(CNN) -- Here's a look at Mahmoud Abbas's life.
Personal: Birth date: 1935
Birth place: Safed, Palestine
Marriage: Amina Abbas
Children: three sons, Mazen (d. June 15, 2002), Yasser, and Tareq
Education: Damascus University, B.A.; Oriental College (in Moscow), Ph.D.
Other Facts: His family left the British Mandate area Safed, Palestine, to live in Syria as refugees in 1948.
Abbas laid floor tiles and taught elementary school before earning a law degree.
Played an integral role in the forging of the Declaration of Principles, the historic peace accord signed in 1993 by PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel.
Was the primary force behind the Palestine National Council's decision to work with Israeli peace groups.
He is also known as Abu Mazen. (Abu is a slang term to describe the head of a family or father of children.)
Timeline: 1959 - Founding member of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), which became the largest political group of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
1964 - Fatah joins the PLO.
1967 - Is appointed to Fatah's Central Committee.
1968 - Joins the Palestinian National Council (PNC).
1980 - Is elected to the PLO's Executive Committee.
September 1993 - Accompanies Arafat to the White House to sign the Oslo Accords, or the Declaration of Principles.
1995 - Signs the Interim Peace Agreement with Israel.
March 19, 2003 - Accepts the position of prime minister of Palestinian Authority.
June 3, 2003 - Meets with President Bush and the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt regarding peace efforts.
September 6, 2003 - Resigns position as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.
November 11, 2004 - Becomes the chairman of the PLO after Yasser Arafat's death.
January 9, 2005 - Declares victory in Palestinian presidential elections.
May 26, 2005 - Meets with U.S. President George W. Bush; the first meeting with the Palestinian Authority in the White House since peace talks broke down in 2000. President Bush pledges to give the Palestinian Authority $50 million in aid.
May 31, 2005 - Undergoes a successful, minor heart procedure in a hospital in Amman, Jordan.
February 21, 2006 - Asks Hamas leader Ismail Haniya to assemble a government. Haniya is sworn in in March.
June 14, 2007 - Dissolves the government and dismisses Ismail Haniya as prime minister. Haniya rejects this and remains the de facto leader in the Gaza Strip.
June 15, 2007 - Appoints economist Salam Fayyad as the new prime minister of an emergency Palestinian Cabinet.
November 27, 2007 - Attends the Annapolis Middle East Peace Conference, the first formal peace conference sponsored by the U.S. since 2000. Top diplomats and representatives from dozens of countries and organizations also attend, hoping to restart stalled Middle East peace negotiations.
April 24, 2008 - Meets with President Bush at the White House.
January 2009 - Extends his term in office until 2010, citing a clause in the constitution to extend his term until the 2010 election.
November 5, 2009 - Announces that he does not want to run for president in the Palestinian elections scheduled for January 2010. The elections are postponed later in November.
December 16, 2009 - The PLO's Central Council votes to extend Abbas's term as president indefinitely.
May 4, 2011 - Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal formally adopt a reconciliation agreement during a ceremony in Cairo, Egypt.
September 16, 2011 - Abbas announces during a speech in Ramallah that he will pursue a full United Nations membership bid for Palestine.
September 23, 2011 - Abbas submits a statehood application letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
January 3, 2013 - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issues a decree renaming the organization the "State of Palestine."