Greece profile

A chronology of key events:

1924 - Greeks vote for abolition of the monarchy, country becomes republic.

Capital: Athens

Athens pavement restaurants
  • 486 BC: Parthenon completed
  • 88 BC: Romans sack Athens
  • 1456: Turks occupy city
  • 1833: Athens becomes capital of kingdom of Greece

1935 - Monarchy restored.

1936 - General Metaxas appointed prime minister, establishes right-wing dictatorship.

1940 - Mussolini's forces attack Greece from Italian-held Albania, but are repelled.

1941 - Metaxas dies. Greece falls to Germany. More than 100,000 die in famine.

1942 - 1944 - Fierce resistance to the occupation by communist and royalist factions alike.

1944 - British and Greek forces combine to force Nazi withdrawal. With backing from Britain, Georgios Papandreou becomes prime minister. Communists protest. Tensions rise and there is sporadic violence.

1946 - 1949 - Royalist parties win elections. Ensuing civil war ends with defeat of communist forces.

1952 - New constitution declares Greece a kingdom ruled by parliamentary democracy. Greece joins Nato.

1955 - Konstantinos Karamanlis becomes prime minister.

1964 - King Constantine II succeeds his father, Paul.

Military leader

Col George Papadopoulos

George Papadopoulos led 'regime of colonels'

1967 - Group of army officers seize power in military coup. Elections are postponed indefinitely and Col George Papadopoulos takes office as prime minister.

Hundreds of political activists are arrested under a regime characterised by brutality and repression.

1973 - Greece declared a republic, the monarchy is abolished and Papadopoulos assumes the presidency.

Opposition to military rule leads to increasing unrest. Papadopoulos overthrown in bloodless coup by Brigadier-General Demetrios Ioannidis, commander of the military police. He partially restores civilian rule but retains large measure of power.

Return of the exile

Konstantine Karamanlis

Konstantine Karamanlis came out of exile to become PM

1974 - A Greece-backed coup against President Makarios of Cyprus is followed by Turkish invasion and occupation of north of the island.

Ioannidis government collapses. Mr Karamanlis recalled from exile and sworn in as prime minister. Referendum rejects restoration of monarchy.

Parliamentary republic

1975 - New constitution declares Greece a parliamentary republic with some executive powers vested in a president.

1980 - Karamanlis elected president.

1981 - Greece joins EU. Andreas Papandreou's Socialist Party (Pasok) wins elections.

1985 Karamanlis resigns in protest at government plans to reduce powers of president. Christos Sartzetakis becomes head of state.

1986 - Constitutional amendment transfers some of president's powers to the legislature

1990 - Centre-right New Democracy party forms government under party leader Constantine Mitsotakis

1991 - Yugoslav former republic of Macedonia declares independence. Greece objects to name and flag of Republic of Macedonia on grounds they imply territorial claims to the Greek province of Macedonia.

1993 - Election returns Papandreou to power.

1995 - Relations with Macedonia normalised.

1996 - Tension flares between Greece and Turkey over disputed Aegean islet.

Papandreou resigns through ill health and dies shortly afterwards. Succeeded by Kostas Simitis.

1999 September - Earthquake hits Athens - dozens killed, thousands left homeless.

November 17 rebels

Aftermath of attack in Athens

Radical leftist group November 17 aimed to overthrow capitalism

2000 June - Senior British diplomat Brigadier Stephen Saunders shot dead in Athens by left-wing guerrilla group November 17.

2002 January - Euro replaces drachma.

2002 March - Greek, Turkish governments agree to build gas pipeline through which Turkey will supply Greece with gas.

2002 July - Suspected leader and members of November 17 terror group arrested after one of them is injured, allegedly by his own bomb, and provides information to police.

2003 December - Trial of November 17 suspects ends with their conviction. Head of group and its main hitman jailed for life.

2004 February - Kostas Simitis calls March elections and stands down as Pasok leader.

Government change

2004 March - Conservative New Democracy party led by Costas Karamanlis wins general election, ending over a decade of Pasok government.

