1737 – He was born on the 29th of January this year in Thetford, England. He was apprenticed to his father, a corset maker, at 13, but apparently failed at this.
1756 – At 19, Paine became a merchant seaman, serving a short time before returning to Great Britain in April 1759.
1761 – He returned to Thetford where he worked as a supernumerary officer.
1762 – He became an excise officer in Grantham, Lincolnshire. In August 1764, he was again transferred, this time to Alford, where his salary was £50 a year.
1765 – He was discharged from his post for claiming to have inspected goods when in fact he had only seen the documentation.
1766 – On the 3rd of July this year, he wrote a letter to the Board of Excise asking to be reinstated.
1767 – He was appointed to a position in Grampound, Cornwall. He was subsequently asked to leave this post to await another vacancy and he became a school teacher in London.
1768 – He was appointed to Lewes, East Sussex. He moved into the room above the 15th-century Bull House, a building which held the snuff and tobacco shop of Samuel and Esther Ollive.
1771 – At age 36, he married his landlord’s daughter, Elizabeth Ollive.
1778 – He alluded to the then ongoing secret negotiations with France in his pamphlets, and there was a scandal which resulted in Paine being dropped from the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
1781 – He accompanied John Laurens during his mission to France. His services were eventually recognized by the state of New York by the granting of an estate at New Rochelle, New York, and he received considerable gifts of money.
1791 – He wrote the Rights of Man , as a guide to the ideas of the Enlightenment.
1792 – Despite an inability to speak French, he was elected to the French National Assembly in this year.
1793 – He was arrested in Paris and imprisoned in December of this year.
1794 – He was released this year. He became notorious with his book, The Age of Reason (1793-94), which advocated deism and took issue with Christian doctrines.
1795 – In Agrarian Justice, he introduced concepts similar to socialism. He remained in France during the early Napoleonic Era, but condemned Napoleon’s moves towards dictatorship.
1800 – He purportedly had a meeting with Napoleon. Napoleon claimed he slept with a copy of Rights of Man under his pillow and went so far as to say to Paine that "a statue of gold should be erected to you in every city in the universe." However, he quickly moved from admiration to condemnation as he saw the latter’s moves towards dictatorship.
1809 – He died on the 8th day of June this year in New York City, USA.