A chronology of key events:
3rd century - Iron Age Bantu-speaking tribes move into area from west-central Africa.
11th century - Shona empire develops between Limpopo and Zambezi rivers.
1498 - Portuguese expedition led by explorer Vasco da Gama drops anchor off Mozambican coast.
16-17th centuries - Portuguese venture into interior. Following military campaigns, colonists set up trading posts and mining enterprises and parcel-out land to European settlers.
18th-19th centuries - Mozambique becomes major slave-trading centre.
Slave trade banned
1842 - Portugal outlaws slave trade from Mozambique, but clandestine trade continues for decades.
1878 - Portugal leases large tracts of territory to trading companies, who use conscript African labour to further their interests and build infrastructure.
1932 - Portugal breaks up trading companies and imposes direct rule over colony.
1950s-60s - Colonial economy thrives, attracting thousands of Portuguese settlers.
1962 - Exiled activists form Mozambique Liberation Front - Frelimo - headed by Eduardo Mondlane.
1964 - Frelimo forces begin war of independence. Guerrilla tactics frustrate Portuguese and Frelimo take control of much of north.
1974 - Military coup in Portugal, new government agrees independence with Frelimo. More than 250,000 Portuguese inhabitants leave.
1975 - Mozambique becomes independent under Frelimo one-party rule of President Samora Machel.
1976 - Renamo anti-Frelimo group aided by Rhodesia and later South Africa.
1977 - Frelimo adopts Marxist-Leninism.
1986 - President Machel is killed in an air crash. Joaquim Chissano becomes president.
1989 - Frelimo renounces Marxist-Leninism as Soviet power collapses.
1990 - Government amends the constitution to allow a multi-party political system.
1992 - President Chissano and Renamo leader Afonso Dhaklama sign peace deal in Rome.
1995 - Mozambique joins Commonwealth.
2005 February - Frelimo's Armando Guebuza inaugurated as president after defeating Afonso Dhlakama in November presidential poll.
2006 July - The World Bank cancels most of Mozambique's debt under a plan promoted by the G8 nations.
2011 October - Italian energy company Eni says it's made a giant gas discovery off the coast of Cabo Delgado Province in the north.
2014 January - Hundreds flee renewed fighting between government forces and Renamo rebels in the south district of Homoine.
2014 October - The ruling Frelimo party and its candidate Filipe Nyusi win presidential and legislative elections after Renamo signs truce.
2017 January-August - President Nyusi and Renamo leader Dhlakama finally end conflict.
2017 November - Jihadist insurgency begins in Cabo Delgado Province in the north.
2019 March - Cyclone Idai causes extensive flooding and loss of life in Sofala Province.
2020 January - President Nyusi inaugurated after winning re-election for final five-year term.