(redirected from African Tripoli)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to African Tripoli: African Tripoli


, city, Lebanon

Tripoli (trĭpˈəlē) or Tarabulus (täräbˈo͝olo͝os), ancient Tripolis, city (1996 est. pop. 300,000), NW Lebanon, on the Mediterranean Sea. Citrus fruits, cotton, and other goods are exported from Tripoli. It has an oil refinery and is the terminus of an oil pipeline from Iraq. The old part of the city, around the harbor, contains the remains of fortified towers and walls. The city's population is comprised largely of Sunni Muslims.

Tripoli was probably founded after 700 B.C., as there is no mention of it until Persian times when it was the capital of the Phoenician federation of Tyre, Sidon, and Aradus and was divided into three sections. The city flourished under the Seleucid and Roman empires. In A.D. 638 it was captured by the Arabs. After a long siege it was taken (1109) by the Crusaders; during the siege its great library was destroyed. Tripoli was sacked by the sultan of Egypt in 1289 and was later rebuilt. The British conquered it from the Turks in 1918, and it became part of Lebanon in 1920.

Tripoli was the scene of heavy fighting during the 1975–76 civil war. It became the headquarters for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In the wake of rebellion against the PLO in 1983, large numbers of Palestinian rebels fled the city. Syrian military forces began to move into the city in the mid-1980s; like Beirut, it became a Lebanese city marked by battles for hegemony. After Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005, the city became the scene of clashes between Sunnis and Alawites, a situation that was aggravated beginning in 2011 by the Syrian civil war.


, city, Libya
Tripoli (trĭpˈəlē), ancient Oea, Arab. Tarabulus, city (1984 pop. 990,697), capital of Libya and of Tripoli dist., NW Libya, a port on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a commercial, industrial, administrative, and transportation center. Manufactures include processed food, textiles, tobacco products, and woven goods. Located on the edge of a large oasis, the city was founded (probably in the 7th cent. B.C.) as Oea by Phoenicians from Tyre. The main city of the historic region of Tripolitania, it was later captured by the Romans (1st cent. B.C.), the Vandals (5th cent. A.D.), and the Arabs (7th cent.). The city was a terminus of important trans-Saharan caravan routes. Captured in 1510 by the Spanish, Tripoli was granted (1528) to the Knights of St. John, who held it until 1551, when it was taken by the Ottoman Turks. From 1711 to 1835, Tripoli was the seat of the Karamanli dynasty, which ruled most of what later became Libya with little control from Constantinople. The city was a major base of the Barbary pirates, whom the United States fought (1801–5) in the Tripolitan War. In 1911, Tripoli passed to Italy, and later it was made the capital of the Italian colony of Libya. During World War II, the city was captured (1943) by the British. In Apr., 1986, Tripoli was bombed by the United States for Libya's involvement in international terrorism. Casualties included the daughter of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. Some of the city was destroyed. Since the overthrow of Qaddafi (2011), militant Islamists have destroyed a number of Sufi shrines in the city, which has at times been wracked by fighting. Points of interest in the city include remains of the Roman walls and an arch of Marcus Aurelius. Of note also are the Karamanli mosque (begun 1736), the large Gurgi mosque (19th cent.), and the former royal palace. Tripoli is the seat of Fateh Univ.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Tarabulus al-Gharb), the capital of Libya. Located on the Mediterranean Sea. It has a subtropical Mediterranean climate; the average January temperature is 12°C, and the average July temperature, 27°C. Annual precipitation is 370 mm. Population, 551,000 (1973).

Tripoli was founded by the Phoenicians in the first half of the first millennium B.C. under the name of Oea. Among the Greeks Oea, together with the colonies of Sabratha and Leptis Magna, was called Tripolis (in Greek, “three cities”), a name that was retained for Oea. In 105 B.C., it was conquered by the Romans. In the fifth century A.D., it was conquered by the Vandals, and during the sixth and seventh centuries it was part of the Byzantine Empire. In the seventh century it became part of the Arab Caliphate. From 1551 to 1911, Tripoli was part of the Ottoman Empire. In October 1911, the city was captured by the Italian Army, which remained there until 1943, when British troops took over. Until Libya’s declaration of independence (1951), Tripoli was one of the centers of the national liberation struggle. It was a capital of the Kingdom of Libya from December 1951 until Sept. 1, 1969, when it became the capital of the Libyan Arab Republic.

Tripoli is the country’s principal commercial, industrial, and financial center. It is a port, with a freight turnover of about 4 million tons (1975), and it is a highway junction. The city has an international airport. About 75 percent of Libya’s industrial enterprises are concentrated in Tripoli. The food-processing industry is represented by flour mills, vegetable-oil mills, tobacco-curing plants, and fish canneries. The city also has textile and leather industries, as well as petroleum refining, fishing, and handicraft industries. A fossil-fuel-fired steam power plant is located in Tripoli. An annual international fair is held in the city.

