427 B.C. The legendary Sinhalese Prince Vijaya colonizes the north-central part of Sri Lanka.
250 B.C. The king of Anuradhapura, Devanpiya Tissa, embraces Buddhism.
210 B.C. Sinhala kingdom is invaded by Cholas from southern India and Elara becomes king.
161 B.C. King Dutthagamini defeats Elara and reestablishes Sinhala rule.
1055. Sinhala kingdom moves its capital to Polonnaruwa under King Vijayabahu I.
1232-1815. Sinhala kingdom moves south.
1371-1408. Dambadeniyan, Gampolan, and Kotten kingdoms.
1469-1815. Kandyan kingdom.
1521-1581. Sitawakan kingdom.
1505. The Portuguese capture the coastal belt and rule it until the Dutch oust them.
1658. The Dutch capture coastal areas.
1659. The British regain the coastal areas, displacing the Dutch.
1660. The British are invited by the Kandyan chiefs to usurp the king, gaining control. They maintain a colony in Sri Lanka until the 20th century.
1948. Sri Lanka gains political independence from the British on 4th February.
1948. The UNP is elected in Ceylon under the leadership of D. S. Senanayake.
1956. A coalition of parties (MEP) led by S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike is elected.
1959. The SLFP leader is assassinated and his widow becomes prime minister in 1960.
1965. The UNP regains power under the leadership of Dudley Senanayake.
1971. Sri Lanka becomes a republic, but retains membership in the British Commonwealth.
1977. The UNP, under the leadership of J. R. Jayawar-dane, comes to power.
1978. Jayawardane becomes the first president of Sri Lanka. Liberalization reforms begin.
1979. Riots in response to the ambush and killing of 13 Singhalese soldiers by Tamil Tigers.
1980. Military action launched against the Tamil Tigers, with help from India.
1981. R. Premadasa becomes the second president of Sri Lanka.
1993. Premadasa's authoritarian rule ends as he becomes a victim of the LTTE.
1994. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the Peoples Alliance gain political power.
2000. Kumaratunga wins a second term as president.