Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Monday, 21 May 2012 10:58 UK

Timeline: Serbia

A chronology of key events

1389 - Serb nobility decimated in battle of Kosovo Polje as Ottoman Empire expands.

15th - 18th centuries - Serbia absorbed by Ottoman Empire.

Belgrade - storming of parliament
Milosevic toppled after crowd storms parliament

1817 - Serbia becomes autonomous principality.

1878 - Serbian independence recognised by international treaties.

1918 - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes formed after World War I.

1929 - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

1945 - Together with Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro, Serbia becomes one of republics in new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito.

1980 - Tito dies.

1987 - Senior Serbian Communist Party official Slobodan Milosevic visits Kosovo, tells Serbs protesting against alleged harassment by majority Albanian community that no-one would ever be allowed to beat them. The speech comes to be seen as a rallying cry for Serb nationalism.

Slobodan Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic died while on trial at the Hague tribunal

1989 - Slobodan Milosevic becomes President of Serbia.

1991 - Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia break away from Yugoslavia.

1992 - Montenegro and Serbia form Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Rising nationalist and independence aspirations bring bloody conflict with Croats and Bosnian Muslims.

UN imposes sanctions on Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

1995 - Dayton accords bring end to Bosnian war. Sanctions lifted.

1997 - Milosevic becomes Yugoslav president.

1998 - Kosovo Liberation Army rebels against Serbian rule. Serb forces launch brutal crackdown. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians flee.

Nato air strikes, Belgrade
Nato strikes Belgrade during Kosovo conflict

1999 - Defiance by Milosevic over Kosovo sparks Nato air strikes against Serbian targets. Milosevic agrees to withdraw forces from Kosovo. Kosovo becomes UN protectorate but remains de jure part of Serbia.

2000 - Milosevic accused of rigging presidential election win against Vojislav Kostunica. Mass street demonstrations ensue. Protesters storm parliament. Milosevic quits. Mr Kostunica sworn in as president.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia joins UN.

Reformist alliance wins Serbian legislative elections by a landslide. Zoran Djindjic goes on to become Serbian prime minister.

2001 April - Milosevic arrested in Belgrade and charged with misuse of state funds and abuse of office.

2001 June - Serbian PM Djindjic overrules Constitutional Court and authorises extradition of Milosevic to Hague war crimes tribunal.

Political rift opens up between Djindjic and Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, a supporter of a Belgrade trial for Milosevic.

2001 August - Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia pulls out of Serbian government as the split with Djindjic deepens.

2001 November - Ibrahim Rugova becomes president of Kosovo following success for his moderate Democratic League in the first such election ever held in the region.

Milosevic on trial

2002 February - Trial of Slobodan Milosevic on charges of genocide and war crimes begins in The Hague.

2002 March - Serbian authorities issue arrest warrants for Serbian President Milan Milutinovic and three other top Milosevic aides as international financial pressure for cooperation with Hague war crimes tribunal is stepped up. One of the aides, former Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic, commits suicide.

Yugoslav, Montenegrin and Serbian leaders sign EU mediated accord to set up new Union of Serbia and Montenegro in place of Yugoslavia.

Assassinated in 2003
Zoran Djindjic: Assassinated reformist PM

2002 June - All 45 deputies belonging to Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia walk out of Serbian parliament in continuing rift with Serbian PM Djindjic.

2003 January - His term as Serbian president at an end, Milan Milutinovic surrenders to the Hague tribunal where he pleads not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity.

Serbian and Montenegrin parliaments approve constitutional charter for Union of Serbia and Montengro.

2003 February - Yugoslav parliament consigns Yugoslavia to history by approving constitutional charter for Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Djindjic murdered

2003 March - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic assassinated in Belgrade.

2003 December - Inconclusive Serbian parliamentary elections mark start of prolonged coalition talks.

2004 March - Vojislav Kostunica, becomes prime minister of Serbia in centre-right coalition government which relies on support of Socialist Party.

Serbia's first major war crimes trial opens in Belgrade when six Serbs appear in court charged with killing about 200 civilians in the Croatian town of Vukovar in 1991.

Worst clashes between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo since 1999 after violence erupts in divided town of Mitrovica. Nato sends reinforcements.

2004 June - Democratic Party leader Boris Tadic elected Serbian president, defeating nationalist Tomislav Nikolic in run-off. Mr Tadic pledges to steer Serbia towards the EU.

2005 February - Prime Minister Kostunica rejects suggestion from Montenegrin leaders that Union of Serbia and Montenegro be ended early.

2005 July - Eight former secret police officers jailed for up to 40 years for murder in 2000 of Serbia's former president Ivan Stambolic.

Serbs bid emotional farewell to flag of Union of Serbia and Montenegro
2006: Serbia and Montenegro flag is lowered as union ends

2005 October - Union of Serbia and Montenegro begins talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, regarded as a preliminary step on the long road to membership.

2006 January - Kosovo's President Ibrahim Rugova dies. He is succeeded by Fatmir Sejdiu.

2006 March - Slobodan Milosevic found dead in his cell in The Hague where his trial by the international war crimes tribunal was continuing. He is buried in his home town of Pozarevac.

