Bangladesh profile - Timeline

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A chronology of key events:

1947 - British colonial rule over India ends. A largely Muslim state comprising East and West Pakistan is established, either side of India. The two provinces are separated from each other by more than 1,500 km of Indian territory.

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Indian military support during the independence war of 1971 helped East Pakistan break away to form Bangladesh

1949 - The Awami League is established to campaign for East Pakistan's autonomy from West Pakistan.

1970 - The Awami League wins an overwhelming election victory in East Pakistan. The government in West Pakistan refuses to recognise the results, leading to rioting.

Cyclone hits East Pakistan - up to 500,000 people are killed.


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Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from Pakistan

1971 - Awami League proclaims independence of the province as Bangladesh. Pakistan is defeated in brief war, with Indian assistance.

1972 - League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman becomes prime minister and begins a programme of nationalising key industries.

1974 - Severe floods devastate much of the grain crop, leading to an estimated 28,000 deaths.

1975 - Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is assassinated in a military coup in August. Martial law is imposed.

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Ziaur Rahman, pictured with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was assassinated in 1981

1977 - General Ziaur Rahman becomes president.

1981 - President Ziaur Rahman is assassinated in abortive coup.

Ershad era

1982 - General Hussain Muhammad Ershad seizes power.

1983 - Limited political activity is permitted.

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Hussain Muhammad Ershad seized power. He later stepped down following popular protests

1986 - President Ershad lifts martial law and reinstates the constitution.

1987 - State of emergency declared after opposition demonstrations and strikes.

1988 - Islam becomes state religion. Floods leave tens of millions homeless.

1990 - President Ershad steps down following mass protests.

1991 - Begum Khaleda Zia, widow of President Ziaur Rahman, becomes prime minister, shifts power away from presidency.

Awami League returns

1996 - Awami League returns to power under with Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

1998 - Two-thirds of the country devastated by the worst floods ever. Fifteen former army officers sentenced to death for involvement in assassination of President Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

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Garment exports are a mainstay of the economy

2001 October - Khaleda Zia's Nationalist Party takes power in coalition government.

2002 March - Government introduces law making acid attacks punishable by death amid public anger over escalating violence against women.

2004 May - Parliament amends constitution to reserve 45 seats for female MPs.

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Political antagonism spilled over into the streets in 2006

2007 April - Sheikh Hasina is charged with murder and Begum Khaleda Zia is placed under virtual house arrest in clampdown by caretaker government after a year of violent political unrest.

2008 December - General elections: Awami League captures more than 250 of 300 seats in parliament. Sheikh Hasina is sworn in as prime minister in January.

2009 February - Around 74 people, mainly army officers, are killed in a mutiny in Dhaka by border guards unhappy with pay and conditions. Police arrest some 700 guards. A further 1,000 guards are detained in May.

2013 April - Sheikh Hasina vetoes Islamist bill to outlaw criticism of Islam.

2013 May - European retailers promise to sign an accord to improve safety conditions in factories after a garment factory building collapsed in April, killing more than 1,100 people.

Jamaat-e-Islami trials

2013 July - Ghulam Azam, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, is convicted of war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. Several other Jamaat leaders are convicted in the following years.

2015 May - Bangladesh bans Islamist militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team, which claims responsibility for killing and assaulting several pro-secular public figures.

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Dhaka: The capital is one of the world's most densely-populated cities

2016 July - The Islamic State group claims an attack on a cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter in which 20 hostages, including 18 foreigners, are killed, but the government rejects the claim saying the militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen was responsible.

2017 October - The number of Rohingya Muslims who fled military action in Myanmar's Rakhine state and sought refuge in Bangladesh is estimated at one million.

2018 February - Opposition leader Khaleda Zia is sentenced to five years in prison for corruption, disqualifying her from contesting the elections later in the year.

2018 December - Governing Awami League wins landslide victory in parliamentary election, but the campaign was marred by reports of violence, intimidation, and vote-rigging. At least 17 people died in clashes between Awami League and opposition supporters.