Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

OTTOMAN LIBYA ARMY AND NAVY

The Pashas of Tripoli (1714)

By 1714, the Ottoman province (vilayet - representative of the Ottoman Sultan) of Tripoli, was asserted as semi-independent  from the Ottoman Sultan.

  • The Pashas of Tripoli were expected to pay a regular tributary tax to the Sultan, but were in all other aspects rulers of an independent kingdom.
  • The Tripoli vilayet, maintained an Ottoman Navy fleet of "Kalyon"; these were Ottoman galleon (Ottoman man o' war), otherwise known as the Corsairs.

Ottoman Army in Libya

In the Regency of Tripoli (Libya), there was an Aga of the Turkish soldiers, and a General of the Arab Cavalry [1].

  • The Pasha of Tripoli’s eldest son, was the traditional commander of the whole Army in Libya (Tripolitanian Army) [2].

The Pasha of Tripoli had [3]:

  • An elite guard of Hampas:Black Slave-soldiers armed with a short blunderbuss musket [4];
  • There was an outer guard of Turkish Infantry, and Mamluk cavalry.

The Tripolitanian Army included [5]:

  • Some Janissary infantry,
  • Auxiliary cavalry, with elite units of the Kuloglis (children born to Janissary, and local women in Libya) [6];
  • Arab and Berber tribal auxiliaries provided mounted and foot troops.

Some 30 field guns, are also recorded [7].

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[1] [2] [3] [5] [7] David Nicolle. Armies of the Ottoman Empire 1775-1820. Osprey Publishing, 1998: 34.

[4] “At Tripoli, in Barbary, the black slaves choose a chief, who is acknowledged by the regency” (Niebuhr’s Travels, vol.i.p.84. Voyage to Barbary, 1720, p.49).

[6] The Kuloglis is an identical group to the Algerian Kouloughlis were soldiers who were born to the Ottoman Algerian Janissary permitted to marry locally; these Kul-Ogloue (another spelling), constituted a force of eight thousand subordinate to the Janissary force in Ottoman Algeria (1517-1830)

The Tripoli Fleet

In 1801, Tripoli, was a port walled fortress city protected by 150 pieces of heavy artillery manned by 25,000 soldiers. The fleet consiste:

  • Two large Galleys [1].
  • Ten: Ten-gun Brigs.
  • Two: Eight-gun Schooners.
  • 19 Gunboats.

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[1]  There is no information about the size or class of these ships. However, in 1815, the Algerian flagship Mashouda (also spelled 'Mashuda' or 'Meshuda'), was a forty-six gun "Kalyon" - an Ottoman galleon (Ottoman man-of-war). In 1815, the next largest ship, was the Algerian brig Estedio (22 guns).

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