July 1, 1960: United Republic of Somalia is formed after independence gained from British (in North) and Italians (in South). Colonization began in 1886.

Oct. 21, 1969: Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre seizes power and gains Soviet backing.

1977-78: Somalia goes to war with Ethiopia over territory. Soviets shift backing to Ethiopia; US shifts support to Somalia, provides military aid.

1982: Somali rebels start campaign against General Siad Barre.

1989-90: Drought, civil war, and land seizures by rebels create major food shortages in central Somalia.

Jan. 27, 1991: Siad Barre flees Mogadishu; rebel faction names Mohamed Ali Mahdi interim president, angering Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed. Heavy fighting ensues. Famine draws help of International Committee of the Red Cross and some private relief agencies.

July-Sept. 1992: Fifty unarmed UN monitors sent to Mogadishu. Famine intensifies; major relief airlift begins in August. UN sends in 500 lightly-armed Pakistani troops, who are forced to hole up at port.

Dec. 9: US marines land in Mogadishu to escort relief convoys to famine zones. At peak, nearly 26,000 US and 11,000 UN troops of 24 nations take part in operation.

March 27, 1993: Fifteen faction leaders sign peace pact to set up transitional government; pact is never implemented.

May 4: US hands over control to UN forces.

June 5: Twenty-four Pakistani UN troops killed in Mogadishu after they inspect a weapons cache near Aideed's radio station. This begins four months of nearly daily skirmishes in capital, with rest of the country relatively quiet.

June 12 UN issues warrant for Aideed's arrest.

July 12: UN troops attack suspected Aideed command post, killing dozens of Somalis. Mob kills four journalists who arrive on the scene.

Oct. 3: Eighteen US Rangers killed in battle with Aideed forces; four days later, President Clinton orders withdrawal of US troops by March 31.

1994: Sporadic fighting among rival clans continues.

Feb. 1, 1995: UN abandons main compound in Mogadishu, which is quickly looted. UN begins withdrawing last 8,000 troops with help from a US-led multinational force that includes 7,000 marines. Final withdrawal is due to be completed by March 6.

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