Timeline: The rise and fall of Colonel Gaddafi

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair meets Colonel Gaddafi at his desert base outside Sirte in 2007
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair meets Colonel Gaddafi at his desert base outside Sirte in 2007
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Colonel Muammar Gaddafi commanded a brutal regime in Libya for over 40 years until the rebel uprising in February this year. Here is a timeline of key dates in his downfall.

1951: Libya wins independence after three decades of Italian rule.

1969: Muammar al-Gaddafi, 27, an army captain, leads a peaceful coup to overthrow monarchy, becoming Libya’s undisputed ruler. Establishes socialist system and backs groups seen in West as terrorists.

April 1986: US jets bomb the Gaddafi compound in Tripoli after Libya is found responsible for bombing a Berlin disco frequented by American troops.

1988: Suspected Libyan agents plant a bomb that blows up a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, killing 270 people.

31 January, 2001 - Special Scottish court in the Netherlands finds one of the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, guilty and sentences him to life imprisonment. Megrahi’s co-accused, Al-Amin Khalifa Fahimah, is found not guilty and freed.

2003: Libya accepts responsibility for Lockerbie, and says it will end efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. It tries to improve relations with West.

2004 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits Libya, the first such visit since 1943.

January 2009: The US and Libya exchange ambassadors for first time in 35 years, after Libya pays compensation to Lockerbie families.

2009: Gaddafi marks 40 years of rule with lavish celebrations.

15 February, 2011: Anti-government protests erupt in Libya following similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. It is sparked by the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel.

26 February, 2011 – United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family, and refers the crackdown on rebels to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

5 March, 2001 – The rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi declares itself Libya’s official representative.

17 March, 2011 – The U.N. Security Council votes to authorise a no-fly zone over Libya and military action.

30 April, 2011 – A Nato missile attack on a house in Tripoli kills Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren, according to his government.

27 June, 2011 – Arrest warrants are issued by the ICC issues for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.

21 August, 2011 – Rebel forces enter Tripoli with little resistance, prompting Gaddafi to make audio addresses over state television calling on Libyans to fight off the rebel “rats”.

21 September 2011 – The NTC say they have captured most of Sabha, one of three main towns where Gaddafi loyalists had been holding out. Gaddafi’s birthplace Sirte and the town of Bani Walid continue to resist.

13 October 2011 – NTC say their forces have control of the whole of Sirte except neighbourhood ‘Number Two’ where Gaddafi forces are surrounded.

20 October 2011 - NTC fighters capture Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, after a two-month siege. Reports circulate that Gaddafi has been captured or killed.