589 - China was reunified after a long period of warfare that had followed the unification of China by Emperor Qin in 221 B.C. and the rule of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D. 220). After the short-lived Sui dynasty (581-617), China reached a high point of civilization during the Tang dynasty (618-907), declined under foreign attacks, was reunited by the Song dynasty (960-1279).
1279 - Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan (1167-1227) led the Mongol conquest of China and the founding of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368).
1368 - The Imperial rule of the Manchus began with the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) that established its first capital at Nanjing (or Southern Capital) and later at Beijing (or Northern Capital), conquered Annam (or northern Vietnam) and sent exploring expeditions into the China seas and the Indian Ocean, west to the coast of Africa, and east perhaps to the Americas.
1433 - The last exploring expedition of Zheng He sailed during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
1553 - Portugal was the first western power to establish a foothold in China, at Macao to control foreign trade at the Chinese port of Canton (Guangzhou).
1644 - The Manchus ruled China during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), absorbed Outer Mongolia (today's Mongolian People's Republic) Tibet and Taiwan.
1689 - The Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia was China's first official agreement with a European power. It established a border between Siberia and Manchuria along the Amur River.
1839 - Commissioner Lin Zexu sought to end the trade in opium and began the Opium War (1839-42). Britain defeated the Manchus and European powers imposed a series of unequal treaties on China.
1851 - Hong Xiuquan launched the Taiping Rebellion (1851-64) but European armies subdued the rebellion. France colonized Cochin China (southern Vietnam), controlled Cambodia by 1864, and sent an army to conquer Annam 1884-85.
1895 - After losing a war with Japan 1894-95, China was forced in the Treaty of Shimonoseki to cede Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to Japan, and recognize Japanese rule over Korea.
1898 - The British gained a 99-year lease on Hong Kong, and despite the Open Door policy declared by the U.S. in 1899, European powers enlarged spheres on influence in China. The Boxer Rebellion of 1900 was surpressed by an allied army.
1911 - Sun Yat-sen began the revolution October 10 in Wuchang, the capital of Hubei Province, that spread quickly to other provinces and caused the downfall of the Manchus.
1912 - On January 1, Sun became the provisional president of a new Chinese Republic at in Nanjing. On Feb. 12, the last emporer of Manchu China, the child Pu Yi, abdicated. On March 10, Yuan Shi-kai was formally installed as the President of the Republic of China. In August, Sung Chiao-jen (Song Jiaoren) founded a new political party, the Koumintang (or KMT, the National People's Party), to unite the supporters of Sun against Yuan.
1913 - In the Feb. elections for a new parliament, the KMT defeated Yuan, but Yuan ordered the assasination of Sung Chiao-jen in March, Sun fled the country, and Yuan declared himself the winner of the election and the new president. His government was recognized by European powers, including the U.S. on May2. In Novemebr, Yuan expelled the KMT from the parliament, and China fell into a civil war until Yuan's death in June 1916.
1915 - Japan imposed Twenty-One Demands on China
1919 - Versailles Treaty gave Shandong to Japan, confirming a secret agreement between the Chinese goverment and Japan. The May Fourth Movement began with demonstrations against this agreement. In Oct., Sun and the KMT formed a rival government in the south at Guangzhou until 1922 when this government collapsed and Sun fled to Shanghai.
1923 - Sun accepted Soviet aid to reorganize the KMT. Mikhail Borodin arrived in China to represent the Comintern and encouraged the CCP to cooperated with the KMT. A new Nationalist goverment was organized at Guangzhou with Russian aid, and Chiang Kai-shek became head of the Nationalist military academy, rising to power after Sun's death in 1925, leading the army in the 1926 Northern Expedition against rivals in the northern provinces, broke away from the communists, established a new capital at Nanjing in 1927.
1927 - Mao Zedong led the Autumn Harvest Uprising by peasants in Hunan Province against the growing power of the Nationalists, but the rebellion failed, and Chiang controlled most of China by 1928.
1931 - Japan occupied Manchuria in Sept. and established the puppet state of Manchukuo under Emperor Henry Pu Yi.
1934 - In Oct., to escape the armies of Chiang, Mao led the Long March of 100,000 peasants and communists from Jiangxi Province to southern Shaanxi Province and his new headquarters at Yunan. For the next 15 years, Mao would fight Chiang and the Japanese from this base.
1937 - Japan invaded China after the July 7 "China Incident" at the Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing.
1949 - 1 October - Mao Zedong, having led the Communists to victory against the Nationalists after more than 20 years of civil war, proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China. The Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan and set up a government there.
1950 - China intervened in the Korean War on the side of North Korea. Tibet became part of the People's Republic of China.
1958 - Mao launched the "Great Leap Forward", a five-year economic plan. Farming was collectivised and labour-intensive industry was introduced. The drive produced economic breakdown and was abandoned after two years. Disruption to agriculture was blamed for the deaths by starvation of millions of people following poor harvests.
1959 - Chinese army suppressed large-scale revolt in Tibet.
1962 - Brief conflict with India over disputed Himalayan border.
1966-76 - "Cultural Revolution", Mao's 10-year political and ideological campaign aimed at reviving revolutionary spirit, produced massive social, economic and political upheaval.
1972 - U.S. President Richard Nixon visted China. Both countries declared a desire to normalise relations.
