Europe

Greece profile - Timeline

  • 11 August 2015
  • From the section Europe

A chronology of key events:

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Prominent liberal statesman Eleftherios Venizelos was a key figure in the early years of modern Greece

1821-1829 - Greek War of Independence from Ottoman Empire.

1832 - Prince Otto of Bavaria is chosen as the first king of independent Greece.

1863 - King Otto is deposed; Prince William of Denmark becomes king of the Hellenes.

1913 - Greece gains Epirus, Macedonia, Crete and the North Aegean Islands from the Ottomans in the First Balkan War, and then West Thrace from Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War.

1919-22 - Greco-Turkish War - Greek invasion of Asia Minor prompted by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War 1 is defeated by Turkish forces.

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

1935 - Monarchy restored.

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

World War 2

1940 - Italian dictator Benito 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.

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.

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 - Conservative Constantine Karamanlis elected president.

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

1985 - President 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 - 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.

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, in return for a round of even more stringent austerity measures. Trade unions call a general strike.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anti-austerity graffiti has proliferated in Athens

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 October - Eurozone leaders agree a 50% debt write-off for Greece in return for further austerity measures. PM George Papandreou puts the deal in 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.

Lucas Papademos, a former head of the Bank of Greece, becomes interim prime minister of a New Democracy/Pasok coalition 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 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 debt load.

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.

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 - 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.

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

2013 April - Youth unemployment climbs to almost 60%.

Public broadcaster closed

2013 June - Government suspends state broadcaster ERT in effort to save money.

2013 August - New state broadcaster EDT is launched.

2013 September - 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 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%.

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 8bn 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.

Left in power

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

2014 December - Parliament's failure to elect a new president sparks a political crisis and prompts early elections.

2015 January - Alexis Tsipras of Syriza becomes prime minister after winning parliamentary elections, and forms a coalition with the nationalist Independent Greeks party.

2015 February - The government negotiates a four-month extension to Greece's bailout in return for dropping key anti-austerity measures and undertaking a eurozone-approved reform programme.

2015 June-July - European Central Bank ends emergency funding. Greece closes banks, and imposes capital controls. Voters overwhelmingly reject EU bailout terms in July referendum.

2015 August - Greece and its creditors agree a third bailout, imposing further spending cuts on the country to avoid bankruptcy and exit from the eurozone.