18 Jul 1918 - Born with forename Rolihlahla in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, part of South Africa's Cape Province to Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa and Nosekeni Fanny.
1925 - Attend local Methodist school near village of Qunu. Given the forename Nelson when he baptised as Methodist.
1927 - His father died of an undiagnosed ailment believed to be lung disease
- His mother sent him to the "Great Place" palace at Mqhekezweni, entrusted under the guardianship of Thembu regent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo and wife Noengland
- Attend Methodist mission school next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history and geography
1934 - Travelled to Tyhalarha to undergo circumcision ritual, marked his transition from boys to men. Given the name Dalibunga
1936 - Began secondary education at Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo, a Western-style institution that was the largest school for black Africans in Thembuland
1937 - Completing his Junior Certificate in two years, he moved to Healdtown, the Methodist college in Fort Beaufort
1939 - Enroll for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare in the eastern town of Alice.
1940 - Involved in Students' Representative Council (SRC) boycott against the quality of food and expelled without receiving degree.
1941 - Moves to Johannesburg via Queenstown to escape an arranged marriage by Jongintaba. Works as night watchman at a Crown Mines before fired after induna (headman) discovered he was a runaway. Starts work as articled clerk at law firm Witkin, Sidelsky & Eidelman introduce by Walter Sisulu, and realtor and ANC activist.
Late 1941 - Jongintaba visited and forgiving Mandela for running away
Winter 1942 - Jongintaba passed away
1942 - Completes a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of South Africa correspondence course, working on his bachelor's degree at night.
1943 - Enroll at the University of Witwatersrand, studied law degree. - Join African National Congress (ANC)
Aug 1943 - Mandela marched in support of a successful bus boycott to reverse fare rises
09 Apr 1944 - Co-founded ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the Bantu Men's Social Centre in Eloff Street.
5 Oct 1944 - Married Evelyn Mase, ANC activist from Engcobo, Transkei
Early 1946 - Rented house no. 8115 in Orlando
Feb 1946 - 1st child, Madiba "Thembi" Thembekile was born
1947 - Daughter named Makaziwe was born. 9 months later died of meningitis.
Early 1947 - 3 years of articles ended at Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman. Decided to become a full-time student, subsisting on loans from the Bantu Welfare Trust
1947 - Elected to executive committee of the Transvaal ANC, serving under regional president C.S. Ramohanoe.
1948 - South African general election, Afrikaner-dominated Herenigde Nasionale Party under Daniel François Malan took power, soon uniting with the Afrikaner Party to form the National Party. The party codified and expanded racial segregation with the new apartheid legislation.
Dec 1949 - Denied his degree after he failed his final year at Witwatersrand three times
Mar 1950 - Took over former ANC President, Alfred Bitini Xuma (replaced by James Moroka in a vote of no confidence) place in ANC National Executive
1950 - Elected as national president of the ANCYL
1951: Elected president of the ANC Youth League.
Dec 1951 - Outvoted while arguing against a racially united front at the ANC national conference
Apr 1952 - Began work at the H.M. Basner law firm
30 Jul 1952 - Arrested for violating under the Suppression of Communism Act. Sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labor, suspended for two years.
1952 - Obtained work as an attorney for firm Terblanche and Briggish - Move to Helman and Michel. Passing qualification exams to become a full-fledged attorney
Aug 1953 - Open South Africa’s first black law firm with Oliver Tambo, Mandela and Tambo, operating in downtown Johannesburg. Relocate to remote location after their office permit was removed under the Group Areas Act
5 Dec 1956 - Arrested and charged with treason, along with 155 others. All are acquitted.
Mar 1958 - Divorces Evelyn Mase
14 Jun 1958 - Married Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela, with whom he has two daughters.
1961 - Goes underground, helps co-found the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation", abbreviated MK) with Sisulu and the communist Joe Slovoand and is appointed its commander-in-chief.
5 August 1962 - Catured along with Cecil Williams near Howick
1963 - Convicted of incitement and leaving the country illegally. Sentenced to five years imprisonment. Later also charged with sabotage.
1964 - Convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Sent to Robben Island prison off the coast of Cape Town.
Apr 1982 - Transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor prison in Tokai, Cape Town.
Feb 1985 - Rejects then-President P.W. Botha’s offer to free him if he renounces violence.
1985 - Undergoes prostate surgery.
1988 - Contracts tuberculosis.
Dec 1988 - Transferred to Victor Verster prison, near Paarl.
1989 - F. W. de Klerk replaced Botha who suffer from stroke
2 Feb 1990 - Release Mandela unconditionally and legalising all formerly banned political parties
11 Feb 1990 - Released from prison, following a 27-year incarceration.
1990 - Elected ANC deputy president.
Jul 1991 - Elected ANC president at the ANC's national conference in Durban
Sep 1991 - National peace conference was held in Johannesburg in which Mandela, Buthelezi and de Klerk signed a peace accord
13 Apr 1992 - Announce seperation from Winnie
July 1993 - He and de Klerk visited the US, independently meeting President Bill Clinton and each receiving the Liberty Medal
1993 - Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with then-President F.W. de Klerk in Norway.
27 Apr 1994 - Vote for the first time in his life in South Africa’s first democratic election.
10 May 1994 - Inaugurated as president in Pretoria.
1996 - Divorces Winnie Mandela.
1998 - Married Graca Machel on his 80th birthday.
1999 - Steps down after one term as president.
2001 - Diagnosed with prostate cancer.
2002 - Begins global campaign to fight AIDS.
2004 - Announces he will be stepping down from public life.
2005 - Reveals that his eldest son, Makgatho, died of an AIDS-related illness.
2008 - Celebrates his 90th birthday.
2010 - Makes rare public appearance at the final of the soccer World Cup, which is staged in Africa for the first time.
2011 - Admitted to hospital following acute respiratory infection, and is discharged after a two-night stay.
Feb 2012 - Undergoes exploratory surgery for an abdominal complaint.
Dec 2012 - Admitted to Pretoria hospital to undergo treatment for a lung infection and have gallstones removed, and is discharged after 19 days.
Mar 2013 - Readmitted to hospital for treatment for pneumonia and is discharged after 10 days.
8 Jun 2013 - Returns to hospital to receive treatment for recurring lung infection
5 Dec 2013 - Around 20:50 UTC died of lung infection at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg
6 Dec 2013 - President Jacob Zuma announced national mourning period of ten days, with the main event being an official memorial service to be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 10 December 2013. Mandela's body will lie in state from 11 to 13 December at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and a state funeral will be held on 15 December 2013 in Qunu