People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Arab, Cyrenaican in Libya

Arab, Cyrenaican

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Arab, Cyrenaican in Libya map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,457,000 Arabic, Libyan Spoken Islam 0.10 % 0.03 % No   

Arab, Cyrenaican in Libya

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya and also an ex-province or State of the country (alongside Tripolitania and Fezzan) in an old system of administrative divisions which was abolished in the early 1970s in favor of a system of smaller-size municipalities or baladiyat. Prior to the abolishment of the old system, under the administrative divisions of Libya during the Kingdom, Italian or Ottoman eras, Cyrenaica represented the eastern half of Libya (the western half being shared by Tripolitania and Fezzan).

The name Cyrenaica is obviously derived from Cyrene, a historical city around which the region has evolved. Kufra, a vital oasis for overland travel, is situated amid the desert southern part of the ex-Province of Cyrenaica. Cyrenaica was a Roman province on the northern coast of Africa between Egypt and Numidia and also included the island of Rhodes; In antiquity, it had been an area heavily colonized by the Greeks. That area is now the eastern part of the Mediterranean coast of Libya.

Conquered by Alexander the Great, Cyrenaica passed to the dynasty of the Lagids, which is better known as the Ptolemaic dynasty. It briefly gained independence under Magas, the stepson of Ptolemy I Soter, but was reabsorbed into the Ptolemaic empire after the death of Magas. It was separated from the main kingdom by Ptolemy VIII and given to his son Ptolemy Apion, who, dying without heirs in 96 BC, bequeathed it to the Roman Republic. It became a senatorial province in 20 BC.

Although some confusion exists as to the exact territory Rome inherited, by 78 BC it was organized as an administrative province with Crete. The Tetrarchy reforms of Diocletian in 296 changed all of the administrative structure. Cyrenaica was split into two provinces, until later when the Byzantine Empire came to power. Cyrenaica was conquered by the Islamic Arabs by the first caliph, Abu Bekr, in 643/44, and became known as Barka, after its new provincial capital, the ancient Barka. Later, it was annexed to Egypt, although still under the same name. Ultimately, it was annexed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1517 (it was mentioned in the full style of the Great Sultan as the vilayet of Barka, alongside Tripoli, with which it had been joined); its main cities became Bengazi and Derna.

The Italians occupied Cyrenaica during the Italo-Turkish War in 1911 and declared the protectorate of Cyrenaica on October 15, 1912. Three days later, the Ottoman Empire officially ceded the province to Italy. On January 1, 1934, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan were united as the Italian colony of Libya. Today, Libya has gained its independence.

What are their lives like?
There are no good roads in the province, and very little internal communication and trade. However, a wireless telegraphic system has been installed in communication with Rhodes, and there is a landline from Bengazi to Tripoli.

Not much is known about the daily lifestyle of the Cyrenaican Arabs. However, it is known that there are many forests on the northern slopes of Cyrenaica, and the soil in these areas produces abundant amounts of barley. There are also wide expanses of grassy hillsides and valleys dotted with trees. It is here that the Bedouins pasture their flocks and herds, which number several million. The temperature in the area is mild, with adequate rainfall, but usually once every five years a drought occurs. This is always potentially hazardous to the well-being of the Cyrenaican people, as many of them farm the land and/or feed their livestock from the produce of the land.

Prayer Points
* Pray that God would allow the Gospel to be proclaimed among the Cyrenaican Arabs.
* Ask God that more information would be known about the Cyrenaican Arabs in Libya so that the church can pray more effectively.
* Ask God to send workers out into His harvest field.
* Pray that many believers around the world would pray for these people.
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.

View Arab, Cyrenaican in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-12-24
Global Prayer Digest: 2016-12-23
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-12-07
Global Prayer Digest: 2019-12-07
  Submit Update:
Country: Libya
Continent: Africa
Region: Africa, North and Middle East
Persecution Rank:4 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Widespread, especially in the north.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Arab, Cyrenaican
People Name General: Arab, Cyrenaican
Alternate People Names:
Arab, LibyanCyernaican Arab
Cyrenaican Arab
ROP3 Code: 102342
Joshua Project People ID: 11454
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,457,000
Population all Countries: 1,457,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
People Cluster: Arab, Libyan
People Name General: Arab, Cyrenaican
Ethnic Code: CMT30
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Arabic, Libyan Spoken (1,457,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ayl    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Eastern Libyan Arabic
Dialect Code:7119
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.10 %(Evangelical: 0.03 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam99.90 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.40 %
Protestant5.00 %
Orthodox45.80 %
Other Christian1.80 %
Roman Catholic47.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 2017
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsArabic Bibles Online
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Arabic, Libyan Spoke ...
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoThe Prophets' Story
Film / VideoThe Prophets' Story
Text / Printed MatterOnline Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Arab, Cyrenaican in Libya

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Arab, Libyan     Africa, North and Middle East    
      Arab, Cyrenaican Libya    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Arab, Cyrenaican in Libya          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Arabic, Libyan Spoken  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: