Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Timeline: Georgia

A chronology of key events:

1801-04 - Most of present-day Georgia becomes part of the Russian Empire.

Georgian capital Tbilisi
Tbilisi has seen the passage of Persians, Arabs, Turks, Russians
Founded in fifth century
Population: 1.4 million

1918 - Independent Georgian state declared.

1921 - Red Army invades. Georgia declared a Soviet Socialist Republic.

1922 - Georgia, as part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Republic, becomes a founder member of the Soviet Union.

1936 - Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Republic dissolved and Georgia becomes a full republic of the Soviet Union.

1972 - Eduard Shevardnadze appointed head of the Georgian Communist Party.

1989 April - Soviet troops kill 19 pro-independence demonstrators in Tbilisi.

1989 - Demands for more autonomy in the South Ossetia region lead to violent clashes between Georgians and Ossetians. Russian peacekeepers are deployed.

1990 - Nationalist coalition wins multi-party parliamentary elections; former dissident Zviad Gamsakhurdia becomes chairman of parliament.

1990 - 1991 - Growing South Ossetian independence aspirations bring further violence between separatist and Georgian forces. Hundreds die and tens of thousands flee their homes.


1991 - Georgian parliament declares secession from the Soviet Union after independence is overwhelmingly supported in a referendum.

Wounded supporters of Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Clashes in Tbilisi preceded the coup that ousted Gamsakhurdia

Gamsakhurdia is elected president by more than 85% of the votes cast.

1992 January - Gamsakhurdia is deposed after fighting in central Tbilisi between government troops and opposition militias.

South Ossetians vote in favour of independence in an unrecognized referendum.

1992 March - Shevardnadze is appointed head of the newly formed State Council.

Abkhazia crisis

1992 August - Fighting breaks out in Abkhazia between Georgian government troops and separatist forces.

1992 October - Shevardnadze is directly elected chairman of parliament.

Woman cries at memorial in Tbilisi dedicated to Georgians killed in Abkhaz conflict
10,000 died as Abkhazia tried to break away from Georgia

1993 September - Georgian troops driven out of Abkhazia by separatist forces.

1993 October - Insurrection by Gamsakhurdia supporters in western Georgia is suppressed after Georgia agrees to join the CIS and receives help from Russian troops.

1994 - Georgian government and Abkhaz separatists sign a ceasefire agreement, paving the way for the deployment of a Russian peacekeeping force in the region.

New constitution adopted which provides for a strong executive presidency. New currency, the lari, introduced.

1995 November - Shevardnadze wins elections to the restored post of president.

1997 Death penalty abolished.

2000 April - Shevardnadze re-elected president.

2001 March - Georgia and the separatist region of Abkhazia sign an accord pledging not to use force against each other.

2001 June/July - Russia hands over Vaziani military base to Georgia.

Tension with Russia

2001 October - Clashes in Abkhazia between Abkhaz troops and Georgian paramilitaries backed by fighters from the North Caucasus. The tension is heightened as Russia accuses Georgia of harbouring Chechen rebels, a charge dismissed by Georgia.

Former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze resigned after "Rose Revolution"

2001 November - Raid by security forces on privately-owned Rustavi-2 TV station, known for its criticism of Mr Shevardnadze and corruption, sparks protests. Mr Shevardnadze responds by sacking cabinet.

2002 April/May - US special forces arrive to train and equip Georgian forces for counterterrorist operations.

2002 September - Russian President Putin warns of military action if Georgia fails to deal with Chechen militants which, Moscow says, Georgia is harbouring in Pankisi Gorge.

2002 October - Row with Russia defused after Georgia promises to mount antiterrorism operation against Chechen rebels on its territory. Several suspected guerrillas are killed, or detained and extradited to Russia.

2003 May - Work begins on laying Georgian section of oil pipeline to run from Baku in Azerbaijan through Georgia to Ceyhan in Turkey.

Shevardnadze ousted

2003 November - Shevardnadze is toppled in a bloodless "Rose Revolution" triggered by opposition allegations of irregularities in parliamentary elections.

2004 January - Mikhail Saakashvili wins presidential election.

Former Georgian PM Zurab Zhvania
Late PM Zurab Zhvania, once tipped to become president

2004 March - Amid rising tension with the leadership of the autonomous region of Ajaria, Tbilisi briefly imposes sanctions and closes the border.

Mr Saakashvili's National Movement-Democratic Front wins overwhelming majority of seats in parliament in re-run of parliamentary elections.

2004 May - Leader of semi-autonomous Ajaria region, Aslan Abashidze, resigns and leaves Georgia after President Saakashvili orders him to comply with Georgian constitution and disarm his forces.

South Ossetia, Abkhazia troubles

2004 May - South Ossetia holds parliamentary elections, which are not recognised by Tbilisi.

2004 June - Georgia's decision to beef up its anti-smuggling operation in South Ossetia prompts sharp a response from the local leadership and is criticised by Russia.

Russian army lorry leaves base in Batumi
The Russian military presence was long a source of tension

2004 August - Several deaths are reported in clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian forces.

2004 October - Sergei Bagapsh declared winner of Abkhaz presidential elections, which are not recognised by Tbilisi. Abkhaz court orders rerun after protestes by opposition supporters.

2005 January - Sergei Bagapsh wins rerun of Abkhaz presidential elections after doing a deal with his main rival, Raul Khadzhimba, who becomes vice president.

President Saakashvili unveils proposals on autonomy within Georgia for South Ossetia, whose leadership rejects them, repeating demand for full independence.

2005 February - Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania is found dead in a Tbilisi flat, apparently from gas poisoning. Zurab Noghaideli, hitherto finance minister, becomes premier.

2005 May - Large crowds in Tbilisi greet President George W Bush, the first US leader to visit Georgia, who proclaims the country a "beacon of liberty".

2005 July - Russia starts to withdraw its troops from two Soviet-era bases under the terms of a deal reached in May. The pull-out is due to be completed by late 2008.

Pipeline blasts

2006 January - Explosions on Russian side of border cut gas supplies and disrupt electricity supplies from Russia. Russia says it suspects North Caucasus insurgents but President Saakashvili accuses Moscow of sabotage.

Georgian wine seller
Georgia has centuries-old tradition of winemaking

Georgia receives gas from Iran via recently-repaired pipeline running through Azerbaijan.

2006 March - Tbilisi protests at Russian decision to suspend imports of Georgian wine on health grounds, saying the move is politically motivated.

2006 May - Russia announces ban on imports of Georgian mineral water on health grounds. Again, Tbilisi protests that the action is politically motivated.

2006 May-June - Tensions with Russia rise again as Georgia demands that Russian peacekeepers arriving on rotation in South Ossetia have visas.

2006 July - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline formally opened after Caspian oil starts flowing along it.

Georgia announces plan to establish Abkhazia government-in-exile in gorge.

Russian officers detained briefly on suspicion of spying
Arrest of Russians on spy charges sparked fury in Moscow

2006 September - Agreement reached on holding talks with Nato on closer relations.

2006 September-October - Russian army officers detained on spying charges. Russia imposes sanctions, cuts transport links and expels hundreds of Georgians.

2006 November - South Ossetians vote in favour of independence in an unrecognised referendum.

Anti-Saakashvili protests

2007 September - Former defence minister Irakli Okruashvili accuses Mr Saakashvili of corruption and plotting a murder, sparking a wave of protests.

2007 November - State of emergency declared. Riot police battle protesters demanding president's resignation.

Russia says it has withdrawn last troops based in Georgia since 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but retains a presence in the breakaway provinces.

2007 December - Human Rights Watch criticises government for using "excessive" force against protesters in November. International Crisis Group warns of growing authoritarianism.

