Eritrea profile - Timeline

A chronology of key events:

300-600 - What is now known as Eritrea forms part of the kingdom of Aksum.

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Image caption The border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000 killed thousands of people

600 - Arabs introduce Islam to coastal areas.

1500s - Ottoman Turks establish garrison at Massawa on the Red Sea coast.

1890 - Italy proclaims colony of Eritrea.

1941 - British forces occupy Eritrea.

1949 - Britain administers Eritrea as a United Nations trust territory.

1952 - UN General Assembly votes to make Eritrea a federal component of Ethiopia.

1958 - Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) is formed.

Independence war gets underway

1962 - Ethiopia annexes Eritrea, turning it into a province and giving impetus to the independence struggle.

1967 - Full-scale guerrilla war is under way.

1970 - ELF splits and the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) is formed, calling for a social revolution.

1974 - Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is overthrown in a military coup. A military junta led by Mengistu Haile Mariam seizes power.

1977-78 - Soviet support helps Ethiopian forces reverse significant advances made by Eritrean guerrillas.

1982 - Ethiopia launches a massive military assault named the Red Star Campaign in an effort to crush the rebels but suffers heavy casualties.

1988 - Battle of Afabet, seen as the first of a series of battlefield successes leading to independence.

Late 1980s - Soviet Union withdraws its support from Ethiopian government.

1990 - Rebels seize port of Massawa, prompting Ethiopian forces to launch air raids that disable it.

1991 - Eritrean People's Liberation Front captures the Eritrean capital Asmara and forms a provisional government. The EPLF helps its allies in the Ethiopian rebel movement to topple Mengistu Haile Mariam.

1993 - Eritreans vote overwhelmingly for independence; Eritrea becomes independent and joins the United Nations.

Post-independence war

1995 - Eritrean troops invade the Yemeni-held Hanish islands at the mouth of the Red Sea.

1998 - International arbitration panel awards the Greater Hanish island to Yemen and divides other smaller islands between the two countries.

1998-2000 - Eritrean-Ethiopian border clashes turn into a full-scale war which leaves some 70,000 people dead.

2000 - Eritrea, Ethiopia sign a peace accord which envisage troop withdrawals and UN peacekeepers. A boundary commission is given the task of defining the border; it awards Badme to Eritrea, but Ethiopia's continued occupation of the town becomes a major source of friction.

2002 February - Eritrea's highest legislative body, the National Assembly, decides not to allow the creation of any political parties in the near future.

2002 October - Eritrea is accused by neighbouring Sudan of taking part in a rebel offensive in the east. Asmara denies the charge.

2005 April - World Food Programme warns of a dire food situation after a series of droughts. It extends emergency operations to help more than 840,000 people.

Renewed tensions

2005 October - Eritrea bans UN helicopter flights in its airspace. UN says the restriction could force it to withdraw altogether.

2005 November - UN Security Council threatens Eritrea and Ethiopia with sanctions unless they return to the 2000 peace plan.

2005 December - Eritrea orders the expulsion of North American, European and Russian peacekeepers from the UN mission monitoring its border with Ethiopia.

International commission, based in The Hague, rules that Eritrea broke international law when it attacked Ethiopia in 1998. It says the attack could not be justified as self defence.

2006 September - Eritrea expels five UN staff as spies, in a move seen as a further deterioration of dire relations with the UN.

2006 October - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urges Eritrea to pull back the troops it has moved into the buffer zone on the Ethiopian border. The UN says the incursion is a major ceasefire violation.

2006 November - A UN report says seven countries - including Eritrea - have been providing arms and supplies to the rival Islamist administration in Somalia. Eritrea denies the charge. Eritrea's arch foe Ethiopia was arming the interim government, the report says.

2007 March - A group of British embassy workers and their Ethiopian guides are kidnapped in Ethiopia's northern Afar region bordering on Eritrea. They are eventually released in Eritrea.

2007 April - Female circumcision is banned.

Eritrea pulls out of regional body IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) as IGAD member states back Ethiopian intervention in Somalia.

2007 May - European Union Development Commissioner Louis Michel meets President Afwerki in Brussels. The commission's welcome is condemned by rights activists.

2007 August - US official Jendayi Frazer says Washington is considering putting Eritrea on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

2007 September - War could resume between Ethiopia and Eritrea over their border conflict, warns United Nations special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Kjell Bondevik.

Border dispute rumbles on

2008 January - UN extends mandate of peacekeepers on Ethiopia-Eritrea border for six months.

UN Security Council demands Eritrea lift fuel restrictions imposed on UN peacekeepers at the Eritrea-Ethiopia border area. Eritrea declines, saying troops must leave border.

2008 February - UN begins pulling 1,700-strong peacekeeper force out due to lack of fuel supplies following Eritrean government restrictions.

