Equatorial Guinea profile - Timeline

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A chronology of key events:

1471 - Portuguese navigator Fernao do Po sights the island of Fernando Po, which is now called Bioko.

1777 - Portuguese cedes islands of Annobon and Fernando Po as well as rights on the mainland coast to Spain, giving it access to a source of slaves.

1844 - Spanish settle in what became the province of Rio Muni - mainland Equatorial Guinea.

1904 - Fernando Po and Rio Muni become the Western African Territories, later renamed Spanish Guinea.

1968 - Spanish Guinea granted independence and becomes the Republic of Equatorial Guinea with Francisco Macias Nguema as president.

1972 - Nguema becomes president for life.

1979 - Nguema ousted in military coup led by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Elections boycott

1993 - First multi-party elections are generally condemned as fraudulent and are boycotted by the opposition.

1996 February - President Obiang Nguema wins 99% of votes in election amid reports of widespread irregularities.

1996 March - Mobil oil corporation announces it has discovered sizeable new oil and gas reserves.

Poor human rights record

1998 January - Amnesty International reports the arrest of scores of people - mostly from the Bubi minority - in the wake of attacks on military posts on Bioko island.

1998 June - Military tribunal sentences 15 people to death for separatist attacks on Bioko island.

1999 March - Ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea wins majority of seats in parliamentary elections condemned as fraudulent. Dozens of members of main opposition Popular Union are arrested.

Oil boost

2001 - Economy emerges as one of world's fastest-growing because of oil exploitation. Opposition says trickle-down effect of growth is too slow, too small.

2001 March - Eight exiled opposition parties form a coalition in Spain to overhaul politics at home, saying democracy under Obiang is a sham.

2001 July - Exiled politician Florentino Ecomo Nsogo, head of the Party of Reconstruction and Social Well-Being (PRBS), returns home as the first opposition figure to respond to an appeal by President Obiang Nguema, who wants opposition parties to register.

Mass trial

2002 June - Court jails 68 people for up to 20 years for alleged coup plot against President Obiang Nguema. They include main opposition leader Placido Mico Abogo. EU is concerned that confessions were obtained under duress. Amnesty International says many defendants showed signs of torture.

2002 December - President Obiang Nguema re-elected. Authorities say he won 100% of the vote. Opposition leaders had pulled out of the poll, citing fraud and irregularities.

2003 August - Exiled opposition leaders form self-proclaimed government-in-exile in Madrid, Spain.

Opposition leader Placido Mico Abogo and 17 other political prisoners released.

Coup arrests

2004 March - Suspected mercenaries arrested over alleged coup attempt; group is linked to suspected mercenaries detained in Zimbabwe. Crackdown on immigrants ensues; hundreds of foreigners deported.

2004 April - Parliamentary elections: President Obiang's party and its allies take 98 of 100 seats. Foreign observers criticise poll and result.

2004 August-November- Foreigners accused of plotting coup to overthrow President Obiang are tried in Malabo. Their South African leader is sentenced to 34 years in jail.

Simon Mann, the British leader of a group of mercenaries accused of involvement in the alleged coup plot and arrested in Zimbabwe, is tried in Harare and sentenced to seven years in jail there. His sentence is later reduced to four years on appeal.

2005 January - Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, tells a South African court that he helped to finance the alleged 2004 coup plot, but did so unwittingly.

2005 June - President amnesties six Armenians convicted of taking part in the alleged 2004 coup plot.

2005 July - 55 people killed when passenger aircraft crashes shortly after take-off from Malabo.

2005 September - Military court jails 23 defendants, most of them military officers, who are accused of plotting a coup in 2004.

2005 December - Spain withdraws the asylum status of exiled opposition leader Severo Moto saying he was involved in several coup attempts.

2006 August - The government resigns en masse. The president had accused it of corruption and poor leadership. Key ministers are reappointed.

2006 October - President Obiang says Equatorial Guinea plans to double its revenue share from oil production contracts.

2007 May - New airline launched to replace the national carrier EGA which was forced to shut over safety concerns.

2007 November - Four Equatorial Guineans sentenced for alleged role in 2004 coup plot.

2008 February - British mercenary Simon Mann is extradited from Zimbabwe to Equatorial Guinea to stand trial for his alleged role in 2004 coup plot.

2008 March - Spain restores exiled opposition leader Severo Moto's asylum status.

2008 April - Spanish police arrest Mr Moto on suspicion of trying to ship weapons to Equatorial Guinea.

2008 July - President Obiang accepts resignation of the entire government, accusing it of corruption and mismanagement; appoints Ignacio Milam Tang as new prime minister.

British mercenary Simon Mann and four South Africans sentenced to 34 years in prison for taking part in 2004 coup plot. They are pardoned and released in November 2009.

2008 October - Cameroon charges two policemen with kidnapping rebel colonel Cipriano Nguema Mba and returning him to Equatorial Guinea, which denies all knowledge.

Presidential palace attack

2009 February - Presidential palace allegedly comes under attack. Seven Nigerians are later jailed over the incident.

2009 November - Presidential elections. President Obiang wins again.

2010 August - Four alleged coup plotters are executed within hours of being found guilty.

2010 October - Controversy over United Nations agency Unesco plans to grant a scientific research prize sponsored by President Obiang. The prize is approved but Mr Obiang's name is dropped from its title.

2010 November - French appeal court authorises probe of corruption charges against three African heads of state, including President Obiang.

2011 June - Amnesty International alleges wave of arrests targeting political opponents, migrants and students ahead of African Union summit in Malabo.

2011 November - Referendum on constitutional changes, which critics describe as a power grab.

2012 January - Equatorial Guinea co-hosts Africa Cup of Nations, the continent's biggest football tournament.

President's son, Teodorin, asks US court to dismiss a US bid to seize $71 million worth of his assets, denying they were obtained through corruption.

2012 May - Teodorin is promoted to vice president.

2012 July - France issues arrest warrant for Teodorin, in a probe into alleged misspending of public funds.

2013 May - Opposition activists are arrested in run-up to parliamentary elections.

2014 March - Teodorin is put under formal investigation in France over money laundering allegations. He denies embezzling state funds.

2014 October - Teodorin is forced to relinquish more than 30 million dollars of assets in the United States, which the authorities there say were bought with stolen money.

President Obiang grants an amnesty for political crimes, as part of efforts to convince exiled politicians and other opposition figures to join a "national dialogue".

2014 November - Equatorial Guinea is chosen to replace Morocco as host of the 2015 African Cup of Nations, after Morocco refused to host the competition because of fears about Ebola.

Government says its national dialogue with political parties has led to agreement in some areas.

2015 January - Police arrest opposition politician Celestino Nvo Okenve and human rights activist Santiago Martin over their calls for a boycott of the African Cup of Nations.

2016 April - Teodoro Obiang gains another term of office in elections.

2016 February - Government moves its headquarters from Malabo to Djibloho, also known as Oyala, an unfinished city deep in the rainforest.

2017 October - A French court hands down a three-year suspended jail sentence to Vice-President Teodorin Obiang for embezzlement, money laundering and corruption.

2018 January - The authorities say they thwarted an attempted coup the previous month.

2018 May - Supreme Court upholds ban on the country's main opposition party, the CI Party, which is accused of involvement in acts of violence ahead of last year's elections.