A chronology of key events:
1947 - British colonial rule over India ends. A largely Muslim state comprising East and West Pakistan is established, either side of India. The two provinces are separated from each other by more than 1,500 km of Indian territory.
1949 - The Awami League is established to campaign for East Pakistan's autonomy from West Pakistan.
1970 - The Awami League wins an overwhelming election victory in East Pakistan. The government in West Pakistan refuses to recognise the results, leading to rioting.
Cyclone hits East Pakistan - up to 500,000 people are killed.
1971 - Awami League proclaims independence of the province as Bangladesh. Pakistan is defeated in brief war, with Indian assistance.
1972 - League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman becomes prime minister and begins a programme of nationalising key industries.
1974 - Severe floods devastate much of the grain crop, leading to an estimated 28,000 deaths.
1975 - Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is assassinated in a military coup in August. Martial law is imposed.
1977 - General Ziaur Rahman becomes president.
1981 - President Ziaur Rahman is assassinated in abortive coup.
1982 - General Hussain Muhammad Ershad seizes power.
1983 - Limited political activity is permitted.
1986 - President Ershad lifts martial law and reinstates the constitution.
1987 - State of emergency declared after opposition demonstrations and strikes.
1988 - Islam becomes state religion. Floods leave tens of millions homeless.
1990 - President Ershad steps down following mass protests.
1991 - Begum Khaleda Zia, widow of President Ziaur Rahman, becomes prime minister, shifts power away from presidency.
Awami League returns
1996 - Awami League returns to power under with Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
1998 - Two-thirds of the country devastated by the worst floods ever. Fifteen former army officers sentenced to death for involvement in assassination of President Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
2001 October - Khaleda Zia's Nationalist Party takes power in coalition government.
2002 March - Government introduces law making acid attacks punishable by death amid public anger over escalating violence against women.
2004 May - Parliament amends constitution to reserve 45 seats for female MPs.
2007 April - Sheikh Hasina is charged with murder and Begum Khaleda Zia is placed under virtual house arrest in clampdown by caretaker government after a year of violent political unrest.
2008 December - General elections: Awami League captures more than 250 of 300 seats in parliament. Sheikh Hasina is sworn in as prime minister in January.
2009 February - Around 74 people, mainly army officers, are killed in a mutiny in Dhaka by border guards unhappy with pay and conditions. Police arrest some 700 guards. A further 1,000 guards are detained in May.
2013 April - Sheikh Hasina vetoes Islamist bill to outlaw criticism of Islam.
2013 May - European retailers promise to sign an accord to improve safety conditions in factories after a garment factory building collapsed in April, killing more than 1,100 people.
2013 July - Ghulam Azam, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, is convicted of war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. Several other Jamaat leaders are convicted in the following years.
2015 May - Bangladesh bans Islamist militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team, which claims responsibility for killing and assaulting several pro-secular public figures.
2016 July - The Islamic State group claims an attack on a cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter in which 20 hostages, including 18 foreigners, are killed, but the government rejects the claim saying the militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen was responsible.
2017 October - The number of Rohingya Muslims who fled military action in Myanmar's Rakhine state and sought refuge in Bangladesh is estimated at one million.
2018 February - Opposition leader Khaleda Zia is sentenced to five years in prison for corruption, disqualifying her from contesting the elections later in the year.
2018 December - Governing Awami League wins landslide victory in parliamentary election, but the campaign was marred by reports of violence, intimidation, and vote-rigging. At least 17 people died in clashes between Awami League and opposition supporters.