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  • Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary and politician, and the de facto ruler of Libya for 42 years. Taking power in a 1969 coup d'etat, he ruled as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the "Brother Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011, when he was ousted in the Libyan civil war. After beginning as an Arab nationalist and Arab socialist, he later governed the country according to his own ideology, the Third International Theory. He eventually embraced Pan-Africanism, and served as Chairperson of the African Union from 2009 to 2010. The son of an impoverished Bedouin goatherder, Gaddafi became involved in politics while at school in Sabha, subsequently enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi. Founding a revolutionary cell within the military, in 1969 they seized power from King Idris in a bloodless coup. Becoming Chairman of the governing Revolutionary Command Council, he dissolved 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. Intent on pushing Libya toward "Islamic socialism", he introduced sharia as the basis for the legal system and nationalized 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, 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. Wikipedia