1000 B.C. Migration to the Marshall Islands from other Pacific Ocean islands begins.
1525. Spanish navigator Alonso de Salasar is the first European to sight the islands.
1529. Alvaaro de Saavedra lands on the islands and claims them for Spain.
1788. The British sea captain, John Marshall, visits the islands.
1874. Pope Leo XIII, acting as a European mediator, confirms Spanish dominion over the islands, while also allocating trading rights to Germany.
1885. Germany establishes a protectorate over the islands.
1914. With the outbreak of World War I, Japan assumes administration of the islands.
1920. Japan receives a United Nations mandate to administer the islands.
1944. After fierce fighting between Japanese and American forces during World War II, the United States occupies the islands.
1945. Japanese settlers are repatriated .
1947. The UN assigns the islands (which are known as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Ocean) to the United States. The U.S. Navy undertakes their day-to-day administration.
1948. The United States begins a series of nuclear test explosions on the islands, which subject the islanders to high levels of radiation.
1965. The Congress of Micronesia is formed by delegates from Pacific islands to press for independence.
1970. A commission on self-government confirms that the peoples of Micronesia have a right to sovereignty, self-rule, and to terminate association with the United States.
1979. Marshall Islands District, named after the British explorer who visited the islands in 1788, drafts and approves a constitution, which is recognized by the United States. Amata Kabua, who holds the traditional position of High Chief, is elected as the first president.
1982. The United States signs a Compact of Free Association, which outlines proposals for the end of its trustee relationship with the Marshall Islands.
1983. Marshall Islanders vote to accept the Compact of Free Association. Kabua is reelected as president.
1986. The Compact of Free Association, after several mutually agreed amendments, comes into operation, and the islands become self-governing.
1987. Kabua reelected as president.
1990. The UN removes the trustee status of the islands, establishing the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
1991. The Marshall Islands joins the UN as an independent, sovereign nation. The Ralik-Ratak Democratic Party is formed to oppose the supporters of Kabua, and wins 2 seats in the parliament.
1995. Kabua is reelected as president. The Government Party (or Kabua Party, as it is often known) wins 23 seats, and the newly formed United Democratic Party (UDP) wins 10 seats.
1996. President Kabua dies and is succeeded by Imata Kabua, the paramount chief. The Kabua Party becomes Our Islands Party (OIP).
2000. Elections give the OIP 20 seats and the UDP 13 seats. Kessai Note, who had held no traditional post, is elected president.
2001. The United States Nuclear Claims Tribunal awards Marshall Islands $563 million, but the tribunal has no powers to enforce payment.