Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِيMuʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī ) (June 7, 1942 – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was Libya's autocratic ruler from 1969, when he seized power in a bloodless military coup, until 1979, and had remained the country's symbolic leader until 2011 when the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya regime he established was overthrown in a civil war which consisted of an uprising aided by a NATO intervention. His 42-year leadership prior to the uprising made him the fourth longest-serving non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-serving Arab leader. He variously styled himself as "the Brother Leader" and "Guide of the Revolution"; in 2008 a meeting of traditional African rulers bestowed on him the title "King of Kings".
After seizing power in 1969, he abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951. He established laws based on the political ideology he had formulated, called the Third International Theory and published in The Green Book. After establishing the jamahiriya ("state of the masses") system in 1977, he officially stepped down from power in 1979 and has since then held a largely symbolic role within the country's governance. Rising oil prices and extraction in Libya led to increasing revenues. By exporting as much oil per capita as Saudi Arabia and through various welfare programs, Libya achieved the highest living standards in Africa, though not as high as similarly oil-rich Gulf countries. Early during his regime, Gaddafi and his relatives took over much of the economy. Gaddafi started several wars and acquired chemical weapons. The United Nations called Libya under Gaddafi a pariah state. In the 1980s, countries around the world imposed sanctions against Gaddafi. Six days after the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2006 by United States troops, Gaddafi renounced Tripoli's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and welcomed international inspections to verify that he would follow through on the commitment. A leading advocate for a United States of Africa, he served as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) from 2 February 2009 to 31 January 2010.
In February 2011, following revolutions in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, protests against Gaddafi's rule began. These escalated into an uprising that spread across the country, with the forces opposing Gaddafi establishing a government based in Benghazi named the National Transitional Council (NTC). This led to the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which included a military intervention by a NATO-led coalition to enforce a UN Security Council Resolution 1973 calling for a no-fly zone and protection of civilians in Libya. The assets of Gaddafi and his family were frozen, and both Interpol and the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 27 June for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, concerning crimes against humanity. Gaddafi and his forces lost the Battle of Tripoli in August, and on 16 September 2011 the NTC took Libya's seat at the UN, replacing Gaddafi. He retained control over parts of Libya, most notably the city of Sirte, to which it was presumed that he had fled. Although Gaddafi's forces initially held out against the NTC's advances, Gaddafi was captured alive as Sirte fell to the rebel forces on Thursday the 20 October 2011, he was beaten and killed soon after.