A chronology of key events
1768 - Gurkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah conquers Kathmandu and lays foundations for unified kingdom.
1792 - Nepalese expansion halted by defeat at hands of Chinese in Tibet.
1814-16 - Anglo-Nepalese War; culminates in treaty which establishes Nepal's current boundaries.
1846 - Nepal falls under sway of hereditary chief ministers known as Ranas, who dominate the monarchy and cut off country from outside world.
1923 - Treaty with Britain affirms Nepal's sovereignty.
1950 - Anti-Rana forces based in India form alliance with monarch.
1951 - End of Rana rule. Sovereignty of crown restored and anti-Rana rebels in Nepalese Congress Party form government.
May 1953 - New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepal's Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
1955 - Nepal joins the United Nations.
1955 - King Tribhuwan dies, King Mahendra ascends throne.
1959 - Multi-party Constitution adopted.
1960 - King Mahendra seizes control and suspends Parliament, Constitution and party politics after Nepali Congress Party (NCP) wins elections with BP Koirala as premier.
1962 - New Constitution provides for non-party system of councils known as "panchayat" under which king exercises sole power. First elections to Rastriya Panchayat held in 1963.
1972 - King Mahendra dies, succeeded by Birendra.
1980 - Constitutional referendum follows agitation for reform. Small majority favours keeping existing panchayat system. King agrees to allow direct elections to national assembly - but on a non-party basis.
1990 - Pro-democracy agitation co-ordinated by NCP and leftist groups. Street protests suppressed by security forces resulting in deaths and mass arrests. King Birendra eventually bows to pressure and agrees to new democratic Constitution.
1991 - Nepali Congress Party wins first democratic elections. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes prime minister.
1997 - Continuing political instability as Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is defeated and replaced by Lokendra Bahadur Chand. Chand is then forced to resign because of party splits and is replaced by Surya Bahadur Thapa.
1998 - Thapa stands down because of party splits. GP Koirala returns as prime minister heading a coalition government.
1999 - Fresh elections give majority to Nepali Congress Party. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai becomes prime minister.
2000 - Prime Minister Bhattarai steps down after revolt in Nepali Congress Party. GP Koirala returns as prime minister, heading the ninth government in 10 years.
June 2001 - King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and other close relatives killed in shooting spree by drunken Crown Prince Dipendra, who then shoots himself.
June 2001 - Prince Gyanendra crowned King of Nepal after the late King Birendra's son, Dipendra - who had been declared king on June 2 - died of injuries sustained during the palace shooting.
July 2001 - Maoist rebels step up campaign of violence. Sher Bahadur Deuba becomes prime minister, heading the 11th government in 11 years, after Girija Prasad Koirala quits over the violence.
November 2001 - State of emergency declared after more than 100 people are killed in four days of violence. King Gyanendra orders army to crush the Maoist rebels.
May 2002 - Parliament dissolved, fresh elections called amid political confrontation over extending the state of emergency. Deuba expelled by his Nepali Congress party, heads interim government, renews emergency.
August 2003 - Rebels pull out of peace talks with government and end seven-month truce. Rebels call three-day general strike in September.
April 2004 - Nepal joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
May 2004 - Royalist Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa resigns following weeks of street protests by opposition groups.
June 2004 - King Gyanendra reappoints Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister
February 2005 - King Gyanendra dismisses Prime Minister Deuba and his government, declares a state of emergency and assumes direct power, citing the need to defeat Maoist rebels.
April 2005 - King lifts the state of emergency.
July 2005 - Royal anti-graft commission sentences former Prime Minister Deuba to two years in jail for corruption.
September 2005 - Rebels announce a three-month, unilateral ceasefire, the first truce since peace talks broke down in 2003. The truce is later extended to four months.
November 2005 - Maoist rebels and main opposition parties agree on a programme intended to restore democracy.
January 2006 - Maoist rebels announce end to four-month ceasefire.
February 2006: Maoists order a seven-day general strike, one of the longest ever by the rebels.
April 2006: More than 300 demonstrators are arrested at the start of a four-day general strike called by the opposition and Maoists. Protests and clashes continue in Nepal.
King Gyanendra makes his first formal approach to the political parties, urging them to join talks to put democracy back on track and announces general elections. The opposition rejects the offer.
King agrees to reinstate Parliament. Veteran politician GP Koirala is appointed as prime minister. Maoist rebels call a three-month ceasefire.
May 2006 - Government and communist rebels began peace talks and sign a 25-point "code of conduct" to make the peace talks successful.
June 2006 - Maoist leader Prachanda and Premier GP Koirala hold talks and agree that the rebels should be brought into an interim government.