Given English name, Nelson, by a teacher.
1943 Enrolled for a law degree at Witswaterand University. Joined the African National Congress
1944 Married his first wife, Evelyn Mase. They divorced in 1958 after having four children
1952 He opened a Johannesburg law practice with fellow campaigner Oliver Tambo.
1956 Charged with high treason, but the charges were dropped after a four-year trial
1958 Married Winnie Madikizela. They separated in 1992.
1960 The ANC was outlawed
1962 Arrested, convicted of sabotage and sentenced to five years in prison
1964 Jailed for life on Robben Island. While in prison his mother and eldest son died but he was not allowed to attend the funerals.
1980 The ANC, led by exiled Mr Tambo, launch an international campaign to free Mandela
1982 Transferred to Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland
1988 72,000 people sing 'Free Nelson Mandela' at a concert at Wembley Stadium, London
1990 Freed from prison after 27 years, ban on the ANC lifted by President FW de Klerk
1993 Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
1994 Elected South Africa's first black president
1995 South Africa wins the Rugby World Cup
1998 At 80, he married Graca Machel, the widow of the former president of Mozambique
1999 Stepped down as leader and becomes a high profile HIV/Aids campaigner
2001 Diagnosed with prostate cancer
2004 Retired from public life
2005 Announced his son, Makgatho, has died of an HIV/Aids-related illness
2007 Formed The Elders group of leading world figures to tackle worldwide issues
2010 Appears at World Cup closing ceremony
2012 The first South African banknotes featuring his face went into circulation