A chronology of key events:
1300 - Carib Indians of South America conquer the indigenous Arawak Indians.
1498 - Christopher Columbus visits the main island on St Vincent's Day.
1627 - St Vincent granted to Britain's Lord Carlisle.
1783 - Treaty of Versailles recognises St Vincent as a British colony.
1795-97 - Britain, with French support, deports 5,000 caribs to Belize following an uprising.
1812 - First recorded eruption of La Soufriere volcano which resulted in many casualties.
1834 - Slavery abolished, forcing plantation owners to free more than 18,000 slaves; foreign labourers indentured.
1902 - Second eruption of La Soufriere volcano results in the death of 2,000 inhabitants.
1951 - St Vincent granted universal adult suffrage.
1958-62 - St Vincent a member of the British-sponsored West Indies Federation.
1969 - St Vincent granted internal self-government, with Britain retaining responsibility for foreign and defence affairs.
1979 October - St Vincent and the Grenadines become independent with Milton Cato of the centre-left St Vincent Labour Party (SVLP) as prime minister.
1979 December - Revolt on Union Island by a group that wanted more power in the country's new government put down.
1981 - Workers stage a general strike in protest at new industrial relations legislation against the background of an economic recession.
1984 - James Mitchell becomes prime minister after his centre-right New Democratic Party (NDP) wins a surprising victory in the general election.
1989 - Mitchell returned to office after his NDP won all parliamentary seats.
1994 - Mitchell and the NDP returned to office once again, but with a reduced majority.
1998 - Mitchell and the NDP scrape a fourth term.
2000 - Mitchell resigns and is succeeded by his finance minister, Arniham Eustace.
2000 - Anti-government protests and industrial action are sparked by a proposal to increase pensions for parliamentarians.
2001 March - Opposition leader Ralph Gonsalves becomes prime minister in elections brought forward from 2003 because of anti-government protests in 2000.
2003 February - St Vincent and the Grenadines is admitted to the Non-Aligned Movement of developing nations.
2003 June - The country is removed from a list of nations deemed uncooperative in the fight against money-laundering.
2005 December - Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party win a second term in general elections.
"No" to republic
2009 November - Voters reject the proposal to replace the monarchy with a republic in a constitutional referendum.
2011 January - Main opposition New Democratic Party denies allegations by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves it was involved in a plot to assassinate him.