1526. First European exploration by Spaniard Don Jorge de Meneses, naming the principal island "Papua."
1545. Spaniard Ynigo Ortis de Retez names the island "New Guinea."
1828. The Dutch East India company, which controls the western part of the island, declares the island to be a colonial possession attached to the Dutch East Indies.
1884. Germany takes possession of the northeast part of the main island and the nearby smaller islands, while Great Britain establishes a protectorate on the southern coast of Papua.
1920. Britain, which took control of German possessions on the island during World War I (1914-1918), grants control of the entire territory to Australia.
1942. Japan takes possession of the Australian territories of New Guinea and Papua early in World War II. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Territory of Papua is joined in administrative union with the Territory of New Guinea.
1964. The first House of Assembly opens, replacing the Legislative Council.
1972. The name of the territory is changed to Papua New Guinea; the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville island opens.
1973. Papua New Guinea receives self-government.
1975. Papua New Guinea achieves independence.
1984. The Ok Tedi copper and gold mine opens near the Indonesian border.
1990. The environmental consequences of mining come under scrutiny following natural disasters at Wau and Bulolo from disposal of tailings into Bulolo River.
1997. Lihir gold mine opens on Lihir Island.
1999. Port Moresby Stock Exchange opens; Sir Mekere Morauta becomes prime minister following the resignation of Bill Skate.