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Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He served as the ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011, during which industry and business was nationalized. Politically an Arab nationalist and Arab socialist, he formulated his own ideology, Third International Theory, later embracing Pan-Africanism and serving as Chairperson of the African Union from 2009 to 2010. The son of an impoverished Bedouin goatherd, Gaddafi became involved in Arab nationalist politics while at school in Sabha, subsequently enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi. Founding a revolutionary group within the ranks of the Libyan military, in 1969 he seized power from King Idris in a bloodless coup. Becoming leader of the governing Revolutionary Command Council, he dissolved the monarchy and proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic. Ruling by decree, he implemented measures to remove what he viewed as foreign imperialist influence from Libya, and strengthened ties to other Arab nationalist governments. Intent on pushing Libya toward socialism, he nationalized the country's oil industry and used the increased revenues to bolster the military, implement social programs and fund revolutionary groups across the world. In 1973 he announced the start of 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. (via Freebase)