A chronology of key events:
1783 - Khalifah family seizes power from Persia.
1861 - Britain assumes responsibility for Bahrain's defence and foreign relations.
1913 - Britain and the Ottoman government sign a treaty recognising the independence of Bahrain, but the country remains under British administration.
1931 - The Bahrain Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of Standard Oil, discovers oil and production begins the following year.
1939 - Britain decides that the Hawar Islands that lie between Bahrain and Qatar belong to Bahrain.
1961 - Sheikh Isa Bin-Salman Al Khalifah becomes ruler.
1967 - Britain moves its main regional naval base from Aden to Bahrain, a year before deciding to close all its bases east of Suez by 1971.
1970 May - The Shah of Iran renounces his country's claim to sovereignty over Bahrain after a United Nations report says that Bahrainis favour independence over rule by Britain or Iran. After the Shah flees in 1979, the Islamic government of Iran refuses to recognise this renunciation.
1971 - Bahrain declares independence and signs a new treaty of friendship with Britain. Sheikh Isa becomes the first Emir and the Council of State becomes a cabinet.
1971 - Bahrain and the US sign an agreement which permits the US to rent naval and military facilities.
1973 December - Elections are held for a National Assembly advisory body, which consists of the 14 cabinet members plus 30 MPs elected by male voters over the age of 20.
Rule by decree
1975 August - Following claims by prime minister Sheikh Khalifah Bin-Salman Al Khalifah that the National Assembly is impeding the work of the government, the Emir dissolves the assembly and rules by decree.
1981 May - Bahrain joins the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which also includes Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
1981 December - Seventy-three people, said to be members of the Iran-based Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, headed by Iranian cleric, Hojjat ol-Eslam Hadi al-Mudarrisi, are arrested and accused of conspiring to overthrow the government.
1986 - In April, Qatari troops occupy Fasht al-Dibal Island, but withdraw in June after mediation by Saudi Arabia.
1986 November - Opening of the King Fahd causeway which links Bahrain to the mainland of Saudi Arabia.
Operation Desert Storm
1991 January/February - As part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Peninsula Shield Force, Bahrain participates in the US-led Operation Desert Storm against Iraq.
1991 October - Bahrain signs a defence cooperation agreement with the United States, providing for port facilities and joint military exercises.
1992 December - A 30-member Consultative Council, appointed by the emir for a four-year term, is set up.
1994 December - Demonstrations follow the arrest of Shia cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, who called for the restoration of the National Assembly and criticises the ruling family. He is deported and seeks asylum in Britain.
1995 June - The cabinet is reshuffled to include five Shia ministers.
1996 January/February - After bomb explosions in Manama's business quarter, Shia cleric Sheikh Abd-al-Amir al-Jamri is arrested.
'Coup plot' uncovered
1996 June - The government says it has uncovered a coup plot by an Iranian-backed group, Hezbollah-Bahrain. Bahrain recalls its ambassador.
1996 September - The Consultative Council members are increased from 30 to 40.
1997 April - Bahrain acquires sole ownership of the Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco).
1998 December - Bahrain provides military facilities for "Operation Desert Fox", the US-British bombing campaign against Iraq.
1999 March - Emir Sheikh Isa dies and is succeeded by his eldest son, Sheikh Hamad.
1999 July - Sheikh Abd-al-Amir al-Jamri is sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment but is pardoned by the new Emir.
1999 December - The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin-Khalifah Al Thani, visits. Countries establish committee to settle territorial disputes.
2000 September - Emir appoints the first non-Muslims and women to the Consultative Council - four women - one of whom is a Christian - and a Jewish businessman.
2001 February - Referendum on political reform overwhelmingly backs constitutional monarchy with elected lower chamber of parliament and independent judiciary.
2001 November - Al-Wefaq opposition movement founded.
2002 February - Bahrain becomes a constitutional monarchy, and allows women to stand for office in a package of reforms. Emir Hamad proclaims himself king.
2002 May - Local elections are held, Bahrain's first poll for almost 30 years. For the first time women vote and stand as candidates, but fail to win a seat.
2002 October - Parliamentary elections held, the first for nearly 30 years. Authorities say the turnout was more than 50% despite a call by Islamists for a boycott.
2003 May - Thousands of victims of alleged torture petition King Hamad to cancel law that prevents them from suing suspected torturers.
2004 April - Nada Haffadh is made health minister - the first woman to head a government ministry.
2004 May - Protests in Manama against fighting in the Iraqi Shia holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. The king sacks the interior minister after police try to prevent the protest.
2005 March-June - Thousands of protest marchers demand a fully-elected parliament.
Shia political opposition
2006 November - The Shia opposition wins 40% of the vote in a general election. A Shia Muslim, Jawad bin Salem al-Oraied, is named deputy prime minister.
2007 September - Thousands of illegal foreign workers rush to take advantage of a government-sanctioned amnesty.
2008 May - A Jewish woman, Houda Nonoo, is appointed Bahrain's ambassador to the USA. She is believed to be the Arab world's first Jewish ambassador.
2009 April - King Hamad pardons more than 170 prisoners charged with endangering national security, including 35 Shias being tried on charges of trying to overthrow the state.
2010 September - 20 Shia opposition leaders - accused of plotting to overthrow monarchy by promoting violent protests and sabotage - arrested in run-up to elections.
2010 October - Parliamentary elections. The main Shia opposition group, Islamic National Accord Association, makes a slender gain.
2011 February - Thousands of protesters gather in Manama, inspired by popular revolts that toppled rulers in Tunisia and Egypt. A security crackdown results in the death of several protestors.
2011 March - Saudi troops are called in following further unrest. Authorities declare martial law and clamp down hard on pro-democracy activists. Protests continue, despite ban on demonstrations.
Focal point of demonstrations - the Pearl monument - is demolished.
2011 April - Government moves to ban two main political parties which represent the Shia majority.
2011 November - Government concedes that "excessive force" was used by security forces in Bahrain against pro-democracy protesters.
2012 October - Protesters clash with riot police in Manama at funeral of Ali Ahmed Mushaima, who died in prison after being jailed for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations. The authorities indefinitely ban all protests and gatherings.
2013 February - National dialogue talks begin in effort to end unrest.
2013 March - King Hamad appoints his son, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, as deputy prime minister. He is widely viewed as a moderate, who previously occupied an influential position until he was sidelined by hardliners in the ruling family after the 2011 clampdown on unrest.
2013 September - Bahrain's main Shia opposition groups pull out of talks with the government in protest at the arrest of a leading member of Wefaq, the main Shia opposition society.
2014 October - Main Shia opposition group Al-Wefaq banned for three months.
2014 November - Parliamentary elections, boycotted and dismissed by the Shia opposition as a farce.
2014 December - Leader of Al-Wefaq opposition movement Sheikh Ali Salman is arrested. Protests and clashes between his supporters and security forces ensue.
2015 March - Bahrain and four other GCC states take part in Saudi-led air strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen.
2016 August - A UN-appointed panel accused the authorities of carrying out a systematic campaign of harassment against the country's Shia Muslim population.
2017 January - Bahrain executes three Shia activists convicted of killing three policemen in a bomb attack in 2014 - the country's first execution in six years.
2017 May - The country's most prominent Shia cleric - Isa Qassim - is found guilty of illegal fundraising and money laundering and given a suspended sentence.
2018 April - Bahrain reports discovery of the kingdom's largest oilfield in more than 80 years.
2018 November - Opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman of the banned Al-Wefaq party is sentenced to life in jail on charges of spying for Bahrain's arch-rival, Qatar.
Rights organisations denounce the trial as politically-motivated.