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Benghazi

BENGHAZI

chief city and mediterranean seaport of cyrenaica (barqa), second in libya only to tripoli.

Originally founded by the Greeks as Berenike on a small natural harbor on the gulf of Sidra, Benghazi (also Marsa ibn Ghazi) was refounded and renamed in the Middle Ages. Its importance was due to its position as the only port between Tripoli and Alexandria, as an outlet for the agricultural produce of northern Cyrenaica, and as a center of local administration. In the early nineteenth century, Benghazi was still an impoverished village of some five thousand people. Its prosperity and importance increased with the spread of the Sanusi order in Cyrenaica and, beginning in the 1840s, in the eastern Sahara and the Sudan. It became the main Mediterranean outlet for the newly opened, Sanusi-controlled trade route to the rising sultanate of Wadai in eastern Sudan (now Chad). In the later nineteenth century, despite being the local seat of Ottoman administration, it was one of the few remaining North African shipment markets for the trans-Saharan slave trade.

Benghazi was still largely undeveloped (with a cosmopolitan population of about 20,000) when Italy invaded in 1911. As in Tripoli, the Italians created a modern, European-style city outside the old Arab quarters, particularly after the defeat of the Cyrenaican rebellion in 1931 and 1932. By 1937, the population was fifty thousand, but expansion was constricted by its position between the sea and an inland saltwater lagoon.

During the North African campaigns of World War II (19401943), Benghazi changed hands five times and suffered some 2,000 air raids. Destruction was extensive and the British military administration, set up after the city's final capture by the British Eighth Army in November 1942, could not fund rebuilding. In 1949, Benghazi became the seat of the first Cyrenaican government and was later recognized as the joint capitalwith Tripoliof the independent United Kingdom of Libya (proclaimed December 1951). Over the next five years, the town and port were rebuilt, but rapid urban expansion and development started only with the oil boom of the 1950s and 1960s, with thousands of migrant families forced into shanty settlements. After the 1969 revolution, Benghazi was deprived of its joint-capital status, regaining its traditional role as chief port and city of Cyrenaica, a center of administration, industry, commerce, and education. It houses the University of Gar Younis and an international airport (at Benina). Benghazi is linked by road to Tripoli and Egypt and to the Saharan regions of eastern Libya. The 2002 population was some 708,000.

see also cyrenaica; sanusi order; slave trade.


Bibliography

Bulugma, Hadi M. Benghazi through the Ages. Benghazi, 1972.

Wright, John. Libya. New York: Praeger, 1969.

John L. Wright

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"Benghazi." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Benghazi." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/benghazi

Benghazi

Benghazi or Bengasi (both: bĕngä´zē), city (1985 est. pop. 490,500), capital of Benghazi municipality, NE Libya, the main city of Cyrenaica and a port on the Mediterranean Sea. It is primarily an administrative and commercial center. Manufactures include processed food, beverages, textiles, and cement. On the site of Benghazi the Greeks founded (7th cent. BC) the colony of Hesperides, which was later (3d cent. BC) renamed Berenice after the wife of Ptolemy III of Egypt. Under the Romans, who conquered it in the mid-1st cent. BC, the city had a large Jewish colony. In the 5th cent. AD, the Vandals severely damaged the city, and in the 7th cent. it was captured by the Arabs. The Ottoman Turks took the city in the mid-16th cent., and they held it until it was captured by Italy in 1911. The Italians modernized the city and enlarged its port. At the start of World War II, Benghazi had about 22,000 Italian inhabitants, but they were evacuated before the city fell to the British in late 1942. From 1951 to 1972, Benghazi was the cocapital (with Tripoli) of Libya. The city is the site of Garyounes Univ., founded in 1955.

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"Benghazi." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Benghazi

Benghazi (Banghazi) City on the ne shore of the Gulf of Sidra, Libya. Founded by the Greeks in the 6th century bc, Benghazi was captured by the Italians in 1911. Libya's second largest city, Benghazi is a commercial and industrial centre for Cyrenaica province. Industries: salt processing, shipping, oil refining. Pop. (1995) 544,084.

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Benghazi

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"Benghazi." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Benghazi." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/benghazi