A chronology of key events:
Sources: http://www.acig.org/, http://www.irinnews.org/ and http://news.bbc.co.uk/
1637 French international workers landed at the inhospitable coastline near Assignee.
1843-1844 Admiral Bouet-Williaumez signed treaties with the kings of the Grand Bassam and Assinie regions, placing their territories under a French protectorate.
1893 Côte d'Ivoire made into a colony.
1904 Côte d'Ivoire becomes part of the French Federation of West Africa.
1944 Brazzaville Conference granted French citizenship to all African "subjects," the right to organize politically was recognized, and various forms of forced labor were abolished.
1944 Felix Houphouet-Boigny, later to become Côte d'Ivoire's first president, founds a union of African farmers (Syndicat Agricole Africain), which develops into the inter-territorial African Democratic Rally (RDR) and its Ivorian section, the Côte d'Ivoire Democratic Party, known in French as the Partie Democratique de la Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI).
1946-1959 Felix Houphouet-Boigny was elected to the first Constituent Assembly, and represented Côte d'Ivoire in the French National Assembly.
1947 The colony of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) was separated off from Côte d'Ivoire.
1956 The French Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre) transferred a number of powers from Paris to elected territorial governments in French West Africa and removed some voting inequalities.
1958 Côte d'Ivoire becomes an autonomous republic within the French Community. This was a result of a referendum that brought community status to all members of the old Federation of French West Africa except Guinea.
1960 Côte d'Ivoire becomes independent. Houphouet-Boigny, who was elected the first President of the republic.
Ban on parties lifted
1990 Opposition parties legalized; Houphouet-Boigny wins Côte d'Ivoire's first multiparty presidential election.
1993 Henri Konan Bedie becomes president following the death of Houphouet-Boigny.
1995 October Bedie re-elected in a ballot that is boycotted by opposition parties in protest at restrictions imposed on their candidates.
1995 December Bedie's Democratic Party wins parliamentary elections by a landslide.
23 December 1999 23 December Mutiny by soldiers demanding payment of allowances owed to them for peacekeeping duty in Central African Republic.
24-25 December 1999 A former army chief of staff, Gen Robert Guei (1990-1995), announces the destitution of the government of President Henri Konan Bedie, the dissolution of parliament and other state organs, and the formation of the National Public Salvation Committee (CNSP Comite National de Salut Publique). Leaders of the opposition Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR), detained since October, are freed. Bedie is evacuated by the French military to Lome, Togo, before continuing on to Paris.
27 May 2000 The Higher Council of Imams (Conseil Superieur des Imams) complains that security forces have been abusively withdrawing ID cards from Muslims and sometimes destroying them.
31 May 2000 Ouattara calls on his supporters to vote “Yes” at the constitutional referendum, while deploring the fact that the draft contains certain “ambiguities and incoherence” relating to the eligibility issue.
3 June 2000 Côte d’Ivoire’s bishops warn at their plenary assembly that the specter of civil war looms over the country.
4-5 Jul 2000 Mutiny by soldiers demanding payment for their participation in the December 1999 coup d’etat. Guei hints that the RDR was behind the mutiny which, he claims, was really a coup d’etat.
17 Jul 2000 The government announces that both parents of a presidential candidate need to be born Ivorians.
24 Jul 2000 Referendum on the constitution. ‘Yes’ votes: 86.53%; participation: 56%
4 Sep 2000 Six presidential guards detained since 1 September are charged with endangering the security of the state. The six are reportedly close to Master Sergeant Ibrahim Coulibaly, known as I.B, a former bodyguard of Ouattara’s children.
18 Sep 2000 A group of soldiers attack Guei’s residence in Abidjan. Two loyalist soldiers are killed. The minister of communication indirectly accuses the RDR, which denies the accusation. About 20 members of the presidential guard are arrested.
October 2000 Guei proclaims himself president after announcing he has won presidential elections, but is forced to flee in the wake of a popular uprising against his perceived rigging of the election result.
October 2000 Laurent Gbagbo, believed to be the real winner in the presidential election, is proclaimed president. Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, who had been excluded from running for president, calls for a fresh election.
October 2000 Fighting erupts between Gbagbo's mainly southern Christian supporters and followers of Ouattara, who are mostly Muslims from the north.
December 2000 President Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) emerges as the biggest single party in parliamentary elections though on a low turn-out of 33%.
January 2001 Attempted coup fails.
February 6 2001 Two generals Lassana Palenfo and Aboulaye Coulibaly accused of trying to assassinate the former military ruler, General Robert Guei, appear in court to face an additional charge embezzling more than three million dollars belonging to the country's national lottery and the port of Abidjan.
14 February 2001 A key opposition leader, Henriette Diabate with the Rally of the Republicans party, is charged with a number of crimes, including illegal arms possession and destabilizing the country.
27 February 2001 US ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire accuses the security forces of arresting citizens arbitrarily, torturing detainees and acting with impunity.
10 March 2001 Ivorian government says it has obtained massive price cuts from international pharmaceutical firms for Aids therapy drugs. The cuts would reduce the monthly cost of treating a patient by over 80%.
