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600s Arab tribes establish the sultanate of Adel on the Gulf of Aden coast.
1500 – 1600 Portuguese traders land on the east coast of Africa and start intermittent power struggles with the Sultanate of Zanzibar for control of port cities and surrounding towns.
1840 The British East India Company signs treaties with the Sultan of Tajura for unrestricted trading rights.
1860s France acquires foothold on the Somali coast, later to become Djibouti.
1875 Egypt occupies towns on Somali coast and parts of the interior.
1887 Britain proclaims protectorate over Somaliland after reaching a final agreement with the local King Menelik and various tribal chiefs and draws a boundary with neighbouring Ethiopia to form British Somaliland. Besides trading interests, the British protectorate serves as a counterweight to the growing Italian influence in the key port city of neighbouring Zanzibar.
1888 Anglo-French agreement defines boundary between Somali possessions of the two countries.
1889 Italy sets up a protectorate in central Somalia, later consolidated with territory in the south ceded by the sultan of Zanzibar.
1897 – 1907 Italy makes several agreements with tribal chiefs and the British to finally mark out the boundaries of a separate Italian protectorate of Somaliland.
1908 The Italian Government assumes direct administration of Italian Somaliland, giving the territory a colonial status.
1925 Territory east of the Jubba river detached from Kenya to become the westernmost part of the Italian protectorate.
1936 Following decades of expansionism, Italy captures Addis Ababa and Ethiopia to form the province of Italian East Africa.
June 1940 Italian troops drive out the British garrison and capture British Somaliland.
1941 British recapture British Somaliland and most of Italian Somaliland.
1941- 1959 Meanwhile, British Somaliland sees a period of colonial development as the territory moves towards a gradual development of local institutions and self-government.
1947 Following Italy’s defeat in World War II, Italy renounces all rights and titles to Italian Somaliland.
1950 The U.N. General Assembly adopts a resolution making Italian Somaliland a U.N. trust territory under Italian administrative control.
1956 Italian Somaliland renamed Somalia and granted internal autonomy.
1960 British and Italian Somaliland gain independence and merge to form the United Republic of Somalia.
1960 – 1969 Two successive democratically elected governments attempt to balance the expansionist interests of pro-Arab, pan-Somali factions with interests in Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia and Kenya, and “modernist” factions whose priorities include economic and social development.
1963 Border dispute with Kenya, diplomatic relations with Britain broken until 1968.
1964 Border dispute with Ethiopia erupts into hostilities.
1967 Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke beats Aden Abdullah Osman Daar in elections for president.
October 1969 Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre seizes power in a coup. Democratically elected President Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke is assassinated.
1970 Siad declares Somalia a socialist nation and undertakes literacy programs and planned economic development under the principles of “scientific socialism.”
1972 – 1977 A period of persistent border clashes with Ethiopia for control of Ethiopia’s Ogaden region, which also sees a severe drought in the region that leads to widespread starvation.
1974 Somalia and the Soviet Union sign a treaty of friendship. Somalia also joins the Arab League.
1974-75 Severe drought causes widespread starvation.
1977 Somalia invades the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
1978 Following a gradual shifting of Soviet favour from Somalia to Ethiopia and the infusions of Soviet arms and Cuban troops to Ethiopia, Somali troops are pushed out of Ethiopian territory.
1978 – 1990 A period of growing cooperation and strategic alliance between Somalia and the West begins. The United States becomes Somalia’s chief partner in defence and several Somali military officers are trained in U.S. military schools.
1981 Opposition to Barre’s regime begins to emerge after he excludes members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from government positions, which are filled with people from his own Marehan clan.
1988 Peace accord with Ethiopia.
1991 At the end of a period of growing domestic factionalism, insurgency and an open war with clans in northwest Somalia that have left the country in economic shambles and forced thousands of Somalis to flee their homes, Siad is ousted by opposition clans and forced to flee to Nigeria, where he ultimately dies.
1991 Former British protectorate of Somaliland declares unilateral independence.
December 1992 U.S. troops lead a U.N. peacekeeping mission to Somalia, under Operation Restore Hope, which begins with the arrival of 1,800 U.S. Marines landing at night on a Mogadishu beach. The peacekeeping mission included providing humanitarian assistance to Somalis and bringing peace to the troubled country. But while the humanitarian mission is quickly achieved, the peacekeeping force finds itself dragged into Somalia’s internecine battles.