2004 August - Athens hosts Olympic Games.

Olympia

Actors relive a ceremony in Olympia

Ancient site of the Olympic Games

2004 December - European Commission issues formal warning after Greece found to have falsified budget deficit data in run-up to joining eurozone.

2005 April - Parliament ratifies EU constitution.

2005 December - Amid protest strikes by transport workers, parliament approves changes to labour laws, including an end to jobs for life in the public sector. The plans sparked industrial action in June.

2006 March - Public sector workers strike over pay and in protest at government plans to scrap job security laws and intensify privatisation.

2006 May - Greek and Turkish fighter planes crash into the Aegean after colliding in mid-air.

2006 September - Greece, Russia and Bulgaria back a long-awaited deal to build an oil pipeline which will carry Russian oil to Europe via Alexandropoulis in Greece.

Acropolis Museum, Athens

The Acropolis Museum opened in 2008 with a lavish ceremony

2007 August - Wildfires sweep through tinder-dry forests across the mainland and islands, killing dozens of people.

2007 September - Despite criticism of his government's handling of the fires, Prime Minister Karamanlis wins a narrow majority in the poll. He says he now has a mandate for more reforms but also pledges to make national unity a priority.

2008 March - Greece blocks Macedonia's bid to join Nato because of unresolved dispute over former Yugoslav republic's name.

Parliament narrowly passes government's controversial pension reform bill in face of general public sector strike and mass protests.

2008 December - Students and young people take to city streets in nationwide protests and riots over the police killing of a 15-year-old boy in Athens. Major public-sector strikes coincide to increase pressure on the government over its economic policies.

2009 August - Around 10,000 people are evacuated from their homes as wildfires sweep across the country.

Economic meltdown

Bank of Greece building after an anti-austerity protest in February 2012

Greece's 300bn-euro debt plunged the country into crisis in 2009

2009 October - Opposition Pasok socialist party wins snap election called by PM Karamanlis. George Papandreou takes over as new prime minister.

Debt crisis

2009 December - Clashes break out in Athens on the first anniversary of the killing of a teenager by police.

Greece's credit rating is downgraded by one of world's three leading rating agencies amid fears the government could default on its ballooning debt. PM Papandreou announces programme of tough public spending cuts.

2010 January- March - Government announces two more rounds of tough austerity measures, and faces mass protests and strikes.

Bailout package

2010 April/May - Fears of a possible default on Greece's debts prompt eurozone countries to approve a $145bn (110bn euros; £91bn) rescue package for the country. As part of the bailout deal, PM Papandreou announces a round of even more stringent austerity measures. Trade unions call a general strike in protest.

2010 October - Government announces new, tougher, austerity measures in 2011 draft budget. Measures include new taxes and higher rate of VAT.

Graffiti in Athens Anti-austerity graffiti has proliferated in Athens

2011 February - International lenders say austerity measures so far implemented do not go far enough, and that Greece must speed up reforms to get its finances back on track.

2011 June - 24-hour general strike. Tens of thousands of protesters march on parliament to oppose government efforts to pass new austerity laws.

Crisis deepens

2011 July - European Union leaders agree a major bailout for Greece over its debt crisis by channelling 109bn euros through the European Financial Stability Facility.

All three main credit ratings agencies cut Greece's rating to a level associated with a substantial risk of default.

2011 September - Credit rating agency Moody's downgrades eight Greek banks due to concerns over Greece's ability to pay back its debts.

2011 October - Eurozone leaders agree a 50% debt write-off for Greece in return for further austerity measures. PM George Papandreou casts the deal into doubt by announcing a referendum on the rescue package.

2011 November - Faced with a storm of criticism over his referendum plan, Mr Papandreou withdraws it and then announces his resignation.

Austerity pain

Homesless man sleeping in front of graffiti-covered shuttered shop window (23 Mar 12)

The deep recession and spending cuts have put Greek society under strain

Lucas Papademos, a former head of the Bank of Greece, becomes interim prime minister of a New Democracy/Pasok coaltion with the task of getting the country back on track in time for elections scheduled provisionally for the spring of 2012.

