Siddhartha Gautama was born in the 16th century into a royal and wealthy family.
Siddhartha lived a life of luxury from a young age. His parents wanted him to become a great king, so they made sure he was sheltered from old age, death, disease and religion. He was unaware of these factors until he went on a chariot ride one day and witnessed them.
He left his old lifestyle behind and decided he couldn't live as a king nor a sick man, he would live the middle path.
Siddhartha began his way as an ascetic. He wanted to understand the nature of life. He decided to give up his own life in search of enlightenment. He and other ascetics believed that enlightenment could be reached through meditation. Siddhartha quickly became an expert at meditation.
After he reached Enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha or "awakened one. He went on to teach the ways of Buddhism for life.