This is a quick Timline of major events based on the book "The Essential Chronology" Some of my information has also come from reading various novels and through research done online. It's as accurate as I know it to be. Please feel free to contact me if there is something wrong, or that you feel needs to be added.
Be Aware that I skipped over alot to make this a shorter timeline, there is much that happened before, during, and after the events that I mention here. Dates are based on the Battle of Yavin being the 0 point. I am starting with the Great Hyperspace War.
5000 B.B.Y.---The Great Hyperspace War-This struggle between good and evil occurred during the Old Republic, and it's outcome affected the galactic civilizations for years to come. The Sith Empire began to crumble. Tatooine is discovered by the Republic, formally an Empire dominated place.
4,400 B.B.Y.---Freedon Nadd, a Jedi Knight falls to the Dark Side and rules the planet Onderon.
4000 B.B.Y.---Trials of the Jedi-The survival of the Republic depended on two factors, wise governing by administrators and lawmakers, and the preservation of harmony and justice by a heroic warrior society called The Jedi Knights.
3,997 B.B.Y---Exar Kun, a once great Jedi apprentice discovers Freedon Nadd's tomb and becomes corrupted by the Dark Side.
3996 B.B.Y.---The Great Sith War- Exar Kun (self proclaimed Dark Lord of the Sith) worked to create numerous Sith converts among the weaker willed Jedi, acting as though he were some sort of prophet. He helps lead a war against the Republic but is defeated by the Jedi.
3,963 B.B.Y.---The Mandalorian Wars begins. The wars end in 3,960 B.B.Y.
3,951 B.B.Y.---A New Jedi Order is built.
2000 B.B.Y.---The New Sith Order-The original race of beings known as the Sith disappeared and haven't been seen since the Sith golden age (The Great Hyperspace War). But the ancient teachings of Sith Lords and the evil they wrought continued to plaque the Republic. Over time the term Sith took on it's current meaning of a cult dedicated to the dark side of the force. The New Sith War begins, lasting for over a thousand years.
1,031 B.B.Y.---Darth Bane starts the New Sith Order and declared that all sith names begin with the word "Darth".
1,000 B.B.Y.---Thousand year peace begins, Jedi Order accepts new laws.
896 B.B.Y.---Yoda, perhaps the greatest Jedi Knight, is born and discoverd by the Jedi and begins his training.
600 B.B.Y.---Jedi Heroism-Even without the influence of the Sith, some Jedi Knights were seduced by evil. The Jedi Council rarely executed the offenders but rather banished them into isolation in the hopes that they would fall back on their Masters teachings. (this was 600 years before the fallen Jedi Palpatine)
350 B.B.Y.---The Trade Federation is founded.
82 B.B.Y.---Palpatine is born on the planet of Naboo and is taken into training by Darth Plagueis.
-----the next few sections here cover Episodes 1-3-------
52 B.B.Y.--- Palpatine is elected as Senator of Naboo.
50 - 18 B.B.Y.---The Sith re-appeared here as Darth Maul, and his master Darth Sidious. Qui-Gon Jinn (Jedi Master) had discovered who he thought to be the Chosen One of ancient Jedi prophecy, the one to bring balance to the force. In an effort to find out more of the Sith, or destroy them, Qui-Gon was killed. Obi-Wan then kills Darth Maul. The boy was Anakin Skywalker. The Battle of Naboo takes place, Queen Amidala is successful in overturning the Trade Federation.
Giving Birth to the Empire - The Republic got lazy. They no longer put their best efforts into enacting legislation. With the laziness came corruption. Senator Palpatine of Naboo watched the government's decay with a practiced eye. The Jedi Knights still were the Republic's guardians and defenders, but they also became involved in politics and government, being sent by the Chancellor as ambassadors and peace officers. The image of the Jedi became tainted by politics dishonesty.
22 B.B.Y.---The Clone Wars- They were a dark time for the galaxy. A turning point. Entire planets became uninhabitable. Historical archives were destroyed. The clone wars triggers the Dark Jedi in a violent revolt on Bpfassah. Palpatine sneakily went around and continues with his plans for his ultimate goal. Count Dooku secretly tries to create an alliance with some of the top ambassadors including Nute Gunray of the trade federation. They are called Sepratists, or The Confederacy of Independent Systems. He obtains plans for a huge superweapon. (the death star, as it will be later called). The seperating of these factions into the alliance will eventually be the cause of the Republics decline, and will be later known as the Empire.
19 B.B.Y.---General Grevious kidnaps Chancellor Palpatine. The Clone Wars end and Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus) is killed by Anakin Skywalker. Chancellor Palpatine is revealed to be Darth Sidious, kills Jedi Masters Mace Windu, Saesee Tiin, Kit Fisto, and Agen Kolar, and creates the Galactic Empire and Palpatine declares himself Emperor. The greatest threat to Palpatine's power were the Jedi Knights, therefore he crushed them. The Jedi Purge as it's called, caused any surviving Jedi to hide underground. Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side and Darth Vader becomes Palpatine's new apprentic. Vader was responsible for numerous Jedi deaths. Only a handful of Jedi Knights survive. Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi duel on Mustafar. Obi-Wan nearly kills Vader (Anakin), greatly disfiguring him. Palpatine does all he can to save his apprentice creating an angry, half-man, half-machine life, very strong in the force. Padme Amidala gives birth to twins and then dies right after. The infants were strong in the force. Emperor Palpatine realized them as a threat knowing how powerful Darth Vader was. Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered their immediate danger and hid the twins from the Emperor and their father. Luke was placed on a farm on Tatooine with Owen and Beru Lars. Obi-Wan stayed on Tatooine at a distance to insure Luke's safety from the possibility that Anakin would find him, and to hide himself from Palpatine's wrath. Leia grew up the complete opposite. She was raised on Alderaan by Bail Organa, Obi-Wan's commander in the Clone Wars. The house of Organa was a royal one. Thus Leia became a Princess. Leia became very knowledgeable in politics like her mother.
