Osama bin Laden (1957–2011) was the founder of al-Qaeda, a militant Islamist group, and the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. Born to a wealthy Saudi Arabian family, bin Laden organized al-Qaeda in opposition to the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Following the Afghan War and Soviet withdrawal, al-Qaeda continued to exist as an anti-Western organization. Bin Laden worked at building a large but loose network of militant supporters. In 1998, bin Laden organized the al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Bin Laden was also involved in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda carried out bin Laden’s plans for a major attack on the United States. After the September 11 attacks Bin Laden went into hiding, emerging occasionally to issue anti-US messages to his supporters. He managed to evade US forces for nearly ten years. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs in Pakistan.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History

Already have an account?

Please click here to login and access this page.

How to subscribe

Click here to get a free subscription if you are a K-12 educator or student, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program, which provides even more benefits.

Otherwise, click here for information on a paid subscription for those who are not K-12 educators or students.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History

Become an Affiliate School to have free access to the Gilder Lehrman site and all its features.

Click here to start your Affiliate School application today! You will have free access while your application is being processed.

Individual K-12 educators and students can also get a free subscription to the site by making a site account with a school-affiliated email address. Click here to do so now!

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History

Why Gilder Lehrman?

Your subscription grants you access to archives of rare historical documents, lectures by top historians, and a wealth of original historical material, while also helping to support history education in schools nationwide. Click here to see the kinds of historical resources to which you'll have access and here to read more about the Institute's educational programs.

Individual subscription: $25

Click here to sign up for an individual subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History

Upgrade your Account

We're sorry, but it looks as though you do not have access to the full Gilder Lehrman site.

All K-12 educators receive free subscriptions to the Gilder Lehrman site, and our Affiliate School members gain even more benefits!

How to Subscribe

K-12 educator or student? Click here to edit your profile and indicate this, giving you free access, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program.

Not a educator or student? Click here for more information on purchasing a subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Related Site Content