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The Graphic Truth: Coups ain't what they used to be

Timeline chart of attempted and successful military coups since 1946
Annie Gugliotta

Early on Thursday, rebel soldiers announced that they had taken over in a coup in Niger. President Mohamed Bazoum was reportedly detained by members of the presidential guard, but it's not clear whether the rest of the military is on board, so the situation in the Sahel country remains too messy to know for sure who is really in charge. (Bazoum already survived a botched coup after winning reelection in March 2021.)

Successful or not, this is the first — known — coup of the year (notwithstanding Yevgeny Prigozhin's failed mutiny/freak show in Russia). And rather interestingly, it took place in Niger, the West African country we assessed was most at risk of the next power grab in early 2022.

Despite a recent brief resurgence on the continent, coup attempts around the globe have become both less common and less successful. That's partly because the end of the Cold War diminished the superpowers' interest in backing military takeovers against governments they didn't like. Here's a look at the historical record.


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