|A chronology of key events:
1670-1900 – Dutch colonists bring the whole of Indonesia under one government as the Dutch East Indies.
1928 – A youth conference pledges to work for “one nation, one language, one people” for Indonesia.
1942 – Japan invades Dutch East Indies.
1945 – The Japanese help independence leader Sukarno return from internal exile and declare independence.
1949 – The Dutch recognise Indonesian independence after four years of guerrilla warfare.
1950s – Maluku (Moluccas) declares independence from Indonesia and fights an unsuccessful separatist war.
1962 – The Dutch agree to transfer West Papua to Indonesia after a period of UN administration.
Suharto comes to power
1965 – Failed coup: In the aftermath, hundreds of thousands of suspected Communists are killed in a purge of leftists which descends into vigilantism.
1966 – Sukarno hands over emergency powers to General Suharto, who becomes president in March 1967.
1969 – West Papua formally incorporated into Indonesia, becoming Irian Jaya Province.
1975 – Portugal grants East Timor independence.
1976 – Indonesia invades East Timor and incorporates it as a province.
1997 – Asian economic crisis: Indonesian rupiah plummets in value.
1998 – Protests and rioting topple Suharto; B J Habibie becomes president.
East Timor independence vote
1999 – Ethnic violence breaks out in Maluku. Free elections are held in Indonesia.
East Timor votes for independence in UN-sponsored referendum, after which anti-independence militia go on the rampage. East Timor comes under UN administration. Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) becomes president.
15,000 died in 30-year separatist conflict
2000 – Two financial scandals dog the Wahid administration: Buloggate (embezzled funds from the state logistics agency), and Bruneigate (missing humanitarian aid funds from the Sultan of Brunei).
The corruption case against former President Suharto collapses.
Irian Jaya separatists become more vocal in demanding a referendum.
2001 – Ethnic violence in Kalimantan as indigenous Dayaks force out Madurese transmigrants. Mass political demonstrations by Wahid’s supporters and opponents. IMF stops further loans citing lack of progress in tackling corruption.
Megawati sworn in
2001 July – Parliament dismisses President Wahid over allegations of corruption and incompetence. Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri is sworn in as his replacement, even as Wahid refuses to leave the presidential palace.
2002 January – Indonesia inaugurates human rights court which is expected to test government’s willingness to hold the military accountable for atrocities in East Timor after the 1999 independence vote.
Irian Jaya province granted greater autonomy by Jakarta, allowed to adopt locally-preferred name of Papua.
2002 May – East Timor becomes independent.
2002 August – Constitutional changes are seen as a step towards democracy. For the first time, voters will be able to elect a president and vice president.
2002 October – Bomb attack on the Kuta Beach nightclub district on Bali kills 202 people, most of them tourists.
Muslim Cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir is arrested shortly after the bombings. He is accused of plotting to overthrow the government as the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the group thought to be behind the Bali bombing.
Remembering the victims of the 2002 Bali bombings
2002 December – Government and separatist Free Aceh Movement (Gam) sign peace deal in Geneva, aimed at ending 26 years of violence. The accord provides for autonomy and free elections in the Muslim oil-rich province of Aceh; in return the Gam must disarm.
2003 May – Peace talks between government and Gam separatists break down; government mounts military offensive against Gam rebels. Martial law is imposed.
2003 August – Car bomb explodes outside the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, killing 14 people.
2003 August-October – Three Bali bombing suspects are found guilty and sentenced to death for their roles in the 2002 attacks. A fourth suspect is given life imprisonment.
Abu Bakar Ba’asyir is cleared of treason but jailed for subversion and immigration offences. The subversion charge is later overturned.
2004 April – Parliamentary and local elections: Golkar party of former President Suharto wins greatest share of vote, with Megawati Sukarnoputri’s PDI-P coming second.
2004 July – First-ever direct presidential elections; first round narrows field to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri.
2004 September – Car bomb attack outside Australian embassy in Jakarta kills nine, injures more than 180.
Former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wins second round of presidential elections, unseating incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri.
2004 November – End of two-year process under which 18 people were tried by Indonesian court for human rights abuses in East Timor during 1999 crisis. Only one conviction – that of militia leader Eurico Guterres – is left standing.
Tsunami; Aceh deal
2004 December – More than 220,000 people are dead or missing in Indonesia alone after a powerful undersea earthquake off Sumatra generates massive tidal waves. The waves devastate Indian Ocean communities as far afield as Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and Somalia.
2005 March – Court finds Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir guilty of conspiracy over 2002 Bali bombings, sentences him to two-and-a-half years in jail. He is freed in June 2006.
A powerful earthquake off Sumatra kills at least 1,000 people, many of them on the island of Nias. The quake triggers tsunami alerts around the Indian Ocean.
2005 August – Government and Free Aceh Movement separatists sign a peace deal providing for rebel disarmament and the withdrawal of government soldiers from the province. Rebels begin handing in weapons in September; government completes troop pull-out in December.
2005 September – Airliner crashes on take-off from Sumatran city of Medan, killing more than 100 passengers and around 50 people on the ground.
2005 October – Three suicide bombings on the resort island of Bali kill 23 people, including the bombers.
2006 January – East Timorese report accuses Indonesia of widespread atrocities during its 24-year occupation, holding it responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 people.
2006 February-March – Deadly protests at a major US-owned gold and copper mine in Papua province follow attempts to remove illegal prospectors from the site.
2006 May – A powerful earthquake kills thousands of people on Java.
2006 July – A tsunami, triggered by a large undersea earthquake, kills more than 500 people on Java.
2006 December – First direct elections held in Aceh province, consolidating the August 2005 peace accord. Former separatist rebel leader Irwandi Yusuf elected governor.
2007 June – Police capture the alleged head of the militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), Zarkasih, and the leader of the group’s military wing, Abu Dujana.
2007 August – Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir holds international conference in Jakarta calling for creation of single state or caliphate across Muslim world.
2007 December – Alleged Jemaah Islamiah leader Zarkasih goes on trial in Jakarta.
2008 January – Former President Suharto dies.
2008 July – Final report by joint Indonesian-East Timorese Truth Commission blames Indonesia for the human rights violations in the run-up to East Timor’s independence in 1999 and urges it to apologise. President Yudhoyono expresses “deep regret” but stops short of an apology.
2008 November – Three Islamic militants convicted of carrying out the 2002 Bali bombings executed.
2009 February – Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Indonesia will have a critical role in the new Obama administration’s foreign policy.
2009 April – President Yudhoyono’s Democrat Party increases its vote in parliamentary elections, making it the strongest party in terms of forming a viable coalition.
2009 July – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wins re-election.
Bombs rip through the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.