The fierce battle to topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi began with anti-government protests in the eastern city of Benghazi, and a "day of rage" on 17 February, 2011. The government orchestrated pro-government rallies in the capital Tripoli, as Gaddafi vowed to clamp down on the demonstrations.
A bloody civil war raged for months, until the United Nations Security Council imposed a no-fly zone on the country and authorised "all necessary measures" – code for military action – to protect civilians against Gaddafi's army.
On 21 August, rebel fighters entered Tripoli with little resistance and two days later, made their way into Gaddafi's compound at Bab al-Aziziya.
Gaddafi himself escaped to his hometown, Sirte, where after several weeks – as he tried to flee to the south of the country – he was captured cowering beneath a drain and then killed by Libyan interim government forces, along with his son Mutassim.
18 February 2011: Supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi kiss his picture during a pro-government rally in Tripoli, after an opposition "day of anger" Mahmud Turkia/AFP 20 February 2011: Protesters hold a giant flag on top of a building during a demonstration in the seaport city of Tobruk Reuters 23 February 2011: A Tunisian woman carries her belongings at the Ras Jdir border crossing after fleeing unrest in Libya Yannis Behrakis/Reuters 28 February 2011: Men reach for bread from behind barbed wires while waiting to enter Tunisia after fleeing Libya Spencer Platt/Getty Images 28 February 2011: A rebel stands in the ashes of an alleged torture chamber of the former Libyan Internal Security Force in Benghazi. The notorious building was mostly burned in the uprising that drove Gaddafi loyalists out of the city John Moore/Getty Images 3 March 2011: A man surveys the damaged bedroom of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi inside his former personal headquarters at Benghazi's airport Suhaib Salem/Reuters 3 March 2011: Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, accusing him of being a loyalist to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 6 March 2011: A rebel gestures with a machete vowing: "We will kill Gaddafi," during clashes against pro-Gaddafi forces near Bin Jawad Asmaa Waguih/Reuters 9 March 2011: A rebel fighter fires a rocket-propelled grenade launcher in front of a gas storage terminal during a battle on the road between Ras Lanuf and Bin Jiwad Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 9 March 2011: Rebels attack government troops as a natural gas facility burns on the frontline near Ras Lanuf John Moore/Getty Images 10 March 2011: Muammar Gaddafi's most prominent son, Saif al-Islam, pauses during an interview with Reuters in Tripoli. He claimed Libya was preparing full-scale military action to crush the rebellion and would not surrender even if Western powers intervened in the conflict Chris Helgren/Reuters 19 March 2011: A supporter of the rebel troops fires a rifle into the air as she celebrates the news of the withdrawal of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces from Benghazi Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 20 March 2011: Vehicles belonging to Gaddafi's forces explode after an air strike by coalition forces, on a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 20 March 2011: A tank belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi explodes after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 22 March 2001: Crowds climb on a US Air Force F-15E fighter jet after it crashed near the eastern city of Benghazi Suhaib Salem/Reuters 25 March 2011: A Ministry of Defence screengrab from a Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 shows an air strike on a Libyan battle tank on the seventh day of military action against Muammar Gaddafi's forces Crown Copyright via Getty Images 28 March 2011: Mechanics perform maintenance work aboard France's flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, the base for air sorties against targets in Libya Benoit Tessier/Reuters 6 April 2011: A rebel commander looks through binoculars as he talks on a radio near frontline positions outside Brega Chris Hondros/Getty Images 10 April 2011: Muammar Gaddafi waves from a car inside the heavily-fortified Bab Al Azizia compound in Tripoli, after a meeting with a delegation of five African leaders seeking to mediate in the conflict Louafi Larbi/Reuters 16 April 2011: A wounded rebel fighter screams in agony in Ajdabiyah hospital after heavy fighting on the road between Ajdabiyah and Brega Yannis Behrakis/Reuters 18 April 2011: Foreign workers from Nigeria, Ghana, and other African countries pile in the back of a truck with their belongings as they flee the besieged city of Misrata Chris Hondros/Getty Images 18 April 2011: A rebel fighter moves through a hole in a wall near the front line fighting on Tripoli Street in Misrata Chris Hondros/Getty Images 20 April 2011: A Libyan rebel fighter runs up a burning stairwell during an operation to dislodge government troops who were firing on them from an upstairs room during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in