A chronology of key events:
1918 November - Latvian National Council proclaims independence.
1918-20 - Civil war ends in peace treaty with Soviet Russia.
1934 - Prime minister Karlis Ulmanis seizes power following succession of unstable governments.
1940 - Soviet Union annexes Latvia, along with neighbouring Estonia and Latvia. Mass deportations to Siberia and Central Asia.
1941 - Nazi Germany invades. Some 70,000 Latvian Jews are killed by Nazi death squads and Latvian paramilitary units.
1944 - Soviet Army returns, heralding further waves of deportations and repression of resistance to Soviet rule.
1986 - First major anti-Soviet demonstrations held by nationalist and environmental activists.
1991 March - Referendum produces large majority in favour of independence.
1991 August - During the attempted anti-Gorbachev coup in Moscow, Omon forces again strike in Riga, causing another six deaths. Parliament declares the full restoration of independence.
1991 November - Citizenship law passed, giving citizenship to those who held it before Soviet occupation of 1940 and their descendants.
1993 July - Guntis Ulmanis elected president.
1994 August - Last Russian troops leave.
1999 - Vaira Vike-Freiberga is elected president - the first woman president in eastern Europe.
2002 May - Parliament votes to change election law in a bid to boost Nato membership chances, omitting clause requiring parliamentary candidates to be able to speak Latvian.
Nato, European Union membership
2003 September - Latvian referendum vote gives strong backing to EU membership.
2004 March - Latvia admitted to Nato.
2004 1 May - Latvia is one of 10 new states to join the European Union.
2006 August - New citizenship law requires applicants to pass Latvian language test.
2008 December - International Monetary Fund (IMF) approves 1.68bn euro rescue package to help Latvia ride out severe economic slump.
2009 January - Hundreds of demonstrators clash with police in Riga as anti-government protests over the terms of the IMF rescue package turn violent.
2010 January - Unemployment soars to 20%, giving Latvia the highest jobless rate in the EU.
2011 September - Pro-Russian Harmony Centre emerges as largest party in snap elections, but coalition government excludes it.
2012 February - Referendum on giving Russian joint official language status rejected by a large margin.
2014 January - Latvia joins the eurozone.
2014 September - US President Barack Obama visits Estonia to reassure the Baltic states that they can count on Nato protection, amid tensions following Russia's seizure of Crimea.
2014 October - Centre-right coalition wins a clear majority in parliamentary elections dominated by concern about Russia's intervention in Ukraine and its influence in the Baltic region.
2015 March - NATO reinforces its presence in the Baltic states and its forces conduct major military drills in the region.
2019 January - Arturs Krisjanis Karins became prime minister of a centre-right coalition, excluding the pro-Russia Harmony party that had emerged as the largest bloc after October 2018 parliamentary elections.