Page last updated at 10:44 GMT, Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Timeline: Armenia

A chronology of key events:

1915 - 1917 - Between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians are massacred or deported from their homeland in Anatolia to present-day Syria. The Ottoman government had suspected them of harbouring pro-Russian sympathies.

Yerevan with Mount Ararat in background
Yerevan, with Mount Ararat as backdrop, has a history spanning more than 2,500 years
1920: Became capital of short-lived Armenian republic
Population: 1.2 million

1916 - Armenian regions of the Ottoman Empire fall to the Russian army.

1918 - Soviet Union, as successor to Russia, cedes all of Ottoman Armenia and part of Russian Armenia to the now moribund Ottoman Empire.

1918 - Independent Armenia emerges from defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War I.

1920 - Armenia is invaded by Turkey and Bolshevik Russia. An agreement with the Bolsheviks leads to Armenia proclaiming itself a socialist republic.

1922 - Armenia is incorporated into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR.

1930s - Armenians suffer under Stalin's purges, but the country also experiences industrial development.

The modern period

1988 - Encouraged by the new policy of openness ("glasnost"), Armenians begin to campaign for Nagorno-Karabakh, a region with a predominantly Armenian population in the neighbouring Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, to be united with Armenia.

1988 December - Earthquake in northern Armenia kills 25,000 and leaves hundreds of thousands homeless. The relief effort is slow and chaotic.

Metsamor nuclear plant closed after earthquake highlights safety concerns.

Atrocities were committed in declining years of Ottoman Empire
Armenians say 1.5 million died in last years of Ottoman Empire

1989 - Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh begins. It lasts intermittently for five years. Many Azeri citizens are forced to flee their homes.

1990 - Armenian nationalists win parliamentary elections. Independence is declared, but ignored by Moscow.

1991 September - A referendum sees 94% vote for secession from the Soviet Union.

1991 October - Levon Ter-Petrosian elected president.

1991 December - Armenia joins the Commonwealth of Independent States, the successor to the Soviet Union. Armenia recognised as independent by the US.

Internal unrest

1992 - Armenia joins the United Nations. A trade and energy embargo is imposed by Azerbaijan. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh continues.

1994 - Demonstrations in Yerevan over shortages of food and energy. A Russian-brokered ceasefire ends the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting. The region is left a self-proclaimed republic, with ethnic Armenian forces in control of Azerbaijani territory surrounding Karabakh.

1995 - The government launches privatisation and price liberalisation programme. Parliamentary elections return the ruling party. The powers of the president are widened.

Troops outside Armenian parliament 1999
PM was among those killed by gunmen in 1999

Metsamor nuclear plant reopens for economic reasons.

1996 - Ter-Petrosian is re-elected president. Tanks are deployed on the streets of Yerevan to quell protests over alleged electoral fraud.

1998 - Ter-Petrosian resigns over opposition to his efforts to find a compromise with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Nationalist Robert Kocharian is elected president.

1999 - Gunmen open fire in the Armenian parliament. The prime minister, parliamentary speaker and six other officials are killed. The gunmen accuse the government of leading Armenia into political and economic ruin.

2000 - Prime Minister Andranik Markarian admits that - 12 years on - those affected by the 1988 earthquake are still living in a disaster zone.

2001 January - Becomes full member of Council of Europe.

France ignores Turkish objections and introduces a law stating that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915.

2001 September - Vladimir Putin becomes first Russian president to visit Armenia since independence.

Kocharian re-elected

2003 March - President Robert Kocharian wins further term in second round of presidential elections. Election monitors complain of ballot-stuffing.

2003 May - European observers find parliamentary elections in which pro-presidential candidates win majority of seats fall short of international standards.

Referendum rejects constitutional amendments concerning role of parliament.

2003 August - Death penalty abolished.

2003 December - Six sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in 1999 parliament shootings in which prime minister, speaker and other officials were killed.

Armenian soldiers mourn death of prominent nationalist in fighting with Azerbaijan, 1990
Feuding over enclave has claimed thousands of lives

2004 April - Thousands of opposition supporters march against president.

2005 November - Referendum votes in favour of proposed constitutional amendments. Opposition protests, declaring the vote to have been rigged.

2006 January - Supply of gas severely disrupted after explosions in Russia damage pipeline to Armenia via Georgia.

2006 April - Price of Russian gas more than doubles.

2006 May - An Armenian airliner crashes into the Black Sea killing all 113 people on board. An investigation later blames a combination of pilot error and bad weather.

2007 February - Parliament adopts bill allowing dual citizenship, paving the way for naturalisation of Armenia's massive foreign diaspora estimated at around 8 million.

2007 March - Prime Minister Andranik Markarian dies suddenly of a heart attack. He is replaced by Serge Sarkisian.

2007 May - Prime Minister Sarkisian's Republican Party wins almost 33% of the vote in parliamentary polls. European observers say the elections generally meet international standards.

2007 October - Supporters of resolution in US Congress to label mass killings of Armenians after 1915 as genocide postpone vote until timing 'more favourable'.

Sarkisian elected

2008 February - Presidential elections. Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian is declared winner. Thousands of opposition supporters take to the streets to protest the result.

2008 March - Three-week state of emergency declared. Police disperse Yerevan protests amid arrests and accusations of brutality. Parliament passes law restricting public gatherings.

Churches on Sevan island in Lake Sevan, Armenia
Armenia is famous for its ancient churches

2008 September - Turkish President Abdullah Gul visits - the first time a Turkish leader has set foot in Armenia.

2009 March - Thousands of opposition supporters attend a rally to mark the first anniversary of the post-election clashes.

2009 April - Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers issue a joint statement on a framework to normalise relations, and said they had "achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding".

Rapprochement with Turkey

2009 October - The governments of Turkey and Armenia agree to normalise relations at a meeting in Switzerland, paving the way for moves to establish diplomatic ties and reopen the mutual border. Opposition protesters accuse government of failing to raise the genocide question.

2010 March - US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee passes resolution describing killing of Armenians by Turkish forces in World War I as genocide, prompting Ankara to recall its ambassador.

2010 April - Parliament suspends ratification of accord normalising relations with Turkey after Yerevan accuses Ankara of imposing conditions, in particular by its insistence that Armenia resolve its dispute with Azerbaijan first.

2010 October - Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on a Russian-brokered deal to exchange prisoners captured during Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

2011 June - Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian says Armenian is ready to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey without any preconditions.

2011 October - During a visit to Armenia, French President Nicolas Sarkozy urges Turkey to accept responsibility for the genocide of more than one million Armenians during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

2012 January - The French Senate approves a bill making it a crime to deny genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I. Armenia dubs the vote "historic". Turkey warns of retaliatory measures.

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