Misrata. This is one of the final images captured by Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros, who died along with British photojournalist Tim Hetherington during the operation Chris Hondros/Getty Images 21 April 2011: Colleagues react as the bodies of photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros are loaded into a refrigerated truck for repatriation by an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) ferry at the port in Misrata Odd Andersen/AFP 23 April 2011: A captured Gaddafi soldier is seen in the back of a pick-up truck as he is transported to a hospital in Misrata Yannis Behrakis/Reuters 2 May 2011: Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi leaves the El Hani cemetery in Tripoli after the funeral of his brother Saif Al-Arab Gaddafi, who was killed in a Nato air strike, raising questions about the role of Western powers in Libya's uprising against its leader Louafi Larbi/Reuters 22 May 2011: A view of destroyed buildings along Tripoli street in central Misrata Zohra Bensemra/Reuters 22 May 2011: Children look at a display of weapons and ammunition picked up after fierce battle between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on Tripoli street in the besieged city of Misrata Zohra Bensemra/Reuters 7 June 2011: Smoke rises after coalition air strikes around Muammar Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli Reuters 8 June 2011: A rebel fighter kisses a mortar before firing it, on the outskirts of Zlitan near Misrata's western front line Zohra Bensemra/Reuters 11 July 2011: A Libyan woman holds up ammunition while learning how to use a weapon from rebel army officers in Benghazi Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters 23 August 2011: Rebels celebrate after overrunning the Bab al Aziziya compound – Muammar Gaddafi's Tripoli bastion. They destroyed symbols of a 42-year dictatorship they declared was now over and set about hunting down the fallen ruler and his sons Louafi Larbi/Reuters 24 August 2011: A rebel fighter fires his machine gun at a sniper as they make a final push to flush out pro-Gaddafi forces from the Bab al Aziziya compound in Tripoli Zohra Bensemra/Reuters 26 August 2011: Libyans walk inside the Tripoli house of Aisha, the daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 27 August 2011: A Libyan rebel draped in automatic rifle ammunition stands guard near the entrance of Ras Lanuf Esam Al-Fetori /Reuters 28 August 2011: Rebel fighters sit inside Muammar Gaddafi's private plane at the international airport in Tripoli Zohra Bensemra/Reuters 28 August 2011: A Libyan rebel fighter holds ammunition from one of Gaddafi's munition dumps hidden behind a row of residential houses in Tripoli Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images 29 August 2011: Rebels celebrate the first Eid al-Fitr after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi at Martyr's Square (formerly Green Square) in Tripoli Youssef Boudlal/Reuters 29 August 2011: Onlookers at the crater left by a Nato air strike in a building at the Khamis Brigade HQ in Tripoli Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images 30 August 2011: Libyans stand around a concealed staircase leading to a tunnel at Hannibal Gaddafi's house in Tripoli Zohra Bensemra/Reuters 31 August 2011: Libyan rebels pray in the middle of the road between Misrata and Sirte Filippo Monteforte/AFP 4 September 2011: Rebels inspect an airplane destroyed by a Nato air strike at the Bir Durfan military base close to Bani Walid Carl de Souza/AFP 19 September 2011: An anti-regime fighter salvages weapons at a weapons and ammunition compound that belonged to pro-government forces in a village near Sirte, one of Muammar Gaddafi's last remaining strongholds Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 29 September 2011: An abandoned VIP airplane stairway is seen on a road at the airport in Sirte, after it fell under the control of anti- Gaddafi fighters Anis Mili/Reuters 14 October 2011: National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters take part in a street battle in Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte Majid Saeedi/Getty Images 19 October 2011: Anti-Gaddafi fighters investigate the study of a house belonging to one of the former Libyan leader's family members in Sirte Saad Shalash/Reuters 20 October 2011: A rebel fighter points a gun at Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte in this still image taken from video Reuters 21 October 2011: An anti-Gaddafi fighter exits the drain in Sirte where Muammar Gaddafi was hiding Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters 21 October 2011: The interior of the drain where Muammar Gaddafi was hiding when he was captured in Sirte Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters 23 October 2011: Women celebrate the liberation of Libya at Martyrs' Square in Tripoli. Libya's new rulers declared the country freed from Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year dictaorship, saying the "Pharaoh of the times", was now in history's rubbish bin and a democratic future beckoned... Suhaib Salem/Reuters