The Origins of the Libyan Nation

Colonial Legacy, Exile and the Emergence of a New Nation-State

By Anna Baldinetti

© 2009 – Routledge

240 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415845625
pub: 2013-02-27
US Dollars$48.95
Hardback: 9780415477475
pub: 2009-12-01
US Dollars$155.00

About the Book

Libya is a typical example of a colonial or external creation. This book addresses the emergence and construction of nation and nationalism, particularly among Libyan exiles in the Mediterranean region. It charts the rise of nationalism from the colonial era and shows how it developed through an external Libyan diaspora and the influence of Arab nationalism.

From 1911, following the Italian occupation, the first nucleus of Libyan nationalism formed through the activities of Libyan exiles. Through experiences undergone during periods of exile, new structures of loyalty and solidarity were formed. The new and emerging social groups were largely responsible for creating the associations that ultimately led to the formation of political parties at the eve of independence.

Exploring the influence of colonial rule and external factors on the creation of the state and national identity, this critical study not only provides a clear outline of how Libya was shaped through its borders and boundaries but also underlines the strong influence that Eastern Arab nationalism had on Libyan nationalism. An important contribution to history of Libya and nationalism, this work will be of interest to all scholars of African and Middle Eastern history.


"Though the author focuses on exiles, particularly Bashir al-Sa’dawi, "the father of Libyan nationalism," her book reads quite effectively as a history of Libya from the beginning of Italian occupation in 1911 to its independence in 1952 as a federal monarchy under the rule of Idris al-Sanusi of the Sanusi brotherhood of Cyrenaica. Recommended." – B. Harris Jr., Occidental College (CHOICE Nov. 2010)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Writing Modern Libyan History 2. Colonial Rule 3. Colonial Rule and Exile 4. Exile Associations and the Beginning of Political Activity 5. Pan-Arabism and Libyan Nationalism 6. The British Interlude and Political Action in Libya. Conclusion: Libya: A Country in the Making

About the Author

Anna Baldinetti is Associate professor of History and Politics of North Africa and Middle East at the University of Perugia. Her research has mainly been focused on the political history of Libya and Egypt in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern History

The region's history from the earliest times to the present is catered for by this series made up of the very latest research. Books include political, social, cultural, religious and economic history.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Africa / North
HISTORY / Middle East / Egypt (see also Ancient / Egypt)
HISTORY / Europe / Italy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies