A chronology of key events:
1542 - Spanish expedition claims the islands and names them the Philippines after the heir to the Spanish throne.
1896 - Civil and armed campaign for independence from Spanish rule begins.
1898 - Revolutionary forces under Emilio Aguinaldo proclaim independence.
1898 December - During brief Spanish-American War, US Navy destroys Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. Spain cedes Philippines to US, which proclaims military rule.
1899 - Revolutionaries refuse to recognise US takeover, proclaim First Philippine Republic with General Aguinaldo as president, launch armed struggle against US forces known as Philippine-American War.
1901 - Emilio Aguinaldo captured.
1902 - Philippine-American War formally ends as US civil government replaces military rule. Some independence forces fight on until defeat of Moro resistance in south in 1913.
1907 - Elected Philippine assembly inaugurated under US rule. 1916 - US government promises Philippines greater autonomy, leading to independence.
1935 - A plebiscite approves establishment of Commonwealth of Philippines. Manuel Quezon is its first president. Philippines promised full independence within 10 years.
Invasion and occupation
1941 - Japan seizes Philippines.
1944 - US forces retake islands.
1946 - Islands granted full independence and renamed Republic of the Philippines.
1947 - The US is awarded military bases on the islands.
1951 - Peace treaty signed with Japan. The Philippines eventually receive $800m in reparations payments.
1965 - Ferdinand Marcos becomes president.
1969 - Marcos re-elected amidst allegations of electoral fraud. Supports US policy in Vietnam. Muslim separatists in south begin guerrilla war.
1972 - Marcos declares martial law. Parliament suspended, opposition politicians arrested, censorship imposed.
1973 - New constitution gives Marcos absolute powers.
1977 - Opposition leader Benigno Aquino sentenced to death, but Marcos delays execution.
1980 - Aquino allowed to travel to US for medical treatment.
1981 - Martial law lifted. Marcos wins presidential elections.
1983 - Aquino returns to Philippines, but is shot dead as he leaves plane amid suspicions of official military involvement.
1986 - Presidential elections see Marcos opposed by Aquino's widow Corazon. Marcos declares himself the winner, but Aquino disputes result. Mass protests, dubbed "people power", in Manila see military abandon Marcos, who flees to Hawaii. New government says Marcos looted billions of dollars during his rule.
1989 December - US jets assist Philippine government forces suppress attempted coup.
1990 - Military officials convicted of murder of Benigno Aquino.
1991 - US abandons Clark Air Base after volcanic eruption smothers it with ash.
1992 - Aquino's defence minister Fidel Ramos wins presidency. US closes Subic Bay Naval Station.
1996 - Peace agreement reached with Muslim separatist group, Moro National Liberation Front. Another group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), fights on.
1998 - Former film star Joseph Estrada elected president.
2000 November - Impeachment proceedings start against President Estrada on allegations of corruption, betrayal of public trust, and violation of the constitution.
2001 January - Suspension of impeachment causes mass street protests. Military withdraws support and President Estrada stands down. Vice-President Gloria Arroyo sworn in as president.
2001 March - MILF declares ceasefire, says ready to hold talks with government.
2001 April - Joseph Estrada is charged with plundering more than $80m from state funds while in office. Eventually found guilty and jailed for life. although he wins pardon.
2002 January - US and Filipino armies hold joint counter-terror exercises take place near stronghold of Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.
2002 October - Series of deadly bomb blasts on Manila bus and three locations in Zamboanga city blamed on Islamist militants.
2003 February - Ceasefire between MILF and government breaks down. Planned talks called off in May after rebel attack on Mindanao kills 30 people.
2003 July - Government signs another ceasefire with MILF ahead of planned talks in Malaysia.
Army mutiny in Manila as some 300 soldiers seize shopping centre, but surrender peacefully following negotiations.
2004 February - Peace talks between government and Maoist rebel New People's Army start in Norway, but are called off by the rebels in August.
2004 June - Gloria Arroyo wins May's presidential elections.
Arroyo under pressure
2005 January - Heavy fighting between troops and MILF rebels breaks July 2003 ceasefire.
2005 April- Breakthrough achieved on contentious issue of ancestral land achieved at peace talks in Malaysia between government and MILF rebels.
2005 June - Influential Cardinal Jaime Sin, who led the two peaceful revolts that toppled Presidents Marcos and Estrada, dies aged 76.
