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in foreign lands have been saving up their earnings and sending them home for the support of their families, for the purchase of property, and for other investment. And it is this enormous sum of emigrant earnings which has enabled Italy to meet without difficulty the large and constant excess of imports over exports in the annual trade balances. Italy has no desire to stop her current of foreign emigration, but in its nature it is a precarious factor in the country's economic situation; Italians can never be certain that the ports of Argentina and the United States, to which emigration is largely directed, will not be one day closed to Italian labour, or that economic conditions in the Americas will not in time become so altered as no longer to provide employment for it. Such a change would involve Italy in a terrible economic crisis ; for great as has been her recent commercial and agricultural development, her conditions are not such as would enable her to furnish within her present territory additional employment to 400,000 persons annually.
The problem of emigration has pre-occupied Italian statesmen for many years, and it is natural that they should have cast their eyes across the Mediterranean in search of a solution. When France occupied Tunis in 1881, Italy's indignation arose from the feeling that her own future was menaced; but it was perhaps well that she had made no attempt to forestall France. Italy's financial condition thirty years ago was not such as to warrant a policy of expansion. To-day her situation has greatly altered. Her credit on the international bourses is that of the richest nations of Europe. In the last twenty-five years her public debt has hardly changed, and the burden of interest upon it is lower to-day than in 1876. Italian Three and three-quarters per Cent. State bonds (interest reduced on the 1st of January 1912 to 3. per cent.) have been selling for many years well above par, and while in 1893 50 per cent. of the public debt was held abroad, but 12 per cent. of it was held abroad in 1907. Furthermore, in the last twelve years Italy has shown an unbroken series of favourable balances in the budget. This is a record in national finance which has been equalled by no country in Europe or America. The financial condition of Italy would, therefore, seem fully to justify the country in the policy of expansion into which the needs of its growing population—and the international political situationhave now led it.
In the Tripolitanian undertaking the nation has shown itself to be more closely united than it has ever been in any policy, even than in the great movement of unification which culminated in 1870; all classes, all sections of the country, and all parties, excepting a few platoons of Socialists, are solidly behind the government. But united Italy has by no means underestimated the seriousness of her great leap across the Mediterranean. No one who has lived in the country during the last decade can deny that it has been taken only after long and careful deliberation. The great cities have witnessed scenes of intense enthusiasm during the last weeks whenever troops were leaving for the front, but the Italian people are in no state of blind exaltation. They are too deeply in earnest to indulge freely in demonstrations, and they realise that the country is assuming new and grave responsibilities. Expansion is costly. Italy knows it. The annexation of Tripolitania 13 brings with it increased possibilities of future international complications with her neighbours. Italy is ready to face them. She believes that for her the question of Tripolitania is the question of her political and economic future; she is ready to-day to make any sacrifice that is necessary to assure this future, and those who understand the last half-century of her history which has been sketched in the preceding pages know to what lengths of sacrifice Italians are prepared to go for their country.
It must be borne in mind that Tripolitania as an Italian 'colony' will be essentially different from the colonies of any other of the Great Powers. Tripoli is situated at the very doors of Italy. From Syracuse the distance to Tripoli is the same as that to Rome and less than half of that to Turin ; from Naples the distance to Tripoli is a little more than that to Turin. If the population of Tripolitania is to become eventually Italian, this great African territory will be almost as integral a part of the Kingdom of Italy as the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. It is true that Tunis lies not much more distant from France than Tripoli from Italy, but Tunisia can never hope to count a majority of Frenchmen in its census returns; the population of France itself is barely holding its own, and Frenchmen do not willingly colonise even in French colonial territory. In Tunisia there were 11,000 Italians among the permanent colonists when the region came under the French flag in 1881 ; in 1896 there were 81,000; to-day there are about 130,000. There were but 34,000 Frenchmen in the whole colony in 1896, and to-day the number is about the same. These figures indicate the possibilities of Northern Africa as a field for Italian immigration.
In respect to climate and to the products of the soil Tripolitania may be divided into two distinct zones : the coast region and the interior. In both the climate is good, and as a whole the country is to be classed with the healthiest of Northern Africa. 14 The
is The Italian name Tripolitania is used throughout this study to indicate the whole region annexed by Italy, including Tripolitania proper, Cirenaica and Marmarica, and the desert with Fezzan and its other oases.
"One of the best studies upon Tripolitania is Professor Goffredo Jaja's Sul valore economico della Tripolitania, Rome, Loescher, 1911. E. Minutilli's VOL. LXXI_No. 419
first zone does not differ substantially from the other coast regions of the Mediterranean, resembling in many respects Spain and Sicily, although the slightly higher temperature, the lighter rainfall, the more direct influence of the winds from the desert and the difference in soil give predominance to vegetation which on the northern coast of the Mediterranean is of minor importance. The date-palm (Phænix dactylifera) is by far the most useful and the most common tree in Tripolitania ; its present annual fruit product from nearly four million trees is valued at a million and a half pounds sterling. Olive trees are common throughout Tripolitania above the 30o parallel ; orange-trees, lemons, figs, almonds, bananas, and numerous other fruit trees abound in different parts of the coast zone; tobacco is cultivated in considerable quantity; of the cereals barley is the chief product, the crop in 1907 amounting to 1,200,000 hectolitres. The two zones together cover more than a million square kilometres, of which more than one third, that is a surface larger than all Italy, is cultivable.
