Spanish conquest of Tripoli (1510)

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Conquest of Tripoli
Date25 July 1510
Tripoli (present-day Libya)
Result Spanish victory
Tripoli under Spanish rule until 1530
Crown of Aragon
 Kingdom of Sicily
Hafsid dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Pedro Navarro
c. 15,000 men
Casualties and losses
c. 300 killed c. 3000–5000 killed
c. 5000–6000 enslaved

The Conquest of Tripoli was a maritime campaign led by Pedro Navarro which captured the city of Tripoli in North Africa in the name of the Crown of Aragon in 1510.

Navarro was a commander in the service of King Ferdinand II of Aragon, and plans to capture Tripoli began after the King of Tlemcen agreed to pay a tribute to Aragon on 5 June 1510.[1] The invasion force consisted of some 15,000 men, including 3000 soldiers from Sicily.[2] Navarro's fleet set sail from Sicily and landed at Malta, where he was joined by five galleys and some Maltese guides and a pilot. The fleet departed Malta on 20 July and it arrived off the coast of Tripoli four days later.[1]

On the morning of 25 July 1510, St James's Day, the invasion force attacked the city and its castle.[1] Approximately 6,000 marines came from Spanish ships, half of whom were employed in the siege of the city, while the others stayed in the camp to prevent an Ottoman attack from the hinterland. With the effective use of naval artillery, the Spanish quickly captured the Maghreb city.[citation needed] Tripoli surrendered after about three hours of heavy fighting in the city's streets.[1]

The Spanish conquest devastated Tripoli.[3] Prior to the attack, the city was inhabited by about 15,000 to 20,000 people. Between 3000 and 5000 were killed during the attack, while 5000 to 6000 others were enslaved.[2] A considerable number of Jews who were enslaved were sent to Sicily, where some converted to Christianity.[4] Some of the city's inhabitants managed to escape to the nearby settlements of Janzur and Tajura.[3] Spanish casualties were low, with some 300 men losing their lives.[2] About 170 Christians who had been slaves in Tripoli (most of whom were from Sicily or Malta) were freed after the attack.[1]

Tripoli remained under Spanish rule until 1530, when it was granted to the Hospitallers. The latter ruled the city until they were expelled by Ottoman captain Dragut in a siege in 1551.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Vella, Andrew P. (1975). "The Order of Malta and the defence of Tripoli 1530–1551" (PDF). Melita Historica. 6 (4): 362–381. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Kissling, H. J.; Spuler, Bertold; Barbour, N.; Trimingham, J. S.; Braun, H.; Hartel, H. (1997). The Last Great Muslim Empires. BRILL. p. 138. ISBN 9789004021044.
  3. ^ a b c Mallia, David (2011). "The survival of the Knights' Church in Tripoli" (PDF). Proceedings of History Week: 29–45. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2019.
  4. ^ Zeldes, N. (2003). The Former Jews of This Kingdom: Sicilian Converts After the Expulsion 1492–1516. BRILL. p. 49. ISBN 9789004128989.