1521. In his search for the Moluccas, Ferdinand Magellan docks in the Philippines and is slain by native chieftain Lapu-Lapu in battle.
1543. Spanish conquistador Ruy Lopez de Villalobos names the islands Filipinas after Spain's Philip II.
1565. Miguel Lopes de Legazpe establishes his base in the province of Cebu and later moves it to Manila.
1575. Spain takes control of non-Islamic areas and monopolizes trade.
1896. Nationalist Jose Rizal is executed by the Spaniards. He is later honored as a national hero.
1898. Spain sells the Philippines to the United States for $20 million after a mock battle in Manila Bay.
1900. The United States establishes a commonwealth government and enacts a law that will grant the Philippines independence by 1944.
1935. Manuel L. Quezon is elected president and a new constitution is adopted.
1941. Japanese forces invade Luzon.
1942. Japanese forces conquer Manila as U.S. troops on the Bataan peninsula surrender to Gen. Yamashita.
1945. Japanese occupation ends. The Philippines joins the United Nations as a charter member.
1946. The Philippines gains independence from the United States on July 4, becoming an independent republic with Manuel Roxas as president.
1947. The Philippines and the United States sign a Military Bases Agreement.
1948. President Roxas dies and is succeeded in office by Elpidio Quirino.
1950S. The Communist Hukbalahap Movement collapses. The country rebuilds itself and earns the distinction of becoming the second most prosperous nation in Asia, next to Japan.
1953. Ramon Magsaysay is elected to the presidency as standard bearer of the Nacionalista Party.
1957. President Magsaysay dies in an air crash and is succeeded in office by Vice President Carlos P. Garcia.
1961. Vice President Diosdado Macapagal is elected president over incumbent Garcia.
1965. Ferdinand E. Marcos is elected president, defeating incumbent Macapagal.
1967. The Philippines joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
1969. President Marcos is re-elected and becomes the first president ever to be sworn in for a second time. The New People's Army is founded.
1972. President Marcos declares martial law in the guise of controlling a Communist rebellion. He orders the arrest of all opposition leaders, suspends the constitution, and dissolves the National Assembly. A new constitution is approved in a national referendum that proposes a return to a parliamentary form of government. President Marcos serves as president while Cesar Virata serves as prime minister. Muslim insurgency in the South intensifies.
1981. President Marcos ends 8 years of martial law and wins elections for a second 6-year term.
1983. Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. returns from exile in the United States and is assassinated on his arrival at the Manila airport. Marcos calls for a quick election to quell domestic unrest and international pressure.
1986. Millions of Filipinos hold a peaceful "People Power" revolution protesting President Marcos's victory amidst charges of ballot tampering. Marcos and his family are exiled to Hawaii, and Corazon C. Aquino, wife of the slain Senator Aquino, assumes the presidency. A new constitution is soon ratified.
1989. Limited autonomy is granted to Muslim provinces. Dispute escalates with China over the Spratly Islands. Military stages a coup d'état.
1990. A destructive earthquake, measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale, kills more than 1,600 and destroys property amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos. Typhoons batter the Visayas region.
1991. Eruption of the volcano Mount Pinatubo, burying many towns under lava including the ones where 2 American bases, Clark Air Base and the Subic Naval Bay Station, were located.
1992. Fidel V. Ramos is elected president. He unveils his blueprint for development called Philippines 2000. The Philippine Senate votes against the continued presence of U.S. military bases in the country.
1990s. The Philippine economy registers positive growth. International agencies express optimism about the country's development and dubs the country as one of Asia's "tiger cub" economies.
1998. Joseph E. Estrada, running under a social-justice platform, wins the presidency by a wide margin. The Philippines' fiscal deficit balloons to P111.66 billion from a deficit of P11.14 billion in 1986.
2000. President Estrada becomes the first Philippine president to be impeached by Congress. After mass "People Power" demonstrations, vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo becomes the fourteenth President of the Republic.