February 16, 1942
Kim Jong-il is born in a guerrilla fighters' camp on Mount Paektu, according to official North Korean history. Some sources say he was born in a Siberian village in 1941.
July 8, 1994
Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-il's father, dies of a heart attack and Kim Jong-il inherits power.
October 8, 1997
Kim Jong-il is named General Secretary of the Workers' Party.
Kim Jong-il reportedly suffers a stroke.
July 21, 2010
The US imposes sanctions on North Korea in a bid to stem Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
September 28, 2010
Kim Jong-un promoted to four-star general and gets leadership roles in the Workers' Party. The news is state media's first mention of him.
October 10, 2010
Kim Jong-un makes his public debut at North Korea's largest military parade. The celebration in Pyongyang marks the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party.
October 11, 2010
Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of Kim Jong-il, says he opposes a hereditary transfer of power to his half-brother. Analysts say he spends so much time outside his native land that his opinion carries little weight.
February 16, 2011
Kim Jong Il celebrates his 69th birthday.
April 15, 2011
North Koreans honor the country's founder, Kim Il Sung, on the 99th anniversary of his birth. It is the nation's most important holiday and known as "The Day of the Sun."