October 1993 For the United States, Operation Restore Hope reaches its nadir when members of the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force and the Army Rangers are used to raid warlord headquarters and abduct them. In one such raid, the U.S. forces are dropped into a Mogadishu neighbourhood to snatch two lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. While the snatch and grab operation is successfully accomplished, trouble starts when two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters are shot down by rocket-propelled grenades. As U.S. Army Rangers attempt to rescue the crews of the downed helicopters, a mob of armed militiamen and angry Somalis descend on the site. A horrific carnage follows that ends only 15 hours later when a combined U.S./U.N. armoured convoy manages to reach the trapped Rangers and Delta operators. But for the world, the mission in Somalia would forever be gruesomely remembered for the 18 U.S. Army Rangers killed and footage of the exultant crowds dragging naked, mutilated bodies through the streets of Mogadishu. Despite domestic outrage, the U.S. continues to play a major role in the mission until 1994.
1994 President Bill Clinton orders the withdrawal of the 30,000 U.S. troops on Somali soil.
1995 Following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the vanguard of the 21-nation Operation Restore Hope, the U.N. peacekeepers leave after an unsuccessful operation amidst charges of cruelty and even the murder of Somalis. By the end of the operation, dozens of U.N. peacekeepers were killed and hundreds of Somalis died at the hands of U.S. and U.N. forces.
1996 Warlord Muhammad Aideed dies of his wounds and is succeeded by his son, Hussein.
1997 Following a complete administrative collapse, chiefs of some rival clans meet in the Egyptian capital of Cairo and agree to convene a conference to look into rival claims to Somalia.
1998 Puntland region declares autonomy.
August 2000 In the 13th such attempt to form a government, Somali warlords and militiamen meet in neighbouring Djibouti for peace talks organized by Djibouti President Omar Guellah. They elect Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president of Somalia. Hassan appoints Ali Khalif Gelayadh as his prime minister. But even as the new government attempts to start the parliamentary process in exile in Djibouti, some powerful warlords, notably Hossein Mohammed Aideed and Mohamed Ibrahim Egal do not recognize Hassan’s election. But Mogadishu’s most powerful clan leader, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, promises his support.
October 2000 Hassan arrives in Mogadishu to a hero’s welcome and tight security. Gelayadh puts together a Cabinet of ministers, Somalia’s first government in 10 years. But Hassan’s administration has difficulty establishing control outside Mogadishu.
March 2001 Aideed announces that he has patched up his differences with clan leaders Muse Sudi Yalahow and Osman Hassan Ali Atto and calls for a replacement of Hassan’s transitional government following a meeting between the leaders in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Meanwhile, opposition to Hassan has seen fighting rage on in the southern parts of the country as drought, security concerns and the criminalization of refugee camps along the Somali-Kenyan border periodically compels Kenya to halt cross-border trade, thereby further crippling the economically crumbling East African country.
April 2001 Somali warlords, backed by Ethiopia, announce their intention to form a national government within six months, in direct opposition to the country’s transitional administration.
August 2001 UN appeals for food aid for half a million people in the drought-hit south.
August 2004 In 14th attempt since 1991 to restore central government, a new transitional parliament inaugurated at ceremony in Kenya. In October the body elects Abdullahi Yusuf as president.
December 2004 Tsunami waves generated by an undersea earthquake off Indonesia hit the Somali coast and the island of Hafun. Hundreds of deaths are reported; tens of thousands of people are displaced.
February – June 2005 Somali government begins returning home from exile in Kenya, but there are bitter divisions over where in Somalia the new parliament should sit.
November 2005 Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi survives an assassination attempt in Mogadishu. Gunmen attack his convoy, killing six people.
February 2006 Transitional parliament meets in Somalia – in the central town of Baidoa – for the first time since it was formed in Kenya in 2004.
March – May 2006 Scores of people are killed and hundreds are injured during fierce fighting between rival militias in Mogadishu. It is the worst violence in almost a decade.
June – July 2006 Militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts take control of Mogadishu and other parts of the south after defeating clan warlords.
July – August 2006 Mogadishu’s air and seaports are re-opened for the first time since 1995.
September 2006 Transitional government and the Union of Islamic Courts begin peace talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Somalia’s first known suicide bombing targets President Yusuf outside parliament in Baidoa.