1844 Born at Laval. Later attends the lycée in Laval but receives no artistic training.
1871 He is working by this date for the Paris municipal toll service, collecting dues at the entry gates to the city. This gave rise to his later nickname of Le Douanier but he never rose to the rank of customs officer.
1884 He is known to have had a permit to copy works in the Louvre by this date.
1885 Showed two works at the Salon, both derided by the critics.
1886 Paul Signac encourages Rousseau to exhibit at the Salon des Indépendants. Thereafter, he exhibits regularly at this annual show.
1893 He retires in order to spend more time painting.
1905 Exhibits his work at the Salon d’Automne (the year of Les Fauves). Meets Picasso, Robert Delaunay and the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire.
1908 Picasso holds a banquet in Rousseau’s honour.
1910 Dies in Paris.
1911 The Salon des Indépendants holds a retrospective of his work.