Albania - the chronology of the Land of Eagles

1939 - Just before the start of the Second World War, Italy invades Albania. King Zog flees to Greece.

1940 - The Italian army attacks Greece through Albania.

1941 - Enver Hoxha becomes head of the new Albanian Communist Party.

1943 - German forces invade and occupy Albania following the surrender of Italy.

1944 - The Germans retreat after the resistance of the anti-fascist front. Enver Hoxha is elected the new leader of the country.

1945 - The courts are beginning to hunt down thousands of opponents.

1946 - All non-communists removed from government positions.

1948 - Albania breaks ties with Yugoslavia; the Soviet Union begins to help Albania financially.

1955 - Albania becomes a founding member of the Warsaw Pact.

Communist regime

1961 - Albania allies with China, after the Soviet Union interrupts diplomatic relations due to the ideological split.

1967 - Violent repression of religious activity. Albania declares the first atheist state in the world.

1968 - Albania withdraws from the Warsaw Pact for the invasion of Soviet-led Czechoslovakia.

1978 - China interrupts economic and military aid to Albania, after relations between the two countries were compromised by the reconciliation of China with the USA.

1985 - Enver Hoxha dies, replaced by Ramiz Alia

Political upheavals

1989 - Collapse of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Ramiz Alia implements changes to the economic system.

1990 - The first independent political parties are formed. Albanians have the right to travel abroad. Thousands of people try to escape through Western embassies. Thousands more seize ships in port and illegally sail to Italy. (July 1990 - the temples of hope)

1991 - In multi-party elections, the communist party along with its allies takes 169 of the available 250 seats, the newly formed Democratic Party takes 75. General amnesty for political prisoners. First opposition newspaper published. Prime Minister Fatos Nano resigns after protests over the country's economic conditions and the killing of opposition protesters. New government led by Vilson Ahmeti.

1992 - The Democratic Party wins the elections. Party leader Sali Berisha becomes the first elected president. Aleksander Meksi is prime minister.

1993 - Former communist leaders, including Fatos Nano and Ramiz Alia, are convicted and imprisoned for corruption.

Anger in the streets

1994 - The national referendum rejects the new constitution

1995 - Alia is released from prison following the appeal court's ruling.

1996 - Election victory of the Democratic Party, contaminated by allegations of fraud.

1997 - Leka, son of the late King Zog, returns from exile in an attempt to take the throne. The referendum for the restoration of the monarchy fails. He is accused of having attempted an armed uprising and thus returns to exile.

The pyramid schemes of investment collapse, costing Albanian citizens their savings and thus sparking anti-government protests.

Up to a million weapons are looted from the barracks while the angry mob takes to the streets.

The socialist coalition returns to the government. Fatos Nano, now released from prison, returns as prime minister.

Sali Berisha resigns as president following the financial crisis. He is succeeded by the socialist leader Rexhep Mejdani.

1998 - The intensification of the unrest in Kosovo provokes the exile of many Kosovar refugees in Albania.

September - Violent protests in the streets after the exponent of the Democratic party, Azem Hajdari, is killed by unidentified armed men.

Prime Minister Fatos Nano resigns. The former student activist, Pandeli Majko, is appointed prime minister.

Influx of refugees

1999 - NATO military attacks against Yugoslav military targets. In Kosovo, thousands of people are fleeing attacks by Serbian forces. Exodus of refugees in Albania.

October - Majko resigns as prime minister after losing the vote of leader of the Socialist Party. The 30enne Ilir Meta becomes Europe's youngest prime minister.

2001 January - Albania and Yugoslavia re-establish diplomatic relations interrupted during the 1999 crisis in Kosovo.

2001 July - The Socialist Party secures the second term in office by winning the elections. Prime Minister Ilir Meta forms a new coalition government in September.

2002 January - Prime Minister Meta after a dispute with Fatos Nano; is followed by Pandeli Majko.

2002 June - Parliament elects President Alfred Moisiu after rival political leaders Nano and Berisha reached a compromise, easing months of tension.

The royal family returns from exile

2002 August - Fatos Nano becomes prime minister after the Socialist party decides to unite the roles of president and president of the party. This is Nano's fourth time as premier.

Steps towards the EU

2003 January - Albania and the EU begin talks on the stabilization and association agreement, considered the first step towards EU membership.

September 2005 - After two months of political disputes, former president Sali Berisha won the July elections.

2006 June - Stabilization and association agreement signed with the EU.

2007 gune - US President George W.Bush becomes the first US leader to visit Albania, emphasizing his position as a close ally of Washington.

2007 July - Parliament elects Bamir Topi

2009 April - Albania officially joins NATO and formally requests membership of the European Union.

Berisha re-elected

2009 July - Sali Berisha's center-right democratic party wins parliamentary elections.

2009 November - The Socialist opposition party begins a series of demonstrations in Tirana to protest against alleged electoral fraud in the elections.

2010 May - Socialist leader Edi Rama calls for a civil disobedience campaign to continue until the government accepts a partial recount of the 2009 elections.

2010 November - The European Union rejects Albania's request to obtain EU candidate status, but lightens the requirements for Albanian visas.

! - Clashes cause the death of four anti-government protesters

2011 December - Intelligence chief Ilir Kumbaro, wanted for torture charges in Albania, disappears in London, where he hid under a false name from the 1996.

2012 November - The remains of the former king Zog are repatriated to Albania from France, where he died in the 1961.

2013 June - In the elections the socialist party wins a landslide victory

2013 September - Socialist leader Edi Rama becomes prime minister

Tensions with Serbia

2014 June - The European Commission recommends Albania as a candidate for EU membership.

2014 November - Prime Minister Edi Rama's visit to Belgrade to repair the bridges fails, after he and Serbian counterpart Aleksander Vucic publicly advertised Kosovo.

2015 March - The socialist government announces a plan for the privatization of the state oil company Albpetrol, two years after the previous democratic government shelved it.

2016 July - The ruling Socialist Party and the Democratic Opposition Party agree on the radical judicial reforms to be implemented as a key to move towards EU accession negotiations.