A chronology of key events
1057 - King Anawrahta founds the first
unified Burmese state at Pagan and adopts Theravada Buddhism.
1287 - Mongols under Kublai Khan conquer
1531 - Toungoo dynasty, with Portuguese
help, reunites Burma.
1755 - Alaungpaya founds the Konbaung
1824-26 - First Anglo-Burmese war ends
with the Treaty of Yandabo, according to which Burma ceded the
Arakan coastal strip, between Chittagong and Cape Negrais, to
1852 - Britain annexes lower Burma, including
Rangoon, following the second Anglo-Burmese war.
1885-86 - Britain captures Mandalay after
a brief battle; Burma becomes a province of British India.
1937 - Britain separates Burma from India
and makes it a crown colony.
1942 - Japan invades and occupies Burma
with some help from the Japanese-trained Burma Independence Army,
which later transforms itself into the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom
League (AFPFL) and resists Japanese rule.
1945 - Britain liberates Burma from Japanese
occupation with help from the AFPFL, led by Aung San.
1947 - Aung San and six members of his
interim government assassinated by political opponents led by
U Saw, a nationalist rival of Aung San's. U Nu, foreign minister
in Ba Maw's government, which ruled Burma during the Japanese
occupation, asked to head the AFPFL and the government.
1948 - Burma becomes independent with
U Nu as prime minister.
Mid-1950s - U Nu, together with Indian
Prime Minister Nehru, Indonesian President Sukarno, Yugoslav President
Tito and Egyptian President Nasser co-found the Movement of Non-Aligned
1958-60 - Caretaker government, led by
army Chief of Staff General Ne Win, formed following a split in
the ruling AFPFL party.
1960 - U Nu's party faction wins decisive
victory in elections, but his promotion of Buddhism as the state
religion and his tolerance of separatism angers the military.
One-party, military-led state
1962 - U Nu's faction ousted in military
coup led by Gen Ne Win, who abolishes the federal system and inaugurates
"the Burmese Way to Socialism"- nationalising the economy,
forming a single-party state with the Socialist Programme Party
as the sole political party, and banning independent newspapers.
1974 - New constitution comes into effect,
transferring power from the armed forces to a People's Assembly
headed by Ne Win and other former military leaders; body of former
United Nations secretary-general U Thant returned to Burma for
1975 - Opposition National Democratic
Front formed by regionally-based minority groups, who mounted
1981 - Ne Win relinquishes the presidency
to San Yu, a retired general, but continues as chairman of the
ruling Socialist Programme Party.
1982 - Law designating people of non-indigenous
background as "associate citizens" in effect bars such
people from public office.
Riots and repression
1987 - Currency devaluation wipes out
many people's savings and triggers anti-government riots.
1988 - Thousands of people are killed
in anti-government riots. The State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc) is formed.
1989 - Slorc declares martial law, arrests
thousands of people, including advocates of democracy and human
rights, renames Burma Myanmar, with the capital, Rangoon, becoming
Yangon. NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of Aung San,
is put under house arrest.
1990 - Opposition National League for
Democracy (NLD) wins landslide victory in general election, but
the result is ignored by the military.
1991 - Aung San Suu Kyi awarded Nobel
Peace Prize for her commitment to peaceful change.
1992 - Than Shwe replaces Saw Maung as
Slorc chairman, prime minister and defence minister. Several political
prisoners freed in bid to improve Burma's international image.
1995 - Aung San Suu Kyi is released from
house arrest after six years.
1996 - Aung San Suu Kyi attends first
NLD congress since her release; Slorc arrests more than 200 delegates
on their way to party congress.
1997 - Burma admitted to Association of
South East Asian Nations (Asean); Slorc renamed State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC).
Release of pro-democracy supporters
1998 - 300 NLD members released from prison;
ruling council refuses to comply with NLD deadline for convening
of parliament; student demonstrations broken up.
1999 - Aung San Suu Kyi rejects ruling
council conditions to visit her British husband, Michael Aris,
who dies of cancer in UK.
2000 September - Ruling council lifts
restrictions on movements of Aung San Suu Kyi and senior NLD members.
2000 October - Aung San Suu Kyi begins
secret talks with ruling council.
2001 Ruling council releases some 200
pro-democracy activists. Government says releases reflect progress
in talks with opposition NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi who remains
under house arrest.
2001 February - Burmese army, Shan rebels
clash on Thai border.
Improving border relations
2001 June - Thai Prime Minister Shinawatra
visits, says relations are back on track.
2001 September - Intelligence chief Khin
Nyunt visits Thailand. Burma pledges to eliminate drugs trade
in the Golden Triangle by 2005.
2001 November - Chinese President Jiang
Zemin visits, issues statement supporting government, reportedly
urges economic reform.
2002 May - Pro-democracy leader Aung San
Suu Kyi released after nearly 20 months of house arrest.
2003 May - Aung San Suu Kyi taken into
"protective custody" after clashes between her supporters
and those of government.
2003 August - Khin Nyunt becomes prime
minister. He proposes to hold convention in 2004 on drafting new
constitution as part of "road map" to democracy.
2003 November - Five senior NLD leaders
released from house arrest after visit of UN human rights envoy.
2004 January - Government and Karen National
Union - most significant ethnic group fighting government - agree
to end hostilities.
2004 May - Constitutional convention begins,
despite boycott by National League for Democracy (NLD) whose leader
Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. The convention adjourns
Prime minister ousted
2004 October - Khin Nyunt is replaced
as prime minister amid reports of a power struggle. He is placed
under house arrest.
2004 November - Leading dissidents are
freed as part of a release of thousands of prisoners, including
Min Ko Naing, who led the 1988 pro-democracy student demonstrations.
2004 December - Giant waves, generated
by an undersea earthquake off the Indonesian coast, hit the coast.
The prime minister says 59 people were killed and more than 3,000
2005 February - Constitutional convention
resumes, but without the participation of the main opposition
and ethnic groups. Talks end in January 2006 with no reports of
any clear outcomes.
2005 7 May - Three near-simultaneous explosions
go off in shopping districts in the capital; the government puts
the death toll at 23.
2005 July - Asean announces that Burma
has turned down the 2006 chairmanship of the regional grouping.
2005 November - Burma says its seat of
government is moving to a new site near the central town of Pyinmana.
2006 March - The new capital hosts its
first official event, an Armed Forces Day parade.
2007 January - China and Russia veto a
draft US resolution at the UN Security Council urging Burma to
stop persecuting minority and opposition groups.