A chronology of key events:
1532-33 - Spanish conquistadores led by Francisco Pizarro defeat the Incas whose empire subsequently becomes part of the Vice-royalty of Peru with its capital in Lima.
1780 - Failed revolt against Spanish led by Tupac Amaru II, who claimed to be descended from last Inca emperor.
1821 - General Jose de San Martin captures Lima from Spanish and proclaims Peru independent.
1824 - Peru is last colony in South America to gain independence from Spain.
1836-39 - Peru and Bolivia join in short-lived confederation.
1849-74 - Some 80,000-100,000 Chinese workers arrived in Peru to do menial jobs such as collecting guano.
1866 - Peruvian-Spanish war.
1879-83 - Peru and Bolivia are defeated by Chile during the Pacific War in which Peru loses territory in the south to Chile.
Mario Vargas Llosa - pictured on the campaign trail during his 1990 bid for the presidency - is one of the most acclaimed writers in the Spanish-speaking world
1924 - Victor Raul Haya de la Torre sets up nationalist American Revolutionary Popular Alliance (APRA) in exile in Mexico.
1941 - Brief border war with Ecuador. Under the 1942 Rio Protocol Ecuador cedes some disputed territory to Peru.Political see-saw
1945 - Civilian government led by centre-left APRA comes to power after free elections.
1948 - Military government led by General Manuel Odria installed following coup.
1963 - Peru returns to civilian rule with centrist Fernando Belaunde Terry as president.
Dark days of the Shining Path
Some 70,000 people died in the civil war between 1980 and 2000. The rebels, led by Abimael Guzman (pictured), wanted a communist revolution
1968 - Civilian government ousted in coup led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado, who introduces populist land reform programme and carries out large-scale nationalisations.
1975 - Velasco ousted in coup led by General Morales Bermudez.
1980 - Peru returns to civilian rule with re-election of Fernando Belaunde as president.
Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso, guerrillas begin armed struggle.
1981 - Peru fights border war with Ecuador over Cordillera del Condor, which a 1942 protocol had given to Peru.
1982 - Deaths and "disappearances" begin to escalate following army crackdown on guerrillas and drug traffickers.
1985 - APRA candidate Alan Garcia Perez wins presidential election and begins campaign to remove military and police "old guard".
1987 - New Libertad movement led by writer Mario Vargas Llosa blocks plans to nationalise banks as Peru faces bankruptcy.
1988 - Peru seeks help from International Monetary Fund; Shining Path guerrilla campaign intensifies.Fujimori era
1990 - More than 3,000 political murders reported.
Independent centre-right Alberto Fujimori elected president on anti-corruption platform.
Severe austerity and privatisation programmes launched as inflation reaches 400%.
Rebels in embassy siege
Tupac Amaru militants held 72 hostages for four months before commandoes stormed the Japanese mission
1992 - Fujimori suspends constitution with army backing.
Shining Path leader arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.
New single-chamber legislature elected.
1993 - New constitution adopted, enabling Fujimori to seek re-election.
1994 - Some 6,000 Shining Path guerrillas surrender to the authorities.
1995 - Fujimori re-elected to second term; people convicted of human rights abuses pardoned.
1996 - Tupac Amaru guerrillas seize hostages at Japanese ambassador's residence in a four-month siege.
1998 - Border agreement with Ecuador.Bribery scandal
2000 September - Intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos embroiled in scandal after being caught on video apparently trying to bribe an opposition politician.
Authoritarian leader rebuilt economy and was hard on Maoist rebels. He fled but was later jailed for abuse of power and ordering death squad killings
2000 November - Peruvian human rights ombudsman's office says 4,000 people had "disappeared" since 1980 in war against left-wing rebels.
2000 November - Congress sacks Fujimori and declares him "morally unfit" to govern; head of Congress Valentin Paniagua sworn in as interim president.
2001 March - Judge orders former president Fujimori, who has since fled to Japan, to face charges of dereliction of duty.
2001 April - New heads of the army, air force and navy sworn in after their predecessors resign over links to former president Fujimori.
2001 May - President of Supreme Court and nine senior judges dismissed over alleged links with fugitive former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos. Deputy treasury minister resigns over allegations that he was instrumental in paying Montesinos $15m to leave Peru.Toledo elected
2001 June - Presidential elections: centre-left economist Alejandro Toledo defeats former president Alan Garcia. Toledo is Peru's first president of native Indian origin.
2001 June - Former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos is apprehended in Venezuela, flown back to Peru and held in a top-security prison.
2001 September - Supreme Court judge issues international arrest warrant for former president Alberto Fujimori, who is in self-exile in Japan.
2002 March - Nine people killed by bomb blast near US embassy in Lima - seen as attempt to disrupt forthcoming visit by President George W Bush.Truth commission
2002 April - Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins public hearings about alleged atrocities committed during civil war of 1980s and 1990s.
2002 June - Violent protests against the privatisation of two power companies. President Toledo puts the sale on hold.
2002 July - Lawmakers accuse exiled former president Alberto Fujimori of treason.
Former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos sentenced to nine years in prison for corruption.
