1356. Hanseatic League of northern Germany controls all trade on the Baltic Sea and in northern Europe.
1555. The Peace of Augsburg accords Protestants equal rights with those of Catholics.
1612-48. Thirty Years' War between Protestants and Catholics devastates Germany.
1700s. German states of Austria and Prussia abolish serfdom (1781 and 1773, respectively).
1806. Napoleon Bonaparte of France disbands the Holy Roman Empire and occupies Germany.
1833. Prussia organizes a customs union of 18 German states.
1867. Prussia defeats Austria, becoming the undisputed leader of the movement for the unification of the German states.
1871. The German Empire is proclaimed, with a population of over 50 million.
1900s. Germany becomes a major industrial world power and acquires colonies in Africa and the Pacific.
1918. Germany is defeated at the end of World War I (1914-18), a revolution erupts, and the country becomes a democratic republic.
1924. Germany enjoys relative economic prosperity, but millions of workers join the Nazi Party.
1933. During the Great Depression, National Socialist populist leader Adolf Hitler comes to power.
1939. With his attack on Poland, Hitler starts World War II.
1945. Germany surrenders and is divided into 4 occupation zones: British, American, Russian, and French.
1949. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) is created out of the British-, American-, and French-occupied zones of Germany, while the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is made from the zone occupied by the USSR.
1951. West Germany is accepted into the European Coal and Steel Community and joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
1961. The Berlin Wall is erected between East and West Berlin.
1968. The European Community is created to organize economic exchanges between European countries.
1970s. West Germany emerges as a leading economic power, along with the United States and Japan.
1990. East and West Germany are unified after Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev loosens his grip.
1995. Schengen Agreement loosens border controls between Germany and bordering countries.
1998. Germany joins 10 other EU members in adopting the euro as the new single European currency.
1999. The capital of Germany moves from Bonn to Berlin.