Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Timeline: Macedonia

A chronology of key events:

1913 - Ottoman rule in Europe ends after five centuries. Macedonia is partitioned between Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. What is now FYROM is incorporated into Serbia.

Macedonian capital Skopje
Skopje was rebuilt after devastating earthquake in 1963
Romans made 'Scupi' capital of Dardania province in fourth century AD
Turks conquered in 1392
Became part of Yugoslavia in 1918
Population: 467,000

1914 - World War I. Macedonia is occupied by Bulgaria.

1918-19 - End of the war, Macedonia becomes part of Serbia again. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is founded, and is renamed Yugoslavia in 1929.

1941 - Germany invades Yugoslavia.

1945 - Establishment of Yugoslav socialist federation, comprising six republics, including Macedonia, with Tito as president.

1980 - Death of Tito, rise of nationalism among federation's constituent republics.

1991 - Majority of voters support independence in referendum.

New constitution enacted in the face of opposition by ethnic Albanian deputies. Declaration of independence. International recognition slow because Greece objects to the use of the name Macedonia, the same as one of its own provinces.

1992 - Unofficial referendum among ethnic Albanians shows overwhelming wish for their own territorial autonomy.

Government resigns after mass demonstrations over failure to win recognition for the country's independence. Federal Republic of Yugoslavia acknowledges Macedonia's secession.

UN approves dispatch of troops to monitor inter-ethnic tension.

1993 - Gains UN membership under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Orthodox priest, Macedonia
Orthodox Christmas is celebrated in Skopje

1994 - Greece imposes trade restrictions, causing economic damage.

1995 - President Kiro Gligorov injured in assassination bid.

Greece recognises independence, lifts trade restrictions.

1996 - Sporadic ethnic Albanian protests over curbs on Tetovo's Albanian-language university.

1997 - Constitutional court forbids use of Albanian flag, sparking protests. Parliament adopts law on restricted use of the Albanian flag.

Tensions rise

1998 - Thousands of ethnic Albanians gather in Skopje in support of ethnic Albanians in Serbia.

Elections bring into power a coalition government which is led by Ljubco Georgievski and includes ethnic Albanian representatives.

shelling in Macedonia
Ethnic Albanian rebels rose up in 2001

1999 March - Nato begins bombing campaign against Yugoslavia over its treatment of Kosovo Albanians. Serbian mass expulsion and killings of Kosovo Albanians leads to exodus into neighbouring countries, including Macedonia.

1999 June - Yugoslavia accepts peace plan. Kosovo refugees start leaving Macedonia.

1999 November - Boris Trajkovski elected president.

2001 February/March - Uprising by ethnic Albanians. National Liberation Army emerges demanding equal rights for ethnic Albanians.

2001 May - Main Macedonian parties form government of national unity under PM Ljubco Georgievski which pledges to address minority grievances. Further incidents of violence.

Armed protesters besiege parliament in Skopje, angry at what they see as leniency towards ethnic Albanian rebels. President Trajkovski makes a national appeal for peace.

Peace returns

2001 August - Government and rebels sign western-backed Ohrid peace agreement involving greater recognition of ethnic Albanian rights in exchange for rebel pledge to hand over weapons to Nato peace force.

Rifles collected in Macedonian disarmament drive
Nato deployed thousands of troops to collect rebels' weapons

2001 September - Nato carries out month-long Operation Essential Harvest to disarm rebels, exceeding target of collecting 3,300 weapons.

2001 October - Government announces amnesty for former members of the National Liberation Army days after it disbands.

Macedonian police begin entering villages formerly controlled by ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

New constitution

2001 November - Parliament approves new constitution incorporating reforms required by August peace deal. It recognises Albanian as an official language and increases access for ethnic Albanians to public-sector jobs, including the police.

Moderate Social Democrats leave government coalition.

