A chronology of key events:
1492 - Christopher Columbus visits the island, which he names Hispaniola, or "Little Spain".
1496 - Spaniards set up first Spanish colony in Western hemisphere at Santo Domingo, which subsequently serves as capital of all Spanish colonies in America.
1697 - Treaty of Ryswick gives western part of Hispaniola island (Haiti) to France and eastern part (Santo Domingo - the present Dominican Republic) to Spain.
1795 - Spain cedes its portion of Hispaniola island to France.
1808 - Spain retakes Santo Domingo following revolt by Spanish Creoles.
1821 - Uprising against Spanish rules is followed by brief period of independence.
1822 - Haitian President Jean-Pierre Boyer marches his troops into Santo Domingo and annexes it.
Republic is born
1844 - Boyer overthrown; Santo Domingo declares its independence and becomes the Dominican Republic.
1861-63 - President Pedro Santana returns the Dominican Republic to Spanish rule.
1863-64 - Spain withdraws from, and annuls its annexation of, the Dominican Republic following a popular revolt.
1865 - The second Dominican Republic proclaimed.
1906 - Dominican Republic and US sign 50-year treaty according to which the US takes over the republic's customs department in return for buying its debts.
1916-24 - US forces occupy the Dominican Republic following internal disorder.
1924 - Constitutional government assumes control; US forces withdraw.
1930 - General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina establishes personal dictatorship following the overthrow of President Horacio Vazquez.
1937 - Army massacres 19,000-20,000 Haitians living in areas of the Dominican Republic adjacent to Haiti.
1960 - Organisation of American States adopts resolution calling for severance of diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic.
1961 - Trujillo assassinated.
1962 - Juan Bosch, founder of the leftist Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) elected president in the first democratic elections for nearly four decades.
1963 - Bosch deposed in military coup and replaced by a three-man civilian junta.
1965 - Some 30,000 US troops invade the Dominican Republic following a pro-Bosch uprising.
Return to democracy
1966 - Joaquin Balaguer, a Trujillo protege and former leader of the Reformist Party (later to become the centre-right Christian Social Reform Party (PRSC)), is elected president.
1978 - Silvestre Antonio Guzman (PRD) is elected president and proceeds to release some 200 political prisoners, ease media censorship and purge the armed forces of Balaguer supporters.
1979 - Two hurricanes leave more than 200,0000 people homeless and cause damage worth 1 billion dollars as the economy continues to deteriorate due to high fuel prices and low sugar prices.
1982 - Another PRD candidate, Jorge Blanco, elected president.
1985 - IMF-prescribed austerity measures, including price rises for basic foods and petrol, lead to widespread riots.
1986 - Balaguer (PRSC) re-elected president.
1988 - Jorge Blanco tried in absentia and found guilty of corruption during his presidential tenure.
1990 - Balaguer re-elected, defeating Bosch by a small majority.
1994 - Balaguer re-elected, but agrees to serve only a two-year term after being accused of fraud.
1996 - Leonel Fernandez Reyna of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) elected president.
1998 - Hurricane George causes widespread devastation.
2000 - PRD returned to power with Hipolito Mejia as president.
2001 May - Appeals court quashes a conviction against former president, Salvador Jorge Blanco, on charges of corruption.
2001 November - US jet bound for Santo Domingo crashes in New York killing all 255 people on board. Three days of national mourning declared.
2002 July - Former president Joaquin Balaguer dies aged 95; thousands pay their last respects to a man who dominated politics for more than 50 years.
2003 November - Deadly clashes between police and protesters during demonstrations against high prices, power cuts. Two months later, demonstrations about economic policies leave at least five dead.
2004 May - Former president Leonel Fernandez defeats incumbent Hipolito Mejia.
Severe floods in the south-west, and in parts of neighbouring Haiti, leave more than 2,000 dead or disappeared.
2005 September - Congress approves a proposed free trade agreement with the US and Central American nations. The DR enters the accord in March 2007.
2008 May - President Leonel Fernandez is re-elected.
2010 May - Congressional elections. Governing Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) retains firm grip on power.
2010 October - Dominican Republic tightens border restrictions to prevent cholera spreading from Haiti.
2012 May - Governing Dominican Liberation Party candidate Danilo Medina wins close presidential election over former president Hipolito Mejia.
2012 October - Hurricane Sandy causes extensive damage.
2013 September - Dominican Republic's highest court rules that the children of undocumented migrants are not eligible for Dominican nationality. Human rights groups warn that it could leave tens of thousands of people of Haitian descent stateless.
2014 May - The Dominican parliament approves a bill to grant citizenship to Dominican-born children of immigrants.
2016 May - President Danilo Medina is re-elected with a large majority.
2016 November - More than 20,000 people are displaced in flooding. The government declares a state of emergency.
2017 October - A report by the campaign group Transparency International lists the Dominican Republic as having the second highest bribery rate in Latin America and the Caribbean after Mexico.
2018 May - The Dominican Republic ends its long diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, establishing ties with China instead.
2020 August - Luis Abinader wins presidential election, ending 16 years of Liberation Party rule.