At dawn on September 1, 1969, a communique read on Radio Benghazi announced the overthrow of the corrupt Libyan monarchy without bloodshed and the birth of a republic. The message of "victory of the Al Fateh revolution, in the name of freedom, social justice and unity" was read by a young army officer, Captain Muammar al Qadhafi.
At 2:00 a.m. that day an armoured column had taken over the Libyan capital, seizing control of the royal palace, the military and police headquarters and the radio station. The former government put up no resistance, though King Idriss al-Senussi, who was in Turkey for a health cure, tried in vain to persuade Britain to intervene under a defence pact between London and Tripoli.
The crown prince, Hassan al-Rida, the king's nephew, was taken prisoner and announced in the afternoon that he had gone over to the coup leaders of his own free will. He called on the population to cooperate with the country's new rulers.
In the morning of September 1 the new Revolutionary Command Council summoned the ambassadors of the major powers, Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States, to inform them that the bloodless revolution was not opposed to any other country, and that the lives and property of foreign nationals would be protected.
In April 1973: Qadhafi announces the launch of a cultural revolution. A year later, he is formally relieved of political and administrative duties but retains the titles of head of state and commander in chief. Soon later the first volume of Qadhafi's Green Book, propounding his "third international theory" is published.
In March 1977: The Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, or state of the masses, created to give power directly to the people in a declaration of "Authority of the People" with The General People's Congress, people's committees and revolutionary committees are established.
On April 15, 1986: US raids on Qadhafi's homes in Tripoli and Benghazi and other targets kill 44 people including Qadhafi's adopted daughter.
In 1992 the United Nations imposed an air and military embargo on Libya, followed in 1993 by economic and diplomatic sanctions.
On June 10, 1988: Organization of African Unity partially lifts the air embargo against Libya and in Aug 20, 1999 Qadhafi calls for the creation of a United States of Africa following forays into diplomacy to resolve the continent's conflicts and head off outside intervention.
In the 30 years since 1969 Libya has attained the highest standard of
living in all of Africa. This is all the more remarkable when we consider
that in 1951 Libya was officially the poorest country in the world. According
to the World Bank, the per capita income was less than $50 a year - even
lower than India.