Europe

Armenia profile - Timeline

  • 9 March 2015
  • From the section Europe

A chronology of key events:

1915 - 1917 - Between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians are massacred or deported from their homeland in Anatolia to present-day Syria. The Ottoman government had suspected them of harbouring pro-Russian sympathies.

1916 - Armenian regions of the Ottoman Empire fall to the Russian army.

1918 - Soviet Union, as successor to Russia, cedes all of Ottoman Armenia and part of Russian Armenia to the now moribund Ottoman Empire.

1918 - Independent Armenia emerges from defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War I.

1920 - Armenia is invaded by Turkey and Bolshevik Russia. An agreement with the Bolsheviks leads to Armenia proclaiming itself a socialist republic.

1922 - Armenia is incorporated into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR.

1930s - Armenians suffer under Stalin's purges, but the country also experiences industrial development.

The modern period

1988 - Encouraged by the new policy of openness ("glasnost"), Armenians begin to campaign for Nagorno-Karabakh, a region with a predominantly Armenian population in the neighbouring Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, to be united with Armenia.

1988 December - Earthquake in northern Armenia kills 25,000 and leaves hundreds of thousands homeless. The relief effort is slow and chaotic.

Metsamor nuclear plant closed after earthquake highlights safety concerns.

1989 - Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh begins. It lasts intermittently for five years. Many Azeri citizens are forced to flee their homes.

1990 - Armenian nationalists win parliamentary elections. Independence is declared, but ignored by Moscow.

1991 September - A referendum sees 94% vote for secession from the Soviet Union.

1991 October - Levon Ter-Petrosian elected president.

1991 December - Armenia joins the Commonwealth of Independent States, the successor to the Soviet Union. Armenia recognised as independent by the US.

Internal unrest

1992 - Armenia joins the United Nations. A trade and energy embargo is imposed by Azerbaijan. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh continues.

1994 - Demonstrations in Yerevan over shortages of food and energy. A Russian-brokered ceasefire ends the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting. The region is left a self-proclaimed republic, with ethnic Armenian forces in control of Azerbaijani territory surrounding Karabakh.

1995 - The government launches privatisation and price liberalisation programme. Parliamentary elections return the ruling party. The powers of the president are widened.

1996 - Ter-Petrosian is re-elected president. Tanks are deployed on the streets of Yerevan to quell protests over alleged electoral fraud.

1998 - Ter-Petrosian resigns over opposition to his efforts to find a compromise with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Nationalist Robert Kocharian is elected president.

1999 - Gunmen open fire in the Armenian parliament. The prime minister, parliamentary speaker and six other officials are killed. The gunmen accuse the government of leading Armenia into political and economic ruin.

2000 - Prime Minister Andranik Markarian admits that - 12 years on - those affected by the 1988 earthquake are still living in a disaster zone.

2001 January - Becomes full member of Council of Europe.

France ignores Turkish objections and introduces a law stating that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915.

2001 September - Vladimir Putin becomes first Russian president to visit Armenia since independence.

Kocharian re-elected

2003 March - President Robert Kocharian wins further term in second round of presidential elections. Election monitors complain of ballot-stuffing.

2003 May - European observers find parliamentary elections in which pro-presidential candidates win majority of seats fall short of international standards.

Referendum rejects constitutional amendments concerning role of parliament.

2003 August - Death penalty abolished.

2003 December - Six sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in 1999 parliament shootings in which prime minister, speaker and other officials were killed.

2004 April - Thousands of opposition supporters march against president.

2005 November - Referendum votes in favour of proposed constitutional amendments. Opposition protests, declaring the vote to have been rigged.

2006 January - Supply of gas severely disrupted after explosions in Russia damage pipeline to Armenia via Georgia.

2006 April - Price of Russian gas more than doubles.

2007 February - Parliament adopts bill allowing dual citizenship, paving the way for naturalisation of Armenia's massive foreign diaspora estimated at around 8 million.

2007 March - Prime Minister Andranik Markarian dies suddenly of a heart attack. He is replaced by Serge Sarkisian.

2007 May - Prime Minister Sarkisian's Republican Party wins almost 33% of the vote in parliamentary polls. European observers say the elections generally meet international standards.

2007 October - Supporters of resolution in US Congress to label mass killings of Armenians after 1915 as genocide postpone vote until timing 'more favourable'.

Sarkisian elected

2008 February - Presidential elections. Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian is declared winner. Thousands of opposition supporters take to the streets to protest the result.

2008 March - Three-week state of emergency declared. Police disperse Yerevan protests amid arrests and accusations of brutality. Parliament passes law restricting public gatherings.

2008 September - Turkish President Abdullah Gul visits - the first time a Turkish leader has set foot in Armenia.

Rapprochement with Turkey

2009 October - The governments of Turkey and Armenia agree to normalise relations at a meeting in Switzerland, paving the way for moves to establish diplomatic ties and reopen the mutual border. Opposition protesters accuse government of failing to raise the genocide question.

Ancient churches on the island of Sevan, in Lake Sevan, Armenia
Armenia is famed for its ancient churches

2010 March - US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee passes resolution describing killing of Armenians by Turkish forces in World War I as genocide, prompting Ankara to recall its ambassador.

2010 April - Parliament suspends ratification of accord normalising relations with Turkey after Yerevan accuses Ankara of imposing conditions, in particular by its insistence that Armenia resolve its dispute with Azerbaijan first.

2010 October - Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on a Russian-brokered deal to exchange prisoners captured during Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

2011 October - During a visit to Armenia, French President Nicolas Sarkozy urges Turkey to accept responsibility for the genocide of more than one million Armenians during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

2012 January - The French Senate approves a bill making it a crime to deny genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I. Armenia dubs the vote "historic". Turkey warns of retaliatory measures.

2012 May - Governing Republican Party wins a majority of seats in parliamentary elections, polling 44% of the vote, with its former coalition partner the Prosperous Armenia party second on about 30%. Independent observers note minor violations.

2013 February - Serge Sarkisian wins a second term as president, with official results giving him nearly 59% of the vote. His nearest rival rejects the outcome.

2013 September - European Union asks the government to clarify its decision to join a Russian-led customs union, which derails a EU plan to conclude an association agreement with Armenia.

2014 November - Tensions rise over Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijani forces shoot down an Armenian military helicopter, killing its three-member crew.

2015 January - A Russian soldier based at the base in Gyumri goes on a killing spree, killing seven people and prompting anti-Russian protests.

2015 February - President Serge Sarkisian withdraws from parliament the landmark 2009 agreement with Turkey to restore diplomatic ties, citing citing the absence of political will on the Turkish side.