1652: Jan van Riebeeck opens a refreshment station at the Cape for the Dutch East India Company.
1795: British seize Cape, ending 150 years of Dutch rule.
1835-1838: Boers (Afrikaners) leave the Cape to escape British rule and trek northward to establish Boer republics. Zulu warriors murder Boer leader and 500 trekkers, but 500 more trekkers defeat 10,000 Zulu warriors at the Battle of Blood River.
1893: Mahatma Gandhi embarks on passive resistance campaigns to counter discrimination against Indians.
1899-1902: British defeat the Boers in a bitter three-year war.
1910: Union of South Africa established. Blacks excluded from vote except for indirect representation in Cape.
1912: African National Congress (ANC) is founded.
1948: National Party (NP) comes to power and embarks on policy of strict racial segregation, or apartheid.
1952: ANC begins Defiance Campaign.
1956: ``Colored'' (mixed race) removed from voter rolls; 156 anti-apartheid activists charged with treason, but later acquitted.
1958: Hendrik Verwoerd, architect of ideological apartheid, is elected prime minister; harsh discriminatory laws are passed.
1960-1961: Police kill 69 protesters at Sharpeville township. Pan Africanist Congress leader Robert Sobukwe is jailed. ANC and PAC are banned. Emergency rule is declared. South Africa votes to leave British Commonwealth. ANC turns to armed struggle.
1964: Nelson Mandela and seven ANC colleagues are jailed for life for sabotage and treason.
1966: Verwoerd is assassinated by parliamentary messenger.
1976-1977: Black Soweto youths protest compulsory teaching of school in Afrikaans language, resulting in national uprising; hundreds are killed. Black activist Steve Biko killed in detention; 17 organizations outlawed. UN imposes arms embargo.
1983-1984: New Constitution extends franchise to colored and Indian minorities. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, vocal advocate for sanctions against South Africa, wins Nobel Peace Prize.
1986: Mixed Marriages Act and pass laws abolished. Emergency rule imposed to suppress escalating rebellion. NP decides to seek political system that includes blacks. Government starts secret talks with Mandela in jail. US imposes selective sanctions.
1989: President P. W. Botha holds talks with Mandela. Frederik de Klerk succeeds Botha as president, continues talks.
1990-1991: De Klerk legalizes ANC, frees Mandela, begins talks to end apartheid. Emergency rule is lifted; apartheid laws are scrapped. Government and ANC reach deal on release of political prisoners, return of exiles. Negotiations begin.
1992: Massacre of 39 blacks at Boipatong leads to suspension of talks, involvement of United Nations monitors in transition.
1993: Government and ANC strike power-sharing deal. Negotiations resume. ANC leader Chris Hani is assassinated. Right-wing groups form Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF). Election date set for April 27, 1994. UN lifts sanctions. Negotiators agree on interim constitution. Mandela and De Klerk win Nobel Prize.
1994: Negotiators make concessions to Inkatha Freedom Party and AVF, endorsing national/regional ballots and powers for regions. Right-wing Freedom Front formed. Inkatha ends vote boycott in return for constitutional guarantees for Zulu monarch and right to self-determination. ANC wins first all-race vote; Mandela to be inaugurated as first black president May 10.