19 March 2001 President Gbagbo and opposition leader Ouattara meet for the first time since violence erupted between their supporters in October 2000 and agree to work towards reconciliation.
2001 Child slavery under the spotlight following reports of a child slave ship off the west coast of Africa. Growing allegations of child slavery in cocoa plantations strain relations with international community. Government moves to tackle the issue, US House of Representatives passes funding bill providing for voluntary "no child slave labor" labels on cocoa products.
March 2001 Calls for fresh presidential and legislative elections after Alassane Dramane Ouattara's party gains majority at local polls.
June 2001 Amnesty International criticizes government's human rights record over the alleged extra-judicial, revenge killing of 57 northerners during presidential election campaign in October 2000. Eight gendarmes accused of the killings are cleared in August.
Ouattara accuses government of manipulating ethnic problems, especially between the several million Burkinabe immigrants and locals, to retain power.
July 2001 Former foreign minister Amara Essy is appointed as Secretary General of the newly formed African Union.
July 2001 Pascal Affi N'Guessan elected to replace President Gbagbo as head of the ruling Ivorian Popular Front to rejuvenate the leadership of the party.
October 2001 Gbagbo sets up a National Reconciliation Forum. General Guei refuses to attend in protest against the arrest of his close aide Captain Fabien Coulibaly. UN insists on reconciliation before it will resume aid.
November 2001 Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara returns to Côte d'Ivoire, ending a year-long exile in France and Gabon.
January 2002 The "big four" President Gbagbo, opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, former military ruler General Guei and deposed president Bedie meet for long-awaited talks on resolving their differences.
June 2002 Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara a non-native is granted nationality papers. Supporters celebrate in the streets and say the move will allow him to contest future presidential elections.
August 2002 Ouattara's RDR opposition party is given four ministerial posts in new government.
19 September 2002 Rebellious exiled military personnel and co-conspirators in Abidjan simultaneously attacked government ministers as well as military and security facilities in Abidjan, Bouake, and Korhogo. In Abidjan, government forces stopped the coup attempt within hours, but the attacks resulted in the deaths of Emile Boga Doudou, Minister of Interior, and several high-ranking military officers, including General Guei and his family. The failed coup attempt quickly evolved into a rebellion, splitting the country in two. The rebels, calling themselves the "Patriotic Movement of Côte d'Ivoire" (MPCI), retained control in Bouake and Korhogo, and within two weeks moved to take the remainder of the northern half of the country. Soon, they were advancing towards Abidjan. The presence of French soldiers between Bouake and Yamoussoukro stopped the rebel advance to Abidjan.
October-December 2002 Paris forced the MPCI to sign a ceasefire with them in October, as well as an agreement for French forces to monitor the ceasefire line. Later there were clashes and a battle for the key cocoa-industry town of Daloa. Previously unknown rebel groups, the Ivorian Popular Movement for the Great West (MPIGO) and the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP), seize towns in west. MPIGO and MJP were allied with the MPCI, and The three groups began calling themselves the "New Forces."
January 2003 The ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) placed 1,500 peacekeepers in Côte d'Ivoire, including units from Benin, Ghana, Niger, Senegal and Togo. These troops and political pressure from Paris resulted in the French-brokered Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. All the major political parties agreed to a power-sharing national reconciliation government, which was to include New Forces as well. The parties agreed to work together on modifying national identity, eligibility for citizenship, and land tenure laws, which many observers see as some of the root causes of the conflict. The Linas-Marcoussis Agreement also stipulated a UN Monitoring Committee to report on implementation of the Agreement.
March 2003 Political parties, rebels agree on new government to include nine members from rebel ranks. "Consensus" prime minister, Seydou Diarra, tasked with forming cabinet. President Gbagbo formed a government of national reconciliation with 41 ministers, but this did not meet until mid- April, when international peacekeeping force was finally in place to provide security for New Forces ministers. President Gbagbo accepts peace deal at talks in Paris. Deal proposes power-sharing government.
May 2003 Armed forces sign "full" ceasefire with rebel groups to end almost eight months of rebellion.
July 2003 At a presidential palace ceremony, military chiefs and rebels declare war is over.
August 2003 Group of suspected mercenaries and their backers detained in France; said to have planned to assassinate President Gbagbo.
2003 September Rebels accuse President Gbagbo of failing to honor peace agreement and pull out of unity government.
30 November 2003 a group of "young patriots" supported by some 100 government troops (FANCI) attempt to forcibly cross the ceasefire line in the area of Mbahiakro, east of Bouake. Their goal is to launch an attack against the New Forces in Bouake. The group is stopped by the French Licorne forces. A FANCI armored personnel carrier is destroyed during the ensuing exchange of gunfire. This incident constituted a grave violation of the ceasefire agreement.
11 December 2003 Nineteen are killed in armed attack on state TV building in Abidjan. It is between Government forces and a militia group calling itself "the Ninjas". This aggravates concerns regarding the safety of the New Forces cabinet ministers and prompts a decision by the New Forces to delay their return to the Government.
Rebels rejoin government of national unity.
