A chronology of key events:
1847 - Constitution modelled on that of the US is drawn up.
Monrovia: Capital is striving to recover after 14-year conflict
Founded 1822 as haven for freed slaves from Americas
Named after US President James Monroe
Population: 543,000 (2002)
1847 July - Liberia becomes independent.
1917 - Liberia declares war on Germany, giving the Allies a base in West Africa.
1926 - Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company opens rubber plantation on land granted by government. Rubber production becomes backbone of economy.
1936 - Forced-labour practices abolished.
1943 - William Tubman elected president.
1944 - Government declares war on the Axis powers.
1951 May - Women and indigenous property owners vote in the presidential election for the first time.
1958 - Racial discrimination outlawed.
1971 - Tubman dies and is succeeded by William Tolbert Jr.
1974 - Government accepts aid from the Soviet Union for the first time.
1978 - Liberia signs trade agreement with the European Economic Community.
1979 - More than 40 people are killed in riots following a proposed increase in the price of rice.
Years of instability
1980 - Master Sergeant Samuel Doe stages military coup. Tolbert and 13 of his aides are publicly executed. A People's Redemption Council headed by Doe suspends constitution and assumes full powers.
1984 - Doe's regime allows return of political parties following pressure from the United States and other creditors.
1985 - Doe wins presidential election.
1989 - National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) led by Charles Taylor begins an uprising against the government.
1990 - Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) sends peacekeeping force. Doe is executed by a splinter group of the NPFL.
1991 - Ecowas and the NPFL agree to disarm and set up an Interim Government of National Unity.
1992 - The NPFL launches an all-out assault on West African peacekeepers in Monrovia, the latter respond by bombing NPFL positions outside the capital and pushing the NPFL back into the countryside.
1993 - Warring factions devise a plan for a National Transitional Government and a ceasefire, but this fails to materialise and fighting resumes.
1994 - Warring factions agree a timetable for disarmament and the setting up of a joint Council of State.
1995 - Peace agreement signed.
1996 April - Factional fighting resumes and spreads to Monrovia.
1996 August - West African peacekeepers begin disarmament programme, clear land mines and reopen roads, allowing refugees to return.
1997 July - Presidential and legislative elections held. Charles Taylor wins a landslide and his National Patriotic Party wins a majority in the National Assembly. International observers declare the elections free and fair.
1999 January - Ghana and Nigeria accuse Liberia of supporting Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone. Britain and the US threaten to suspend aid to Liberia.
1999 April - Rebel forces thought to have come from Guinea attack town of Voinjama. Fighting displaces more than 25,000 people.
1999 September - Guinea accuses Liberian forces of entering its territory and attacking border villages.
2000 September - Liberian forces launch "massive offensive" against rebels in the north. Liberia accuses Guinean troops of shelling border villages.
2001 February - Liberian government says Sierra Leonean rebel leader Sam Bockarie, also known as Mosquito, has left the country.
2001 May - UN Security Council reimposes arms embargo to punish Taylor for trading weapons for diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone.
2002 January - More than 50,000 Liberians and Sierra Leonean refugees flee fighting. In February Taylor declares a state of emergency.
2003 March - Rebels advance to within 10km of Monrovia.
2003 June - Talks in Ghana aimed at ending rebellion overshadowed by indictment accusing President Taylor of war crimes over his alleged backing of rebels in Sierra Leone.
2003 July - Fighting intensifies; rebels battle for control of Monrovia. Several hundred people are killed. West African regional group Ecowas agrees to provide peacekeepers.
Taylor in exile
2003 August - Nigerian peacekeepers arrive. Charles Taylor leaves Liberia after handing power to his deputy Moses Blah. US troops arrive. Interim government and rebels sign peace accord in Ghana. Gyude Bryant chosen to head interim administration.
2003 September-October - US forces pull out. UN launches major peacekeeping mission, deploying thousands of troops.
2004 February - International donors pledge more than $500m in reconstruction aid.
2004 October - Riots in Monrovia leave 16 people dead; the UN says former combatants were behind the violence.
2005 September - Liberia agrees that the international community should supervise its finances in an effort to counter corruption.
2005 23 November - Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf becomes the first woman to be elected as an African head of state. She takes office the following January.
Rubber production is the backbone of the economy
2006 February - Truth and Reconciliation Commission is set up to investigate human rights abuses between 1979 and 2003.
2006 April - Former president Charles Taylor appears before a UN-backed court in Sierra Leone on charges of crimes against humanity. In June the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court agrees to host his trial.
2006 June - UN Security Council eases a ban on weapons sales so Liberia can arm newly trained security forces. An embargo on Liberian timber exports is lifted shortly afterwards.
2006 July - President Johnson-Sirleaf switches on generator-powered street lights in the capital, which has been without electricity for 15 years.
2007 April - UN Security Council lifts its ban on Liberian diamond exports. The ban was imposed in 2001 to stem the flow of "blood diamonds", which helped to fund the civil war.
2007 May - UN urges Liberia to outlaw trial by ordeal.
Taylor on trial
2007 June - Start of Charles Taylor's war crimes trial in The Hague, where he stands accused of instigating atrocities in Sierra Leone.
2007 December - UN Security Council extended arms and travel embargoes for another year in response to increased gun violence.
2008 January - Supreme Court rules that the president can appoint local mayors because the government cannot afford to hold municipal elections. Municipal elections have not been held since 1985 because of financial constraints and successive civil wars.
2008 February - US President George W Bush ends a five-country tour of Africa with a visit to Liberia, one of America's staunchest allies on the continent.
2008 March - Liberia conducts its first census since 1984.
2008 December - More than 100 inmates escape from Liberia's only maximum security prison in the capital, Monrovia.
2009 January - President Johnson-Sirleaf declares state of emergency in response to a plague of crop-destroying army worms affecting about 400,000 residents in 80 villages.
2009 February - President Johnson-Sirleaf admits to Truth and Reconciliation Commission that she mistakenly backed ex-President Charles Taylor when he launched the 14-year civil war in 1989.
2009 May - Jury acquits ex-President Gyude Bryant of embezzling about $1m while in office.
The Hague war crimes tribunal rejects a request to acquit ex-president Taylor on charges of crimes against humanity.