The northwestern part of Tripoli is the Old City, or Medina, which was rebuilt during the second half of the 16th century. It is located on a rocky cape and is walled on two sides. In the south and southeast is the New City, with public and commercial buildings, as well as residences. Among Tripoli’s architectural landmarks are the Marcus Aurelius triumphal arch (A.D. 163–164) and the Jamu el-Naga (tenth century [?]; rebuilt in the 17th century), the Karamanli Mosque (1736), the Gurgi Mosque (1833), and the Castle, or Citadel (first centuries A.D.; rebuilt in the 14th, 16th, and 20th centuries). The city’s cultural and educational institutions include a university (founded 1973 from the faculties of the University of Libya in Benghazi), the Posts and Telecommunications Institute, the Arts and Crafts School, a number of learned societies, the Egyptian Cultural Center, the Government Library, and museums of natural history and archaeology. Tripoli is also the home of the al-Amal National Music and Drama Troupe, the National Theater, the National Theater Association (with a professional drama troupe), and the School of Music and Drama.



(Tarabulus al-Sham), a city in northern Lebanon, on the Mediterranean Sea. Capital of the muhafaza (province) of North Lebanon. Population, 175,000 (1971).

Tripoli is a major port, with a freight turnover of 15.5 million tons (1974). It has rail and highway links to Beirut. Petroleum supplied through a pipeline from Iraq is refined in Tripoli, which also has metalworking, textile, and food-processing (primarily sugar-refining) industries. Citrus fruits and cotton are exported. Lignite deposits and asphalt beds are worked near Tripoli.

Tripoli was presumably founded by the Phoenicians in the second millennium B.C., on the site of what is now the port of al-Mina. Along with other Phoenician cities, it was conquered by Assyria and Babylonia. In the late sixth century B.C., it became part of the Persian state of the Achaemenids. In 332 B.C., Tripoli was conquered by Alexander the Great, and it subsequently became part of the Seleucid state, the Roman Empire, and the Byzantine Empire. In A.D. 636 it came under Arab rule. In 1109 the city was captured by the Crusaders, whereupon it became the capital of the county of Tripoli. In 1289 it was captured and sacked by the Egyptian Mamelukes. Within a few years the city was rebuilt on a new site. From 1516 to 1918 it belonged to the Ottoman Empire, until 1841 as the center of the Tripoli Pasha-luk. In 1920 it was made part of the French mandate of Lebanon. At the end of 1946, French iroops were withdrawn from Tripoli, and during the 1950’s the city was a center of the democratic movement in independent Lebanon.

In the late 13th century the New City was founded on the Abu Ali River around the Qalaat Sandjil, or St. Gilles castle (early 12th century; rebuilt mainly in 1307–08). Landmarks of the 13th to 17th centuries include the Great Mosque (rebuilt in 1294 from the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie de la Tour), the Sakrakia Mosque-Mausoleum (1359), the Burtasia Mosque-Madrasa (c. 1324), the Teylan (or Teinal) Mosque (1336), and many civil structures. Three main roads, passing through orchards and orange groves, run from the al-Mina region, with its contemporary architectural structures, and the coast of the present-day center of Tripoli, Sahit-al-Tal (Hill Square). Among the city’s modern buildings are the Colorado Motion-picture Theater (1954, architect J. Dumani) and the Halil Dib private home (1960, architect G. Habib).



a finely porous opaline sedimentary rock that is friable or weakly cemented and very light.

Tripoli is analogous to diatomite in its physical and chemical properties, but it contains little or no organic remains. It is composed mainly of tiny, spherical opaline and sometimes chalce-donic globules measuring 0.01–0.02 mm. It usually contains a small amount of clayey matter and grains of glauconite, quartz, and feldspar. The color ranges from white and grayish to brown, red, and black. The density of tripoli is 2,000–3,000 kg/m3; porosity is 60.2–64 percent; hardness is 1–3. Deposits of tripoli are known among marine deposits of the Cretaceous period and, less frequently, among Paleogene and Carboniferous deposits. Tripoli is probably of biochemical origin. Like diatomite, tripoli is used as an insulator, filter, abrasive, and construction material, as well as an absorbent, catalyst, filler, and adsorbent.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A lightweight, porous, friable, siliceous sedimentary rock that may have a white, gray, pink, red, or yellow color; used for polishing metals and stones.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. the capital and chief port of Libya, in the northwest on the Mediterranean: founded by Phoenicians in about the 7th century bc; the only city that has survived of the three (Oea, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha) that formed the African Tripolis ("three cities"); fishing and manufacturing centre. Pop.: 1 223 300 (2002 est.)
2. a port in N Lebanon, on the Mediterranean: the second largest town in Lebanon; taken by the Crusaders in 1109 after a siege of five years; oil-refining and manufacturing centre. Pop.: 212 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
Full browser ?