March 2004 The government says 37+ people were killed on Thursday when police and the army prevented a march to call for the full implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis peace Accord. Opposition leaders say the death toll had risen to 162. They claim many had died in reprisal killings after the aborted rally. They accuse the military of rounding up dozens of their supporters. The violence was the most severe in a series of setbacks to the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire. An international committee supervising the peace process said it was concerned about reports of abuses and raids carried out by security forces in Abidjan.
A 2004 A United Nations force begins deployment.
June 2004 Ivorian Mi-24s flew their first strike against rebel positions near the village of Mamimigui, in the centre of the country, some 370km NW from Abidjan. Five government soldiers and 15 rebels were killed. Spokesman of the armed forces of Côte d'Ivoire, Col. Jules Yao Yao, specified that Mi-24s were sent to attack several rebel positions. This was confirmed by rebel spokesman, Sidki Konate, who stressed that this was a violation of a ceasefire from 3 May 2003, and that an outbreak of a new civil war was now imminent.
31 July 2004 Accra III peace summit in Ghana. Reforms agreed upon include the adoption of laws foreseen under a tattered Linas-Marcoussis Agreement signed in January 2003 to end the civil war and the amendment of a constitutional provision dictating who is eligible to stand for president. A timetable for disarming the paramilitary and militia forces on all sides of the conflict, including the rebels who retain control of the north, was also hammered out during the marathon summit.
29 September 2004 Ivorian parliament fails to agree citizenship laws, which were a key requirement of the January 2003 peace deal.
13 October 2004 Ivorian rebels say they will not disarm, as planned, until immigration laws are changed.
28 October 2004 Vendors selling newspapers accused of supporting the opposition are attacked by pro-government militants in Abidjan and southern towns. The New Forces order eight rebel ministers to return to the rebel-held north, saying it had discovered the government smuggling arms across its territory.
Government launches air strikes
4 November 2004 The air strikes are on New Forces camps in Bouake and Korhogo in the rebel-held territory in north.
5 November 2004 Government continues air strikes and clashes on the ground in north.
6 November 2004 An Ivorian air strike, delivered around 1:30 PM, hit a French position near Bouake. The bombing kills nine French peacekeepers and an American aid worker. In less than one hour, French peacekeepers destroy almost all the country's air force. This caused an outburst of anti-French feelings in Côte d'Ivoire. Within 48 hours no less than five French schools are burned in Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. Homes are looted and dozens of French shops destroyed.
9,000 traumatized foreigners including 8,000 French and 200 Britons, as well as Lebanese, Moroccans, Spaniards, Italians, Canadians, Americans and Belgians are evacuated after Ble Goude, the leader of the "Young Patriots," called on Ivorians to take to the streets to confront French troops. The "Young Patriots" loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo are blamed for much of the violence.
9 November 2004 French soldiers fired to disperse protesters after days of rioting in the main city Abidjan. French troops deployed in Abidjan, said their only aim was to protect French citizens and property. Ivorian militants accused them of planning to topple President Laurent Gbagbo. Demonstrators ransacked the Hotel Ivoire after French troops pulled out and smoke rose into the sky.
December 2004 Parliament passes key reforms envisaged under the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, including abolishing need for the president to have both Ivorian mother and father.
6 April 2005 Government and New Forces declare an "immediate and final end" to hostilities. The move follows talks in Pretoria, South Africa.
June 2005 Massacres in western town of Duekoue: President Gbagbo says more than 100 people were killed, but contradicts widely-held view that ethnic rifts lay behind violence.
October 2005 Planned elections are shelved as President Gbagbo invokes a law which he says allows him to stay in power.
December 6, 2005 The head of West Africa's Central bank(BCEAO), Charles Konan Banny named as transitional prime minister of Côte d'Ivoire until October 2006.
January 2006 Young people, who support President Gbagbo, closed the streets in Abidjan for five days. They were protesting against what they see as UN interference in internal affairs. Ruling party (FPi) temporarily pulled out of transitional government and peace process. United Nations vehicles, bases, and buildings were attacked in Abidjan, Daloa, and Guiglo.
February 2006 The UN secretary general sent a $3.5 million bill to Ivory Coast's president, Laurent Gbagbo, for damage caused to UN property and equipment during last month's anti-UN riots.
Main political rivals meet on Ivorian soil for the first time since the 2002 rebellion. They agree to meet again to iron out differences.
June 2006 Militias loyal to President Gbagbo miss disarmament deadlines.
September 2006 Political, rebel leaders say they've failed to make any breakthrough on the main issues standing in the way of elections - principally voter registration and disarmament.
The government resigns over a scandal involving the dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan. Fumes from the waste kill three people and make many more ill.
November 2006 UN Security Council resolution extends the transitional government's mandate for another year until October 2007.
March 2007 After multiple peace accords and postponed national elections, Ivorian President Gbagbo and the New Forces rebel leader, Guillaume Soro, signed a peace agreement that established a new transitional government with Gbagbo as President and Soro as Prime Minister.
UN and French peacekeepers remain in the country. The new government is tasked with disarmament, demobilization, reintegration of former combatants, creating a national identification system, and organizing elections by early 2008.
Sources: http://www.acig.org/, http://www.irinnews.org and http://news.bbc.co.uk