Traditionally practicing nomadic pastoralism of sheep and camels in a triangular area with its apex at Ajdabiya, the Zuwayya conquered the richest oasis of the interior, Kufra, in 1840, subduing the indigenous Toubou tribes. The Zuwayya tribe owns most of the date palm groves of the Kufra oases, employing the Toubou tribesmen as labourers.
The Zuwayya tribe took part in the Libyan Civil War on the side of the opposition. The head of the tribe, Shaikh Faraj al Zuway, threatened to cut off Libyan oil exports unless the Gaddafi government stopped the "suppression of protestors".
- Karam, Souhail (Feb 20, 2011). "Libya tribal chief threatens to block oil exports -Jazeera". London South East. Reuters. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, The making of modern Libya: state formation, colonization, and resistance, SUNY Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-4384-2891-8, pp. 82–83.