2008 April - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon warns of likelihood of new war between Ethiopia and Eritrea if peacekeeping mission withdraws completely. He outlines options for the future of the UN mission in the two countries.

Djibouti accuses Eritrean troops of digging trenches at disputed Ras Doumeira border area and infiltrating Djiboutian territory. Eritrea denies charge.

2008 May - Eritrea calls on UN to terminate peacekeeping mission.

Clash with Djibouti

2008 June - Fighting breaks out between Djiboutian and Eritrean troops in the disputed Ras Doumeira border area. At least nine Djiboutian soldiers killed. US condemns Eritrean "aggression" but Eritrea denies launching an attack.

2008 July - UN Security Council votes unanimously to end UN peacekeeping mission monitoring disputed border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

2008 November - An armed opposition group, the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation, says it carried a major attack on a military base, killing or injuring more than a hundred people.

2009 April - UN Security Council says Eritrea failed to fulfil its obligation to withdraw troops from disputed border area of Djibouti under an ultimatum issued in January. Eritrea denies having troops on Djiboutian soil.

2009 April - Human Rights Watch says the government is turning the country into a "giant prison".

2009 August - Eritrea and Ethiopia are ordered to pay each other compensation for their 1998-2000 border war.

UN sanctions

2009 December - UN imposes sanctions on Eritrea for its alleged support for Islamist insurgents in Somalia.

2010 May - Rebel groups say they have been operating jointly to topple the government, and claim military successes.

2010 June - Eritrea, Djibouti agree to resolve their border dispute peacefully.

2010 August - Opposition groups meeting in Ethiopia agree to establish parliament in exile.

2010 December - US diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks say Eritreans fleeing in droves, economy in a death spiral and prisons overflowing.

2011 March - Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of sending agents across the border to plant bombs and warns it will take all necessary measures to halt Eritrean "aggression".

2011 April - Ethiopia for the first time declares openly that it will support Eritrean rebel groups fighting to overthrow President Isaias Afwerki.

2011 July - A UN report accuses Eritrea of being behind a plot to attack an African Union summit in Ethiopia in January.

2011 June-September - Horn of Africa hit by worst drought in 50 years.

2011 December - UN Security Council tightens sanctions against Eritrea for continuing to support Islamists in Somalia.

2012 January - Group of European tourists kidnapped and killed in the remote Afar region in Ethiopia, near the border with Eritrea.

2012 March - Ethiopian troops attack positions in south-eastern Eritrea, alleging that subversive groups were being trained there.

2012 July - UN Human Rights Council appoints a special rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea. She is refused entry into the country.

2013 21 January - Dissident soldiers briefly occupy the information ministry building in Asmara. The mutineers demand the release of political prisoners.

2013 February - Football team coach and doctor defect during a tournament in Uganda.

2013 April - Military pilot sent to Saudi Arabia to reclaim a jet stolen by two fellow officers seeking asylum, reportedly also seeks asylum.

Mass exodus

2013 May - Brutal repression, including extrajudicial killings, is forcing thousands to flee Eritrea, says UN human rights rapporteur Sheila Keetharuth.

2013 December - A study presented to the European Parliament says as many as 30,000 Eritreans have been abducted and taken to Egypt's Sinai to be tortured and ransomed since 2007. Eritrea denies the accusation that its officials are involved.

2014 June - The UN Human Rights Council sets up a year-long inquiry into human rights in Eritrea. It says the government has engaged in widespread abuses and that about six percent of the population has fled the country. Eritrea rejects the claims as unfounded and says it will not cooperate.

2014 November - The UN Refugee Agency says there has been a sharp rise in the number of people fleeing from Eritrea to Ethiopia, and that many are thought to be fleeing a renewed conscription drive by the armed forces.

2015 June - A UN report accuses the government of Eritrea of carrying out systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations. The government dismisses the report as politically motivated.

2015 November - Government introduces new-design banknotes, saying that old-style notes will no longer be legal tender. Some critics suggest the move was prompted by the need to curb a thriving black market.

2016 May - Eritrea is ranked last on the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index for the ninth year running.

2016 July - The United Nations Human Rights Council calls on the African Union to investigate Eritrean leaders for alleged crimes against humanity.

2017 June - Tension between Djibouti and Eritrea after Qatari peacekeepers withdraw from a disputed border area.

2017 July - UNESCO adds Asmara to its list of World Heritage sites, describing it as a well-preserved example of a colonial planned city.

2018 January - Eritrea's ambassador to the Netherlands is asked to leave over allegations that Eritrean refugees are forced to pay a diaspora tax to access consular services.

2018 July - Ethiopia and Eritrea declare that their war is over.