan, were merged into Italian Libya in 1934" but Italian North Africa states "from 1912 to 1934, as Tripolitania and Cyrenaica".
  9. ^ Provinces of Libya states "In 1934 Italy adopted the name "Libya" as the official name of the reunified area, and administratively divided it up into the three provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan".
  10. ^ a b Italian Libya states "In 1934, [...] the colony (made up of the three Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan)" but also in the same paragraph "The colony was administered among four provincial governatores [...] and the southern military territory".
  11. ^ a b Italian North Africa states "Indeed, from 1934 to 1940, Italian North Africa was then known as Libya as the North African territories were consolidated into one colony, Italian Libya". Later, the list confirms 1 division.
  12. ^ Provinces of Libya states "In 1937 Cyrenaica and Tripolitania provinces split, with northern Cyrenaica becoming Benghazi and Derna provinces, and northern Tripolitania splitting into Tripoli and Misrata. Fezzan was not split, but the whole southern desert area was militarily".
  13. ^ Italian Libya states "1939 a decree law transformed the commissariats into provinces".
  14. ^ Italian Libya states "From 1943 to 1951, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan".
    Provinces of Libya states "French and British occupied Libya in 1943, it was again split into three provinces: Tripolitania in the northwest, Cyrenaica in the east, and Fezzan-Ghadames in the southwest".