A chronology of key events: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/1072611.stm
600s – Arab tribes establish the sultanate of Adel on the Gulf of Aden coast.
1500s – Sultanate of Adel disintegrates into small states.
1875 – Egypt occupies towns on Somali coast and parts of the interior.
1860s – France acquires foothold on the Somali coast, later to become Djibouti.
1887 – Britain proclaims protectorate over Somaliland.
1888 – Anglo-French agreement defines boundary between Somali possessions of the two countries.
1889 – Italy sets up a protectorate in central Somalia, later consolidated with territory in the south ceded by the sultan of Zanzibar.
1925 – Territory east of the JubbaRiver detached from Kenya to become the westernmost part of the Italian protectorate.
1936 – Italian Somaliland combined with Somali-speaking parts of Ethiopia to form a province of Italian East Africa.
1940 – Italians occupy British Somaliland.
1941 – British occupy Italian Somalia.
1950 – Italian Somaliland becomes a UN trust territory under Italian control.
1956 – Italian Somaliland renamed Somalia and granted internal autonomy.
1960 – British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia; Aden Abdullah Osman Daar elected president.
1963 – Border dispute with Kenya; diplomatic relations with Britain broken until 1968.
1964 – Border dispute with Ethiopia erupts into hostilities.
1967 – Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke beats Aden Abdullah Osman Daar in elections for president.
1969 – Muhammad Siad Barre assumes power in coup after Shermarke is assassinated.
1970 – Barre declares Somalia a socialist state and nationalises most of the economy.
1974 – Somalia joins the Arab League.
1974-75 – Severe drought causes widespread starvation.
1977 – Somalia invades the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
1978 – Somali forces pushed out of Ogaden with the help of Soviet advisers and Cuban troops.
1981 – Opposition to Barre’s regime begins to emerge after he excludes members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from government positions, which are filled with people from his own Marehan clan.
1988 – Peace accord with Ethiopia.
1991 – Mohamed Siad Barre is ousted. Power struggle between clan warlords Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed kills or wounds thousands of civilians.
1991 – Former British protectorate of Somaliland declares unilateral independence.
1992 – US Marines land near Mogadishu ahead of a UN peacekeeping force sent to restore order and safeguard relief supplies.
1993 – US Army Rangers are killed when Somali militias shoot down two US helicopters in Mogadishu and a battle ensues. Hundreds of Somalis die in the battle depicted in the film “Black Hawk Down”. US mission formally ends in March 1994.
1995 – UN peacekeepers leave, having failed to achieve their mission.
1996 – Warlord Muhammad Aideed dies of his wounds and is succeeded by his son, Hussein.
1998 – Puntland region in declares autonomy.
2000 August – Clan leaders and senior figures meeting in Djibouti elect Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president of Somalia.
2000 October – Hassan and his newly-appointed prime minister, Ali Khalif Gelayadh, arrive in Mogadishu to heroes’ welcomes.
2000 October – Gelayadh announces his government, the first in the country since 1991.
2001 April – Somali warlords, backed by Ethiopia, announce their intention to form a national government within six months, in direct opposition to the country’s transitional administration.
2001 August – UN appeals for food aid for half a million people in the drought-hit south.
2004 August – In 14th attempt since 1991 to restore central government, a new transitional parliament inaugurated at ceremony in Kenya. In October the body elects Abdullahi Yusuf as president.
Tsunami waves generated by an undersea earthquake off Indonesia hit the Somali coast and the island of Hafun. Hundreds of deaths are reported; tens of thousands of people are displaced.
2005 November – Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi survives an assassination attempt in Mogadishu. Gunmen attack his convoy, killing six people.
2006 February – Transitional parliament meets in Somalia – in the central town of Baidoa – for the first time since it was formed in Kenya in 2004.
2006 March and May – Scores of people are killed and hundreds are injured during fierce fighting between rival militias in Mogadishu. It is the worst violence in almost a decade.
2006 June-July – Militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts take control of Mogadishu and other parts of the south after defeating clan warlords.
2006 July-August – Mogadishu’s air and seaports are re-opened for the first time since 1995.
2006 September – Transitional government and the Union of Islamic Courts begin peace talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
Somalia’s first known suicide bombing targets President Yusuf outside parliament in Baidoa.
2006 October – About 35,000 Somalis escaping drought, strict Islamist rule and the possibility of war have fled to Kenya refugee since the start of 2006, the UN reports.
War of words between Ethiopia and Somalia’s Islamists. Premier Meles says Ethiopia is “technically” at war with the Islamists because they had declared jihad on his country.
2006 December – UN Security Council endorses African peacekeepers to help prop up the interim government. Islamist leaders say they will tackle any foreign forces as invaders.
Ethiopian and transitional government engage the Islamists in battle and soon put them to flight.
2007 January – Islamists abandon their last stronghold, the port town of Kismayo.
President Abdullahi Yusuf enters Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004.
US carries out air strikes in southern Somalia which it says targeted al-Qaeda personnel sheltering there; Somali president defends the attack.
Interim government imposes three-month state of emergency.
2007 February – UN Security Council authorises a six-month African Union peacekeeping mission for Somalia.
2007 March – African Union peacekeepers land at Mogadishu amid pitched battles between insurgents and government forces backed by Ethiopian troops. The Red Cross says it is the worst fighting in 15 years.
2007 April – UN says more than 320,000 Somalis have fled fighting in Mogadishu since February.
Hundreds of people are reported killed after nine days of fierce clashes in the capital.
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