Muammar Gadaffi

In September 1969, a small group of military officers led by Muammar Gadaffi overthrew the monarchy of which country?

And the answer: Libya.

Photo Courtesy: public domain. 

Born in 1942, Muammar al-Gaddafi joined the Libyan military when he was 19, and eight years later staged a coup d'etat against Libya's king. In his nearly 42 years of rule, Gaddafi was a complicated leader, known for turning Libya into a major exporter of oil, but also known for his human rights offenses, corruption, and outlandish clothing style.

After rising through the ranks of the military, charismatic young Gadaffi became involved with a movement to overthrow the king in 1969. Upon the mission's success, Gadaffi was named commander and chief of Libya's ruling body at just 27 years of age.

The beginning of Gadaffi's rule was marked by his vehement opposition to Western influence and his desire to reclaim the fruits of the oil industry in Libya. He shut down British and American military bases while demanding the redrawing of company oil contracts to bring profit back to his country. While these efforts were ultimately successful, Gadaffi established a dictatorship that would be anything but beneficial to his country. Gaddafi had appointed himself or close family and friends to all positions of power, and their corruption and crackdowns on any kind of civic organizing meant much of the population lived in poverty. Meanwhile, Gaddafi and those close to him were amassing fortunes in oil revenue while the regime murdered anyone who dared to step outside the lines.

Gadaffi was also an eccentric ruler. He was known for his colorful outfits, parade of female bodyguards in heels, and his self-proclaimed title as the "King of Africa."

To learn more about the "Mad Dog of the Middle East" (a term famously coined by Ronald Reagan), check out the video below.

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