TRIPOLI DI BARBERIA * LIBYA
TRIPOLI DI BARBERIA (LIBYA) Before the Italian colonialisation of the Northern Coast of Africa between Egypt and Tunisia, the name of Tripolitania was broadly used in the West for the whole of the territory belonging nowadays to Libya, and comprising Tripolitania proper, Cyrenaica and the Fezzan. Turkish power in Africa came to an end in 1881 with the French occupation of Tunisia except for the provinces of Tripoli and Benghazi where the Ottoman flag continued to fly. Turkish rule had been re-established in the coastal regions of Libya in 1835, following a long period under the Caramanli pashas when Tripoli became the most notorious hide-out of the Barbary pirates. Under Ottoman rule the situation improved and Italy began to carry out regular trade with Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. An Italian Consulate opened at Tripoli in 1868. At the time, postal communications depended on French postal steamships which were notoriously slow. The only alternative was the Ottoman postal service which was rather inefficient. From 1869 to 1880, an Italian Consular Post Office at Tripoli — initially using current definitive stamps of Italy, and from 1874 on, “ESTERO” overprints of the same — was the only link for the Italian and Jewish merchants in Tripoli and their contacts abroad. The Italian postal agency was quickly earning a good reputation for its dependability. The activation of the Italian Post Office was influenced by the increasing number of Italian merchant ships calling at Tripoli, including those of the R. Rubattino Company and I.V. Florio, whose postal steamships had been contracted for mail delivery in the southern Mediterranean. In 1876, the government of the Ottoman Empire, commonly known as the Sublime Porte, approved the opening of a full-fledged Italian post office at Tripoli. In due course the facility attracted Turkish, Arab, and ethnic residents. By the early 1880s European super powers were engaging in a big scramble for Africa. With family ties with powerful bankers and funding of the Italian government, in 1881, geographer Manfredo Camperio visited Tripolitania and Cyrenaica as an undercover prospector for Italian business investors. During the last years of the 1800s the volume of mail from the Tripoli post office increased considerably and went from 28,000 pieces of mail in 1891-92, to 74,000 in 1901-02. Between 1880 and 1909, the Italian Post Office at Tripoli used Italian definitive stamps. On 15 March 1909 a second Italian Post Office was opened at Benghazi (population 10,000), 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). The letters addressed to Italy paid 20c. (35 para). Between December 1909 and September 1911 the Post Office at Tripoli used Italian definitive stamps overprinted “Tripoli di Barberia”. Ten different values were issued and the currency was the widely used Italian Lira. By this time Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were the last morsels available on the North African coast for the Italian colonial appetite. On 27 September 1911 Italy sent an ultimatum to Constantinople stating that in order to protect the life and property of Italian expatriates in the region Rome was forced to occupy Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. ~~~~~~ COPYRIGHT: We own the copyright in this site and in material published on it such as articles, technical profiles, technical information, general information, descriptions and photographs of all items. Those works and the entire content of this website are protected by copyright laws around the world. All our rights are reserved. All images, text and stamps featured on this site (virginstamps.com) are our SOLE PROPERTY and may not be copied or reproduced in any form whatsoever. Swift legal action will be taken against any individual, organisation, group, or company found to have violated our copyright in any form or reproduced any of the webpages, images or content without prior written permission.
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