1600s. Sotho people arrive in present-day Lesotho, intermarry with the Khoisans, and establish trade links in Southern Africa.
1800. White traders introduce cattle. Boer pioneers usurp Sotho.
1820. Basotho emerge as Moshoeshoe the Great unites Sotho.
1860s. Boer wars and British intervention cost Basotho much of the western lowlands.
1880. The British gain control and prevent Lesotho's inclusion into the newly formed Union of South Africa, which spares Lesotho from apartheid.
1966. Basotholand becomes independent "Lesotho."
1970. The first prime minister, Chief Jonathan, is defeated at the 1970 poll; he suspends the constitution, expels the king, and bans the opposition.
1983. South Africa closes Lesotho's borders after Jonathan criticizes South African apartheid, strangling the country economically.
1984. Lesotho Highlands Water Development Project (LHWDP) initiated.
1986-97. A period of political unrest, coups, and skirmishes between rebel troops and government loyalists. Moshoeshoe II eventually gains power then dies in a car accident.
1994. Lesotho joins the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
1998. Elections are held under alleged cheating. Fearing violence the government calls on SADC treaty partners (Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) to help restore order. South African troops enter the kingdom and heavy fighting engulfs Maseru. Eighty percent of the shops and other businesses are severely damaged.
2000. Government promises to call new elections and privatize more enterprise.