Update: We're featuring this article, originally published in February, to provide useful context on Gaddafi's death.
Until this month's protests, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi wasn't in the public eye. That ha
At the beginning of September, 1969, a 27-year-old Gaddafi successfully staged a military coup against King Idris, while the King was out of the country. Immediately he abolished the monarchy, expelled most foreigners, and established the an
In 1977, Gaddafi changed the structure of Libya from a republic to a "jamahiriya"—a "government by the masses" that was at least in theory a democracy. The reality was much different of course, and Gaddafi began exh
By the eighties, Gaddafi began using brutal violence to silence any criticism of his regime. He not only quelled any opposition sentiment at home with violence, he did so abroad as well. Gaddafi arranged squads to seek out Libyan dissidents domestical
Beyond the use of violence to intimidate Libyans, Gaddafi has been responsible for severely stunting Libya's economy. His belligerence towards the West and stubborn refusal to extradite wanted terrorists earned his country years of UN economic san
In the mid-1990s, Gaddafi expelled 30,000 Palestinians from Libya in a vengeful response to the Israel-Palestinian Leadership Organization peace talks.
And now, in the last week as Libyans have risen against their autocrat, reports are coming in that peaceful protesters are being fired on by Gaddafi forces. Deaths are somewhere in the hundreds, though confirmed information coming out of the country i