Tripoli (Arabic: Tarabulus)Libya, the nation's capital and largest city. It is on the Mediterranean Sea, in one of Libya's few agricultural areas. The port is modern and handles much of Libya's foreign trade. Industries include food processing, metalworking, and sponge and tuna fishing.
Above Tripoli's low, gleaming white buildings rise the minarets of numerous mosques. The Castle, a former palace and citadel, is on the waterfront near the port; it dates in part from the late 15th century and now houses the Libyan Museum of Natural History. Also in the city is Alfateh University. Nearby, at Sabratha and Leptis Magna, are two of the largest groups of Roman ruins in North Africa.
Tripoli was founded by the Phoenicians about 700 B.C. Carthaginian, Roman, Vandal, and Byzantine rule followed. The Arabs conquered the city in 643 A.D. and remained in control until midway in the 11th century. The next 450 years were marked by tribal warfare and numerous occupations. In 1510 Spain captured the city, and 20 years later it granted it to the Knights of Malta. After the Knights were driven out by the Turks in 1551, Tripoli was held for more than 350 years by various Turkish and local dynastic rulers. As a base of the Barbary pirates, it was blockaded by the U.S. Navy from 1803 to 1805.
During the Libyan War (1911–12), Italy captured Tripoli and made it the capital of Libya. Tripoli was taken by the British in 1943 and became part of independent Libya in 1951.