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600s  Arab tribes establish the sultanate of Adel on the Gulf of Aden coast.

1500 - 1600  Portuguese traders land on the east coast of Africa and start intermittent power struggles with the Sultanate of Zanzibar for control of port cities and surrounding towns.

1840  The British East India Company signs treaties with the Sultan of Tajura for unrestricted trading rights.

1860s  France acquires foothold on the Somali coast, later to become Djibouti.

1875  Egypt occupies towns on Somali coast and parts of the interior.

1887   Britain proclaims protectorate over Somaliland after reaching  a final agreement with the local King Menelik and various tribal chiefs and draws a boundary with neighbouring Ethiopia to form British Somaliland. Besides trading interests, the British protectorate serves as a counterweight to the growing Italian influence in the key port city of neighbouring Zanzibar.

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.

1897 - 1907  Italy makes several agreements with tribal chiefs and the British to finally mark out the boundaries of a separate Italian protectorate of Somaliland.

1908  The Italian Government assumes direct administration of Italian Somaliland, giving the territory a colonial status.

1925  Territory east of the Jubba river detached from Kenya to become the westernmost part of the Italian protectorate.

1936  Following decades of expansionism, Italy captures Addis Ababa and Ethiopia to form the province of Italian East Africa.

June 1940 Italian troops drive out the British garrison and capture British Somaliland.

1941  British recapture British Somaliland and most of Italian Somaliland.

1941- 1959 Meanwhile, British Somaliland sees a period of colonial development as the territory moves towards a gradual development of local institutions and self-government.

1947  Following Italy's defeat in World War II, Italy renounces all rights and titles to Italian Somaliland.

1950 The U.N. General Assembly adopts a resolution making Italian Somaliland a U.N. trust territory under Italian administrative control.

1956  Italian Somaliland renamed Somalia and granted internal autonomy.

1960 British and Italian Somaliland gain independence and merge to form the United Republic of Somalia.

1960 - 1969 Two successive democratically elected governments attempt to balance the expansionist interests of pro-Arab, pan-Somali factions with interests in Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia and Kenya, and "modernist" factions whose priorities include economic and social development.

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.

October 1969 Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre seizes power in a coup. Democratically elected President Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke is assassinated.

1970  Siad declares Somalia a socialist nation and undertakes literacy programs and planned economic development under the principles of "scientific socialism."

1972 - 1977 A period of persistent border clashes with Ethiopia for control of Ethiopia's Ogaden region, which also sees a severe drought in the region that leads to widespread starvation.

1974 Somalia and the Soviet Union sign a treaty of friendship. Somalia also joins the Arab League.

1974-75  Severe drought causes widespread starvation.

1977 Somalia invades the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia.

1978 Following a gradual shifting of Soviet favour from Somalia to Ethiopia and the infusions of Soviet arms and Cuban troops to Ethiopia, Somali troops are pushed out of Ethiopian territory.

1978 - 1990 A period of growing cooperation and strategic alliance between Somalia and the West begins. The United States becomes Somalia's chief partner in defence and several Somali military officers are trained in U.S. military schools.

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 At the end of a period of growing domestic factionalism, insurgency and an open war with clans in northwest Somalia that have left the country in economic shambles and forced thousands of Somalis to flee their homes, Siad is ousted by opposition clans and forced to flee to Nigeria, where he ultimately dies.

1991  Former British protectorate of Somaliland declares unilateral independence.

December 1992 U.S. troops lead a U.N. peacekeeping mission to Somalia, under Operation Restore Hope, which begins with the arrival of 1,800 U.S. Marines landing at night on a Mogadishu beach. The peacekeeping mission included providing humanitarian assistance to Somalis and bringing peace to the troubled country. But while the humanitarian mission is quickly achieved, the peacekeeping force finds itself dragged into Somalia's internecine battles.

