1498. Christopher Columbus arrives in Venezuela.
1527. The city of Coro is founded.
1567. Caracas is founded after Spanish defeat Caracas and Teque Indians.
1728. Merchants from the Basque region of Spain are given a monopoly by the Spanish king over imports and export of cocoa in Venezuela. African slaves are imported and the economy prospers.
1811. On July 5, Venezuela declares independence from Spain. Francisco Miranda becomes the dictator of the First Republic. Spanish royalists retake Caracas and other cities in Venezuela within the year.
1813. Simón Bolívar invades Venezuela, liberates Caracas, and establishes the Second Republic, of which he is dictator. The Second Republic is destroyed by royalists by 1814, but Bolívar retakes the country and forms the Third Republic by 1817.
1818. Republic of Gran Colombia (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador) is proclaimed.
1829. Venezuela breaks away peacefully from Gran Colombia, led by José Páez.
1830. First Venezuelan Constitution is adopted.
1858-72. Civil wars and political disputes between liberals and conservatives disrupt the country. By 1872, the liberals gain control, introduce a new constitution, and institute economic reforms.
1899. The rule of the Andinos (5 military rulers from the Andean state of Táchira) begins with the military takeover of Caracas by General Cipriano Castro. The rule of the Andinos continues until 1958 (with exception of 1945-48).
1908-35. Dictatorial General Juan Vicent Gómez assumes power and rules until 1935.
1945. First revolution by a political party with popular support (Acción Democrática party). Liberal junta rules, headed by Rómulo Betancourt. Schools, hospitals and public housing are built.
1947. In the first free election in Venezuelan history, Rómulo Gallegos is elected president, but is deposed by the military after 9 months in office.
1951. Major Marcoz Pérez Jiménez assumes power, outlawing all political activity.
1958. A military coup against the Pérez government returns civilian rule and Rómulo Betancourt is reelected as president.
1969. First peaceful transition of power from Betancourt's AD to COPEI.
MID-1970s. Booming oil prices lead to increased government spending.
1979. Decrease in oil revenues leads to increasing inflation, unemployment, and capital flight .
1985. An austerity plan is put in place by President Lusinchi. The austerity measures lead to massive riots in which hundreds are killed in 1989.
1992. Junior military officers, including Hugo Chávez, make 2 unsuccessful coup attempts.
1993. Rafael Caldera is elected president.
1998. Hugo Chávez Frias is elected president; a new constitution is approved by the people. Venezuela experiences the worst natural disaster in its history, with floods and mudslides in the northern state of Vargas.
2000. Chávez reelected president under the new constitution.