Osama Bin Laden - Figures Throughout History

A map showing where Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan in 2011.
A map showing where Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan in 2011.

5. Early Life

Osama Bin Laden was born 10 March 10, 1957 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden is considered an ethnic Yemeni (a native of Yemen), but his family roots in Saudi Arabia go back over 100 years. Bin Laden's family were already billionaires by the time he was born due to their construction and highway contracts within Saudi Arabia as well as being considered as a part of the elite social circle of the country. Bin Laden was schooled at an elitist high school (Al-Thager Model School) and then studied civil engineering at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

4. Beginnings

In 1979, Bin Laden relocated to Pakistan in order to help the mujaheddin (forces fighting against Soviet Union occupation) in Afghanistan. He was able to get weapons, soldiers and money into Afghanistan to help the cause which gained him popularity among some Arabs. Just prior to the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Bin Laden formed Al-Qaeda. As early as 1990, Bin Laden took issue with United States military bases in Saudi Arabia. The base of operations for Bin Laden's organization would shift from Afghanistan to Sudan in 1992, then back to Afghanistan in 1996. Bin Laden publicly declared a war against the United States once settled in Afghanistan. In 1998, Bin Laden claimed responsibility for 2 deadly United States embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya as well as the bombing of a United States naval ship, the U.S.S Cole, in the year 2000. The attacks of September 11, 2001 would be considered the most well known terrorist event in history, but Bin Laden did not fully claim responsibility until 2004.

3. Influence

Contributions from Bin Laden to the world are negative due to his indiscriminate violence in Tanzania, Kenya, Yemen, and the United States. After initially being known as a 'freedom fighter' having driven the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, his reputation quickly declined due to his harsh interpretation and implementation of Islam. Bin Laden also inspired ISIS and their constant push for media coverage. This was due to Bin Laden's media presence. ISIS has created an advanced version of Bin Laden's videos and audio from the 2000s.

2. Challenges

Osama Bin Laden was on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted list from June 7, 1999 until his death in 2011. Although Bin Laden was accustom to living somewhat rough, according to reports his health was declining rapidly after 9/11. Sources claim Bin Laden had 5 or 6 wives and up to 26 children. After the September 11 attack against the United States, many of his family had to flee to Iran in order to avoid persecution.

1. Death and Legacy

Bin Laden was hunted down and killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, by the United States Navy Seals, ending a decade-long global manhunt. Osama Bin Laden is the most famous terrorist in history due to the copious use of his image within international media. Bin Laden's picture stirs emotion whenever it is seen and perhaps his legacy is that of a symbolic villain, similar to that of Hitler.


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