October 1993 For the United States, Operation Restore Hope reaches its nadir when members of the U.S. Army's elite Delta Force and the Army Rangers are used to raid warlord headquarters and abduct them. In one such raid, the U.S. forces are dropped into a Mogadishu neighbourhood to snatch two lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. While the snatch and grab operation is successfully accomplished, trouble starts when two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters are shot down by rocket-propelled grenades. As U.S. Army Rangers attempt to rescue the crews of the downed helicopters, a mob of armed militiamen and angry Somalis descend on the site. A horrific carnage follows that ends only 15 hours later when a combined U.S./U.N. armoured convoy manages to reach the trapped Rangers and Delta operators. But for the world, the mission in Somalia would forever be gruesomely remembered for the 18 U.S. Army Rangers killed and footage of the exultant crowds dragging naked, mutilated bodies through the streets of Mogadishu. Despite domestic outrage, the U.S. continues to play a major role in the mission until 1994.

1994 President Bill Clinton orders the withdrawal of the 30,000 U.S. troops on Somali soil.

1995 Following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the vanguard of the 21-nation Operation Restore Hope, the U.N. peacekeepers leave after an unsuccessful operation amidst charges of cruelty and even the murder of Somalis. By the end of the operation, dozens of U.N. peacekeepers were killed and hundreds of Somalis died at the hands of U.S. and U.N. forces.

1996  Warlord Muhammad Aideed dies of his wounds and is succeeded by his son, Hussein.

1997 Following a complete administrative collapse, chiefs of some rival clans meet in the Egyptian capital of Cairo and agree to convene a conference to look into rival claims to Somalia.

1998  Puntland region declares autonomy.

August 2000 In the 13th such attempt to form a government, Somali warlords and militiamen meet in neighbouring Djibouti for peace talks organized by Djibouti President Omar Guellah. They elect Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president of Somalia. Hassan appoints Ali Khalif Gelayadh as his prime minister. But even as the new government attempts to start the parliamentary process in exile in Djibouti, some powerful warlords, notably Hossein Mohammed Aideed and Mohamed Ibrahim Egal do not recognize Hassan's election. But Mogadishu's most powerful clan leader, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, promises his support.

October 2000 Hassan arrives in Mogadishu to a hero's welcome and tight security. Gelayadh puts together a Cabinet of ministers, Somalia's first government in 10 years. But Hassan's administration has difficulty establishing control outside Mogadishu.

March 2001 Aideed announces that he has patched up his differences with clan leaders Muse Sudi Yalahow and Osman Hassan Ali Atto and calls for a replacement of Hassan's transitional government following a meeting between the leaders in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Meanwhile, opposition to Hassan has seen fighting rage on in the southern parts of the country as drought, security concerns and the criminalization of refugee camps along the Somali-Kenyan border periodically compels Kenya to halt cross-border trade, thereby further crippling the economically crumbling East African country.

April 2001 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.

August 2001 UN appeals for food aid for half a million people in the drought-hit south.

August 2004 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.

December 2004 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.

February - June 2005 Somali government begins returning home from exile in Kenya, but there are bitter divisions over where in Somalia the new parliament should sit.

November 2005 Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi survives an assassination attempt in Mogadishu. Gunmen attack his convoy, killing six people.

February 2006 Transitional parliament meets in Somalia - in the central town of Baidoa - for the first time since it was formed in Kenya in 2004.

March - May 2006 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.

June - July 2006 Militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts take control of Mogadishu and other parts of the south after defeating clan warlords.

July - August 2006  Mogadishu's air and seaports are re-opened for the first time since 1995.

September 2006  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.

October 2006  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.

December 2006 UN Security Council resolution endorses African peacekeepers, specifies that neighbouring states should not deploy troops. Islamist leaders react by saying they will tackle foreign forces as invaders. Ethiopian and transitional government engage the Islamists in battle and soon put them to flight.

27th December 2006 African Union, Arab League urge Ethiopia to pull out its troops. UN Security Council fails to agree on a statement calling on foreign forces to withdraw.

28th December 2006 Joint Ethiopian and Somali government force captures Mogadishu.

