- Marian Aguiar
Sidi Muhammad Idris as-Sanusi was born in al-Joghboub, Libya, the son of Sayyid al-Mahdi, leader of the Sanusi, a powerful Islamic religious order. As heir to his father’s position, Idris became the de facto ruler of the Libyan region of Cyrenaica, where the Sanusi order was based. Soon after he assumed leadership at the age of twenty-two, Idris began negotiations with Italy for recognition of an emirate in Cyrenaica. In 1920, in return for a promise that Cyrenaicans would lay down their arms, Italy acknowledged Idris as the autonomous Sanusi emir of several oases. Many nationalists from both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica subsequently regarded Idris as the leader of the independence movement.
During World War II Idris risked reprisal from Italy by allying with Great Britain Following the Allied victory he was installed as emir of Cyrenaica Libyan support for the monarchy was in no way complete some nationalists in ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.