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1535 Spanish Colombian conquest began.

1525 The first permanent settlement in South America was founded at Santa Marta.

1536-1538 The Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada (1509-1579) led an expedition into the Andes and obtained massive amounts of emeralds and gold.

1538 Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada founded Bogota as the capital of the 'New Kingdom of Granada'.

1550 Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada was appointed Marshal of New Granada and councillor of Bogotá for life. He died in 1579.

1550 African slaves were shipped to Colombia to work on Colombian plantations.

1564 The Spanish government appointed a president to govern the Colombian colony.

1700s Spain combined Colombia along with neighbouring territories into one large colony called the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The Viceroyalty of New Granada consisted of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. Venezuelan General Francisco Gabriel de Miranda (1750-1816) participated in major political events for more than three decades.

1718  Bogota becomes the capital of the Spanish vice-royalty of Nueva Granada, which also rules Ecuador and Venezuela.

1810 The territories of the Viceroyalty of New Granada set up their own independent governments.

1810 Saw the overthrow of the king of Spain by Napoleon.

1814 Spain sent troops to South America to quell the uprising of the colonists.

7th August 1819 General Simon Bolivar defeated royalist forces in the Battle of Boyaca.

17th December 1819  the Republic of Colombia (also known as Gran Colombia) was proclaimed, consisting of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

1819 Colombia gained its independence from Spain, and Simon Bolivar established Gran Colombia and became the first Colombian president.

1829-30  Gran Colombia was dissolved when Venezuela and Ecuador split away, leaving present-day Colombia and Panama a separate state known as Nueva Granada.

1849  Conservative and Liberal parties founded.

1853 Colombia adopted a constitution which abolished slavery.

1861-85  Liberal Party rule sees country divided into nine largely autonomous entities and the church separated from the state.

1885  Start of 45 years of Conservative Party rule during which power is recentralised and church influence restored.

1899-1903  "The War of the Thousand Days": around 120,000 people died in a civil war between Liberals and Conservatives. Panama became an independent state.

1903 Panama seceded from Colombia with US backing and allowed the  US control over the strip of land now known as the Panama Canal zone.

1922 The United States paid Colombia $25 million for the loss of Panama.

1930 The Liberal President Olaya Herrera was elected by the coalition, and  social legislation was introduced and trade unions encouraged.

1939-1945 Colombia helped the United States to keep the Panama Canal open during World War II.

1946  Conservatives return to power.

1948  The Assassination of left-wing mayor of Bogota ignites riots.

1948-57  250,000-300,000 were killed during the civil war.

1958  Conservatives and Liberals agreed to form a National Front in a bid to end the civil war, while other parties banned.

1965  The Leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) and Maoist People's Liberation Army (EPL)was  founded.

1966 The  Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc, the current largest guerrilla grouping) was set up.

1970 The National People's Alliance was formed as a left-wing counterweight to the National Front.

1971  Left-wing M-19 guerrilla group emerges.

1978  President Julio Turbay (Liberal) began intensive fight against drug traffickers.

1982  President Belisario Betancur (Conservative) granted guerrillas amnesty and freed political prisoners.

1984  Campaign against drug traffickers stepped up following assassination of the  justice minister.

1985  Eleven judges and 90 other people were killed after M-19 guerrillas forced their way into the Palace of Justice, while the  Patriotic Union Party (UP) was founded. Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted, an estimated 23,000 people are killed in four Andean towns.

1986  Virgilio Barco Vargas (Liberal) won the presidential elections by a record margin. Right-wing paramilitary groups began a murder campaign against UP politicians, amid continuing violence by left-wing groups and death squads run by the  drugs cartels.

1989 M-19 became a legal party after reaching a peace agreement with the government. Liberal and UP presidential candidates were  murdered during presidential election campaign, reputedly at the request of the drug cartels, Cesar Gaviria was  elected on anti-drug platform.

1989 10 Mercenaries led by Peter McAleese  were recruited to help train members of  the Medellin drug cartel.

1989 USA began supplying the Colombian government with military equipment to help rid Colombia of drug dealers.

1991 A new constitution legalised divorce, prohibited extradition of Colombians wanted for trial in other countries and guaranteed indigenous peoples' democratic rights, but without addressing their territorial claims.

1993  Pablo Escobar, Medellin drug-cartel leader was shot dead while trying to evade arrest.

1995  Ernesto Samper Pizano (Liberal) was elected president and was subsequently charged and cleared of receiving drug-cartel money for his election campaign.

1998  Andres Pastrana Arango, a Conservative was elected president, and began peace talks with the guerrillas.

November 1998 Pastrana grants Farc a safe haven the size of Switzerland in the south-east of the country to help move peace talks along. The zone was off-limits to the army.

January 1999 Peace talks were formally launched but proceed in a stop-start fashion. Pastrana and Farc leader Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda finally met.

January 1999  A powerful earthquake killed 1,000 people, as the cities of Armenia and Pereira were badly hit.

July 2000 Pastrana's "Plan Colombia" won almost US$1 billion in mainly military aid from the US to fight drug-trafficking and rebels who profit and protect their trade.

September 2000 The Government froze talks, alleging Farc harboured hijacker of a plane that was forced to land in safe haven. Later, Farc refused to resume the talks, accusing Pastrana of not stopping paramilitary groups.

February 2001  The Farc returned to the peace talks after meetings between "Sureshot" and Pastrana. Pastrana extended the  demilitarised area for eight months.

June 2001 The Farc rebels freed 359 police and troops they were holding in exchange for 14 captured rebels. Farc was also accused of using a safe haven to re-arm and prepare attacks while still conducting their drug trade.

October 2001 The Government and Farc signed the San Francisco agreement, committing themselves to negotiate a ceasefire. Pastrana extended life of the safe haven until January 2002.

 2002 Alvaro Uribe Velez was elected Colombian president.

20th February 2002 Pastrana broke off three years of tortuous peace talks with Farc rebels, says hijacking of aircraft hours earlier was the final straw. He ordered the  rebels out of demilitarised zone. While the Government declared a war zone in south after rebels stepped up attacks.

May 2002 Independent candidate Alvaro Uribe won a first-round presidential election victory, and promised to crack down hard on rebel groups.

August 2002 Moments before Alvaro Uribe was sworn in as president, a suspected Farc explosion rocked Bogota. Twenty people were killed. Days later, Uribe declared a state of emergency.

14th October 2003 14 out of 15 of President Uribe's planned austerity measures and political reforms were rejected by voters during a referendum. Three ministers and the national police chief resigned.

November 2003 Fighters from the right-wing United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) began to disarm.

May 2004 Farc's Ricardo Palmera, the most senior Colombian guerrilla ever was captured, and jailed for 35 years.

July 2004 Right-wing AUC and the government began peace talks. AUC leaders addressed Congress.

January 2005  A bitter 15-day dispute with Venezuela over the capture of a Farc leader on Venezuelan soil. The affair was resolved during talks in Caracas in February.

June 2005 A new law offered reduced jail terms and protection from extradition for paramilitaries who turned in their arms. A human rights groups said the legislation is too lenient.

December 2005 Exploratory peace talks with the second biggest left-wing rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), began in Cuba.

February 2006 Colombia and the US agreed on a free trade deal. The agreement awaited ratification in both countries.