1652: Dutch East India Company representative arrives in present-day Cape Town.
1771: Settlers expanding into eastern Cape begin series of wars with Xhosa tribe.
1795: British capture Cape Colony from Dutch.
1838: Dutch trekkers arrive in Natal province, defeating Zulu army. Proclaim a Boer republic in northern Natal.
1899-1902: Britain annexes Orange Free State and South African Republic, establishing hegemony over South Africa.
1913: Native Land Act, cornerstone of racial segregation, divides South Africa into black and white areas.
1948: National Party wins power and introduces apartheid laws.
1960: Police kill 69 people during anti-apartheid protests at Sharpeville. ANC and Pan Africanist Congress banned.
1961: Nelson Mandela proposes armed struggle. Following year he is jailed for life.
1976: Riots in Soweto bring calls for sanctions.
1977: Black leader Steve Biko dies in police custody. State clamps down on activists. UN imposes arms embargo.
1990: President F W de Klerk acknowledges apartheid has failed, frees political prisoners including Mr Mandela and legalises ANC and other banned groups.
1991: Multi-party talks begin on transition to majority rule.
Oct 1993: UN lifts all but arms sanctions. President De Klerk and Mr Mandela awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
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