10 Quick Facts about Muammar al-Qaddafi and Libya

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With events in Libya taking up front-page headlines this week, I turned to one of our most popular blog entries from earlier this year: background information about Libya and about its leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi. Below are 10 quick facts that are still relevant about Libya and about Qaddafi:

1.Qaddafi was born in the desert near Surt, Libya, in 1942. He was the youngest child of a nomadic Bedouin family.

2. In 1969, as a young military officer, Qaddafi led a coup to overthrow Libya’s king, Idris, who was viewed by many Libyans as corrupt. Qaddafi has been in power ever since.

3. Qaddafi holds no formal office. He calls himself the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution. He has ruled with absolute power as a military dictator.

4. In the 1970s, Qaddafi published his political philosophy in a short, three-part work known as The Green Book.

5. Much international discussion surrounds whether or not Qaddafi has had a face-lift and hair implants. Al Arabiya News Channel says yes.

6. Libya has the largest proven oil fields in Africa and is a major North African supplier of oil to Europe. (The largest North African supplier of oil to the United States is Algeria.)

7. Libya’s capital city and busiest port is Tripoli.

8. Libya’s official language is Arabic.

9. Libya’s flag is solid green, with no imagery. Green is the color of Islam and the flag reflects Qaddafi’s commitment to the religion.

10. Check out TFCB’s titles about Qaddafi (Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya) and about Libya (Libya in Pictures) to find a tenth quick fact—and to gather more! (Covers of both books above.)

Check in next week for more from TFCB.