A chronology of key events:
Somali capital: Mogadishu
The old port: Historic heart of Mogadishu
- Emerged as Arab settlement in 10th century
- Bought by Italy in 1905
- Capital of independent Somalia from 1960
- Estimated population: 1 million
The Horn of Africa has been home to Somalis since ancient times.
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 Jubba river 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.Independence
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.Drought and war
1969 - Muhammad Siad Barre assumes power in coup after Shermarke is assassinated.
Leader Mohamed Siad Barre
- Backed 'Scientific Socialism'
- Led military coup in 1969; overthrown in 1991
- Died in Nigeria, 1995
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. Barre expels Soviet advisers and gains support of United States.
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.Somaliland breaks away
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 August - Warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed dies of his wounds and is succeeded by his son, Hussein.Puntland autonomy
1998 - Puntland region 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. Gelayadh announces his government, the first in the country since 1991.
2001 April - Somali warlords, backed by Ethiopia, decline to support transitional administration.
2001 August - UN appeals for food aid for half a million people in the drought-hit south.
Islamic Courts Union
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys - one of the leaders of the Islamists who seized much of southern and central Somalia in 2006
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.
2004 December - 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 February - June - Somali government begins returning home from exile in Kenya, but there are bitter divisions over where in Somalia the new parliament should sit.
2005 November - Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi survives an assassination attempt in Mogadishu. Gunmen attack his convoy, killing six people.Islamist advance
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-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.
Ethiopian troops reported in Somalia.
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 flee 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.Islamists retreat
2006 December - Ethiopian and transitional government engage the Islamists in battle and soon put them to flight, capturing Mogadishu.
Ethiopian troops, government forces routed the Islamic Courts Union's militias
2007 January - Islamists abandon their last stronghold, the southern port 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 figures, and which reportedly kill an unknown number of civilians. It is the first known direct US military intervention in Somalia since 1993.
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. UN Security Council authorised six-month peacekeeping mission in February. Humanitarian crisis grows
2007 October - Heaviest fighting in Mogadishu reported since April. Ethiopians move reinforcements into the city. Prime Minister Ghedi resigns, succeded by Nur Hassan Hussein, also known as Nur Adde, in November.
2008 January - Burundi becomes the second nation to contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force, sending 440 soldiers to Mogadishu.
Pirates operating out of Somalia make key international shipping lanes perilous
2008 May - The UN Security Council unanimously votes to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's territorial waters to tackle pirates, following appeal by the European Union. US, Nato and others deploy ships to Somali waters later in the year as pirates become more audacious.
2008 December - 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.
2009 January - Ethiopia completes the withdrawal of its troops, announced the previous year, and Al-Shabab capture Baidoa, formerly a key government stronghold.
Meeting in neighbouring Djibouti, Somalia's parliament swears in 149 new members from the main opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia. It elects a moderate Islamist, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, president, and extends the transitional government's mandate for another two years.
- "The Youth" in Arabic
- Controls large areas of Somalia
- Formed as a radical offshoot of the Union of Islamic Courts in 2006
- Include foreign jihadists
- Has launched cross-border raids into Kenya, Uganda
- Estimated to have 7,000 to 9,000 fighters
- Announced merger with al-Qaeda in 2012
2009 February - President Ahmed selects Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as prime minister. Mr Sharmarke, a former diplomat, is widely seen as a bridge between Islamists within the Somali government and the international community.Al-Shabab highpoint
2009 May - Islamist insurgents launch onslaught on Mogadishu and advance in the south.
2009 June - President Ahmed declares a state of emergency as violence intensifies. Somali officials appeal to neighbouring countries to send troops to Somalia, as government forces continue to battle Islamist insurgents.
2009 October - Al-Shabab recaptures the southern port of Kismayo after defeating the rival Hizbul-Islam militia.
2010-12 - Famine kills almost 260,000, the UN says.
2010 January - UN's World Food Programme (WFP) withdraws from Al-Shabab-controlled areas of southern Somalia after threats to lives of its staff.
2010 February - Al-Shabab formally declares alliance with al-Qaeda, begins to concentrate troops for a major offensive to capture the capital.
2010 March - Up to half of food aid being diverted to contractors, militants and local UN staff in govenrment-controlled areas, says UN's Monitoring Group on Somalia.
2010 September - Prime Minister Sharmarke quits. He is replaced by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
2011 January - Pirate attacks on ships worldwide hit seven-year high in 2010, with Somali pirates accounting for 49 of 52 ships seized.
2011 February - Kenya closes border to Somalia after nearby fighting between Al-Shabab rebels and government-backed forces.
2011 July - UN formally declares famine in three regions of Somalia. Al-Shabab partially lifts ban it had imposed on foreign aid agencies in the south, and UN airlifts its first aid consignment in five years to Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab pulls out of Mogadishu in what it calls a "tactical move".Kenyan intervention
2011 October - Kenyan troops enter Somalia to attack rebels they accuse of being behind several kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil.
The American military begins flying drone aircraft from a base in Ethiopia, and Ethiopian troops are sighted in the central town of Guriel.
Kenya steps into the fray
Kenya entered Somalia in October 2011 to curb al-Shabab Islamist militants
- Airforce hits al-Shabab bases
- Navy blockades Kismayo into surrender
2012 February-May - Al-Shabab loses key towsn of Baidoa and Afgoye to Kenyan, African Union and Somali government forces.New parliament, president
2012 August - Somalia's first formal parliament in more than 20 years is sworn in at Mogadishu airport, ending the eight-year transitional period. Pro-government forces capture the port of Merca south of Mogadishu from al-Shabab.
2012 September - MPs in Mogadishu elect academic and civic activist Hassan Sheikh Mohamud president over the incumbent Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. First presidential election in Somalia since 1967.
2012 October - African Union and government forces recapture Kismayo, the last major city held by Al-Shabab and the country's second-largest port, and the town of Wanla Weyn northwest of Mogadishu.
President Mohamud appoints a fellow technocrat and ally, businessman Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, as prime minister with a mandate to promote national cohesion and fight nepotism.
Pirate attacks fall sharply in 2012, with only 70 reported so far compared with 233 in 2011.
2013 January - US recognises Somalia's government for the first time since 1991.
2013 April - President Barack Obama clears way for US to provide military assistance to Somalia after UN Security Council votes for partial lifting of embargo on selling arms to Somalia for a year in March.
About 30 killed as gunmen storm Mogadishu's main court complex. Al-Shabab claims responsibility.
2013 June - Veteran Al-Shabab leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys is taken into custody by Somali government troops after he is ousted by more extreme Al-Shabab figure Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Spike in violence with various attacks by Al-Shabab, including on presidential palace and UNDP compound in Mogadishu.
2013 July - Car bomb explodes near Turkish embassy in Mogadishu, killing a Turkish guard. Turkish institutions have been targeted before.
2013 August - Government agrees creation of new administration in Juba region, headed by former Islamist commander Sheikh Ahmed Madobe.
2013 September - International donors promise 2.4 billion dollars in reconstruction aid in a three-year ''New Deal'' to strengthen the economy and security.
Al-Shabab militants seize a shopping mall and kill 60 people in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, saying they are retaliating for Kenya's military involvement in Somalia.