That agreement also served to clear up the situation in Tripoli; while Italian aspirations towards Tunisia had been ended by the French occupation of that territory, Tripoli and Bengazi were now recognized as coming within the Italian sphere of influence.
The Turkish or Ottoman Empire comprises Turkey in Europe, Turkey in Asia, and the vilayets of Tripoli and Barca, or Bengazi, in North Africa; and in addition to those provinces under immediate Turkish rule, it embraces also certain tributary states and certain others under foreign administration.
The northern half of this district, which alone was fertile, was known as Pentapolis from its possession of five considerable cities (1) Hesperides-Berenice (Bengazi), (2) Barca (Merj), (3) Cyrene (Ain Shahat-Grenna), (4) Apollonia (Marsa Susa), (5) Teucheira-Arsinoe (Tocra).
Projecting like a bastion into the Mediterranean at a very central point, Cyrenaica seems intended to play a commercial part; but it does not do so to any extent because of (1) lack of natural harbours, Bengazi and Derna having only open and dangerous roads (this is partly due to coastal subsidence; ancient ports have sunk); (2) the difficulty of the desert routes behind it, wells beings singularly deficient in this part of the Sahara.
There are only two towns, Bengazi and Derna, and not half a dozen settlements beside, worthy to be called villages.
There are no roads in the province, and very little internal communication and trade; but a wireless telegraphic system has been installed in communication with Rhodes: and there is a landline from Bengazi to Tripoli.
There is no continuous littoral plain, the longest strip running from the recess of the Syrtis round past Bengazi to Tolmeita.
'BENGAZI (anc. Hesperides-Berenice), a seaport on the north coast of Africa, capital of the sanjak of Bengazi or Barca, formerly in the vilayet of Tripoli, but, since 1875, dependent directly on the ministry of the interior at Constantinople.
The Sudan produce (ivory, ostrich feathers, &c.) formerly brought to Bengazi by caravan, has now been almost wholly diverted to Tripoli, the eastern tracks from Wadai and Borku by way of Kufra to Aujila having become so unsafe that their natural difficulties are no longer worth braving.
The province of Bengazi, being still without telegraphs or roads, is one of the most backward in the Ottoman empire.
Levantines, Maltese, Greeks and Jews form the trading community, but since 1895, when a branch of the Agenzia Italiana Commerciale was established at Bengazi, Italians have exercised an increasing influence on Cyrenaic commerce.