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Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi , commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, but he came to rule according to his own Third International Theory before embracing Pan-Africanism.

Muammar Gaddafi, 1973.jpg
Muammar Gaddafi in 1973
Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution of Libya
In office
1 September 1969 – 20 October 2011
President
Prime Minister
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Mustafa Abdul Jalil
Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya
In office
1 September 1969 – 2 March 1977
Prime Minister Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi
Abdessalam Jalloud
Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
Preceded by Idris
Succeeded by Himself
Secretary General of the General People's Congress
In office
2 March 1977 – 2 March 1979
Prime Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
Preceded by Himself
Succeeded by Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
Prime Minister of Libya
In office
16 January 1970 – 16 July 1972
Preceded by Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi
Succeeded by Abdessalam Jalloud
Chairperson of the African Union
In office
2 February 2009 – 31 January 2010
Preceded by Jakaya Kikwete
Succeeded by Bingu wa Mutharika
Personal details
Born Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi
c. 1940–1943
Qasr Abu Hadi, Italian Libya
Died 20 October 2011(2011-10-20) (aged 68–71)
Sirte, Libya
Political party Arab Socialist Union
Independent
Spouse(s) Fatiha al-Nuri
Safia el-Brasai
Children
Alma mater University of Libya
Benghazi Military University Academy
Religion Sunni Islam
Signature
Military service
Allegiance  Kingdom of Libya
 Libyan Arab Republic
 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Service/branch Libyan Army
Years of service 1961–2011
Rank Colonel
Commands Libyan Armed Forces
Battles/wars 1969 Libyan coup d'état
Libyan-Egyptian War
Chadian-Libyan conflict
Uganda–Tanzania War
1986 United States bombing of Libya
Libyan Civil War

Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi (/ˈm.əmɑːr ɡəˈdɑːfi/;  ; c. 1942 – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, but he came to rule according to his own Third International Theory before embracing Pan-Africanism.

Born near Sirte, Gaddafi was the son of an impoverished Bedouin goat herder. He became involved in politics while at school in Sabha, later enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi. He founded a revolutionary cell within the military; in 1969, they seized power from the absolute monarchy of King Idris in a bloodless coup. Gaddafi became Chairman of the governing Revolutionary Command Council (RCC); he then abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the Republic, ruling by decree. He implemented measures to remove what he viewed as foreign imperialist influence from Libya, and strengthened ties to Arab nationalist governments, particularly Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt. He was intent on pushing Libya towards "Islamic socialism", introducing sharia as the basis for the legal system and nationalising the oil industry, using the increased revenues to bolster the military, implement social programs, and fund revolutionary militants across the world. In 1973, he initiated a "Popular Revolution" with the formation of General People's Committees (GPCs), purported to be a system of direct democracy, but retained personal control over major decisions. He outlined his Third International Theory that year, publishing these ideas in The Green Book.

In 1977, Gaddafi dissolved the Republic and created a new socialist state called the Jamahiriya ("state of the masses"), officially adopting a symbolic role in governance. He retained power as military commander-in-chief and head of the Revolutionary Committees responsible for policing and suppressing opponents. He oversaw unsuccessful border conflicts with Egypt and Chad, and his support for foreign militants and alleged responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing led to Libya's label of "international pariah". A particularly hostile relationship developed with the United States and United Kingdom, resulting in the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya and United Nations-imposed economic sanctions. Gaddafi rejected his earlier ideological commitments and encouraged economic privatisation from 1999, seeking rapprochement with Western nations while also embracing Pan-Africanism and serving as Chairperson of the African Union from 2009–10. Amid the Arab Spring in 2011, an anti-Gaddafist uprising broke out, led by the National Transitional Council (NTC) and resulting in the Libyan Civil War. NATO intervened militarily on the side of the NTC, bringing about the government's downfall. Retreating to Sirte, Gaddafi was captured and killed by NTC militants.

Gaddafi dominated Libya's politics for four decades and was the subject of a pervasive cult of personality. A controversial and highly divisive world figure, he was decorated with various awards and lauded for both his anti-imperialist stance and his support for Pan-Africanism and Pan-Arabism. Conversely, he was internationally condemned as a dictator and autocrat whose authoritarian administration violated the human rights of Libyan citizens and supported irredentist movements, tribal warfare, and terrorism in many other nations.