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1472  Portuguese navigators reached the  Nigerian coast.

16-18th centuries  Millions of Nigerians were forcibly sent to the Americas as slaves..

1809  A single Islamic state known as the Sokoto caliphate was  founded in the north of the country.

1830s-1886  A civil war plague Yorubaland, in the south.

1850s The British established a presence around Lagos.

1861-1914  Britain consolidated its hold over what it called the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, and governed by "indirect rule" through the local leaders.

1922 Part of the former German colony known as Kamerun was added to Nigeria under a League of Nations mandate.

1960  Independence was granted with Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa leading a coalition government.

1962-63 A controversial census caused regional and ethnic tensions throughout the country.

January 1966  Balewa was killed during a coup. Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi lead a military administration over the country.

July 1966  Ironsi was killed in a counter-coup, and replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon.

1967  Three eastern states secede as the Republic of Biafra, sparking a bloody civil war.

25th January 1968 The UK House of Lords held a discussion on Nigeria, and to ask Her Majesty's Government what action was being taken to prevent the Recruitment of British citizens as mercenaries for either side in the civil war that was taking place in Nigeria .

1970  The Biafran leaders surrendered, and the former Biafran regions were reintegrated back into the country.

1975  Gowon was overthrown, and fled to Britain. Being replaced by Brigadier Murtala Ramat Mohammed, who began a process of moving the federal capital to Abuja.

1976  Mohammed was assassinated in a failed coup attempt. He was replaced by his deputy, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo, who helped introduce an American-style presidential constitution.

1979  Elections brought Alhaji Shehu Shagari to power.

January 1983  The government expelled more than one million foreigners, mostly Ghanaians, saying they had overstayed their visas and were taking jobs from Nigerians. The move was condemned abroad but proved very popular in Nigeria.

August 1983 Shagari was re-elected amid accusations of irregularities.

December 1983  Major-General Muhammad Buhari seized power in a bloodless coup.

1985  Ibrahim Babangida seized power in bloodless coup, and curtails political activity.

June 1993  Military annuls elections when preliminary results show victory by Chief Moshood Abiola.

August 1993  Power was transferred to an Interim National Government.

November 1993 General Sani Abacha seized power, and suppressed all opposition.

1994  Abiola was arrested after proclaiming himself president.

1995  Ken Saro-Wiwa, writer and campaigner against the oil industry's damage to his Ogoni homeland, was executed following a hasty set up trial. In protest, the European Union imposed sanctions until 1998, and the Commonwealth suspended Nigeria's membership until 1998.

1998  Abacha died and was succeeded by Major-General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Chief Abiola died in custody a month later.

1999  Parliamentary and presidential elections were held. Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as president.

2000  Saw the adoption of Islamic, or Sharia  law by several northern states in the face of opposition from the  Christians. Tension over the issue resulted in hundreds of deaths during clashes between Christians and Muslims.

2001  A tribal war in Benue state, in eastern-central Nigeria, displaced thousands of people.

October 2001 The army soldiers were sent in to quash the fighting and killed more than 200 unarmed civilians, apparently in retaliation for the abduction and murder of 19 soldiers earlier.

October 2001  The Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, South African President Mbeki and Algerian President Bouteflika launch a New Partnership for African Development, (NEPAD), which aimed to foster development and open government and end wars in return for aid, foreign investment and the lifting of trade barriers to African exports.

February 2002  Some 100 people were killed in Lagos during clashes between the Hausas people from the mainly-Islamic north and ethnic Yorubas people from the predominantly-Christian southwest.

November 2002  More than 200 people died in four days of rioting stoked by Muslim fury over the planned Miss World beauty pageant to be held in Kaduna during December. The event was finally relocated to Britain.

12th April 2003  The first legislative elections were held since the end of military rule in 1999. The polling was marked by delays, allegations of ballot-rigging. President Obasanjo's People's Democratic Party won a parliamentary majority, and Obasanjo was re-elected. The opposition parties reject the result, and the E.U. poll observers cite "serious irregularities".

July 2003  A nationwide general strike was called off after nine days when the  government agreed to lower recently-increased fuel prices.

August 2003 Inter-communal violence in the Niger Delta town of Warri killed about 100 people, and injured 1,000.

September 2003  Nigeria's first satellite, NigeriaSat-1, was launched by a Russian rocket.

January 2004  The U.N. brokered talks between Nigeria and Cameroon about a disputed border. Both sides agreed to joint security patrols.

May 2004  A state of emergency was declared in the central Plateau State after more than 200 Muslims were killed in Yelwa during attacks by Christian militia revenge attacks were launched by Muslim youths in Kano.

