5TH CENTURY B.C. Ethiopia becomes one of the first countries in Africa. Ethiopia is described by the Greek historian Herodotus, and the Old Testament records a visit by the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem.
4TH CENTURY. Missionaries from Syria and Egypt introduce Christianity to the country.
1493. The Portuguese establish contact with Ethiopia, prompting a lengthy conflict between Roman Catholic converts and adherents of Ethiopian Coptic Christianity.
1630s. All foreign missionaries are expelled from Ethiopia, and the country subsequently remains isolated from the West until the mid-19th century.
MID-19TH CENTURY. Under the Emperors Theodore (1855-68), Johannes IV (1872-89), and Menelik II (1889-1913), Ethiopia becomes a modern state characterized by political centralization.
1930. Adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, Ras Tafari Makonnen is crowned emperor, commencing a lengthy period of rule that witnesses the perpetuation of a quasi-feudal system, albeit with marginal reforms.
1936-42. The Italians occupy Ethiopia despite Selassie's plea to the League of Nations for intervention. The Italians are expelled by British and Ethiopian forces, and Selassie returns to rule after a period of forced exile.
1974. Following a period of civil unrest, Selassie is deposed, and a military administrative council known as the Derg declares a military dictatorship supposedly based on socialist principles. The Derg, which pursues abhorrent policies of political repression (the "red terror"), nationalizes the land and most of the economy.
1991. Ethnic insurrection, a collapsed economy, and recalcitrant (rebellious) students cause the final collapse of the Derg regime. The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is democratically voted into office.
1993. Eritrea establishes its independence under a UN-monitored referendum. Ethiopia and Eritrea commence a border war that continues to restrain the development of both countries.