Algeria and Libya

Category: Colonialism, Italy
Last Updated: 26 Jan 2021
Pages: 3 Views: 101

The entire world is aware of the fact that Italy, France, England, and many others of European and Western origins were settlers in various places around the world, and these people established colonies in these nations, thereby influencing and impacting the nations’ people greatly. Take Italy, for example. This was a country that was among the last in Europe to start imperial expansion, probably because of the fact that the city-states were not united until the second half of the nineteenth century.

Libya was one of the last few African territories that escaped colonization until the end of the nineteenth century, but its very proximity to Italy made sure that Libya was influenced in three major areas, like state formation, the modes of popular resistance, and the types of regimes that emerged after independence. (Bruce St John, Ronald (2004) Algeria was one of the countries that was subjected to heavy colonial influence. Areas like education, business, and so on were controlled by the French for almost a hundred years, and the impact is felt in the country even today, in certain aspects of life in Algeria.

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(Algeria, Arabization 1993) It is important to remember that in Algeria and in Libya, colonial policies were shaped by the specific politics and economics prevalent in each European colonial state at the time, like for example in Italy, the colonial policy was a liberal one, recognizing local states of resistance. This factor enabled Libya to follow different modes of resistance. As far as Algeria was concerned, the French colonial policies were different, and in essence, it can safely be said that French colonization managed to destroy the pre-colonial state of Algeria (Ahmida, Abdullathif Ali 1994)

Now, one can examine the state formation of Libya and Algeria, so that one can understand better how Italy and France influenced these two states in this aspect. State formation in these states is an issue of national consciousness. France encouraged European colonization in Algeria from 1834 onwards, and Muslim lands were confiscated and in their place, a flourishing colony was created, completely separate from the Muslim majority. Muslims of the state emulated the popular form of resistance to European influence by proclaiming a war of independence, launching terrorist attacks against the French in the process.

It was in 1962 that Charles de Gaulle was able to successfully proclaim independence for Algeria, and the Islamic Salvation Front enjoyed great popularity at the time because of its populist appeal. Violence, however, continues in Algeria to this day, and the majority of perpetrators are Muslim extremists. There is no peace in Algeria, and many experts feel that the European colonization, the subsequent fight for independence, the formation of the state, and eventually the regimes that emerged after independence may have influenced the state in an adverse manner. (Naylor C Phillip 2001)

Most Libyans today would remember the fierce fight for independence from colonization and escape from the all pervasive Italian influence. In 1970, Colonel Qaddafi managed to expel more than twenty thousand Italians who were living in Libya at the time, but today, Italy is one of Libya’s largest partners in trade. In 1988, Libya was implicated in an air crash in Lockerbie, Scotland, and subsequently, the UN has imposed sanctions on the country. When Qaddafi refused to comply with the sanctions, Libya became politically and economically isolated during the 1990’s.

Illegal migration continues to this day, and recently, Italy had to pass an order to curb the phenomenon, but apparently, Libya has done nothing to implement it. Saif al-Islam, the son of Qaddafi, announced that he would sign a deal to compensate Libyans for thirty two years of Italian colonization. (Undoing the Damage 2008) In 2003, Libya showed its willingness to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, and also of its missile program ‘Missile Technology Control regime.

’ (Background note, Libya 2007) Today, it can be said that although Libya and Algeria revolted against colonization, they did learn a few lessons from the Europeans, and their influence has lasted to this day. The countries maintain amicable relations with each other to this day, although rivalry and opposition does exist at all levels. European influence at several different levels and in different aspects of life cannot be denied, however, and perhaps this is the reason why leaders in Algeria and Libya tend to try their best even today to deny any allegiance to the people who were once the leaders of their countries.


  1. Ahmida, Abdullathif Ali (1994) The Making of Modern Libya, State Formation, Colonization Google Book Search Retrieved August 20, 2008
  2. Background note, Libya (2007) Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Retrieved on August 20, 2008
  3. Naylor C Phillip (2001) History Algeria Part 3 Retrieved August 20, 2008
  4. Undoing the Damage (2008) The Economist July 31 retrieved on August 20, 2008
  5. Bruce St John, Ronald (2004) Libya’s Former Colonial Master The Globalist Retrieved August 20, 2008

Cite this Page

Algeria and Libya. (2016, Jul 03). Retrieved from

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