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Idris I

King of Libya. He was the country's leader during the independence process (1951) and its decolonisation.

Idris I of Libya (1890-1983) was the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader of the Sanusi, from whom he inherited the leadership and became the most important figure in Cyrenaica, a region currently situated in north eastern Libya. For many years he fought against Italian colonisation in the area, and was obliged to emigrate to Egypt for decades after the great Italian invasion of 1922. Amongst his milestones we find Cyrenaica's proclamation of independence, which was two years before Libya's.

The breaking of ties from Italy made Libya the first African colony to achieve independence, serving as an example for many others. Idris acquired at that time the power of all the new nation's territory, confirming that one of his main goals was to create a feeling of unity amongst all the peoples of the country's different regions.

In 1967 he suffered the first clear signs against his trend for pro-western and non-interventionist policies, mainly when he refused to take part in the Six Day War between Israel and the Arab Nations. The people's unease on his policy increased until finally the military coup d'etat by Muammar al-Gaddafi in 1969 finally ended his reign. At that time Idris was receiving medical treatment abroad. He died in 1983 in exile in Egypt.