Had resumed direct control over Tripoli (1835), and in the middle of the 19th century Cyrenaica was still so free of the Turks that Sheik Ali bin-Senussi chose it as the headquarters of his nascent dervish order.
All over the district were built Senussi convents (zawia), which still exist and have much influence, although the headquarters of the order were withdrawn about the year 1855 to Jarabub, and in 1895 to Kufra, still farther into the heart of Africa.
In many districts the Senussi convents supply the only settled element, and the local Bedouins largely belong to the Order.
Tobruk has long been the outlet for the trade of the oases which extend from Jarabub to Siwah, and are a stronghold of the Senussi order (see CYRENAlcA); and it is also the headquarters of the Libyan sponge fishery, prosecuted by Greeks.
Senussi influence is strong and there is a large zawia (convent).