2006 May - EU calls off talks on closer ties because of Belgrade's failure to arrest war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic.

Montenegro secedes

2006 May - Montenegro votes in a referendum to separate from Serbia - 55.5% of votes were cast in favour of independence, just 0.5% above the threshold required.

2006 June - Montenegro declares independence. Serbia responds by declaring itself independent sovereign successor state to Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

2006 October - Serbian voters in a referendum approve a new constitution which declares that Kosovo is an integral part of the country. Kosovo's Albanian majority boycotts the ballot and UN sponsored talks on the future of the disputed province continue.

2006 December - Nato admits Serbia to its Partnership for Peace pre-membership programme, despite having earlier expressed reservations over the failure to apprehend war crime suspects such as Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

2007 21 January - First parliamentary election since the break-up of the union with Montenegro in June 2006. Ultra-nationalist Radical Party makes gains but fails to win enough seats to form a government.

Kosovo plan

2007 February - UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari unveils a plan to set Kosovo on a path to independence, which is immediately welcomed by Kosovo Albanians and rejected by Serbia.

2007 May - Tomislav Nikolic, a leader of the Serbian Radical Party and ally of the late president Milosevic, is elected speaker. He steps down only days later.

Ethnic Albanians celebrate Kosovo's unilateral declaraiton of independence
2008: Serbia angrily rejects Kosovo's bid for full sovereignty

Main pro-reform parties agree to form a government.

Twelve people, including commanders of a special police unit, are found guilty of the murder of Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003.

Zdravko Tolimir, one of the top fugitives sought by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague for his alleged role in the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, is arrested.

2007 November - Talks on the future status of Kosovo end in stalemate, with the province's ethnic Albanian leadership vowing to unilaterally declare independence. Serbia says it will resist independence moves.

2008 February - Democratic Party leader Boris Tadic re-elected Serbian president defeating nationalist Tomislav Nikolic, giving a boost to Serbia's aspirations to join the EU.

Kosovo declaration

2008 February - UN-administered Kosovo declares itself independent. Serbia says declaration illegal.

2008 March - Following disagreements between coalition partners over policy towards EU in the wake of Kosovo's independence declaration, President Tadic accepts Prime Minister Kostunica's request for early elections.

Radovan Karadzic soon after his capture
2008: War crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic captured
Serb leader in 1992-95 Bosnia war
Spent 13 years on the run
2009: Trial begins at UN tribunal

2008 April - EU foreign ministers sign a long-delayed pact on closer ties with Serbia, seen as a first step towards eventual Serbian membership of the EU.

2008 May - Parliamentary elections. No party gains enough votes to form a government on its own.

2008 June - Former Bosnian Serb police chief Stojan Zupljanin is arrested near Belgrade and transferred to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes.

2008 July - Mirko Cvetkovic sworn in as new prime minister. Leads coalition government bringing together the pro-EU Democratic Party and the nationalist Socialist Party.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who evaded capture on war crimes charges for almost 13 years, is arrested by Serbian security forces in Belgrade and flown to The Hague to stand trial.

2008 September - Serbian parliament ratifies a key agreement on closer ties with the European Union, paving the way to eventual membership

2008 December - European Union mission takes over the policing of Kosovo from the United Nations.

Russia and Serbia finalise a controversial energy deal that will hand Moscow control of Serbia's oil distribution network, in return for building a gas pipeline that will take Russian gas through Serbia to southern European markets.

2009 March - International Monetary Fund (IMF) agrees to lend Serbia 3bn euros (£2.8bn) to help it weather economic downturn.

2009 October - Russia grants Serbia a 1bn euro (£0.9bn) loan to help it cover its budget deficit.

2009 December - Visa-free travel within EU's Schengen area comes into effect for Serbian citizens. Serbia submits formal application to join EU.

Reconciliation moves

2010 March - Serbian parliament passes resolution apologising for 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslims by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica.

2010 July - President Tadic visits Bosnia for ceremony marking 15th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre.

Visit of Croatian President Josipovic to Belgrade signals thawing of relations with Zagreb.

2010 November - In what is seen as significant act of reconciliation between Serbia and Croatia, President Tadic visits Croatian town of Vukovar, where he apologises for 1991 massacre of 260 civilians by Serb forces.

2011 March - Serbian and Kosovan governments begin direct talks to try to end their dispute - their first talks since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence.

2011 May - Serbian authorities arrest former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, one of the world's most wanted war crimes suspects.

2011 July - Serbian authorities arrest Croatian Serb war crimes suspect Goran Hadzic, the last remaining fugitive sought by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

2011 September - EU-mediated talks between Serbia and Kosovo are called off after 16 ethnic Serbs and four Nato peacekeepers are hurt in clashes in a dispute over Kosovo border crossings.

2011 October - The European Commission recommends Serbia for EU candidate status but says talks can only start after it normalises ties with Kosovo.

2012 May - Nationalist leader Tomislav Nikolic pulls off a surprise win over Boris Tadic in presidential elections. His Progressive Party also emerges as the largest group in parliamentary elections, although the governing Democrat-Socialist coalition retains a majority.

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