January 2007 Islamists abandon their last stronghold, the port town of Kismayo. President Abdullahi Yusuf enters Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004. The US carries out air strikes in southern Somalia which it says targeted al-Qaeda figures, and which reportedly kill an unknown number of civilians. It is the first known direct US military intervention in Somalia since 1993. The strikes are defended by President Yusuf. They are condemned for killing innocent civilians. Interim government imposes three-month state of emergency.

February 2007 UN Security Council authorises a six-month African Union peacekeeping mission for Somalia.

March 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.

April 2007  The UN says more than 320,000 Somalis have fled fighting in Mogadishu since February.
Hundreds of people are reported killed after several days of fierce clashes in the capital.

May 2007 The World Food Programme says a resurgence of piracy is threatening food supplies.

June 2007 A US warship shells suspected Al-Qaeda targets in Puntland. Prime Minister Ghedi escapes a suicide car bomb attack on his compound. Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi visits Mogadishu, pledging to withdraw his troops once peace takes hold.

July 2007 National reconciliation conference opens in Mogadishu and comes under mortar attack. Islamist leaders stay away from the talks. Refugee exodus grows amid an upsurge in violence.

August 2007 Human Rights Watch accuses Ethiopian, Somali and insurgent forces of war crimes, and the UN Security Council of indifference during the recent conflict.

September 2007 Opposition groups form a new alliance to campaign for a military and diplomatic solution to the Somali conflict. They meet in Asmara, Eritrea.

October 2007 Ethiopian forces fire on demonstrators in Mogadishu protesting at the presence of what they call foreign invaders. Heaviest fighting in Mogadishu reported since April. Ethiopians move reinforcements into the city. Prime Minister Ghedi resigns. Aid agencies warn a catastrophe is unfolding in Somalia.

November 2007 Government shuts down Radio Shabelle, Radio Simba and Radio Banadir.
UN special envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah describes Somalia's humanitarian crisis the worst in Africa, suggests using international justice to curb the violence. Nur Hassan Hussein, also known as Nur Adde, sworn in as new prime minister. Number of Somali refugees hits one million, with nearly 200,000 fleeing the capital in the past two weeks, the UN reports.

December 2007 Ethiopian troops leave key central town of Guriel.

January 2008 Burundi becomes the second nation to contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force, sending 440 soldiers to Mogadishu.

March 2008 The US launches missile strike on southern town of Dhoble targeting suspected al-Qaeda member wanted for 2002 bombing of Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya. Islamist-led insurgency continues to spread.

April 2008 EU calls for international efforts to tackle piracy off the Somali coast after a series of hijackings and attacks on vessels.

April 2008 US air strike kills Aden Hashi Ayro, a leader of the Al-Shabab insurgent group.

May 2008 Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says he will keep troops inside Somalia until "jihadists" are defeated. The UN Security Council unanimously votes to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's territorial waters to tackle pirates.

June 2008 Government signs three-month ceasefire pact with opposition Alliance for Re-Liberation of Somalia. The deal, which provides for Ethiopian troops to leave Somalia within 120 days, is rejected by Islamist leader Hassan Dahir Aweys, who says Union of Islamic Courts will not stop fighting until all foreign troops have left country.

July 2008 Head of the UN Development Programme in Somalia, Osman Ali Ahmed, killed by gunmen in Mogadishu.

September 2008 Somali pirates' hijacking of a Ukrainian ship carrying 33 tanks prompts widespread international concern. The US and other countries deploy navy ships to Somali waters.
October 2008 Nato agrees to despatch a naval force to patrol to waters off Somalia by the end of 2008, in an effort to control piracy. A wave of coordinated bombings across the self-governing and relatively peaceful regions of Somaliland and Puntland, in Somalia's north, kill at least 27 people.

November 2008 Somali pirates hijack an oil-laden Saudi super-tanker and demand a 25m dollar ransom for its return.

December 2008 Ethiopia announces plans to withdraw all forces by end of 2008. President Abdullahi Yusuf tries to sack Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein over his attempts to draw moderate Islamists into the government. Parliament declares the dismissal unconstitutional and passes a vote of confidence in Mr Nur. Mr Yusuf resigns.