Key dates in the life of Saddam Hussein:
— April 28, 1937: Born in the village of Uja, near Tikrit. His father died or disappeared before he was born.
— 1957: Joins the radical, secular nationalist Baath Party at age 20.
— 1959: Flees Iraq for Cairo, Egypt, after taking part in an attempt to assassinate the country's ruler, Gen. Abdul-Karim Kassim, and is sentenced to death in absentia.
— 1963: Returns to Iraq after the Baath Party overthrows Kassim, but then is imprisoned after Baath leadership is ousted.
— 1967: Escapes and takes charge of the underground Baath Party's secret internal security organization.
— July 1968: Baath Party wins back power under the leadership of Gen. Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, who appoints Saddam, his distant cousin, as his deputy. Saddam purges key party figures, deports thousands of Shiites of Iranian origin and supervises the state takeover of Iraq's oil industry and land reform.
— 1979: Saddam forces al-Bakr to resign. Hundreds of Baath and military officials are executed in purge.
— Sept. 22, 1980: Iraqi forces invade Iran, launching an eight-year war that costs hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides and devastates Saddam's plans to transform Iraq into a developed, prosperous country.
— 1982: Shiite guerrillas ambush Saddam's convoy in Dujail. He escapes. About 150 Shiites are killed in the wake of the assassination attempt.
— 1987: Saddam launches his "Anfal" campaign against Iraqi Kurdish rebels, in which tens of thousands — many of them civilians — are killed.
— Aug. 2, 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait.
— January 1991: A U.S.-led coalition attacks to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.
— March 20, 2003: U.S.-led forces invade Iraq. Within three weeks, Iraq's army collapses and Baghdad falls. Saddam flees to his northern homeland.
— July 2003: Sons Odai and Qusai are killed in a gunbattle with U.S. troops in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
— Dec. 13, 2003: U.S. soldiers discover a bearded and disheveled Saddam hiding in an underground bunker in Adwar, village south of Tikrit.
— Oct. 19, 2005: Saddam and seven others go on trial for the Dujail killings.
— Aug. 21, 2006: Saddam and seven co-defendants go on trial in a new case, for the Anfal crackdown.
— Nov. 5, 2006: Verdict expected in the Dujail trial, in which Saddam faces the death penalty.