Cyrenaica Emirate

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Emirate of Cyrenaica
إمارة برقة
Flag of Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica within Libya
Cyrenaica within Libya
Common languagesLibyan Arabic
Berber languages
Religion Islam
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
• 1949–1951
• Independence
1 March 1949
• Joined Tripolitania and Fezzan-Ghadames to form the Kingdom of Libya
24 December 1951
CurrencyEgyptian pound
Preceded by
Succeeded by
British Military Administration (Libya)
Kingdom of Libya

The Emirate of Cyrenaica, or "Principality of Cyrenaica", came into existence when Sayyid Idris unilaterally proclaimed Cyrenaica an independent Senussi emirate on 1 March 1949, backed by the United Kingdom.[1] Sayyid Idris proclaimed himself Emir of Cyrenaica at a 'national conference' in Benghazi.[2] The recognition by the UK failed to influence the attitude of the United Nations, and Britain and France were directed to prepare Libya's independence in a resolution passed on 21 November 1949.[2] The independence of the United Kingdom of Libya was declared on 24 December 1951, and on 27 December, Emir Idris was enthroned as King Idris I.[1][3][2]

The black flag with white star and crescent symbol was adopted by Idris as he was proclaimed Emir in 1947. The flag became the basis of the flag of Libya of 1951, with the addition of a red and a green stripe, representing Tripolitania and Fezzan, respectively. Idris as king of Libya kept the flag of the emirate as his personal Royal Standard, with the addition of a white crown in the upper hoist.[4]

On 6 March 2012, mirroring the events 63 years earlier, a similar kind of meeting was held in Benghazi, calling for more autonomy and federalism for Cyrenaica. Ahmed al-Senussi, a relative of King Idris, was announced as the leader of the self-declared Cyrenaica Transitional Council.[5]


  1. ^ a b Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1659. ISBN 978-0-313-32384-3.
  2. ^ a b c Schulze, Reinhard (2002). A modern history of the Islamic world. I.B.Tauris. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-86064-822-9.
  3. ^ Selassie, Bereket H. (1974). The executive in African governments. Heinemann. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-435-83100-4.
  4. ^ Barraclough, Flags of The World (1965), p. 215.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-11. Retrieved 2012-07-21.