But the Italians have not annexed this vast territory with any fantastic illusions. If Tripolitania is to them the Promised Land, they are not expecting to find it a land flowing with milk and honey. It is true that one third of the country is cultivable, but they know that only a small portion of this--scattered districts together covering a surface about equal to Sicily -is actually under cultivation. In fact, Tripolitania as a whole is at present one of the most sparsely populated regions of the globe, with an average a little above one inhabitant to the square kilometre; the estimates of the total population made by different authorities range from a million to a million and a half. Excessive taxation under Turkish misrule, want of highways and public works, the general insecurity of the country, and the discouragement of modern methods in agriculture have reduced production to the minimum. But Italy believes that the miracles in the redemption of the soil performed by the English in Egypt, and by the French in Algeria and Tunisia, can be repeated in Tripolitania. With artesian wells and scientific irrigation, with barrels of fertiliser, steam ploughs, railways, modern port facilities, and a Government that can maintain order, administer the imposts equitably, and devote the income derived from taxation to the development of the country itself, a new era will certainly dawn for this neglected region. The Turks succeeded in obtaining between six and seven million francs of annual revenue from La Tripolitania, Turin, Bocca, 1912, is a much more detailed work. René Pinon's estimate of Tripolitania given in his L'Empire de la Méditerranée, Paris, Perrin, 1912, is to be accepted with great reserve. It is a pessimistic viewi intended to discourage Italy from going to Africa. Pinon, writing nearly ten years ago, declared that an Italian occupation of Tripolitania would be a menace to the interests of France.
Tripolitania. The Italians should find little difficulty in soon doubling this amount. But they understand that the cost of pacifying and developing the country must for many years far exceed any revenue that is to be raised in it. An immense amount of capital will be required, and if this is to come from Italy itself, economic growth in the new possessions may be expected to proceed gradually and without any crisis of speculation. In Italy to-day the price of agricultural land is abnormally high, from the excess of capital that has of late been seeking investment in it, and a part of this capital can well be spared for Tripolitania. Italian emigrants will doubtless go there in considerable numbers from the Americas and elsewhere in order to live under the Italian flag, and many will carry small amounts of capital with them. This is the essential thing. Emigrants there must have capital at the outset, otherwise they will die of starvation.
There is a further economic advantage that must result from the new African possessions in addition to that already noted. The future commerce between Italy in Africa and Italy in Europe will naturally be in large part with Sicily and the Neapolitan provinces. This will mean the growth of railway communications and docks, and a stimulus to agriculture and manufactures in these backward sections of the country, so that with African annexation comes also the prospect of a ready solution, in part, of the question of Southern Italy.
Together with these economic considerations, and of no less importance in impelling Italy to Tripoli, were considerations of international politics. A glance at the map suffices to reveal the immense increase in Italy's influence in the Mediterranean that must derive from her occupation of Tripolitania. With Tripoli in her hands Italy controls the highway's of the Mediterranean in company with England and France, and with the excellent ports of Bomba and Tobruk as a naval base she can make her power felt upon navigation passing to and from the Suez Canal. Had another Power, such as Germany, forestalled her in the occupation of Tripolitania, Italy must eventually have fallen from her position as one of the Great Powers of Europe. In 1855 Piedmont, as the ally of England, France and Turkey, participated in the war of the Crimea which kept Russia out of the Mediterranean. To-day, through her war with Turkey which has given her Tripolitania, Italy makes sure of the present exclusion from the Mediterranean of another Northern Power.
Much criticism has been made in Europe of the reasons put forward for Italy's declaration of war against Turkey.
There is no question, however, that the Italians had an accumulation of very serious grievances against the Ottoman Government covering a period of two years, for which it was necessary to obtain some
satisfaction. This could probably have been obtained by pressure, but pressure would have brought reprisals by Turkey upon Italian emigrants and Italian commerce, and war must inevitably have followed. This is the opinion of well-informed foreign diplomatic circles. To have put off the war would have been to give Turkey an advantage. Furthermore, its abrupt declaration was without doubt hastened by the international complications of the past summer.
Thirty years ago the Italian occupation of territory on the coast of Northern Africa would have been a colonial movement. To-day it is a national movement, and the great economic and strategic advantages to Italy which must result stamp the annexation of Tripolitania as a master-stroke of statesmanship. To quote the words of the Nestor of her diplomacy, the annexation completes the Italy of to-day and assures her future.'
H. NELSON GAY.
Palazzo Orsini, Rome.