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The history of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi spanned a period of over four decades from 1969 to 2011. Gaddafi became the de facto leader of the country on 1 September 1969 after leading a group of young Libyan military officers against King Idris I in a bloodless coup d'état. After the king had fled the country, the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Gaddafi abolished the monarchy and the old constitution and proclaimed the new Libyan African Republic, with the motto "freedom, socialism, and unity". After coming to power, the RCC government initiated a process of directing funds toward providing education, health care and housing for all. Despite the reforms not being entirely effective, public education in the country became free and primary education compulsory for both sexes. Medical care became available to the public at no cost but providing housing for all was a task the RCC government was not able to complete. Under Gaddafi, per capita income in the country rose to more than US $11,000, the fifth highest in Africa. The increase in prosperity was accompanied by a controversial foreign policy, with increased political repression at home. The name of the country was changed several times during Gaddafi's tenure as the leader. At first, the name was the Libyan Arab Republic. In 1977, the name was changed to Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, where Jamahiriya is a term coined by Gaddafi, usually translated as "state of the masses". The country was renamed again in 1986 to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. During the 1980s and 1990s, Gaddafi openly supported independence movements like Nelson Mandela's African National Congress, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Irish Republican Army and the Polisario Front (Western Sahara), which led to a deterioration of Libya's foreign relations with several countries and that culminated in the US bombing of Libya in 1986. After the 9/11 attacks, however, the relations were mostly normalised. In early 2011, a civil war broke out in the context of the wider "Arab Spring". The anti-Gaddafi forces formed a committee named the National Transitional Council, on 27 February 2011. It was meant to act as an interim authority in the rebel-controlled areas. After a number of atrocities were committed by the government, with the threat of further bloodshed, a multinational coalition led by NATO forces intervened on 21 March 2011 with the aim to protect civilians against attacks by the government's forces. At the same time, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Gaddafi and his entourage on 27 June 2011. Gaddafi was ousted from power in the wake of the fall of Tripoli to the rebel forces on 20 August 2011, although pockets of resistance held by forces loyal to Gaddafi's government held out for another two months, especially in Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, which he declared the new capital of Libya on 1 September 2011. The fall of the last remaining cities under pro-Gaddafi control and Sirte's capture on 20 October 2011, followed by the subsequent killing of Gaddafi, marked the end of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

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