2006 February - More than 1,000 people are killed by a mudslide which engulfs a village on the central island of Leyte.
President Arroyo declares a week-long state of emergency after the army says it has foiled a planned coup.
2007 January - Death of Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani in 2006 confirmed.
2007 February - Government report accuses military of being behind the killings of hundreds of mainly left-wing activists since 2001.
2007 November - Renegade soldiers make failed coup bid at luxury hotel in Manila after breaking out of court where they were standing trial for failed 2003 mutiny.
Rebel peace accords
2008 July-August - Government negotiators say they have reached an agreement with MILF rebels on the expansion of a Muslim autonomous region in the south. Deal collapses after Christian communities raise objections and renewed fighting on the southern island of Mindanao leaves at least 30 people dead.
2008 December - Norwegian-brokered peace talks with Maoist guerrillas of the New People's Army (NPA) break down; NPA attacks army patrol on Mindanao.
2009 September - Army announces capture of leading MILF figure Camarudin Hadji Ali.
2009 November - An attack on group of people travelling to file election nomination papers on Mindanao leaves 57 dead. Victims' relatives blame the rival Ampatuan clan.
2009 December - Peace talks between Manila and MILF resume in Malaysia, after breaking down 16 months ago.
2010 February - The army captures Abu Sayyaf leader Mujibar Alih Amon, suspected of a kidnapping raid on a Malaysian resort in 2000 and the killing of Christian missionaries in 2001.
Prosecutors charge 196 more people with murder over the Maguindanao massacre in November, including Andal Ampatuan Snr, a former provincial governor and ally of President Arroyo.
Benigno Aquino elected
2010 June - Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino becomes president.
2010 September - Andal Ampatuan junior, a member of the powerful Ampatuan clan, goes on trial on charges of organising the Maguindanao mass killings.
2011 February - Manila and Maoist NPA agree to work towards a peace deal by 2012 at talks in Oslo, their first negotiations since the previous round broke down in 2004. Troops arrested prominent NPA member Tirso Alcantara the previous month.
2012 May - Philippines and Chinese naval vessels confront one another off the Scarborough Shoal reef in the South China Sea. Both countries claim the reef, which may have significant reserves of oil and gas.
2012 October - The government signs a framework peace plan with the Muslim rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front, ending a 40-year conflict that has cost an estimated 120,000 lives.
2012 December - Parliament defies the Catholic Church to vote for state-funded contraception, approving a bill that has been debated for 13 years.
2013 February - Armed followers of a self-proclaimed sultan invade Sabah state on Malaysian Borneo, sparking several days of fighting with Malaysian forces. More than 60 people are killed.
2013 May - Major diplomatic row erupts between Taiwan and the Philippines after Filipino coastguards kill a Taiwanese fisherman in disputed waters.
2013 September - Stand-off between the army and rebel remnants of Moro National Liberation Front in southern city of Zamboanga prompts 75,000 residents to flee.
2013 November - Typhoon Haiyan sweeps across central areas of the country leaving devastation and thousands of dead in its wake. A major international aid effort is organised to help more than four million people affected.
2014 March - The MILF rebel group signs a peace deal with the government that brings an end to one of Asia's longest and deadliest conflicts.
2014 April - Supreme Court approves a birth control law, which requires government health centres to distribute free contraceptives. The bill marks a defeat for the Catholic Church, which campaigned strongly against it.
2015 January - Forty-four police commandos are killed in clashes with Muslim rebels on the southern island of Mindanao, the largest loss of life for the security forces in recent memory.
2015 March - Hundreds of Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines register to vote in 2016 elections under peace deal designed to end four decades of conflict.
2016 June - Populist former mayor Rodrigo Duterte elected president, announces hard-line crackdown on drugs and suggests he might pivot from the US to China.
2016 June - The so-called Islamic State (IS) group acknowledges its operations in the Philippines in an official video, having recognised Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader, as "emir" there.
2016 July - Government welcomes the ruling in a case it brought before an international tribunal which concluded that China's claim to much of the resources in the South China Sea had no legal basis.
2017 May - Martial law imposed on the island of Mindanao after fighting erupts between security forces and Islamic State-linked militants of the Maute group and Isnilon Hapilon.
2017 October - Southern city of Marawai declared liberated from jihadist fighters who held it for almost five months.