1976 - Mao died. "Gang of Four", including Mao's widow, sought more power but were arrested and convicted of crimes against the state. From 1977 Deng Xiaoping emerged as the dominant figure among pragmatists in the leadership. Under him, China undertook far-reaching economic reforms.
1979 - Diplomatic relations established with the US.
1986-90 - China's "Open-door policy" opened the country to foreign investment and encouraged development of a market economy and private sector.
1989 - Troops opened fire on demonstrators who camped for weeks in Tiananmen Square initially to demand the posthumous rehabilitation of former CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang, who was forced to resign in 1987. The official death toll was 200. International outrage led to sanctions. Jiang Zemin took over as Chinese Communist Party general secretary from Zhao Ziyang, who refused to support martial law during the Tiananmen demonstrations. Stockmarkets opened in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
1992 - Russia and China signed declaration restoring friendly ties. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranked China's economy as third largest in the world after the U.S. and Japan.
1993 - Jiang Zemin officially replaced Yang Shangkun as president. Preliminary construction work on the Three Gorges dam began. It will create a lake almost 600 kilometres (375 miles) long and submerge dozens of cultural heritage sites by the time it was completed in 2009.
1994 - China abolished the official renminbi (RMB) currency exchange rate and fixed its first floating rate since 1949.
1995 - China tested missiles and held military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, apparently to intimidate Taiwan during its presidential elections.
1996 - China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, dubbed the Shanghai Five, met in Shanghai and agreed to cooperate to combat ethnic and religious tensions in each others' countries.
1997 - Deng Xiaoping died, aged 92. Rioting erupted in Yining, Xinjiang and on the day of Deng's funeral, Xinjiang separatists planted three bombs on buses in Urumqi, Xinjiang, killing nine and injuring 74. Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control.
1998 - Zhu Rongji succeeded Li Peng as premier, announced reforms in the wake of the Asian financial crisis and continued deceleration of the economy. Thousands of state-owned enterprises were restructured through amalgamations, share flotations and bankruptcies. About four million civil service jobs were eliminated.
1999 - Nato accidently bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, souring Sino-U.S. relations. Falun Gong, a quasi-religious sect, was outlawed as a threat to stability. Fiftieth anniversary of People's Republic of China was celebrated on Oct. 1. Macao reverted to Chinese rule.
2000 - Crackdown on official corruption intensified, with the execution for bribe-taking of a former deputy chairman of the National People's Congress.
2001 April - Diplomatic stand-off over the detention of an American spy plane and crew after a mid-air collision with a Chinese fighter jet. June - Leaders of China, Russia and 4 Central Asian states launched the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and signed an agreement to fight ethnic and religious militancy while promoting trade and investment. The group emerged when the Shanghai Five, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, were joined by Uzbekistan. June - China carried out military exercises simulating an invasion of Taiwan, at the same time as the island's armed forces tested their capability to defend Taiwan against a missile attack from China. November - China joined the World Trade Organisation.
2002 February - U.S. President George W Bush visited, on the 30th anniversary of President Nixon's visit to China. July - The U.S. said China was modernizing its military to make possible a forcible reunification with Taiwan. Beijing said its policy remained defensive. November - Vice-President Hu Jintao was named head of the ruling Communist Party, replacing Jiang Zemin, the outgoing president. Jiang was re-elected head of the influential Central Military Commission, which oversees the armed forces.
2003 March - National People's Congress elected Hu Jintao as president. He replaced Jiang Zemin, who stepped down after 10 years in the post. March-April - China and Hong Kong were hit by the pneumonia-like Sars virus, thought to have originated in Guangdong province in Nov. 2002. Strict quarantine measures were enforced to stop the disease spreading. June - Sluice gates on Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower scheme, were closed to allow the reservoir to fill up. June - Hong Kong was declared free of Sars. Days later the World Health Organization lifted its Sars-related travel warning for Beijing. June - China, India reached de facto agreement over status of Tibet and Sikkim in landmark cross-border trade agreement. July/August - Some 500,000 people marched in Hong Kong against Article 23, a controversial anti-subversion bill. Two key Hong Kong government officials resigned. The government shelved the bill. October - Launch of China's first manned spacecraft: Astronaut Yang Liwei was sent into space by a Long March 2F rocket.
2004 September - Former president Jiang Zemin resigned as army chief, three years ahead of schedule. November - China signed a landmark trade agreement with 10 south-east Asian countries; the accord could eventually unite 25% of the world's population in a free-trade zone.
2005 January - Former reformist leader Zhao Ziyang died. He opposed violent measures to end 1989's student protests and spent his last years under virtual house arrest. Aircraft chartered for the Lunar New Year holiday made the first direct flights between China and Taiwan since 1949. March - Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa resigned. He was succeeded in June by Donald Tsang. New law on Taiwan called for use of force should Taipei declare independence from mainland China. April - Relations with Japan deteriorated amid sometimes-violent anti-Japanese protests in Chinese cities, sparked by a Japanese textbook which China said glossed over Japan's World War II record. Taiwan's National Party leader Lien Chan visited China for the first meeting between Nationalist and Communist Party leaders since 1949. August - China, Russia conducted their first joint military exercises. October - China conducted its second manned space flight, with two astronauts circling Earth in the Shenzhou VI space capsule.