Bolsonaro was born on 21 March 1955 in the town of Glicério, in São Paulo.

Bolsonaro was admitted to the Escola Preparatória de Cadetes do Exército (the prep school of the Brazilian Army), where he entered in 1973. In 1974, he went to the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras (Brazil's main military academy), graduating in 1977, as an Artillery officer.

In 1987, he studied in the Officers Improvement School, where he made the Artillery Advanced Course.

In 1988, he entered politics by getting elected as city Councillor in Rio de Janeiro by the Christian Democratic Party.

In December 1988, just after this ruling, Bolsonaro left the Army to begin his political career. In total, he served in the military for fifteen years, reaching the rank of Captain.

In the 1990 elections, he was elected a federal deputy from the same party. He served seven consecutive terms, from 1991 to 2018.

In January 2018, Bolsonaro abandoned the Social Christian Party and switched to the Social Liberal Party (PSL).

On 22 July 2018, Bolsonaro was officially nominated by the Social Liberal Party (PSL) as its presidential candidate for the 2018 election.

On 28 August, he gave an interview to Jornal Nacional, Brazil's best rated prime time news program, at Rede Globo.

Bolsonaro was stabbed in the stomach on 6 September 2018 while campaigning and interacting with supporters in the city of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais.

On 29 September, a month after the attack, Bolsonaro was released from the hospital and returned to his home in Rio de Janeiro. However, his condition prevented him from returning to the campaign trail for the remainder of the first round of the presidential election.

General elections were held in Brazil on 7 October 2018 to elect the President, Vice President and the National Congress. Elections for state governors and vice governors, state legislative assemblies and the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District were held at the same time. On 7 October 2018, Rio de Janeiro congressman Jair Bolsonaro came first in the first round of the presidential election. A run-off between him and former São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad was held on 28 October 2018. At 22:06 GMT, with 88% reporting, Bolsonaro was declared the winner with over 50% of the popular vote.

He took office on 1 January 2019.