1840. European colonization of the Horn of Africa begins, and the traditional area of the Somali people is divided among 5 states: the British Somaliland protectorate, Italian Somalia, French Somalia (present day Djibouti), the Ethiopian province of Ogaden, and northeastern Kenya.
1886. Britain declares a protectorate over northern Somalia.
1936. Italy establishes a colony in the southern region, Italian Somaliland.
1941. The Italian colony is captured by British forces and placed under military administration during World War II.
1950. Italian Somaliland becomes the UN Trust Territory of Somalia and is placed under Italian administration for a 10-year transitional period prior to independence.
1959. The Trust Territory's first general elections based on universal adult suffrage are held. The Somali Youth League (SYL) wins 83 of the 90 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
1960. British Somaliland becomes independent on 26 June. On 1 July the former Italian Somaliland unites with the former British Somaliland as the Somali Republic. A coalition government is formed by the SYL and the 2 leading northern parties, with Dr. Abd ar-Rashid Ali Shirmake, a leading SYL politician and member of the Darod clan, as the first prime minister.
1964. SYL secures majority seats in Assembly elections. However, a split in the party leads to appointment of a new Darod prime minister, Abd ar-Razak Hussein, leaving the party seriously divided.
1967. Shirmake is elected president and forms a government.
1969. Shirmake is assassinated in the course of factional violence; Major General Mohamed Siad Barre of the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) becomes president.
1972. Mass literacy campaign is launched, leading to the adoption of Somali as the national language.
1974. Somalia joins Arab League.
1975. Land is nationalized : farmers receive holdings on 50-year renewable leases from the state.
1976. Under Soviet influence, the Somali Socialist Party is established. Siad Barre restructures the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) and allows it to operate inside Ethiopia in an effort to claim Ethiopian territory.
1977. Somalia and the Soviet Union break off relations when the Soviet Union backs Ethiopia in the ongoing conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia. Somali forces retreat from Ethiopia, and Somalia seeks to align itself with Western countries.
1980. The United States is permitted to use air and naval facilities at Berbera.
1986. Siad Barre is re-elected president, but his regime is soon faced with unrest in the northeast and northwest of the country.
1989. Forces opposed to Barre form the United Somali Congress (USC) in exile, in Rome, Italy. The USC military wing, headed by Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed, sets up base in Ethiopia. Siad Barre announces that opposition parties can contest elections scheduled before the end of 1990 and that he would relinquish power.
1990. After an insurgency in the northwest, the USC captures Mogadishu. Siad Barre flees with the remnants of his army and the USC attempt to take power, but the country descends into clan-based civil war. The self-declared "Republic of Somaliland" declares independence.
1991. A UN force led by the United States tries to establish peace in Mogadishu.
1994. United States withdraws troops after a gunbattle with Somali gunmen leaves hundreds dead or wounded.
1995. The United Nations withdraws from Somalia. General Aideed is elected president by his USC faction but is not recognized by anyone else. Somaliland introduces its own currency.
1996. Aideed is killed by cross-fire during a skirmish. Leadership of USC passes to Aideed's son, Hussein Mohamed Aideed.
1997. Autonomy is declared for the northeastern province of Puntland.
2000. Delegates (excluding any official representatives form Somaliland and Puntland) meet in Djibouti, form a National Transitional Assembly, and elect Abdulkasim Sala Hassan as president, but clan-based fighting continues in Mogadishu.