“Issued by the Military Authority in Tripolitania” reads our banknote prominently across the obverse top center. The Tripolitanian Lira was issued in this region under British command, generally now known as Libya, during and immediately following World War 2. It was replaced in 1952 with the Libyan pound, Libya having become independent the preceding year, 1951. Tripoli today is the largest city in Libya., Benghazi being the second largest city.
Tripolitania, on the Mediterranean coast of northern Africa, is a region populated since time immemorial, and prominent since, at least, the Carthaginian empire, a great competitor of the early Roman empire. A city, on the site of present day Tripoli, was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC; and was subsequently overtaken by the Greeks and then the Carthaginians. With the defeat of Carthage in the Punic Wars, Tripolitania came under the governance of Rome until the Fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century. The 8th century Muslim Conquest brought Tripolitania under the influence of Islam, and the 15th century Ottoman Conquest brought it into the new empire.
A military coup d’etat brought Omar Gaddafi to power in 1969. Gaddafi ruled until he was overthrown in the 2011 civil war, a part of the Arab Spring.
Tripoli has an ancient heritage. Americans may recall the name in the lyric from the theme song of the Marine division of its armed forces, “..to the shores of Tripoli“. A Barbary wars fought around Tripoli were perhaps the official first armed conflict of the newly birthed United States.