Ostensibly, the coup d’état as a practice has been virtually eradicated, or confined, at least, to failed African states. Nevertheless, in recent years various changes of government in Latin America (and even Europe) have provoked serious doubts to be raised as to their legality and legitimacy, and they have come to be regarded as coups d’état. In light of this reality, this study attempts to go deeper into the concept of the coup d’état, right through from its creation in the 17th century to our times, in order to determine the evolutionary changes that the concept has undergone and to extract the lowest common denominator that has remained unchanged. With these premises established, the presumed evolutionary course of the concept in the 21st century is plotted and the typologies it might generate are proposed.
Key words: coup d’état, military, legality, legitimacy
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