Top Lebanese official’s bodyguard is spotted firing live rounds at protesters

1516-1918 – Lebanon was part of the vast Ottoman Empire that covered ancient Persia, the Mediterranean and the Balkans.

1920 – Post-World War One, The League of Nations grants the mandate for Lebanon and Syria to France as the empire is partitioned off.

The mandate system was supposed to differ from colonialism, with the governing country intended to act as a trustee until the inhabitants were considered eligible for self-government. At that point, the mandate would terminate and an independent state would be born.   

1943 – France agrees to transfer power to the Lebanese government on January 1 following protests for self-determination.

1948 – Thousands of Palestinian refugees arrive in Lebanon following the Arab-Israeli war and the establishment of Israel to the south of Lebanon.

1958 – Tensions between Maronite Christians and Muslims start a civil war, and President Camille Chamoune asks the US to send in troops to preserve Lebanon’s independence.  

1967 – Palestinians uses Lebanon as a base for attacks against Israel, as another wave of Palestinians arrive following the outbreak of the Six-Day War.

1968 – Beirut airport is attacked by Israel in retaliation for alleged Lebanese support of Palestinian terrorists, with strikes continuing for six years.

1975 – Political Christian extremists ambush a bus in Beirut and kill 27 of its passengers. These clashes start the civil war.  

1976 – After fighting spreads throughout the country, President Suleiman Franjieh calls in Syrian troops. The Syrians side with the Maronites Christians and attempt to control the Palestinians.

Later that year, an Arab summit in Riyadh sets up the Syrian-led Arab Deterrent Force to maintain peace between the Muslim and Christian forces.

1978 – The Palestine Liberation Organisation attacks an Israeli bus, killing 34, causing Israel to invade and occupy southern Lebanon. The UN Security Council calls on Israel to withdraw but they hand power to the Christian militia. 

1981 – The US negotiates a ceasefire between Israel and the PLO but it only applies to Lebanon. The PLO continues to attack Israel from Jordan and the West Bank.

1982 – Israel launches air raids on Beirut. The PLO launches counter-attacks from southern Lebanon, prompting the UN Security Council to issue a resolution calling on all sides to adopt a ceasefire. The following day, Israel invades Lebanon. 

1983 – Israel agrees to withdraw from Lebanon on condition that Syria does the same but Damascus refuses. The Israelis eventually withdraw to a buffer zone.

1984 – US forces leave Lebanon and factional conflict worsens over the next five years. 

1987 – Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Rashid Karami, is assassinated and Salim al-Huss becomes acting PM.

1988 – Outgoing President Amine Gemayel appoints an interim military government under Maronite Commander-in-Chief Michel Aoun in East Beirut when presidential elections fail to produce a successor.

It leaves the country with two rival governments, the other being Prime Minister Selim el-Hoss’ Syria-backed administration in West Beirut.

1989 – Aoun launches a War of Liberation against Syrian occupation and rival militia. The Taif Agreement is negotiated, marking the first steps in the ending of the civil war. 

1990 – Syrian forces defeat Aoun, forcing him to take refuge in the French embassy in Beirut.

1991 – The National Assembly orders the dissolution of all militias, except for the powerful Shia group Hezbollah. The South Lebanon Army (SLA) refuses to disband. An amnesty is given for certain crimes. 

1993 – In an attempt to combat Hizbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). 

2000 – Israel releases 13 Lebanese prisoners held without trial for more than 10 years and withdraws its troops from southern Lebanon after a 17 year occupation. In October, Hariri returns as prime minister. 

2004 – UN Security Council adopts a resolution calling for foreign troops to leave Lebanon. Prime Minister Rafik Hariri resigns after parliament votes to extend Lahoud’s term as president by three years.

2005 – Rafik Hariri is killed by a car bomb in Beirut. The attack sparks anti-Syrian rallies. Calls for Syria to withdraw its troops intensify until its forces leave in April. Assassinations of anti-Syrian figures become a feature of political life.

An anti-Syrian alliance led by Saad Hariri, son of the murdered PM, wins control of parliament at elections. Hariri ally Fouad Siniora becomes prime minister. 

2006 – Israel attacks after Hezbollah kidnaps two Israeli soldiers. Civilian casualties are high and the damage to civilian infrastructure wide-ranging in 34-day war. UN peacekeeping force deploys along the southern border. 

2007 – Siege of the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Bared following clashes between Islamist militants and the military. More than 300 people die and 40,000 residents flee before the army gains control of the camp.  

2008 – Lebanon establishes diplomatic relations with Syria for first time since both countries gained independence in 1940s. 

2009 June – The pro-Western March 14 alliance wins parliamentary elections and Saad Hariri forms unity government. 

2011 January – Government collapses after Hezbollah and allied ministers resign. 

2012 – The Syrian conflict that began in March 2011 spills over into Lebanon in deadly clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Tripoli and Beirut.  

UN praises Lebanese families for having taken in more than a third of the 160,000 Syrian refugees who have streamed into the country. 

2013 – European Union lists the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. This makes it illegal for Hezbollah sympathisers in Europe to send the group money, and enables the freezing of the group’s assets there. 

2020 January – Mass protests against economic stagnation and corruption bring down the government of Saad Hariri, who is succeeded by the academic Hassan Diab.

2020 June – Protests resume after massive falls in the value of the currency and the impact of the Cvoid-19 lockdown drive half the population into poverty.