Vandewalle an associate professor of government at dartmouth is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable students of libya and his a history of modern libya does not disappoint middle east quarterly there has clearly been no lack of studies on libya and its leader over the years. For most of its history libya has been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control from europe asia and africa the modern history of independent libya began in 1951 the history of libya comprises six distinct periods ancient libya the roman era the islamic era ottoman rule italian rule and the modern era. The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled the kingdom of libya to transition from one of the worlds poorest nations to a wealthy state although oil drastically improved the libyan governments finances resentment began to build over the increased concentration of the nations wealth in the hands of the noble king idris. Libya is coming in from the cold but for most of the three decades following the 1969 revolution the country was labelled a pariah state by the west dirk vandewalle one of only a handful of western scholars to visit during the time is intimately acquainted with the country this history based on original research and his interviews with libyas political elite offers a lucid account . Libyas history is shaped largely by its geography a remote patch of desert divided into cyrenaica tripolitania and fazzen with little economic value until the discovery of oil after 1517 these regions came under the nominal control of the ottoman empire which extended control over the coastline but paid little attention to the growth of
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