August 1991 Azerbaijan declares independence from the Soviet Union. Ayaz Mutalibov, the former first secretary of the Azerbaijan Communist Party, becomes president.
March 1992 President Mutalibov resigns following the escalation of hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which formally declares independence from Azerbaijan in December. The subsequent two-year war results in more than 30,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees.
June 1992 Abulfaz Elchibey, leader of the opposition Popular Front Party (AXCP- Azarbaycan Xalq Cabhasi Partiyasi), is elected president. The worsening Nagorno-Karabakh situation, poor economic management and widespread corruption leads to an armed insurrection in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second-largest city, in June 1993. President Elchibey is deposed by a national referendum two months later, and the National Council confers presidential powers upon its new speaker, Heydar Aliyev.
October 1993 Aliyev is elected president with over 98 percent of the votes. He names Surat Husseinov prime minister.
May 1994 Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh sign a cease-fire agreement brokered by Russia. Despite the agreement, sporadic violence will continue for years.
October 1994 Prime Minister Husseinov is accused of plotting a coup supported by Russia, where he flees. Russia extradites Husseinov in March 1997 to Azerbaijan, where he is later sentenced to life imprisonment.
November 1995 Azerbaijan's first members of Parliament are elected.
February 1998 President Aliyev fires his Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov, who is linked to a building project scandal.
August 1998 The government lifts pre-publication censorship. However, politically-motivated defamation suits and the beating and detention of journalists continue.
November 1998 President Aliyev fires Gyulabbas Gakhramanov, head of the committee for refugees, for involvement in a scandal over embezzlement of foreign aid. He also reprimands other senior officials for their inability to control corruption.
September 2001 Czech-born financier Viktor Kozeny tells the Wall Street Journal he spent 381 billion manat (US$83 million) bribing high-ranking Azeri officials to give a U.S. client the contract for privatizing the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR).
January 2003 The Ministry of Tax begins investigating corruption in SOCAR, resulting in the arrest of two officials. The investigation reveals involvement of hundreds of private companies in the corruption scheme, but effects no real changes in SOCAR's accountability or transparency.
August 2003 Ailing President Aliyev appoints his son Ilham prime minister, putting him in line to succeed his father. The senior Aliyev dies in December.
October 2003 Ilham Aliyev is elected president in a landslide victory.
January 2004 Parliament adopts a new anti-corruption law that defines corruption and outlines public officials' responsibility to fight it but does not require them to disclose their assets or income. President Aliyev issues a decree in March delaying implementation of the law until January 2005 and establishing an anti-corruption agency under the prosecutor-general.
February 2004 Azerbaijan signs the U.N. Convention against Corruption.
April 2004 The Commission for the Fight against Corruption is constituted at the first meeting of the civil service executive board. The commission comprises members from all three branches of government but lacks civil society and media representatives.
December 2004 Several high-ranking military officers are arrested on corruption charges and dozens more are demoted. The officers are accused of participating in a scam involving the construction of canteens and other military facilities.
March 2005 Elmar Huseinov, editor of the opposition magazine Monitor and outspoken critic of the government, is killed in front of his Baku apartment building.
October 2005 Former Economic Development Minister Farhad Aliyev is dismissed from his post and charged with embezzlement and plotting a coup against the government.
November 2005 The ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP-Yeni Azarbaycan Partiyasi) wins the parliamentary election by a wide margin, after a campaign in which several opposition leaders are arrested or otherwise harassed by the government. International observers claim the election failed to meet democratic standards, and thousands of people turn out in the streets of Baku to protest the results. The constitutional court annuls the results in 10 districts, ordering new polls to take place in May 2006.
July 2006 An extensive survey conducted by the World Bank says corruption in Azerbaijan did not improve between 2002 and 2005.
July 2006 Haci Mammadov, former head of the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department, confesses to murdering Elmar Huseinov at the behest of dismissed Minister Farhad Aliyev. Aliyev maintains his innocence. Mammadov also admits to killing fellow Interior Ministry official Azer Ismaylov.
January 2007 Amnesty International states in its yearly report that journalists working on corruption and abuses of power by authorities in Azerbaijan face an increasing threat of politically motivated arrests and sometimes deadly attacks.
April 2007 Serious Crimes Court sentences former Health Minister Ali Insanow to 11 years in prison and confiscation of his US$17 million worth property after deciding that he was guilty of embezzling large amounts of state property and abusing the authority.
July 2006 Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline opens and Caspian oil starts flowing along it.
August 2006 Alihuseyn Shaliyev, a former Ministry of Economic Development official in pretrial detention, is found dead at a hospital. Shaliyev was arrested in October 2005 in connection with an alleged coup plan.
May 2007 At the joint office of the two opposition newspapers, the editor of Realniy Azerbaijan (Real Azerbaijan) said his paper and Gyundelik Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan Daily), are closed down by the authorities. Authorities claim that the office was closed because of problems in maintenance and fire safety. Almost a month before, a Baku court sentenced "Realniy Azerbaijan's" founder, Einulla Fatullayev, to 30 months in prison for defaming the armed forces.
May 2007 A court in Azerbaijan puts two independent journalists in jail because of their article which claims that Islam is hindering economic and political progress.
July 2007 Mushfig Guseinov, a journalist for the Bizim Yol (Our Way) newspaper, is arrested for taking a US$3,500 bribe from Rizvan Aliev, head of the office of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population, in exchange for not publishing scandalous information about him. A District Court sentences Guseinov to three months imprisonment. The journalist claims the arrest is retribution for earlier critical reporting. Other media groups complain that Aliev pressured them to take money in exchange for muzzling anti-government reporting. Aliev is not charged with any crime.
November 2007 Ganimat Zakhidov, editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Azadlyg (Freedom) is arrested for hooliganism after being attacked at the from door of his newspaper. European and American diplomats protest his detention. Zakhidov faces five years imprisonment if convicted.