1918: Born 18 July in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu
1927: When Mandela is nine, his father dies of an unknown illness.
1937: Moves to Headtown, a Methodist college in Fort Beaufort, where his interest in African culture grows.
1939: Mandela is asked to leave Fort Hare after he participates in the Students’ Representative Council boycott against university policies.
1942: He completes his B.A. at the University of South Africa through a correspondence course, and joins the African National Congress (ANC).
1944: Co-founds the ANC Youth League (ANCYL); marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase – they have four children: Thembekile (1945); Makaziwe (1947 – who dies after nine months); Makgatho (1950); Makaziwe (1954)
1948: Mandela is elected national secretary of the ANCYL and then three years later is elected president.
1952: The ANC starts preparing for a joint Defiance Campaign against apartheid with Indian and communist groups, founding a National Voluntary Board to recruit volunteers.
1952: Mandela is arrested under the Suppression of Communism Act and stands trial in Johannesburg. The court finds him guilty of “statutory communism”, but his sentence of nine months’ hard labour is suspended for two years.
1956: Arrested and joins 155 others on trial for high treason. On 29 March 1961, after a six-year trial, the judges produced a verdict of not guilty, embarrassing the government.
1960: The African National Congress is banned.
1962: Mandela leaves South Africa for military training and to build support for the ANC, but on returning is arrested and is sentenced to five years’ jail for incitement and leaving the country without a passport.
1963: Appears in court for the first time in what becomes known as the Rivonia Trial, where he is charged with four counts of sabotage and conspiracy to violently overthrow the government.
1964: Mandela and two of his co-accused guilty on all four charges, sentencing them to life imprisonment rather than death.
1981: Mandela is moved to Pollsmoor in Tokai, but suspected he was being moved to curtail his influence on younger activists in jail.
1985: Undergoes surgery on an enlarged prostate gland before being given new solitary quarters.
1988: Recovering from tuberculosis, Mandela is moved to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl where he is held for 14 months in a cottage.
1990: South African government debates legalising the ANC and freeing Mandela. Although there was opposition, President F. W. de Klerk meets with Mandela in December to discuss the possibility. Mandela is then released on 11 February, 1990.
1993: December 10. Wins the Nobel Peace Prize with F.W. de Klerk.
1994: Elected by parliament as the first President of a democratic South Africa.
1999: Steps down after one term as President, establishes the Nelson Mandela Foundation
2004: Steps away from public life.
2008: Turns 90 years old, asks future generations to continue the fight for social justice
2013: 5 December, dies surrounded by his family, at the age of 95.