July 18, 1918 Nelson Mandela born at Qunu near the Transkeian capital of Umtata. Baby given the middle name of Rolihlahla, Xhosa for "stirring up trouble."
1940-1941 Mandela expelled from Fort Hare University for participating in student strike, goes to Johannesburg.
1942 Mandela joins African National Congress.
1944 Mandela marries nurse Evelyn Ntoko, becomes one of five founders of ANC's Youth League.
1949 Youth League takes control of ANC, with Mandela elected executive.
1951 Mandela elected Youth League president.
1952 Mandela helps organize Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign, serves first brief term in prison, is banned for the first time, and together with ANC leader Oliver Tambo opens South Africa's first black legal partnership.
1954 Mandela revises ANC organizational structure, introduces M-plan based on small township street cells.
Dec. 5, 1956 Mandela, 155 co-defendants charged with treason; acquitted March 29, 1961.
1957 Mandela divorces Evelyn Ntoko; marries Nomzano Winnie Madikizela on June 14, 1958.
1961 Mandela co-founds Umkhonto we Sizwe "Spear of the Nation" in Zulu army set up independently of the ANC to force change through sabotage.
Aug. 5, 1962 Mandela captured in Natal province while disguised as chauffeur after 17 months evading police.
Aug. 8, 1962 Mandela sentenced to five years in prison for inciting African workers to strike and leaving country without travel documents.
1963 Start of Rivonia trial, named after the Johannesburg farm housing the ANC's secret headquarters, involving Mandela and others.
June 12, 1964 Mandela, seven other Rivonia defendants sentenced to life in prison for sabotage, trying to overthrow government.
April 1982 Mandela moved from Robben Island Prison in Cape Town's Table Bay to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town's southern suburbs.
May 12, 1984 Winnie and Nelson Mandela allowed first contact visit after 22 years of communicating through glass windows.
Aug. 12, 1988 Mandela moved to Cape Town's Tygerberg Hospital suffering from tuberculosis.
Dec. 7, 1988 Mandela transferred from hospital to prison warden's house in the grounds of Victor Verster Prison outside Paarl, wine-growing town 35 miles from Cape Town.
July 5, 1989 Mandela has tea with President Pieter Botha at Cape Town presidential office of Tuynhuys.
Oct. 15, 1989 Mandela's remaining co-defendants, including Walter Sisulu, released unconditionally from quarter-century in prison.
Dec. 1, 1989 Mandela holds first meeting with President Frederik de Klerk at Tuynhuys.
Feb. 11, 1990 Mandela released from Victor Verster Prison.
May 14, 1991 Winnie Mandela sentenced to six years in prison for her role in the 1988 kidnapping and beating of four black youths; she remained free on bail pending an appeal of her conviction. A month earlier Mrs. Mandela, once known among black South Africans as "the Mother of the Nation," was unable to muster the votes needed to win the presidency of the ANC's Women's League.
July 19, 1992 Mandela addresses United Nations Security Council calling for UN intervention to stop the violence in South African towships.
Sept. 26, 1992 Mandela, deKlerk sign Record of Understanding which allows single freely elected constitutional assembly and draft of new constitution.
June 3, 1993 Agreement reached to hold elections open to all South Africans on April 27, 1994, for which Mandela wins the Nobel Peace Prize and shares with predecessor, F. W. deKlerk, the former president of South Africa.
April 27, 1994 First open elections in South Africa. Mandela, ANC candidate for president, captures 62.6 percent of popular vote.
May 9, 1994 Mandela officially elected South Africa's first black president. United States' 44-member delegation to Mandela's inauguration on May 11, 1994 includes Vice President Al Gore and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
May 12, 1994 On first full day in office, Mandela adds Winnie Mandela, estranged wife, to his cabinet as deputy minister of culture, arts.
Oct. 5, 1994 Mandela is guest at U.S. White House, addresses joint houses of Congress, and is guest at South African embassey, which once banned apartheid protestors.
March 27, 1995 Mandela fires his estranged wife, Winnie, as his deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology, but she remains an elected member of Parliament for the ANC. Because Winnie protests firing on constitutional grounds, Mandela must rehire Winnie, but refires her on April 14.
July 20, 1995 Mandela creates a "truth commission" to uncover human rights abuses committed during South Afrtica's racially separaist past.
Sept. 19, 1995 Mandela announces that he will seek a divorce from estranged wife, Winnie, after 38 years, 28 of which he had served in prison.
March 19, 1996 Mandela granted a divorce from his estranged wife Winnie. Mandela sought the divorce on grounds that Mrs. Mandela had been unfaithful while he was in prison.