1493. Columbus explores Sint Maarten.
1499. Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci visit Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.
1499-1634. Spanish dominate the area.
1621. Dutch West Indies Company is founded.
1632. Dutch settle Saba and Sint Eustatius.
1636. The Dutch take Aruba.
1648. The Dutch occupy Sint Maarten.
1792. Dutch West Indies Company is dissolved.
1797. Slaves rebell on Curaçao.
1805-16. Aruba falls under English control during Napoleonic wars.
1845. The "ABC" Islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are brought together with the "3 Ss"—Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten—to form the Netherlands Antilles.
1863. Slavery is abolished in the Dutch West Indies.
1954. Autonomy ("status aparte") from the Netherlands is achieved.
1969. Curaçao race riots occur.
1986. Aruba leaves the Netherlands Antilles federation.
1995. Aruba decides indefinitely to postpone independence from the Netherlands, scheduled in 1986 for 1996.
2000. Sint Maarten votes to leave the Netherlands Antilles federation.