New bailout plan

2012 January - Debt rescheduling talks with Greece's private creditors falter, endangering the 130bn euro EU/IMF rescue package that Greece needs to meet its next debt repayment deadline in March.

2012 February - Against a background of violent protests on the streets of Athens, the Greek parliament approves a new package of tough austerity measures agreed with the EU as the price of a 130bn euro bailout.

2012 March - Greece reaches a "debt swap" deal with its private-sector lenders, enabling it to halve its massive debtload.

EU finance ministers had insisted that the debt swap deal was a condition that had to be met before they would agree to sign off the 130bn euro bailout.

2012 May - Early parliamentary elections see support for coalition parties New Democracy and Pasok slump, with a increase in support for anti-austerity parties of the far left and right. The three top-ranking parties fail to form a working coalition and President Papoulias calls fresh elections for 17 June.

Members of the Greek far-right ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn demonstrate outside the Turkish consulate in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki (28 June 2012)

The far-right Golden Dawn party based its 2012 election campaign on hostility towards immigrants

2012 June - Further parliamentary elections boost New Democracy, albeit leaving it without a majority. Leader Antonis Samaras assembles a coalition with third-placed Pasok and smaller groups to pursue the austerity programme.

Anti-austerity protests

2012 September - Trade unions stage 24-hour general strike against government austerity measures. Police fire tear gas to disperse anarchist rally outside parliament.

2012 October - The draft budget for 2013 forecasts further economic contraction and an even higher debt burden, with Prime Minister Samaras warning his government will run out of money by the end of November unless it receives fresh international aid.

Parliament passes a 13.5bn-euro austerity plan aimed at securing the next round of EU and IMF bailout loans; the package - the fourth in three years - includes tax rises and pension cuts.

2012 November - Eurozone finance ministers and the IMF agree to release the next instalment of Greece's bailout loan in December. The deal is seen as mitigating the risk of Greece leaving the euro.

2013 January - Unemployment rises to 26.8% - the highest rate in the EU.

2013 April - Youth unemployment climbs to almost 60%.

Greece agrees to further austerity measures demanded by troika of international creditors - the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. The deal is seen as bringing the country a step closer to receiving its next tranche of bailout funds.

Parliament passes bill sanctioning 15,000 civil service job cuts. The new law is designed to overturn what had been a constitutional guarantee of a job for life.

Public broadcaster shut down

2013 June - The government announces without warning that it is suspending the state broadcaster ERT in a bid to save money. The decision gives rise to mass protests and a 24-hour strike.

Following the collapse of talks over the future of ERT, one of PM Antonis Samaras's junior coalition partners leaves the government, reducing the coalition's parliamentary majority to just three.

2013 August - New state broadcaster EDT is launched.

2013 September - Demonstrations take place in cities across the country following the killing of a left-wing activist by a suspected neo-Nazi.

Government launches crackdown on far-right Golden Dawn party. Party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and five other Golden Dawn MPs are arrested on charges including assault, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation.

2013 November - Two Golden Dawn members are shot dead outside the party's offices in an Athens suburb. A leftist militant group later claims responsibility for the killings.

2013 December - Parliament passes 2014 budget, which is predicated on a return to growth after six years of recession. Prime Minister Samaras hails this as the first decisive step towards exiting the bailout.

2014 February - Greek unemployment reaches a record high of 28 per cent.

2014 March - Parliament narrowly approves a big reform package that will open more retail sectors to competition, part of a deal between Greece and its international lenders.

2014 April - Eurozone finance ministers say they'll release more than eight billion euros of further bailout funds to Greece.

Greece raises nearly four billion dollars from world financial markets in its first sale of long-term government bonds for four years, in a move seen as an important step in the country's economic recovery

2014 May - Anti-austerity, radical leftist Syriza coalition wins European election with 26.6% of the vote.

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