Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Thursday, 29 March 2012 12:00 UK

Timeline: Sweden

A chronology of key events:

1905 - Union between Sweden and Norway peacefully dissolved, 90 years after Sweden invaded Norway.

City hall, Stockholm
The heart of Stockholm is built on 13 small islands
Stockholm population: 758,000
Founded in 13th century
Became capital in 1523

1914 - Outbreak of World War I. Sweden remains neutral.

1920 - Sweden joins League of Nations. During the 1920s Sweden develops from an agricultural into an industrial society. Social democratic governments enact various social reforms.

1939 - At the outbreak of World War II, Sweden - along with its Scandinavian neighbours - declares its neutrality. Sweden rejects a request from Germany's enemies to use its territory as a transit route for troops.

1940 - Following the German occupation of Denmark and Norway, Sweden is forced by German military superiority to allow German troops to transit through Sweden to Norway. But the Swedish prime minister rebuffs Germany's offer of membership in the "New Order". Sweden becomes a refuge for Danes and Norwegians trying to flee from the Germans.

1943 - Transit agreement with Germany is cancelled.

1946 - Sweden joins the United Nations. Social Democrat Tage Erlander becomes prime minister and stays in the post until 1969. Successive governments develop a comprehensive welfare state, introducing a national health service in 1955 and a state pension scheme in 1959.

Olof Palme was shot dead while walking with his wife home from the cinema
PM Olof Palme was shot in the street; crime was never solved

1952 - Sweden becomes founder member of the Nordic Council, established to further the mutual interests of the Scandinavian countries.

1953 - Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjoeld becomes secretary-general of the United Nations; he stays in the post until 1961. Sweden contributes troops towards UN peace-keeping missions.

1959 - Sweden becomes founder member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

1971 - The two-chamber parliament is replaced by one chamber elected by proportional representation.

1975 - Further constitutional reforms enacted. The last remaining powers of the monarch are removed, so that his duties become purely ceremonial.

A decade of uncertainty

Early 1980s - Relations with the Soviet Union deteriorate when Soviet submarines are suspected of infiltrating Swedish territorial waters.

Street scene, Malmo
Malmo: Sweden's third city and a thriving port

1986 - Social democrat prime minister Olof Palme is assassinated by an unknown gunman on a Stockholm street. Sweden is plunged into shock. His murderer remains at large.

1990 - The parliament supports the government's decision to apply for membership of the European Union.

1994 - Swedes narrowly support EU membership in a referendum. Sweden joins the EU on 1st January 1995.

1996 - Social Democrat Goeran Persson becomes prime minister after his party colleague Ingvar Carlsson steps down.

1998 - Following a general election, Persson forms a minority government, supported by the former communists.

Candle, roses and photograph of murdered politician Anna Lindh, 2003
Murder of politician Anna Lindh prompted outpouring of grief

2000 July - Official opening of new bridge and tunnel linking Malmo in southern Sweden and Danish capital Copenhagen. The new road and rail link makes it possible to travel between the two countries in just 15 minutes.

2002 September - Following elections, Goerran Persson continues into third consecutive term as prime minister in minority government relying on support from the Left Party and the Greens.

Lindh murder

2003 September - Foreign Minister Anna Lindh dies from stab wounds after being attacked by an assailant in a Stockholm department store.

Mona Sahlin
Mona Sahlin became the first woman to lead the Social Democrats in 2007
Party founded in 1889
Has ruled for six of past seven decades
Lost elections in 2006

Referendum vote goes against joining the single European currency.

2004 March - Man who confessed to killing Anna Lindh on impulse is convicted of her murder. In December, Supreme Court confirms his life imprisonment, overturning a ruling that he should be sent to a psychiatric hospital.

2006 March - Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds resigns amid row over her ministry's involvement in closure of website which had been due to publish controversial cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad.

2006 September - A centre-right alliance headed by Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt wins parliamentary elections, ending 12 years of Social Democrat rule.

2007 July - Renowned Swedish cinema director Ingmar Bergman dies aged 89.

2008 November - Sweden ratifies the EU's Lisbon Treaty, the 24th member to do so.

2009 February - The government reverses a 30-year-old policy of phasing out nuclear power, saying new reactors are needed to fight climate change and secure energy supplies.

2009 July - Sweden takes over rotating presidency of the European Union, with the promise of tackling climate change and combat rising unemployment in Europe.

Far right surge

2010 September - Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's centre-right coalition falls narrowly short of a majority in parliamentary elections. The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats become the first far right party to win seats in Sweden's parliament.

2010 October - PM Reinfeldt forms new broad minority government.

2010 December - Founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is taken into custody in Britain after Sweden asks for his extradition.

Sweden suffers its first suicide bombing, carried out by 28-year-old Iraqi-born Islamist extremist Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly. Two passers-by were injured.

2011 March - A 30-year-old man appears at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Scotland, over the Stockholm suicide bombing. Ezedden Khalid Ahmed Al Khaledi, described as a Kuwaiti national, faces three charges under the UK Terrorism Act and five others under immigration laws and banking regulations.

2011 July - Surgeons in Sweden carry out the world's first synthetic organ transplant after scientists in London create an artificial windpipe coated in stem cells from the patient. Professor Paolo Macchiarini from Italy led the team of surgeons at the Karolinska University Hospital.

2011 December - Swedish car maker Saab files for bankruptcy after failing to attract a buyer for the ailing business.

2012 January - Sweden's opposition Social Democrat Party leader Haakan Juholt resigns following increasing criticism and a slump in support since he took office in March last year.

2012 February - Crown Princess Victoria gives birth to Princess Estelle, who becomes second in line to the throne.

2012 March - Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors resigns after criticism of secrecy over plans to build a weapons plant in Saudi Arabia.

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