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, 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.
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 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.
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 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.Islamists retreat
2006 December - 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.
2006 December 27 - 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.
Ethiopian troops, government forces routed the Islamic Courts Union's militias
2006 December 28 - Joint Ethiopian and Somali government force captures Mogadishu.
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 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.
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.Humanitarian crisis grows
2007 April - 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.
2007 May - The World Food Programme says a resurgence of piracy is threatening food supplies.
2007 June - 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.
2007 July - 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.
2007 August - Human Rights Watch accuses Ethiopian, Somali and insurgent forces of war crimes, and the UN Security Council of indifference during the recent conflict.New opposition alliance
2007 September - Opposition groups form a new alliance to campaign for a military and diplomatic solution to the Somali conflict. They meet in Asmara, Eritrea.
2007 October - 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.
2007 November - 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.
2007 December - Ethiopian troops leave key central town of Guriel.
2008 January - Burundi becomes the second nation to contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force, sending 440 soldiers to Mogadishu.US strikes
2008 March - US launches missile strike on southern town of Dhoble targeting suspected al-Qaeda member wanted for 2002 bombing of Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya.
Pirates operating out of Somalia make key international shipping lanes perilous
Islamist-led insurgency continues to spread.
2008 April - EU calls for international efforts to tackle piracy off the Somali coast after a series of hijackings and attacks on vessels.
2008 April - US air strike kills Aden Hashi Ayro, a leader of the Al-Shabab insurgent group.
2008 May - 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.
2008 June - 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.
2008 July - Head of the UN Development Programme in Somalia, Osman Ali Ahmed, killed by gunmen in Mogadishu.Piracy concern
2008 September - 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.
2008 October - 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.
2008 November - Somali pirates hijack an oil-laden Saudi super-tanker and demand a 25m dollar ransom for its return.
2008 December - 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.Al-Shabab advances
- "The Youth" in Arabic
- Controls large areas of Somalia
- Formed as a radical offshoot of the Union of Islamic Courts in 2006
- Said to 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 January - Ethiopia completes the withdrawal of its troops. Fighters from the radical Islamist al-Shabab militia take control of the town of Baidoa, formerly a key stronghold of the transitional government.
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.
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.
2009 May - Islamist insurgents launch onslaught on Mogadishu.
2009 June - Somalia's security minister and more than 20 other people are killed in a suicide bombing at a hotel in Beledweyne, north of the capital Mogadishu.
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 September - Al-Shabab proclaims allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.Islamist rivalry
2009 October - Al-Shabab wins control over the southern port city of Kismayo after defeating the rival Hizbul-Islam Islamist militia, which withdraws to villages to the west. At least 20 are killed and 70 injured in fighting that threatens to spread to the rest of the Islamist-controlled south.
2009 November - Pirates seize a supertanker carrying oil from Saudi Arabia to the US, one of the largest ships captured off Somalia. The Greek-owned Maran Centaurus was about 1,300km (800 miles) off Somalia when it was hijacked.
Kidnappers released journalists Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan after 15 months in captivity.
2009 December - Al-Shabab denies being behind suicide attack that killed 22 people in Mogadishu, including three ministers.Aid workers threatened
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 in southern Mogadishu 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, says UN's Monitoring Group on Somalia. President Sharif dismisses the allegations.
2010 May - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on world to support current Somalia government as best chance to stabilise the chaotic country.
2010 July - Al-Shabab says it was behind twin blasts which hit Ugandan capital Kampala, killing 74 people watching the World Cup football final on TV.
2010 September - Prime Minister Sharmarke quits. He is replaced by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.Piracy boom
2011 January - Pirate attacks on ships worldwide hit seven-year high in 2010, with Somali pirates accounting for 49 of 52 ships seized.
First government executions since 1991.
2011 February - Parliament votes to extend its mandate for another three years.
Kenya closes border to Somalia after nearby fighting between Al-Shabab rebels and government-backed forces.
2011 April - Aid agencies sound alarm after rains fail for second year running, leading to complete crop failure in southern Somalia and rising levels of malnutrition.Famine declared
2011 July - UN formally declares famine in two regions of southern Somalia. Aid agencies warn that millions face starvation, after drought, conflict and poverty combine to produce the necessary conditions for famine.
Tens of thousands of Somalis flee to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. The UN estimates that a quarter of the population is either internally displaced or living outside the country.
Al-Shabab partially lifts the ban it had imposed on foreign aid agencies in areas under its control.
2011 August - UN declares famine in three new areas of Somalia.
Al-Shabab pulls out of all its positions in Mogadishu. The Islamist group describes the move as a "change of military tactics".
First airlift of UN aid in five years arrives in Mogadishu.Kenyan intervention
Kenya steps into the fray
Kenya entered Somalia in October 2011 to curb al-Shabab Islamist militants
- Airforce has hit al-Shabab bases
- Navy has blockaded Kismayu in the hope of starving militants of revenue from the port
2011 August-September - Suspected al-Shabab militants raid Kenyan coastal resorts, killing one foreigner and kidnapping two.
2011 October - Kenyan troops enter Somalia to attack rebels they accuse of being behind several kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil.
Suicide bomb attack in Mogadishu kills more than 100 people.
The American military begins flying drone aircraft from a base in Ethiopia, as part of its fight against Islamist militants in Somalia.
2011 November - Ethiopian troops are spotted in the central town of Guriel.
2011 December - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits Mogadishu - one of the highest level visits to Somalia for years.
Djibouti sends 800 troops to Mogadishu to bolster African Union force AMISOM.
2012 January - Al-Shabab bans Red Cross - one of the few aid agencies still operating in southern and central Somalia - from providing famine relief in areas under Islamist control.
2012 February - Al-Shabab loses key southern town of Baidoa to Kenyan troops and Somali government forces, and announces its merger with al-Qaeda.
2012 May - African Union and Somali government forces capture Afgoye town south of Mogadishu, thereby cutting al-Shabab territory in half.
2012 June - Somaliland separatist leaders from the north of the country agree to talks with the Somali government in London to attempt to settle their differences. The meeting is held under British, European Union and Norwegian aegis.
2012 August - Somalia's first formal parliament in more than 20 years is sworn in at Mogadishu airport, in a heavily-secured area of the city. This marks the end of the eight-year transitional period.
Pro-government forces capture the port of Merca, 70km (45 miles) south of Mogadishu, from al-Shabab.
2012 September - MPs in Mogadishu elect academic and civic activist Hassan Sheikh Mohamud president in the first such vote on Somali soil since 1967. He beat the outgoing president, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in a run-off vote. The following day a suicide bomber kills four security officers at President Mohamud's hotel in the capital.
2012 October - Kismayo, the last major city held by Al-Shabab and the country's second-largest port, falls to African Union and government forces, as does the town of Wanla Weyn 90 km 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 - Failure of French commando attempt to rescue intelligence officer being held hostage by Al-Shabab in central Somalia. Two French soldiers are killed, along with several Al-Shabab fighters. France believes hostage Denis Allex also died, although his captors say he did not.
At least two people die in a suicide attack at a compound housing the offices of Somalia's president and prime minister in Mogadishu. The prime minister and president were unharmed.
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.
Al-Shabab claims responsibility for bomb and gun attacks in Mogadishu that left at least 29 people dead.