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“Blessed be the Sultan and the Money of the Italian”.
The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into War Expenditure on
the Economic Management of Libyan Territories between 1913 and 1922

Fabio Ecca

Codice Doi

Published online on 2020/10/19

“Blessed be the Sultan and the Money of the Italian” was a significant idiom used in
the ‘Libyan’ territories during the WWI and after the war. This term not only reveals
the importance for local economies of the funds disbursed by the Italian state but also
referred to the complex and confused administrative and management system of funding
for Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. For this reason, starting from 1920 the Parliamentary
Commission of Inquiry into War Expenditure made an important effort to elaborate also
on the economic and administrative management of the ‘Libyan territories’. Through the
documentation collected and produced by the Commission itself, the author wants to
contribute to the examination of the economic management of the WWI in the Libyan
territories. Starting from the analysis of the Italian-Turkish war in the Italian state
budget, the author identified the main management problems of the WWI in Cyrenaica
and Tripolitania, the responsibilities of the Italian colonial administrations and the
criticalities of the cumbersome system of purchasing supplies. Drawing on a number of
case studies, some of the numerous problems of the Italian administrative and economic
management of the ‘Libyan’ territories from 1913 to 1922 are highlighted.

Keywords: Libya, WWI, Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into War Expenditure,
management problems, economic dysfunctions