c. 100 A.D. Emergence of the Kingdom of Koguryo, the first truly Korean state.
668-892. Silla Unification Period marked by cultural borrowings from China.
914-1392. Koryo Dynasty marked by Mongol invasion and decline of Buddhism in favor of Confucianism.
1392. Yi Dynasty moves capital to Seoul.
1590s. Japan invades Korea under Hideyoshi and occupies Seoul.
1884. U.S. Presbyterian missionaries arrive in Korea.
1910-45. Japan colonizes the Korean Peninsula.
1919. Samil (1 March) Independence Movement suppressed by the Japanese.
1945. Japan surrenders in World War II and ends its colonization of Korea. The Korean Peninsula is "temporarily" divided between Soviet and U.S. spheres of influence.
1948. The Republic of Korea is established in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Syngman Rhee, a civilian, becomes the first president of South Korea.
1950-53. The Korean War is fought between United Nations (mostly U.S.) and Communist forces.
1950s. South Korea mechanizes and expands its agricultural sector.
1961. Park Chung-hee, a military person, becomes the second president of South Korea.
1960s. South Korea begins its export-driven strategy of industrial growth by producing and exporting light consumer and labor-intensive products as well as some electronics (radios and black-and-white televisions).
1970s. Production and export of more sophisticated electronics, such as color televisions and calculators.
1974. Assassination attempt on President Park; his wife is killed.
1976. Opposition leaders are purged by President Park's increasingly authoritarian regime.
1979. President Park is assassinated a year after his reelection; martial law follows for 15 months.
1979. Major General Chun Doo-hwan becomes South Korea's third president and tightens military rule.
1980s. South Korea begins its production and export of more advanced electronics, such as VCRs, microwave ovens, and cameras. Heavy industry (steel, automobiles, and shipbuilding) emerges as an important sector.
1988. South Korea hosts the Summer Olympics, which also help expand its tourism industry.
1989. Roh Tae-woo, a former military person, becomes South Korea's fourth president.
1990s. South Korea's high-tech industry emerges, which turns South Korea into a major supplier of telecommunication and computer devices and parts.
1990. South Korea normalizes relations with the Soviet Union.
1992. South Korea normalizes relations with China.
1993. Kim Young-sam, a civilian, becomes the fifth president of South Korea.
1996. South Korea joins the OECD, for which it begins liberalizing its economy.
1997. After labor unrest in the early part of the year, a financial crisis emerges, resulting in a series of bankruptcies and collapse of major enterprises. The government negotiates a bail-out package with the IMF for about US$60 billion. Kim Dae-jung, an opposition leader, is elected as the sixth president of South Korea.
1998. Kim Dae-jung takes office as president and announces his "sunshine policy" of seeking better ties with North Korea. Financial crisis eases with private and public initiatives to reduce long-term debt.
1999. The South Korean government establishes the Financial Supervisory Service, and announces a fiscal plan to balance the budget by 2006. Curbs on foreign investments are eased.
2000. Foreign automakers take control of some troubled South Korean firms. President Kim Dae-jung pays an official visit to P'yongyang, the first such visit since the creation of the 2 Koreas.