Indian at the helm
Alejandro Toledo became Peru's first president of native Indian origin
2003 March-May - Vladimiro Montesinos sentenced to further five and eight-year jail sentences for abuse of power, embezzlement.
2003 August - Truth and Reconciliation Commission's inquiry into atrocities during 20-year war against Shining Path rebels concludes that an estimated 69,280 people were killed.Toledo under pressure
2004 June - Former intelligence head Vladimiro Montesinos sentenced to further 15 years in jail for corruption, embezzlement, conspiracy.
2004 August - Inauguration of major gas pipeline project connecting jungle gas field with Lima.
2005 January - Four-day failed uprising by nationalist army reservists in the south: six people are killed and the interior minister resigns over the incident.
2005 May - Congressional commission finds President Toledo guilty of electoral fraud. Prosecutors say his party forged many of the signatures it used to register for the 2000 poll. Congress later votes not to impeach the president.
2005 July - Government begins to compensate guerrilla war victims; $800m is earmarked for the purpose.
2005 November - Former President Fujimori is arrested in Chile, after arriving there from Japan, pending extradition proceedings.
2005 December - Peru and the US reach a free trade agreement.
President declares a state of emergency in six central provinces after suspected Shining Path guerrillas kill eight police officers.Garcia's election win
2006 June - Presidential elections: Alan Garcia, a former president, celebrates victory after a second round of voting. His rival, nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala, emerged as the front-runner in the first round.
2006 October - Former Shining Path rebel leader Abimael Guzman is sentenced to life in prison.
2007 April - Parliament grants emergency powers to President Garcia, allowing him to rule by decree on issues related to drug trafficking, organised crime.
Indian protesters were angered by plans for oil and gas drilling in Amazonia
2007 August - Earthquake hits coastal areas, killing hundreds and destroying churches and houses.
2007 September - Chile extradites former president Alberto Fujimori to Peru to face human rights and corruption charges.
2007 December - Fujimori goes on trial for the murder of 25 people killed by an army death squad during his rule. In a separate case he is sentenced to six years in jail for illegally ordering the search of an apartment.
2008 October - Cabinet resigns after members of the governing Apra party are implicated in a corruption scandal involving bribes for oil contracts. President Garcia appoints Yehude Simon, a leftist regional governor from outside the ruling party, as the new prime minister.
2009 April - Former President Alberto Fujimori is sentenced to 25 years in jail for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces.Amazon clashes
2009 June - At least 54 people are killed in clashes in the Amazon between security forces and indigenous people protesting against land ownership laws opening up oil and gas resources to foreign companies.
PM Yehude Simon resigns in response to the violence, after brokering talks with the protesters which lead to the repeal of the land laws.
2009 July - Trade unions and left-wing opposition groups hold nationwide protests against the government's pro-free trade policies.
President Garcia appoints a new prime minister, Javier Velasquez Quesquen, and replaces seven other ministers in a cabinet reshuffle aimed at restoring confidence in the government.
2009 October - Relations with Chile are strained by a Chilean military exercise staged close to the two countries' disputed border.
2009 November - Ties with Chile become even more tense after a Peruvian air force officer is accused of spying for the Chilean military.
Peru apologises for the first time to its citizens of African origin for centuries of "abuse, exclusion and discrimination".
2010 May - Peruvian indigenous leader Alberto Pizango is freed on bail pending trial a day after he was detained upon his return home from almost a year in exile. He is accused of inciting protests against planned oil and gas exploration in Peru's rainforest that turned deadly.
2011 January - Opening of controversial road connecting Brazil's Atlantic coast with Peru's Pacific seaboard.
Conflict over Conga mining project
Andean people assemble at one of the lakes they fear will be affected by the Conga mining project. The project was interrupted by mass protests
2011 June - Ollanta Humala wins presidential elections in the run-off.
2011 December - Emergency declared in the north following protests against a proposed gold mining project.
2012 February - Shining Path rebel Comrade Artemio - one of the original central committee - is captured.
2012 April - Shining Path rebels capture, and later free, some 36 gas workers in the south.
2012 May - State of emergency declared in the southern province of Espinar, near Cusco, after anti-mining protests turn violent.
2012 July-September - Emergency declared in northern provinces to quell violent protests against the Conga mine project, which opponents argue will cause pollution and destroy water supplies. President Humala appoints Justice Minister Juan Jimenez Mayor prime minister after Oscar Valdes quits over the death of five Conga protesters. Emergency is allowed to lapse in September but security forces remain on alert.
2012 November - The last of the artefacts taken from Machu Picchu by US archaeologist Hiram Bingham are returned to Peru under a 2010 agreement. Mr Bingham brought the site to international attention in 1911.
2013 June - A court in Lima sentences the last of the original leaders of the Shining Path rebels to life in prison. Florindo Flores, known as Comrade Artemio, is found guilty of terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering.
2013 June - President Humala rejects a request to pardon the jailed former leader Alberto Fujimori on humanitarian grounds.