In Libya, every 24 December is Independence Day. The date remembers the time in 1951 when Libya declared its freedom from Anglo-French “oversight”.
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Libya has a long history of foreign domination. It was once under the control of various Arab and Muslim powers that strove in the region. But more recently, in 1912, it became an Italian colony following a war between Italy and Turkey. At one point, while still under Italian control, it was divided into two colonies: Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.
During World War II, German and Italian forces ultimately failed to hold onto Libya, and it fell under Allied control. After the war, in 1947, Italy recognised it had lost its former colony to Britain and France. But the UN declared Libya must be set free by 1 January of 1952. But a week early, on 24 December, 1951, Libya declared itself independent.
Under the long reign of dictator Muamar Gaddafi, Libya no longer observed Independence Day but observed the day of Gaddafi’s rise to power instead. But after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, Independence Day was restored as a public observance.
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