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.