external image italian_flag.gif

Italian Colonies:

  • Libya-

(was known as Italian North Africa)

Italians invaded Libya in September, 1911. Libyans along with some Turks, resisted the Italians. Before 1934 Italian Libya was split into two Italian colonies known as Italian Cyrenaica and Italian Tripolitania. After 1934 The two Italian colonies united into Italian Libya. Even though Italian forces occupied Libya after 1911, many rebellious groups still sought to destroy all Italian forces in Libya. The most prestigious rebellious group in Libya was named the Mojahideen. Italy feared losing Libya to the Mojahideen and used the most inhuman measures to end Libyan resistance. Italian forces destroyed much of Libya's livestock in order to starve Libya's native population, they set up concentration camps where native Libyans lived under complete control of the Italian army, and they held public hangings and shootings of many innocent Libyans that seemed to be helping the Mojahideen. Even though Italy killed and exiled half of Libya's native population, and slaughtered much of Libya's livestock, there are still some positive effects of Italian occupancy in Libya. One positive effect of Italian occupancy in Libya is the building of new industries. Another positive effect is the building of Railways and roads that connected many new agricultural villages and new industries. Libya opened up new trade opportunities for Italy. One of the main reasons why Italy colonized Libya is because of the small industries that were already established in Libya, and another reason is the trade opportunities that are found in Libya. Now Italy is paying Libya back for all of the hate crimes that it has done to the native Libyans. Overall Italian occupation in Libya was a failure.

  1. Geography- The Mediterranean Sea borders Libya's northern coast. Libya is also bordered by Egypt to the east, Algeria to the west, Tunisia to the northwest, Niger and Chad to the south, and Sudan to the southeast. Libya contains a dry desert and plateau terrain.

  2. Culture- Many languages such as Berber, Italian, and English are spoken in Libya, but the country's official language is Arabic. 97 percent of Libya's native population are Sunni Muslims. The dominant religion in Libya is Islam.

  3. Natural Resources- Few natural resources that include gypsum, salt, and limestone are found in Libya. Only less than 2 percent of Libya's land is arable. Libya did not supply Italy with an abundance of natural resources, but Italy did obtain livestock, agricultural goods, and some small industries already established in Libya.

  4. Agricultural and Manufactured Products- Some of the small industries found in Libya during Italian occupancy manufactured salt, shoe, tobacco, building material, asphalt, gunpowder, and fat/soap products. Agricultural goods found in Libya include wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus fruit, vegetables, peanuts, and almonds.

Italian Occupation at Libya
Italian Occupation at Libya
Map of Libya
Map of Libya

  • Eritrea-

made into a colony January 1, 1890

Eritrea was wanted by the Italians because it was along the cost of the Red Sea which was supposed to become one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Italy occupied Eritrea for fifty years. During those fifty years Italy "created" the borders for present day Eritrea. During the time Eritrea was controled by Italy it was industrialized and the development of modern technology took place like roads and railways. Italy tried to take over Ethiopia when they were in Eritrea but that failed. Today there is trouble between Eritrea and Ethiopia over borders.

  1. Geography- The Red Sea borders Eritrea's eastern cost. Eritrea is also bordered by Ethiopia to the south, and Sudan to the west. Eritrea contains a desert, hilly, and flat to rolling plain terrain. The country is approximately a little bigger than Pennsylvania and has the Great Rift Valley. To the east of this valley is fertile lands while to the west there is a desert.

  2. Culture- Many languages are understood in Eritrea but the country's official languages are Tigrinya and Arabic. The country has two religions, Islam and Christianity, that has the population approximately split in half faith wise. However there is a wide amount of cultural diffusion in Eritrea because of its coasts.

  3. Natural Resources- The country has many resources like gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, and fish.
    Map of Eritrea
    Map of Eritrea

  • Somalia-

Somalia was split between the north, which was colonized by Britain, and the south, which was colonized by Italy. During the age of imperialism, the Italian parliament resisted any type of investment or government activity in Somalia, until the 1900's. Somalia was colonized not for its natural resources, or culture, but because of its geography. It is a strategic location on the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden which allows for trade, and for protection provided from the Gulf of Aden. The positive effect of colonization in Somalia was that it help boost its economy. The negative effect of colonization in Somalia was that since the country was split into two during the colonial period, there were problems in uniting the two after it gained independence. The positive effect of colonization for Italy when it colonized Somalia in the 1900's was that it helped boost the economy, and it help ease population congestion in southern Italy. The negative effect of colonization for Italy was that it lead to racism in Italy.

  1. Geography- The northern coast of Somalia is surrounded by the Gulf of Aden, and the eastern coast is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. This would make it valuable for any colonial power who wants to trade with the Middle East, or Southern Asia. Modern day Ethiopia and Kenya are Somalia's western neighbors and the country of Djibouti is to the north-west of Somalia.

  2. Culture- Somalia originally consisted of nomadic clans who were converted to Islam by early Muslim migration and settlement. But during the 1880's two tiny kingdoms were established in Somalia, one of which agreed to Italian Colonization as long as they were protected from any outside harm.

  3. Natural Resources- There are not a lot of natural resources in Somalia, as less than 50 percent of the land is suitable for farming. However, livestock can be found in abundance here.

Map of Somalia
Map of Somalia