A chronology of key events:
14-15th centuries - Principality of Moldova stretches roughly between Carpathian mountains and Dniester river.
16th - early 19th century - Moldovan territory disputed by several powers with the Ottoman Empire and Russia as the main rivals. Numerous wars.
1812 - Treaty of Bucharest grants Russia control of eastern Moldova or Bessarabia, the area between the River Prut and the west bank of the Dniester. The Ottoman Empire gains control of western Moldova.
1878 - Ottomans recognise independence of Romanian state including western Moldova.
1918 - Following the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Bessarabia declares independence. Its parliament calls for union with Romania.
1920 - Treaty of Paris recognises union of Bessarabia with Romania. The Bolsheviks do not.
1924 - Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic established east of the Dniester river within Ukraine.
1939 - Romania carved up in pact between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's USSR. Bessarabia is one of the areas to go to the USSR.
1940 - Russia annexes Bessarabia and combines it with most of the Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic to form Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.
1941-1945 - Following Nazi attack on USSR a Romanian puppet regime is installed in Moldavian SSR but driven out shortly before the end of the war when the Soviet Union regains control.
Late 1980s - Resurgence of Moldovan nationalism in the wake of the era of 'openness' introduced in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Gorbachev.
1989 - Romanian is reinstated as the official language. The Latin script is adopted to replace the Cyrillic script (Russian).
1990 - Moldova declares its sovereignty. The Gagauz people in the southwest declare their independence, followed by the Trans-Dniester region. The central power in Moldova annuls the declarations, but local elections are held nonetheless.
1991 - Moldova declares its independence. It joins the Commonwealth of Independent States, the successor to the Soviet Union.
1992 - Moldova becomes a member of the United Nations. An upsurge in fighting in the Trans-Dniester region leads to a state of emergency being re-imposed. Hundreds die in the fighting. Russian peacekeepers are deployed after a ceasefire agreement.
1993 - The leu is introduced to replace the rouble.
1994 - A new constitution proclaims Moldova's neutrality, grants special autonomy status to Trans-Dniester and the Gagauz region, and declares Moldovan to be the official language.
1996 - Petru Lucinschi elected president.
1997 - Negotiations resumed with Trans-Dniester. Agreement is signed granting further autonomy and calling for more talks.
RUSSIAN ARMS WITHDRAWAL
Trans-Dniester held stockpile of Soviet-era weapons (Picture: OSCE/Neil Brennan)
1998 - Elections see communists emerging as biggest party, but a centrist, reform-minded coalition forms the government.
1999 - OSCE summit in Istanbul sets end of 2002 as deadline for withdrawal of Russian troops and ammunition from Trans-Dniester, despite opposition of authorities there.
2000 - Moldovan parliament fails to agree on a successor to President Lucinschi. Parliament is dissolved and early elections are called for February 2001.
2001 February - The elections see the communists under Vladimir Voronin win just over 50% of the vote. Voronin is elected president in April.
2001 April - Parliament dismisses the heads of state radio and TV in a move which critics say consolidates the Communists' hold on society.
2001 December - Trans-Dniester authorities halt withdrawal of Russian arms which had been proceeding in accordance with international agreements.
2002 January - Announcement of plans to make Russian an official language and compulsory in schools sparks months of mass protests which end only when the scheme is shelved.
2002 September - Trans-Dniester authorities agree to allow resumption of Russian withdrawal in exchange for a Russian promise to cut gas debts.
2002 December - OSCE extends deadline for withdrawal of Russian weapons from Trans-Dniester until end of 2003. The deadline is later extended into 2004. Russia says its troops will stay until a settlement is reached.
2003 November - President Voronin pulls out of signing Russian-proposed deal on Trans-Dniester settlement following protests by nationalists who say it gives too much influence to Russia.
2004 July - Dispute over closures of Moldovan-language schools in Trans-Dniester using Latin rather than Cyrillic script. Moldova imposes economic sanctions on region and pulls out of talks on its status.
2004 October - Defence Minister Gaiciuc dismissed in row over thefts from arms depots.
2005 March-April - Communist Party tops poll in parliamentary elections. Vladimir Voronin begins second term as president.
2005 June - Parliament backs a Ukrainian plan for Trans-Dniester region autonomy within Moldova, calls on Russia to withdraw troops by end of year.
2006 January - Russian gas giant Gazprom cuts off supplies when Moldova refuses to pay twice the previous price. A temporary compromise is reached as talks continue.
Former Defence Minister Valery Pasat jailed for 10 years after being convicted of abuse of office on charges related to arms sales. He says the affair is political. Some charges are later dropped and his sentence is cut to five years.
2006 March - Trans-Dniester leadership reacts angrily to new regulations requiring goods entering Ukraine from Dniester to have Moldovan customs stamp. Moldova says the rules, backed by the EU, US and OSCE, aim to stop smuggling.
Moldova protests against a Russian decision to suspend imports of Moldovan wine on health grounds, saying the move is politically motivated.
2006 July - Eight die and several dozen are injured as minibus explodes in Dniester.
2006 September - Trans-Dniester referendum VOTE overwhelmingly backs independence from Moldova and a plan eventually to become part of Russia.
Tensions with Romania
2007 March - Government accuses Romania of undermining the country by easing Romanian citizenship application procedures for Moldavans. Romanian citizenship allows Moldovans to travel without visas within the EU. Government reverses decision to allow Romania to open two new consulates in Moldova.
2008 March - Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev resigns, saying the country needs a government with more public appeal. President Voronin nominates deputy prime minister Zinaida Greceanii, another Communist, as Moldova's first woman premier.
2008 April - President Vladimir Voronin and Dniester leader Igor Smirnov meet for the first time in seven years; agree on the need to restart peace talks which broke down in 2001.
2009 January - Russian-Ukrainian dispute over gas prices leaves Moldova without supplies for several weeks, and Moldovans in several towns without any heating.
2009 April - Ruling Communists declared winners of disputed election. Result triggers violent protests and political deadlock.
2009 May - Communist MPs elect outgoing President Voronin as parliament speaker.
2009 July - New parliamentary polls. Communists lose their majority.
Deadlock over presidency
2009 August - Mr Voronin resigns as speaker, and is succeeded by Liberal Party leader Mihai Ghimpu.
2009 September - Four pro-western parties form coalition government. Liberal Democratic Party leader Vlad Filat becomes prime minister. Mr Voronin resigns as president, and is succeeded by Mr Ghimpu on an acting basis.
2009 December - Opposition Communist MPs refuse to back the governing coalition's candidate for the presidency.
2010 March - Constitutional Court orders fresh parliamentary election to be held in bid to end deadlock over parliament's failure to elect president.
2010 September - Referendum to introduce direct election of president by people fails on account of low turnout. The referendum was proposed by the pro-Western liberal governing coalition in a bid to break Moldova's political impasse.
2010 November - Third parliamentary election in less than two years. The ruling pro-Western coalition wins, but again fails to secure enough seats to enable it to appoint a new president.
2010 December - Marian Lupu, a former rising star on the liberal wing of the Communist Party who switched to the Democratic Party in 2009, takes over as acting president.
2011 December - Anti-corruption campaigner Yevgeny Shevchuk defeats pro-Russian candidates in Trans-Dniester's presidential election. Pledges to establish "friendly relations" with Moldova while continuing to press for the independence of the separatist region.
The Moldovan parliament again fails to elect a president.
2012 March - Nicolae Timofti elected president.