August-September 2004  Deadly clashes between gangs in oil city of Port Harcourt prompted a strong crackdown by troops. Human rights group Amnesty International cited a death toll of 500, while authorities said it was about 20 that died.

July 2005  The Paris Club of rich lenders agreed to write off two-thirds of Nigeria's $30bn foreign debt.

January 2006 Militants in the Niger Delta attacked pipelines and other oil facilities and kidnap foreign oil workers. The rebels demanded more control over the region's oil wealth.

February 2006  More than 100 people were killed when religious violence flared in mainly-Muslim towns in the north and in the southern city of Onitsha.

April 2006  Helped by record oil prices, Nigeria became the first African nation to pay off its debt to the Paris Club of rich lenders.

May 2006  The Senate rejected proposed changes to the constitution which would have allowed President Obasanjo to stand for a third term in office during 2007.

August 2006  Nigeria ceded sovereignty over the disputed Bakassi peninsula to neighbouring Cameroon under the terms of a 2002 International Court of Justice ruling. A special transitional arrangement for the Nigerian civilian administration would  be in place for five years.

October 2006  The spiritual leader of Nigeria's millions of Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto, was killed in a plane crash, the country's third major civilian air disaster in a year.

April 2007  Umaru Yar'Adua of the ruling People's Democratic Party was proclaimed winner of the presidential election.

September 2007 The rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) threatened to end a self-imposed ceasefire and to launch fresh attacks on oil facilities and abductions of foreign workers.

November 2007  Suspected Nigerian militants killed 21 Cameroon soldiers in Bakassi peninsula. The Nigerian senate rejected the Nigeria-Cameroon agreement for the hand-over of Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon.

December 2007  Anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu was sidelined, but a high-profile graft-related arrest followed soon after.

January 2008  Oil traded at $100 a barrel for the first time, with violence in oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Algeria helped to drive up prices still further.

February 2008  Mend leaders Henry Okah and Edward Atata were extradited from Angola on suspicion of involvement in attacks on the oil companies. A report that Okah was subsequently killed in custody proved to be untrue. A tribunal upheld the election of Umaru Yar'Adua as president following a challenge by rivals who wanted the vote annulled because of vote rigging.

April 2008 Two former health ministers and a daughter of President Olusegun Obasanjo were among 12 top health officials charged with embezzling around 470m naira (4m dollars) of public health funds. Oil production was cut by about half as a result of strike action and attacks on pipelines by militants. Problems in Nigeria help keep world oil prices at record highs.

August 2008  Following an agreement reached in March, Nigeria finally handed over the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon, ending a long-standing dispute. Iran agreed to share nuclear technology with Nigeria to help it increase its generation of electricity.

September 2008  Militants in the Niger Delta step up their attacks on oil installations, in response to what they describe as unprovoked attacks by the military on their bases.

October 2008  The government announced major budget cuts following steep falls in the price of oil.

November 2008  At least 200 people were killed during clashes between Christians and Muslims in the central Nigerian town of Jos.

January 2009 The main militant group in the Niger Delta (Mend) called off a four-month cease-fire after the army attacked a camp of an allied group.

March 2009  Nineteen opposition parties united to form a "mega-party" to compete against the governing People's Democratic Party in elections due in 2011.

May 2009  Niger Delta militant group Mend rejected a government offer of an amnesty and declared offensives against the Nigerian military.

July 2009  Hundreds died in north eastern Nigeria after the Boko Haram Islamist movement launched a campaign of violence in a bid to have Sharia law imposed on the entire country. Security forces storm Boko Haram's stronghold and kill the movement's leader. While the government freed the leader of the Niger Delta militant group Mend, Henry Okah, after he accepted an amnesty offer.

August 2009  A two-month offer of a government amnesty for Niger Delta militants comes into force.

November 2009  President Yar'Adua travelled to Saudi Arabia to be treated for a heart condition. His extended absence triggered a constitutional crisis that lead to calls for him to step down.

January 2010  At least 149 people were killed during two days of violence between Christian and Muslim gangs in the central city of Jos.

March 2010  More than 120 people were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians in the flashpoint city of Jos.

May 2010  President Umaru Yar'Adua died after a long illness. Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan, already acting in Yar'Adua's absence, succeeded him.

October 2010  Nigeria marks its 50 years of independence. Celebrations in Abuja were marred by a deadly bomb blasts.

November 2010  Nigeria intercepted an arms shipment from Iran, and reported the find to U.N. Security Council.

December 2010  Christmas Eve bomb attacks near central city of Jos killed at least 80 people. The attacks were claimed by the Islamist sect Boko Haram. This spark clashes between Christians and Muslims, leaving some 200 killed in reprisal attacks.

March 2011  Goodluck Jonathan wins presidential elections.


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