April 28, 1937: Born in al-Awja village outside Tikrit, 150 kilometres north of Baghdad.
October 1959: A year after the overthrow of the monarchy takes part in an attempt to kill Prime Minister Abdel-Karim Kassem. Flees abroad.
February 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 Abdul-Rahman Aref.
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.
July 16, 1979: Takes power after President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr steps aside as chairman of the RCC.
September 22, 1980: Following border skirmishes, Saddam launches war on Iran that lasts eight years.
Aug 2, 1990: Launches invasion of Kuwait, prompting UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iraq.
January 17, 1991: US-led forces start Gulf War with air attacks on Iraq and occupy Kuwait.
October 15, 1995 - Saddam wins a presidential referendum and is elected unopposed with more than 99 per cent of the vote.
October 15, 2002: Official results show Saddam wins 100 per cent of votes in a referendum for a new term in office.
March 20: US launches war against Iraq with strikes on Baghdad, targeting "very senior" leadership. Saddam later appears on TV urging Iraqis to defend their country.
July 22: US military confirms that Saddam's two sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a gun battle in Mosul.