28 April 1937 - Born in al-Awja village outside Tikrit, 150 km north of Baghdad.


Oct 1956 - Joins an uprising against the pro-British royalist rulers and then becomes a militant in the pan-Arab, secular Baath Party.


Oct 1959 - A year after the overthrow of the monarchy, takes part in an attempt to kill Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qassim. Flees abroad.


Feb 1963 - Returns to Baghdad when the Baath Party seizes power in a military coup, but nine months later Baathists are toppled. Caught and jailed. Elected deputy secretary general of the party while in prison.


July 1968 - Saddam helps plot the coup that puts the Baath Party back in power, deposing President Abd al-Rahman Arif.


March 1975 - As vice-president of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), Saddam signs a border agreement with the Shah of Iran, who ends support for an Iraqi Kurdish revolt, causing its collapse.


16 July 1979 - Takes power after President Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr steps aside as chairman of the RCC.


22 Sept 1980 - Following border skirmishes, Saddam launches war on Iran that lasts eight years.


20 Aug 1988 - A ceasefire is officially implemented in the Iran-Iraq war. The campaign against Kurds continues.


2 Aug 1990 - Launches invasion of Kuwait, prompting UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iraq.


17 Jan 1991 - US-led forces start Gulf War with air attacks on Iraq and occupied Kuwait.


28 Feb 1991 - Hostilities end with eviction of Iraqi forces from Kuwait.


3 April 1991 - UN Security Council orders Iraq to scrap chemical, biological, nuclear and long-range missile programmes.


15 Oct 1995 - Saddam wins a presidential referendum and is elected unopposed with more than 99% of the vote.


23 Feb 1996 - Two senior Iraqi defectors, both married to Saddam's daughters, are reported murdered by relatives just days after returning from Jordan.


15 Oct 2002 - Official results show Saddam wins 100% of votes in a referendum for a new term in office.


7 Dec 2002 - Saddam apologises for invasion of Kuwait, but blames the emirates' leadership. Kuwait rejects the apology.


2 Feb 2003 - In his first interview in more than a decade, Saddam denies Baghdad has banned weapons or any links to al-Qaida.


15 March - Saddam puts Iraq on a war footing, dividing the country into four military districts and putting his younger son Qusay in command of the Baghdad-Tikrit area.


20 March - US launches war against Iraq with strikes on Baghdad targeting "very senior" leadership. Saddam later appears on TV urging Iraqis to defend their country.


7 April - US aircraft drop four 900 kg bombs on a building in a residential area of Baghdad after intelligence reports indicate that Saddam and his two sons might have been inside with other Iraqi leaders.


9 April - Forces sweep into the heart of Baghdad to an ecstatic welcome as Saddam Hussein's 24-year rule crumbles.


22 July - US military confirms that Saddam's two sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in gun battle in Mosul.


14 Dec - Saddam is captured.