10 - 5 B.B.Y.---Ylesia-A 19 yr old Han Solo becomes involved in smuggling and working for the criminal family of the Hutts. He fell in love with a slave Bria Tharen and vowed to rescue her from slavery. He did, but with a price, he ended up stealing a cargo from Ylesia which he then planned to sell and change his identity and start a new life. The Hutts placed a bounty on his head and his bank accounts became frozen and then Tharen left him. The Hutts knew him only by his alias Vyyk Drago. After a bounty hunter was thought to have killed Vyyk Drago, Solo attended a military academy in Carida. He graduated at the top of his class and then was sent to eight months of commissioned service in the Imperial Navy. When Solo rescued a Wookie slave being mis-treated by a superior officer he was dishonorably discharged. With no hope of lawful employment Solo and Chewbacca headed out to work for the Hutts.
3 B.B.Y.---The Death Star Construction
-----the next few sections here cover Episodes 5-6-------
0 B.B.Y.---A squad of Imperial Stormtroopers kill Owen and Beru Lars, Luke Skywalker's uncle and aunt. Luke meets Obi-Wan Kenobi and is told he knew his father he then gives him Anakin Skywalkers lightsaber. Then they need to get transport to Alderaan to save Princess Leia from Darth Vader. alongside Obi-Wan and 2 droids, R2D2 and C-3PO Luke heads to Mos Eisley's cantina where they meet Han Solo and Chewbacca. The Imperial Senate is disbanded, giving Palpatine absolute power. After Leia refuses to disclose the location of the rebel base, Grand Moff Tarkin orders the Death Star to destroy her home world of Alderaan, killing her adoptive father, Bail Organa. Obi-Wan begins to teach Luke the ways of the Jedi. Obi-Wan confronts Vader one last time, he is killed, but his spirit lives on to guide Luke. The Battle of Yavin takes place. Luke Skywalker destroys the Death Star. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo join the Rebel Alliance.
0.5 A.B.Y.---The death star was destroyed by the rebels. Darth Vader escaped in a TIE Fighter. Emperor Palpatine begins plans to rebuild the Death Star. Boba Fett was hired by the Empire to aid in Palpatines plan to eliminate the Bounty Hunters Guild. The plan worked and Bounty Hunters became free agents.
2 - 3 A.B.Y.---The Rebels moved their base from Yavin 4 to the ice planet of Hoth. It was years since their victory on Yavin but the Empire still was hounding them. It was a dark time for the Rebellion.
The Battle of Hoth-A probe droid dispersed by the Imperials found the Rebels Echo Base and sent a signal to the Death Squadron to attack the base. An evacuation was ordered by General Rieekan of the Rebels. Vader's transport arrived before they were able to launch any ships and the battle began. Luke meets Yoda on Dagobah and continues his training as a Jedi Knight. Boba Fett tracks Han Solo to Cloud City where Lando Calrissian made a deal with Vader and handed over Solo who was frozen in carbonite for transport to Jabba the Hutt. Darth Vader's plan was to lure Luke Skywalker there so he could capture him, it worked, but he didn't capture him, but Luke did lose a hand, and a lightsaber and learned that his father wasn't dead, but in fact was Darth Vader.
4 A.B.Y.---The Rebellion Regroups-This would be where The Return of the Jedi picks up. A complex plan to free Han Solo, a success. A confrontation with Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, resulting in both their deaths. Darth Vader returns to Anakin Skywalker just before he dies in Luke's arms. A battle on Endor which destroys the second Death Star. Luke and Leia learn of their heritage as brother and sister. The New Republic is born. This dates the end of the movie series.
8 A.B.Y.---Han Solo marries Leia Organa. Prince Isolder allies the Hapes Consortium with the New Republic.
9 A.B.Y.---Grand Admiral Thrawn-The Empire needed a miracle, and they got one with this brilliant military commander. He was the last of the Emperors' grand admirals, who had been isolated since before the battle of Endor. His plan to destroy the Republic fails and he was assasinated. Jaina and Jacen Solo, who are to join the Jedi Knights are born. Mara Jade also comes into play here ( she posses the Jedi skills, but she worked for the Emperor, but she really isn't evil) Jorous C'boath, a demented Jedi Master cloned Luke Skywalker from the hand that Luke lost in his dual with Vader. The clone also used a lightsaber crafted after the one Luke was given by Obi-Wan that had been Anakin Skywalkers. Mara Jade killed the clone and C'boath.
10 A.B.Y.---Palpatine is reborn as a clone and turns Luke to the Darkside. With Leia's help, he turns back to the lightside and kills Palpatine. Anakin Solo is born.
And the saga continues after that. I could go on and on but it is really long and really best for you just to read it yourself. I just was giving an idea that the story doesn't end with the Return of the Jedi, not even close. If you really want the whole story, read the books. There are a lot of them, and different series. I myself have not read them all yet, not even close to it. Series include, The Jedi Academy, The Han Solo Trilogy, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, The Thrawn Trilogy, The New Jedi Order...etc.