The first stone-age settlements are established on the south China coast.
Portuguese traders establish a colony at Macau.
Emperor Kangxi allows limited trade in Guangzhou (Canton). Ships begin arriving from the British East India Company.
British traders unload 1,000 chests of opium in Guangzhou.
China's opium consumption reaches 2,000 chests a year, forcing Beijing to ban the drug, which then drives the trade underground.
The British East India Company loses its monopoly on the opium trade to other European nations.
China appoints the anti-opium viceroy, Lin Zexu, to clean up drugs in Guangzhou. He confiscates around 20,000 chests of opium from the British. Hostilities mount until November, when British ships blow up four Chinese junks, sparking the first Anglo-Chinese War, which became known as the First Opium War.
Negotiations between China and Britain break down, and the British fleet attacks Guangzhou and occupies the city's forts. The two sides agree on a preliminary resolution (the Convention of Chuen Pi), which cedes the island of Hong Kong (population 5,000) to the British. But neither government is happy with the terms and both refuse to ratify it.
The Opium War ends and the British possession of Hong Kong is confirmed by the Treaty of Nanjing, which cedes Hong Kong Island to Britain "in perpetuity". Sir Henry Pottinger becomes the first British governor of Hong Kong.
The Chinese cede Kowloon and Stonecutter's Island to Britain. But hostilities continue, culminating in the Second Opium War.
A Sino-Portuguese treaty grants Macau colonial status similar to Hong Kong's.
Britain forces China to lease the New Territories, including the outlying islands, for 99 years.
Dr Sun Yat-sen overthrows the Qing dynasty and establishes the Republic of China.
Emperor Puyi abdicates, signalling the end of Imperial China.
The Chinese Communists declare war on Japan.
On Christmas Day the British surrender Hong Kong to the Japanese.
World War II ends and the British resume control of Hong Kong. China's civil war between the Communists and the Nationalists (Guomintang) resumes.
The Nationalists are defeated and flee to Taiwan. The Communists found the People's Republic of China.
With tens of thousands of people arriving each month, Hong Kong's population hits 2.2 million, but many are living in squatter camps. The Shek Kip Mei fire leaves 53,000 homeless. Public-housing policy is fast-tracked.
Cultural Revolution begins in China, spilling over into Hong Kong with riots over a price increase in the first class Star Ferry fare.
Opening of the first cross-harbour tunnel. Hong Kong population hits 4 million.
Death of Mao ushers in a new era for China.
Under Deng Xiaoping, China starts to reform its economy and open its doors to the world.
Hong Kong's US$1 billion Mass Transit Railway opens.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visits Beijing and Hong Kong to begin discussions on Hong Kong's future. China decides to develop Shenzhen, a small town on Hong Kong's northern border, into a Special Economic Zone.
China reveals its plans for Hong Kong to become a Special Administrative Region after 1997. Under the proposed terms, Hong Kong will keep its own capitalist system, judiciary and police, and the leading official will be a Hong Kong Chinese. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of 7.8.
The British Ambassador to China and the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister initial "A Draft Agreement on the Future of Hong Kong", ending two years of acrimony. The Hong Kong government starts to plan for the territory's administration in the years running up to 1997.
Britain and China ratify the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The colony holds its first election for the Legislatove Council (Legco), drawing criticism from China, which inisists that any political changes not accepted by Beijing will not be respected after the handover.
The proposed Basic Law, Hong Kong's post-handover consitution, is published.
One million people take to the streets to protest against the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Forced repatriation of Vietnamese boat people begins.
Hong Kong's 28th and last British governor, Chris Patten, arrives in the territory and proposes political reform. The move draws attacks from Beijing.
Legco passes Patten's proposed electoral reforms. China and the UK continue to squabble.
China resumes sovereignty on JUly 1, Tung Chee-hwa is appointed chief executive and Hong Kong becomes an SAR. The stock market dives in response to the Asian economic crisis.
Asian economic crisis worsens. First known human case of bird flu virus kills six people.
Typhoon York, Hong Kong's first "direct hit" since 1983, kills two and injures over 500. A pair of Giant Pandas, named An An and Jia Jia are given to Ocean Park by China. China resumes sovereignty of Macau on 20 December.
The deadly SARS virus spreads to Hong Kong, killing 299. Economic recovery stumbles. On 1 July, over half a million people join a march to protest against proposals for national security laws. The government backs down and shelves the plans indefinitely.
Mainland tourist arrivals boom and economic recovery begins. Up to half a million protestors again march on 1 July, calling for more democracy and local control over local affairs.
Tung Chee-hwa resigns and is succeeded by Donald Tsang.
As travel restrictions on the mainland continue to ease, Chinese visitor arrivals hits 13.6 million.
An 800-person election committee appoints Donald Tsang as CE until 2012. Hong Kong celebrates 4 years of economic growth and 10 years as an SAR of China. Two more pandas, named Le Le and Ying Ying, are given by the PRC.
To mark China's hosting the Olympic Games, the Central Government gives five Chinese Sturgeon, symbolising the five Olympic rings, to Hong Kong. Hong Kong hosts the equestrian events.