Father: Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, a counselor to the royal house of the Thembu tribe
Mother: Nosekeni Fanny Mandela
Marriages: Graca Machel (July 18, 1998-December 5, 2013, his death); "Winnie" (Madikizela) Mandela (1958-1996, divorce); Evelyn (Ntoko) Mandela (1944-1958, divorce)
Children: with Winnie Mandela: Zindzi, 1960 and Zenani, 1959; with Evelyn Mandela: Makaziwe, 1953; Makgatho, 1950-January 6, 2005; Makaziwe, 1947-1948; Thembekile, 1946-1969
Education: University of South Africa, law degree, 1942
He was given the name Nelson by a school teacher. He was sometimes called Madiba, his traditional clan name.
Mandela was called both "the world's most famous political prisoner" and "South Africa's Great Black Hope."
1941-1943 - Mandela meets Walter Sisulu who helps him get a job at the law firm of Witkin, Sidelsky, and Eidelman.
1944 - Joins the African National Congress and helps found the ANC Youth League.
1951 - Becomes president of the ANC Youth League.
1952 - Opens the first black law partnership in South Africa with friend Oliver Tambo.
1952 - Leads the newly launched [ANC] Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws, a program of nonviolent mass resistance.
July 1952 - Mandela is charged with violating the Suppression of Communism Act.
December 5, 1956 - Mandela is among 156 resistance leaders arrested and charged with high treason.
March 21, 1960 - In Sharpeville, police fire upon protestors challenging apartheid laws; 69 people are killed.
April 8, 1960 - The ANC is banned nine days after Mandela is arrested and the government imposes a state of emergency after the events in Sharpeville.
March 29, 1961 - Mandela and all co-defendants are found not guilty of treason.
June 1961 - Mandela begins organizing the armed struggle against apartheid Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nations). He travels in Africa and Europe studying guerrilla warfare.
August 5, 1962 - Is arrested on charges of inciting workers to strike and leaving the country without valid travel documents. Mandela represents himself at trial.
November 7, 1962 - Is sentenced to prison, five years hard labor.
June 12, 1964 - Is sentenced to life in prison for four counts of sabotage. Convicted and sentenced with Mandela are Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg and others.
1980 - The Johannesburg Sunday Post leads a campaign to free Mandela. A petition demanding his and other ANC prisoners' release is printed in the newspaper.
1982 - Is transferred to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison after 18 years on Robben Island.
1988 - Is transferred to Victor Verster Prison.
July 5, 1989 - Meets with President P.W. Botha.
August 15, 1989 -
Botha resigns as president and head of the National Party. Frederik Willem de Klerk
replaces him and begins dismantling apartheid.
December 13, 1989 - Mandela and de Klerk meet for the first time.
February 11, 1990 - Mandela is released from prison after more than 27 years.
Embarks on a world tour, visiting Margaret Thatcher,
the US Congress, and US President George H.W. Bush.
July 1991 - Mandela is elected president of the ANC.
Mandela and de Klerk share the Nobel Peace Prize.
April 29, 1994 - Elected the first black president of the Republic of South Africa in the first open election in the country's history.
May 10, 1994 - Mandela is inaugurated.
January 19, 2000 -
Addresses the UN Security Council,
appealing for help in ending the brutal civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi.
July 25, 2001 - Announces that he has prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment.
January 31, 2003 -
Mandela criticizes President George W. Bush
's stance on Iraq, saying he has no foresight and can't think properly.
November 29, 2003 -
Aids awareness event, the 46664 Concert (Mandela's prison number) at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The event draws 30,000+ fans with performances by Beyonce, Peter Gabriel, Bono,
Bob Geldof and many more; and speeches by Mandela and Geldof.
December 1, 2003 - Mandela participates in the signing of the Geneva Accords for peace in the Middle East.
January 7, 2005 -
Announces that his son, Makgatho Mandela, has died of AIDS
and that the disease should be given publicity so that people will stop viewing it as extraordinary.
March 21, 2005 - Hosts the "46664 concert" in George, South Africa, to promote AIDS awareness.
August 29, 2007 - A bronze statue of Mandela is unveiled in Parliament Square in London.
June 27, 2008 -
A London concert is held at Hyde Park in honor of Mandela's 90th birthday
(on July 18) with all proceeds going to an AIDS charity. It is estimated that about 40,000 tickets were sold.
July 18, 2009 -
The Nelson Mandela Foundation creates Mandela Day
to be held every year on his birthday. The purpose of the day is to bring awareness to community service.
November 11, 2009 -
The United Nations
declares July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day.
December 11, 2009 -
The movie Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman
as Mandela opens in South Africa, Canada and the United States.
February 11, 2010 - On the 20th anniversary of Mandela's release from prison tributes, commemorations and marches in his honor take place.
June 11, 2010 -
Mandela makes his first World Cup
appearance before kickoff of the final match.
January 26-28, 2011 - Is hospitalized in Johannesburg and treated for an acute respiratory infection.
June 21, 2011 -
Meets with US First Lady Michelle Obama
at his home in South Africa.
February 25-26, 2012 - Treated for an abdominal hernia.
March 2012 - The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project is launched.
Google gives a $1.25 million grant to help preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents including items donated by Mandela himself.
December 8, 2012 - Is admitted to the hospital, suffering a lung infection.
December 15, 2012 - Undergoes successful endoscopic surgery to have gall stones removed.
January 6, 2013 - A spokesman says Mandela has successfully recovered from surgery and a lung infection and is slowly getting back to his normal routine.
March 27, 2013 - Is admitted to the hospital due to the recurrence of a lung infection.
April 6, 2013 - Mandela is discharged from the hospital.
April 29, 2013 -
The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) releases video of Mandela as he sits at home surrounded by South Africa President Jacob Zuma
and other government officials. SABC and the African National Congress, which has been critical of media in the past, are accused of political exploitation.
June 8, 2013 - Mandela is admitted to hospital with a recurring lung infection. The former president is listed in serious but stable condition and is breathing on his own.
June 23, 2013 - Officials say Mandela's condition has worsened in the past 24 hours, and he is now in critical condition.
August 31, 2013 - Is discharged from the hospital to continue his recovery at home. According to President Zuma he is still listed in "critical but stable condition but responding to treatment."
December 5, 2013 - Mandela dies at his home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. South African President Zuma orders all flags in the nation to be flown at half-staff through the state funeral.
December 15, 2013 - Mandela is buried in his childhood village of Qunu.