5000 BCE: The oldest traces of settlement in Mauritania. The people were blacks, and forming hunter-gatherer communities and. Around this time, Mauritania was mainly grassland.
Middle 3rd millennium BCE: Climatic changes in the region, leading to a much dryer climate.
1960 November 28: Mauritania becomes an independent nation state, and Ould Daddah president. But Mauritania is not allowed into the United Nations, as the establishment was against the interests of Morocco, which was close to Soviet Union at that time.
At the start, Mauritania involves itself strongly in several ambitious projects in order to develop the country. Most important is the development of the iron mines of Fderik, the completion of the railway from the iron plants to the coast near Nouadhibou, and the building of the new capital at Nouakchott.
1961 December: Ould Daddah was also involved in weakening possible political opposition, and forced the 4 largest parties to become one, the Parti du Peuple Mauritanien (PPM). With this Mauritania was in reality a one-party country.
A new constitution, a presidential one, is formed.
1966: Arabic becomes the compulsory teaching language in Mauritanian schools. This leads to strong reactions among the black population, and the capital saw many demonstrations leading to several deaths.
1968: Hassaniya Arabic and French become the official languages of Mauritania.
A long conflict starts over the status of the trade unions, which PPM tries to take over. The reaction among the Mauritanian population was strikes and riots over the following 4 years. Most poignant was the 2 month iron strike in 1971.
1969: Morocco formally recognizes Mauritania.
The iron company MIFERMA is nationalized.
Mauritania replaces the post-colonial currency of CFA Francs with their own Ougiya.
Early 1970's: Heavy drought drives many people from their villages, and into the larger cities (mainly Nouakchott).
1973: Mauritania is admitted into the Arab League.
1975: Mauritania enters into war with the Western Sahara army Polisario over the rights of the southern 1/3 of the land, called Tiris al-Gharbia. This war soon became highly unpopular among Mauritanians, who both sympathized with the Sahrawis, and didn't understand why Mauritania should spend its limited resources on conquering empty and worthless desert. Also, Polisario performed many successful actions inside Mauritania proper, affecting many people.
1976: Polisario attacks Nouakchott.
1978 July 9: A bloodless military coup is conducted by military leaders, and ousts Mokhtar Ould Daddah from power. A Comité Militaire de Redressement National (CMRN) is established with Mustafa Ould Salek as its chairman.
1979 April: Following much unrest inside the CMRN, a new Commité Militaire de Salut National (CMSN) is founded. Lt-Col Muhammad Luliy becomes prime minister.
August 5: Mauritania signs a peace treaty with Polisario. Mauritania withdraws from the southern one third of Western Sahara they had occupied. This is, however, now occupied by Morocco.
1980 January: Lt-Col Muhammad Khuna Haidalla performs a new coup, and takes control over the government by becoming president. He soon starts a policy of more political freedom.
Sharia is introduced as the foundation of Mauritanian law.
A cooperation is started with the Ba'th party of Iraq.
Slavery is officially abolished, but in many villages all over southern Mauritania the custom persists.
1981: After a coup attempt from the Parti Islamique fails, Haidalla stops the political liberalization process.
Lt-Col Ma'awiya Sid' Ahmad Ould Taya is appointed prime minister by the CMSN.
1983: Severe drought over Mauritania, which forces many people to move into the larger cities.
Sharia becomes the law in all fields, except banking and insurance.
Connections with the Ba'th party are closed.
1984 December 12: One more coup, this time it is the prime minister Ould Taya who deposes president Haidalla. Ould Taya has himself appointed president.
1985: Ould Taya starts a programme of economic recovery in cooperation with the World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Foundation). More emphasis is put on fishing and agriculture. He also starts campaigns to crack down on corruption and profiteering in the Mauritanian society.
1986 April: Forces de Libération Africaine de Mauritanie (FLAM) publishes The Manifesto of the Oppressed Black Mauritanian, where they accuses the white Mauritanians of systematically suppressing the blacks of the country. The government's response was to arrest 30 FLAM members.
1987-88: Racial tensions in Nouakchott, followed by dismissals of about 500 black officers from the army, as well as killings of both blacks and Arabs.
1989 April: Tensions between Mauritania and Senegal grows into near-war situation. Everything had started with small everyday conflicts between Mauritanians and Senegalese, which were followed by killings of Senegalese performed by Mauritanian border guards. In Senegal people reacted by driving Mauritanians out of their shops and killing a dozen Mauritanians. In Nouakchott, more than 200 Senegalese were killed. By the time tensions came to a rest, 100,000 Senegalese had been expelled from Mauritania, together with 50,000 black Mauritanians. Senegal on its side had expelled altogether 240,000 white Mauritanians.
1991 July 20: Mauritania becomes a multi-party country following a referendum over a new constitution. The constitution process had been strongly opposed by many groups, as they felt that their interests were not well protected. Among these groups were the black peoples and Islamists.
Diplomatic relations with Senegal are resumed.
Pulaar, Soninke and Wolof are recognized as national languages.
1992: Free president elections with Ould Taya as the victor. There were numerous accusations of fraud, and an another candidate, Ahmad Ould Daddah (half brother of the former president) tried to have the results annulled by the supreme court. Taya tried to ease tensions in the country by appointing several blacks members of the government.
1994 October: Actions against Islamic groups, who were accused of cooperating with foreign organizations. About 60 people were arrested.
Mid 1990's: Discoveries of new iron ores bring some optimism to Mauritania's limping economy.
1995 January 21: Bread riots starts in Nouakchott and last for 3 days, with burning cars and looting of shops. Many political leaders are arrested for weeks, among them Ahmad Ould Daddah.
Mauritania establishes diplomatic ties with Israel.
1996 January: Shaykh Afia Ould Muhammad Khouna is appointed prime minister.
October The party of the president, PRDS (Parti Republicain Démocratique et Social) wins 17 out of 18 seats in legislative elections.
1997 December: PRDS wins 97% of the votes in elections.
Muhammad Lamin Ould Guig is appointed new prime minister.
1998 Khouna returns to the position as prime minister.
2001 May: Oil is discovered on the offshore Chinguetti field.
2002: Mauritania is struck by devastating drought, resulting in reduced winter crops and the slaughtering of livestock.
2003: A new winter of drought results in increased problems from the previous year.
June 8-9: A military coup against the president fails after one day of fighting, in protest of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Israel and the arrest of Islamist activists.
2005 August 3: A military coup removes President Taya from power, while he is abroad attending the funeral of King Fahd. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall has himself appointed interim president.
2006 June 26: A new constitution accepted by an official 97% of the votes in a referendum, that sets limit to the duration of a presidency.
November 19: Parliamentary elections are staged.
2007 March 11/25: Presidential elections are held, permitting the participation of several candidates. This is the first time open and free elections are held in Mauritania. Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi wins to become new president. Moktar Ould Daddah comes in runner-up, receiving 47% of the votes in the second round.
December 24: Islamists kill 4 French tourists near Aleg, in the interior of the country. 9 activists were arrested, government stated a link between them and Al-Qa'ida.
2008 January 31: Attack on the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott. No one were killed.
August 6: A second military coup, President Abdallahi, the prime minister and the minister of internal affairs are arrested. No new interim leadership is named, rather power is transferred to a military junta, headed by General Ould Abdel Aziz.