Timeline: Eritrea - A chronology of key events

300-600 - Eritrea part of the Aksumite Kingdom.

600 - Arabs introduce Islam to coastal areas.

1500s - Ottoman Empire annexes Eritrea.

1890 - Eritrea becomes an Italian colony.

1941 - British forces occupy Eritrea.

1949 - Britain administers Eritrea as a United Nations trust territory.

1952 - UN decides to make Eritrea a federal component of Ethiopia.

1958 - Eritrean Liberation Front formed.

Independence struggle

1962 - Ethiopia annexes Eritrea, turning it into a province; war of independence begins.

1970 - Leftist faction of the Eritrean Liberation Front splits to form the Eritrean People's Liberation Front.

1974 - Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie overthrown in a coup led by Mengistu Haile Mariam.

1977-78 - Soviet advisers and Cuban troops help Ethiopian forces reverse significant advances made by Eritrean guerrillas.

1990 - Eritrean People's Liberation Front captures the Eritrean port of Massawa.

1991 - Eritrean People's Liberation Front captures the Eritrean capital, Asmara and forms a provisional government; the United Nations sets a date for a referendum on Eritrean independence with Ethiopian backing.

1993 - Eritreans almost unanimously vote for independence; Eritrea becomes independent and joins the United Nations.

Post-independence war

1995 - Eritrean troops invade the Yemeni-held Hanish islands at the mouth of the Red Sea.

1998 - International arbitration panel awards the Greater Hanish island to Yemen and divides other smaller islands between the two countries; border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia escalates into large-scale fighting.

1999 - Eritrean-Ethiopian border clashes turn into a full-scale war.

2000 May - Ethiopia captures the strategic Eritrean town of Barentu.

2000 June - Eritrea and Ethiopia sign a ceasefire agreement which calls for a United Nations force to monitor their compliance and to supervise the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Eritrean territory.

2000 December - Eritrea and Ethiopia sign a peace agreement in Algeria establishing commissions to mark the border, exchange prisoners, return displaced people and hear compensation claims.

2001 6 February - Eritrea accepts United Nations plans for a temporary demilitarised zone along its border with neighbouring Ethiopia.

2001 24 February - Ethiopia says it has completed its troop withdrawal from Eritrea in accordance with a United Nations-sponsored agreement to end the border war.

2001 April - Eritrea announces that its forces have pulled out of the border zone with Ethiopia - a key provision of the peace agreement signed between the two countries.