February 21, 1924: Mugabe is born into a Catholic family at Kutama Mission, northwest of Salisbury, the capital of the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia.
1960: After years outside the country as a student and teacher, Mugabe returns to Rhodesia and joins the National Democratic Party (NPD) to challenge colonial rule.
After the NPD is banned in 1961, he joins Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) before founding, with other dissidents, the rival Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
1964-74: Mugabe is imprisoned for his nationalist activities. On his release, he takes the helm of the banned ZANU and, with Nkomo’s ZAPU, launches a struggle against the white regime of Ian Smith. The 1972-79 war leaves 27,000 people dead.
April 18, 1980: Rhodesia, which had unilaterally declared independence from Britain in 1965, becomes properly independent and is renamed Zimbabwe. Mugabe becomes prime minister.
December 1987: Mugabe becomes executive president in a revision of the constitution.
February 2000: A constitutional reform intended to reinforce his powers is rejected. Mugabe allows so-called veterans of the independence struggle to invade and take over white-owned farms, of which more than 4,000 are seized.
March 2008: Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beats Mugabe in the first round of presidential elections. He abandons the run-off to stem a wave of violence against his supporters. Mugabe is re-elected in June and again in 2013.
December 2014: Mugabe appoints his second wife Grace as the president of his ZANU-PF party’s powerful Women’s League and a member of its central committee, placing her among the top contenders to succeed him. Potential foes are purged from government.
November 15, 2017: Following the firing of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, which puts Grace in prime position to succeed her ageing husband, the army steps in and takes control of the capital. Mugabe says he is under house arrest.
November 21, 2017: After days of holding out against growing demands that he step down, Mugabe resigns as president, ending 37 years in power.