Jan. 1, 1957
Osama bin Laden is born to privilege in Saudi Arabia in 1957. He spent his youth in mansions filled with crystal chandeliers, gold statues and Italian tapestries. He became known as the most pious of the sons among his wealthy father's 54 children. Bin Laden's path to militant Islam began as a teenager in the 1970s when he got caught up in the fundamentalist movement then sweeping Saudi Arabia. He was a voracious reader of Islamic literature and listened to weekly sermons in the holy city of Mecca.
(Rahimullah Yousafzai / Associated Press)
Jan. 1, 1967
Bin Laden's father is killed in a plane crash. Bin Laden's share of the inheritance is reportedly about $300 million.
Jan. 1, 1972
Bin Laden is believed to take his first bride about this time. He is about 18, the girl, Najwa, is 14.
Jan. 1, 1979
Osama bin Laden drops out of King Abdul Aziz School for Economics and Management in Saudi Arabia to join Afghan mujahedin fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
Jan. 1, 1980
Bin Laden becomes a figure of worldwide influence as a supporter of Muslim freedom fighters in Afghanistan.
Jan. 1, 1988
Bin Laden uses personal wealth to create cells of fighters from around the Muslim world against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He forms Al Qaeda, or the "base," a recruitment, fundraising and training organization.
Jan. 1, 1990
Iraq invades Kuwait. America deploys 500,000 troops in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden tried to dissuade the government from allowing non-Muslim armies into the land where the Prophet Muhammad gave birth to Islam, but the Saudi leadership turned to the United States to protect its vast oil reserves. When bin Laden continued criticizing Riyadh's close alliance with Washington, he was stripped of Saudi citizenship.
Jan. 1, 1991
Bin Laden relocates to Sudan. Maintains camp in Afghanistan to train non-Afghan Muslims. Finances Pakistani guesthouses used on and off by Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, later implicated in plot to kill the pope in Manila and bomb the World Trade Center.
Jan. 1, 1992
Bin Laden followers are linked to two hotel bomb attacks aimed at U.S. troops deployed in Yemen for Somalia mission.
Jan. 1, 1993
Bin Laden backers attack American troops in Somalia.
Jan. 1, 1994
Saudi Arabia clamps down on activist Islamic clergy, revokes Bin Laden's citizenship.
Jan. 1, 1995
Bin Laden calls for the expulsion of Americans from Saudi Arabia. Five American soldiers killed in bombing in Riyadh, the Saudi capital; convicted bombers claim they were influenced by Bin Laden's thinking.
Jan. 1, 1996
Declares "war" against the United States, lauds bombing of Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 U.S. service personnel.
( U.S. Navy)
May 18, 1996
After the U.S. pressures Sudan to expel Bin Laden, he flees to the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
Jan. 1, 1997
The Taliban uncovers what it says is a plot by the Saudis to assassinate Bin Laden; for his own protection, he moves to an old Soviet air base outside Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Feb. 1, 1998
At a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, Bin Laden and other hard-line leaders announce the creation of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders.
Aug. 7, 1998
Al-Qaeda's first major strike after bin Laden returned to Afghanistan was on Aug. 7, 1998, when twin explosions rocked U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Most of the victims were African passers-by, but the bombings also killed 12 Americans. Days later, bin Laden escaped a cruise missile strike on one of his training camps in Afghanistan launched by the United States in retaliation. Bin Laden is believed to have been at the Zhawar Kili Al-Badr camp for a meeting with several of his top men, but left shortly before some 70 Tomahawk cruise missiles slammed into the dusty complex.
Feb. 1, 1999
In a magazine interview, Bin Laden says: "We believe that the biggest thieves in the world and the terrorists are the Americans. The only way for us to fend off these assaults is to use similar means."
Oct. 12, 2000
The bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole in Yemen kills 17 sailors. Bin Laden is suspected of involvement in the attack.
(Dimitri Messinis/Associated Press)
Sept. 11, 2001
In the worst terrorist attack ever against the United States, hijackers struck at the preeminent symbols of the nation's wealth and might Tuesday, flying airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and killing or injuring thousands of people.
Oct. 7, 2001
Just hours after the U.S. assault on Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001, bin Laden appeared in a video delivered to Al-Jazeera, an Arab satellite television station, to issue a threat to America. "I swear by God‚Äö neither America nor the people who live in it will dream of security before we live it in Palestine, and not before all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad, peace be upon him," said bin Laden, dressed in fatigues.
Nov. 1, 2001
On a video later obtained by U.S. authorities, Bin Laden laughs when recalling the carnage of Sept. 11.
Dec. 27, 2001
He reappeared in a video appearance broadcast by Al-Jazeera on Dec. 27, 2001, shortly after U.S. forces apparently had him cornered in Tora Bora, a giant cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. Hundreds of al-Qaida suspects are believed to have escaped the massive U.S. bombing campaign there, and bin Laden is believed to have been among them.
Nov. 14, 2002
After melting into the mountains of Afghanistan more than a year earlier, Bin Laden makes a careful and calculated comeback by resurfacing with a new tape.
Jan. 5, 2004
Al Jazeera broadcast an audiotape purportedly from Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in which he urged Muslims to continue fighting a "holy war" in Iraq and the Middle East rather than cooperate with peace efforts. The speaker, who referred to recent events -- including the Dec. 13 capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein -- called on Muslims to "continue the jihad to check the conspiracies that are hatched against the Islamic nation." He said the U.S.-led war against Iraq was the beginning of the "occupation" of Persian Gulf states for their oil.
Oct. 31, 2004
Bin Laden releases an 18-minute tape in the last days of the U.S. presidential election. He cites American involvement in Lebanon in 1982 as motive for the 9/11 attacks and says neither candidate for president can guarantee security. U.S. experts say the Al Qaeda leader is trying to trade in his global terrorist image for that of elder statesman among Muslims.
Jan. 1, 2006
After a long silence, bin Laden stepped up his messages in 2006, and the subjects he addressed became more political. In January 2006, he addressed his comments to the American people rather than U.S. President George W. Bush because, he said, polls showed "an overwhelming majority" of Americans wanted a withdrawal from Iraq. He even recommended Americans pick up a copy of the book "The Rogue State," which he said offered a path to peace.
May 1, 2011
Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan as the result of a U.S. military operation, President Obama announced to the nation in a live address.
May 2, 2011
San Diego-based aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is used for Bin Laden burial at sea.