2008 January - Saakashvili re-elected in snap election.

2008 March - Separatist government in Abkhazia asks United Nations to recognise independence.

2008 April - NATO summit in Bucharest defers decision on Georgia's application to join Membership Programme until December.

Russian tanks on the Gori-Tbilisi road, August 2008
Russian forces entered Georgia during the 2008 conflict

2008 April - Russia says it will step up ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, prompting Georgia to accuse Moscow of planning the republics' "de facto annexation".

2008 May - Ruling party wins landslide victory in parliamentary election. Opposition says election was rigged and threatens to boycott new parliament.

Russia sends 300 unarmed troops to Abkhazia, saying they are needed for railway repairs. Georgia accuses Russia of planning military intervention.

2008 June - Abkhazia cuts all contact with Georgian government, accusing it of being behind recent series of blasts in breakaway republic. Georgia denies having any role.

Russian intervention

2008 August - Tensions between Georgia and Russia escalate into a full-blown military conflict after Georgia tries to retake South Ossetia by force after a series of lower-level clashes with Russian-backed rebels.

Russia launches a counter-attack, ejecting Georgian troops from both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. After more than a week of hostilities, the two sides sign a French-brokered peace agreement, but Russia subsequently recognises the two breakaway regions as independent states - a move that draws protests from Georgia and the West.

Russia says it will keep a military presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

2008 October - Nino Burjanadze, a former ally of President Saakashvili, announces a new opposition group Democratic Movement-United Georgia and calls for early elections. Mr Saakashvili dismisses PM Gurgenidze the same day.

2008 November - Grigol Mgaloblishvili becomes prime minister.

2009 January - PM Mgaloblishvili steps down on health grounds.

2009 February - Nika Gilauri becomes prime minister.

Saakashvili under pressure

2009 April - Opposition launches "national disobedience campaign" in effort to persuade President Saakashvili to resign.

2009 May - Georgian authorities quell a mutiny by a tank battalion at the Mukhrovani army base, describing it as part of a Russia-linked coup against President Saakashvili. Russia denies any involvement.

View of the mountains in the Upper Svanti region
Georgia's Svaneti region has spectacular mountain landscapes

Nato military exercises begin in Georgia amid condemnation from Russia.

More than 50,000 opposition supporters gather at a Tbilisi stadium on independence day to demand President Saakashvili's resignation.

2009 July - UN observers leave Georgia after 16 years of monitoring the Abkhazia cease-fire line. The UN Security Council failed to extend the mission because of a Russian veto.

Visiting Vice-President Biden tells the Georgian parliament that the US fully backs the country's hopes of joining Nato.

2009 September - EU report on 2008 conflict with Russia puts large part of blame on Georgia.

2010 January - Russia and Georgia reopen air traffic with the first direct passenger flight between the two countries since the war in 2008.

2010 March - Russia and Georgia reopen only crossing that does not go through the Russian-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, closed since July 2006.

2010 July - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits as part of a tour of the southern Caucasus. She assures Georgia of US support for its territorial integrity.

2010 August - Russia deploys surface-to-air missiles in Abkhazia, prompting concern from Tbilisi.

2010 October - Parliament approves constitutional changes aimed at curbing the powers of the president and expanding the role of the prime minister and parliament.

2010 December - Police arrest six Georgians suspected of staging bomb attacks. Prosecutors say the suspects were recruited by Russia to carry out the six attacks since September. One person died in a blast in Tbilisi in November.

2011 January - Georgia launches a Russian-language TV channel aimed at conveying its view of events to Russian audiences.

2011 May - Police break up a five-day rally by protesters calling on President Saakashvili to quit.

2011 October - Georgia's authorities cancel the Georgian citizenship of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, a week after he announced he would form a political party and contest parliamentary elections in 2012, in what was seen as a serious challenge to President Saakashvili.

2012 January - President Saakashvili travels to Washington for talks with US President Obama and says afterwards that US-Georgia relations are at a high.

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Compiled by BBC Monitoring

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