Cronology from 1057 to March 2006

1057 - King Anawrahta founds the first unified Burmese state at Pagan and adopts Theravada Buddhism.

Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon
Shwedagon Pagoda: Burma's key religious site
Said to date back 2,500 years
Restored in 1998
Jewellery donated for gold roof
1287 - Mongols under Kublai Khan conquer Pagan.

1531 - Toungoo dynasty, with Portuguese help, reunites Burma.

1755 - Alaungpaya founds the Konbaung dynasty.

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 British India.

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.

Japanese occupation

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.

Irrawaddy river
The Irrawaddy: backbone of Burma's rice trade
2,170 km (1,350 miles) long
Commercially navigable for 1,300 km (800 miles)
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 States.

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.

Former dictator Ne Win
Ne Win crushed dissent, propelled Burma into isolation

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 burial.

1975 - Opposition National Democratic Front formed by regionally-based minority groups, who mounted guerrilla insurgencies.

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.

Aung San Suu Kyi
Resistance figure and daughter of Burma's founding father

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.

Thwarted elections

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.

Market in Mandalay
Mandalay, Burma's second city, saw action in World War II

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.

Conflicting signals

2002 May - Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi released after nearly 20 months of house arrest.

Prime Minister Khin Nyunt
Former PM Khin Nyunt was ousted in late 2004

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 in July.

Prime minister ousted

2004 October - Khin Nyunt is replaced as prime minister amid reports of a power struggle. He is placed under house arrest.

Railway station, Pyinmana
Pyinmana: New capital is in a remote region

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 left homeless.

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.