Gaddafi's 41-year-long rule

Libya’s authoritarian leader had been linked to terrorism and criticized for funding revolutions across the region, but has taken steps to improve relations with the West over the past decade.

  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s

1969: At the age of 27, Moammar Gaddafi leads a bloodless military coup against King Idris and becomes head of the Revolutionary Command Council, the country’s most important role. His proposed merger with Sudan and Egypt fails, along with a series of subsequent Arab alliances he attempts.

PHOTO: Gaddafi in 1972.

PHOTOS: File photos, Associated Press and AFP via Getty Images | GRAPHIC: By Todd Lindeman and Tobey / The Washington Post - Feb. 23, 2011