Sudan -- A chronology of key events:

1881 - Revolt against the Turco-Egyptian administration.

1956 - Sudan becomes independent.

KHARTOUM Capital lies near the confluence of the two Niles
Name translates from Arabic as 'elephant's trunk'
Population: 1.2 million

1958 - General Abbud leads military coup against the civilian government elected earlier in the year

1962 - Civil war begins in the south, led by the Anya Nya movement.

1964 - The "October Revolution" overthrows Abbud and a national government is established

1969 - Jafar Numayri leads the "May Revolution" military coup.

1971 - Sudanese Communist Party leaders executed after short-lived coup against Numayri

South gets autonomy

1972 - Under the Addis Ababa peace agreement between the government and the Anya Nya the south becomes a self-governing region.

1978 - Oil discovered in Bentiu in southern Sudan.

1983 - Civil war breaks out again in the south involving government forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), led by John Garang.

Islamic law imposed

1983 - President Numayri declares the introduction of Sharia (Islamic law).

1985 - After widespread popular unrest Numayri is deposed by a group of officers and a Transitional Military Council is set up to rule the country.

CIVIL WAR SPLA rebels drill Conflict pitted Muslim north against Christian, animist south

1986 - Coalition government formed after general elections, with Sadiq al-Mahdi as prime minister.

1988 - Coalition partner the Democratic Unionist Party drafts cease-fire agreement with the SPLM, but it is not implemented.

1989 - National Salvation Revolution takes over in military coup.

1993 - Revolution Command Council dissolved after Omar al-Bashir is appointed president.

US strike

1995 - Egyptian President Mubarak accuses Sudan of being involved in attempt to assassinate him in Addis Ababa.

1998 - US launches missile attack on a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, alleging that it was making materials for chemical weapons.

1998 - New constitution endorsed by over 96% of voters in referendum.

1999 - President Bashir dissolves the National Assembly and declares a state of emergency following a power struggle with parliamentary speaker, Hassan al-Turabi.

Advent of oil

1999 - Sudan begins to export oil.

2000 September - Governor of Khartoum issues decree barring women from working in public places.

A US missile targeted a Khartoum pharmaceutical plant in 1998

2000 September - President Bashir meets for the first time ever leaders of opposition National Democratic Alliance in the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

2000 December - Bashir re-elected for another five years in elections boycotted by main opposition parties.

2001 February - Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi arrested a day after his party, the Popular National Congress, signed a memorandum of understanding with the southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

Food shortages

2001 March - UN's World Food Programme struggles to raise funds to feed 3 million facing famine.

2001 April - SPLA rebels threaten to attack international oil workers brought in to help exploit vast new oil reserves. Government troops accused of trying to drive civilians and rebels from oilfields.

2001 April-May - Police continue arrests of members of Turabi's Popular National Congress party (PNC).

2001 25 May - Police use tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators at funeral of Ali Ahmed El-Bashir from opposition Islamist Popular National Congress party, who died from wounds sustained while being arrested.

Peace plan

2001 June - Failure of Nairobi peace talks attended by President al-Bashir and rebel leader John Garang.

Civilians in the south's former conflict zone crave lasting peace

2001 July - Government says it accepts a Libyan/Egyptian initiative to end the civil war. The plan includes a national reconciliation conference and reforms.

2001 September - UN lifts largely symbolic sanctions against Sudan. They were imposed in 1996 over accusations that Sudan harbored suspects who attempted to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

2001 October - US President Bush names Senator John Danforth as special envoy to tackle Sudanese conflict.

2001 November - US extends unilateral sanctions against Sudan for another year, citing its record on terrorism and rights violations.

2001 December - More than 14,500 slaves - mainly blacks from the south - are said freed over past six months following campaigning by rights activists.

Ceasefire deal

2002 January - SPLA joins forces with rival militia group, Sudan People's Defence Force, to pool resources in campaign against government in Khartoum.

PEACE IN SOUTH Eight-year process ended with deal to end conflict

Government and SPLA sign landmark ceasefire agreement providing for six-month renewable ceasefire in central Nuba Mountains - a key rebel stronghold.

2002 20 July - After talks in Kenya, government and SPLA sign Machakos Protocol on ending 19-year civil war. Government accepts right of south to seek self-determination after six-year interim period. Southern rebels accept application of Shariah law in north.

2002 27 July - President al-Bashir and SPLA leader John Garang meet face-to-face for the first time, through the mediation of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

2002 October - Government and SPLA agree to ceasefire for duration of negotiations. Despite this, hostilities continue.

Peace in south inches closer

2002 November - Negotiations stall over allocation of government and civil service posts, but both sides agree to observe ceasefire.

2003 February - Rebels in western region of Darfur rise up against government, claiming the region is being neglected by Khartoum.

2003 October - PNC leader Turabi released after nearly three years in detention and ban on his party is lifted.

Darfur crisis

DARFUR UN accused government-backed militias of massive abuses against civilians and refugees

2004 January - Army moves to quell rebel uprising in western region of Darfur; hundreds of thousands of refugees flee to neighbouring Chad.

2004 March - UN official says pro-government Arab "Janjaweed" militias are carrying out systematic killings of African villagers in Darfur.

Army officers and opposition politicians, including Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, are detained over an alleged coup plot.

2004 May - Government and southern rebels agree on power-sharing protocols as part of a peace deal to end their long-running conflict. The deal follows earlier breakthroughs on the division of oil and non-oil wealth.

2004 September - UN envoy says Sudan has not met targets for disarming pro-government Darfur militias and must accept outside help to protect civilians. US Secretary of State Colin Powell describes Darfur killings as genocide.

Government says it has foiled coup plot by supporters of Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi.

Final peace deal

2005 January - Government and southern rebels sign peace deal to end their long-running conflict. The agreement includes a permanent ceasefire and accords on wealth and power sharing.

UN report accuses the government and militias of systematic abuses in Darfur, but stops short of calling the violence genocide.

JOHN GARANG Former southern rebel leader John Garang Ex-rebel joined government as first vice president

2005 March - UN Security Council authorises sanctions against those who violate ceasefire in Darfur. Council also votes to refer those accused of war crimes in Darfur to International Criminal Court.

2005 April - International donors pledge $4.5bn (£2.38bn) in aid to help southern Sudan to recover from decades of civil war.

2005 June - Government and exiled opposition grouping - National Democratic Alliance (NDA) - sign reconciliation deal allowing NDA into power-sharing administration.

President frees Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, who was detained in 2004 over an alleged coup plot.

2005 9 July - Former southern rebel leader John Garang is sworn in as first vice president. A constitution which gives a large degree of autonomy to the south is signed.

2005 1 August - Government announces death of vice president and former rebel leader John Garang in an air crash. He is succeeded by Salva Kiir. Garang's death sparks deadly clashes in the capital between southern Sudanese and northern Arabs.

"Whenever you trace the origin of a skill or practices which played a crucial role in the ascent of man, we usually reach the realm of play.   Eric Hoffer  (1902 - 1983)