2002 January - Parliament cedes more power to local government to improve status of ethnic Albanians.

2002 March - Parliament amnesties former ethnic Albanian rebels who handed in their arms during Nato-supervised weapons collection.

International donors pledge more than $500 million in aid to help recovery from 2001 fighting.

ethnic Albanian soldier, Macedonia
Ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army became a political party

2002 June - Parliament passes new laws making Albanian an official language.

2002 September - Elections: Nationalist PM Ljubco Georgievski is voted out of office. Social Democrats under Branko Crvenkovski become largest party. Most ethnic Albanian voters back Democratic Union for Integration under former rebel fighter Ali Ahmeti.

2003 March - EU takes over peacekeeping duties from Nato.

2004 February - President Boris Trajkovski is killed in a plane crash in Bosnia. He had been on his way to an investment conference in Mostar.

Path to Europe

2004 March - Macedonia submits application to join EU.

2004 April - Branko Crvenkovski elected president.

2004 June - Parliament approves the former interior minister, Hari Kostov, as prime minister.

Vote passes off without major incident
Voters go to polls after 2004 boundary changes

2004 July - Thousands of Macedonians protest against proposals to redraw municipal borders and give minority ethnic Albanians more power in certain areas. The changes are required to further implementation of the 2001 Ohrid peace agreement.

2004 August - Parliament approves legislation redrawing local boundaries and giving ethnic Albanians greater local autonomy in areas where they predominate.

2004 November - Referendum by which Macedonian nationalists seek to force repeal of August legislation on local autonomy for Albanians fails because of low turnout.

2004 November - Hari Kostov resigns as prime minister. Defence Minister Vlado Buckovski becomes leader of Social Democratic Union. President Crvenkovski invites him to form government.

2005 March - First local elections since municipal boundary changes in August 2004 pass off without major incident, although international observers report some irregularities and intimidation.

Zurla player
Zurla player at traditional wedding

2005 July - Parliament passes law giving Albanians the right to fly the Albanian flag in districts where they form the majority.

2005 December - Macedonia becomes a candidate for EU membership.

2006 July - Nikola Gruevski, leader of the centre-right VMRO-DPMNE party, asked to form a government after reaching coalition agreement with Democratic Party of Albanians and three small parties following general elections.

2006 November - Nato offers prospect of Macedonia being invited to join the military alliance at its next summit in 2008.

2007 April - Former interior minister Ljube Boskovski goes on trial at the international tribunal in the Hague charged with war crimes during the 2001 ethnic Albanian rebellion.

Name dispute resurfaces

2008 April - Greece blocks a Nato invitation for Macedonia over objections to the country's name. Snap elections are called.

2008 June - PM Gruevski's party wins elections, but violence leaves one dead and eight injured. Following criticism of voting irregularities, re-runs are held in ethnic Albanian areas to determine which of the two main ethnic Albanian parties will join the government.

2008 October - Macedonia recognises Kosovo, despite protests from Serbia.

2009 January - Macedonia applies to International Court of Justice in the Hague for a ruling on its dispute with Greece over the country's name.

2009 March - Gjorgje Ivanov, the candidate of Macedonia's governing conservatives, emerges as favourite for the presidency after a first-round vote.

2009 April - Gjorgje Ivanov wins presidential run-off, defeating his Social Democrat rival Ljubomir Frckoski.

2009 December - Visa-free travel within EU's Schengen zone comes into effect for Macedonia's citizens.

2010 May - Four people are shot dead on the border with Kosovo while attempting to smuggle weapons and explosives in Macedonia, according to police.

2011 January - Opposition Social Democratic party boycotts parliament in protest against government action against the media. Prime Minister Gruevski calls early elections.

2011 June - Parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE party wins but with insufficient seats to govern alone.

2011 December - The International Court of Justice in The Hague rules that Greece was wrong to block Macedonia's bid to join Nato in 2008 because of the row over its name.

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Compiled by BBC Monitoring

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