Tripoli (trĭpˈəlē) [key], ancient Oea, Arab. Tarabulus, city (1984 pop. 990,697), capital of Libya and of Tripoli dist., NW Libya, a port on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a commercial, industrial, administrative, and transportation center. Manufactures include processed food, textiles, tobacco products, and woven goods. Located on the edge of a large oasis, the city was founded (probably in the 7th cent. B.C.) as Oea by Phoenicians from Tyre. The main city of the historic region of Tripolitania, it was later captured by the Romans (1st cent. B.C.), the Vandals (5th cent. A.D.), and the Arabs (7th cent.). The city was a terminus of important trans-Saharan caravan routes. Captured in 1510 by the Spanish, Tripoli was granted (1528) to the Knights of St. John, who held it until 1551, when it was taken by the Ottoman Turks. From 1711 to 1835, Tripoli was the seat of the Karamanli dynasty, which ruled most of what later became Libya with little control from Constantinople. The city was a major base of the Barbary pirates, whom the United States fought (1801–5) in the Tripolitan War. In 1911, Tripoli passed to Italy, and later it was made the capital of the Italian colony of Libya. During World War II, the city was captured (1943) by the British. In Apr., 1986, Tripoli was bombed by the United States for Libya's involvement in international terrorism. Casualties included the daughter of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. Some of the city was destroyed. Points of interest in the city include remains of the Roman walls and an arch of Marcus Aurelius. Of note also are the Karamanli mosque (begun 1736), the large Gurgi mosque (19th cent.), and the former royal palace. Tripoli is the seat of Fateh Univ.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Libyan Political Geography