The History of Modern Libya

As Libyan rebels enter Tripoli and the world contemplates what a post-Qaddafi Libya may look like, it is vital to take a historical perspective on the country’s history since gaining independence in 1951 and its political development and emergence as an oil economy since then. Dirk Vandewalle’s 1998 Cornell University Press book, Libya since Independence: Oil and State-Building, provides a detailed analysis of Libya’s political and economic development between 1951 and the mid-1990s. Vandewalle argues that throughout its modern history, Libya’s rulers, empowered by vast oil revenues, pursued policies that were politically expedient but proved economically ruinous and ultimately disenfranchised its citizens.

The History of Modern Libya