The history of the Rings began in 1200 II A when Sauron deceived elven smiths from Eregion. Around 300 years later they started forging the Rings of Power, which they finished in 90 years under the lead of Celebrimbor. That is how the Three (given to the elves), the Seven (conveyed to the dwarves) and the Nine (the gift for the men) and many other weaker jewels appeared. Around 1600 II A Sauron put his horrific plan into life. In Mordor, in the fire of Orodruin, Mount Doom, he forged the One Ring, which ruled the other ones. A plain ring of gold, which contrary to the other ones did not contain a stone, possessed fearsome power. Whoever wore it on the finger knew all thoughts and intentions of other Rings' bearers and could control them. The elves who wore Nenya, Narya and Vilya soon realised what Sauron was intriguing. As a result, they took off their Rings. Sauron declared a war to the world but after several years he was defeated due to the help of Numenoreans under the command of king Tar-Minastir. However, the war still brought much evil - Ceebrimbor died, the Gates of Moria were closed and Eregion was ravaged. Sauron withdrew from conquered lands and peace prevailed for long.
Around 2251 II A, the Nazgul appeared for the first time. They were men, once great kings and sorcerers, who received the Nine Rings. After a long time they became phantoms and their will submitted to the will of the Dark Lord. Only they totally devoted themselves to Sauron - elves and dwarves resisted the endeavors of the evil. At last Sauron got to Numenor as a hostage. There, he mastered the minds of rulers and people so much that they attacked Valinor. As a punishment Numenor was inundated and Sauron, who lost his physical shape, returned to Middle-earth.
Few Numenoreans survived the catastrophe. Those who did not take part in the war against the Valars escaped to the east and there they founded the Kingdoms on Exile: in the North - Arnor - ruled by Elendil and in the South - Gondor - ruled by brothers Anarion and Isildur, the sons of Elendil. Both countries felt endangered by Mordor, which continued to strengthen and militarize. In 3429 II A Sauron attacked Gondor and destoyed the White Tree - the descendant of Nimloth - the tree from the Numenor times. 3430 II A brought the foundation of the Last Alliance of men and elves against the ruler of Mordor. Four years later, after the Battle of Dagorlad, there began the siege of the Barad-dur, which lasted seven years. In 3441 II A outside the Black Tower the battle was fought. During it Sauron was defeated and deprived of the One Ring by Isildur. With this event, the Second Age was finished. The conqueror of the jewel, despite the advice of Elrond and Cirdan, did not destroy it. Several years later Isildur was killed by the orcs on the Gladden Fields and the Ring sank in the waters of Anduin.
Nearly two an a half thousands year later, in 2463 III A, a halfling Deagol found the One while fishing but he was killed by his cousin Smeagol, later named Gollum. The hobbit often availed himself of the Ring, which sentenced him to the exile and lonely life under the Misty Mountains. He passed next five hundred years feeding on raw meat of fish and orcs. Meanwhile, the ghost of Sauron returned to Mordor, rebuilt the Barad-dur and looked for his loss incessantly. In 2941 III A Gollum lost the Ring, which was found and taken to the country named Shire by a hobbit Bilbo Baggins. In 3018 III A his heir Frodo was appointed the Ring-bearer in a difficult quest of destroying the item. He did not disappoint hopes set on him. On 25 March 3019 III A Sauron and the Nazguls were eventually destroyed and the Three Rings lost their power.
Some events are more widely described on the page Ring-bearers.