Before the Italian colonialisation of the Northern Coast of Africa between Egypt and Tunisia, the name of Tripolitania was broadly used in the West to the whole of the territory belonging nowadays to Libya, and comprising Tripolitania proper, Cyrenaica and the Fezzan. In 1901 a second Italian Consular Post Office was opened at Benghazi Cyrenaica. Italian definitive stamps were used for the mail except for the 25c. definitive stamp which was overprinted “BENGASI” “1 PIASTRA” (1 Piastra = 40 para; the basic rate for overseas letters). In 1911 Italy declared war on Turkey after being refused the transfer of sovereignty on Tripolitania. Italian naval units seized Tobruk and Tripoli was occupied by Italian forces. In December 1912 seven definitive stamps of Italy were overprinted “LIBIA” and issued in the colony. Five additional denominations with the same overprint were issued in 1915. In July 1921, the first unoverprinted stamps inscribed with the legend “LIBIA” were issued; they consisted of two special delivery (Espresso) stamps, and a definitive series of 12 stamps commonly known as “Pittorica”. Overprinted stamps issued earlier continued to be used even after 30 September, when they were deemed obsolete by law. On 17 November 1942 the Eight Army reached Derna, and two days later, Benghazi was occupied by British forces.
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