Qaramanli Dynasty

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Dynasty of Turkish origin that attained autonomous rule of Tripolitania under Ottoman suzerainty, 17111835.

The Qaramanli (also Karamanli) dynastyAhmed (17111745), Mehmed (17451754), Ali (17541793, 1795/96), and Yusuf (17961835)directed autonomous Tripolitanian domestic and foreign policies, including the signing of international treaties. Their economy was based on international trade and sea piracy; their pirates were the scourge of the Barbary Coast, known as the Barbary pirates. During Ali's reign the region suffered from epidemics, plague, and famine, as well as from power struggles among Ali's sons. Algerian strongman Ali Burghul (Bulghur) took advantage of the situation and with Ottoman approval ruled Tripoli between 1793 and 1795, causing the population severe hardship.

Under Yusuf, the European powers and the newly independent United States went to war against the Barbary pirates, ending the taking of ships, cargoes, and men (who were often sold into slavery). This forced Yusuf to impose high taxes, which caused a popular revolt. On 27 May 1835 an Ottoman naval force landed in Tripoli following a local request for Ottoman intervention. Its commander was proclaimed governor, and members of the Qaramanli family were arrested or exiled.


Dearden, Seton. A Nest of Corsairs: The Fighting Karamanlis of Tripoli. London: J. Murray, 1976.

Folayan, Kola. Tripoli during the Reign of Yusuf Pasha Qaramanli. Ife, Nigeria: University of Ife Press, 1979.

rachel simon