1989 Poland is the first eastern European nation to elect a post-communist form of government.
1990 Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity movement in Poland under communism, is elected president for five years. Under Walesa's leadership, Poland sees greater privatization and other market reforms.
1994 Poland becomes a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, paving the way for a future induction to the Alliance.
1995 Aleksander Kwasniewski becomes the new president with a close vote.
1997 Parliament adopts a new constitution. Solidarity party members dominate the general election.
June 1998 National police chief Marek Papala is assassinated outside of his home. On October 20, 2006, the suspect, Edward Mazur, is arrested by the FBI in Chicago and is now in the process of being extradited back to Poland from the United States.
March 1999 Poland officially joins NATO.
2000 Kwasniewski wins presidential reelection.
2001 Poland publicly releases the files maintained by the secret police on every Polish citizen during the communist era.
2002 Journalist Jerzy Urban publishes an article criticizing Pope John Paul II. He is fined US$8,000 for slander. In 2006, Urban files an appeal saying the allegation violates his right to free speech. The appeal is still pending as of 2008.
February 2004 Prime Minister Leszek Miller resigns following declining popularity and rumors of corruption stemming from his drastic economic efforts to prime Poland for its May accession to the EU. He is succeeded by Marek Belka, the former finance minister.
May 2004 Poland joins the European Union along with nine other Eastern bloc countries.
Leading Polish journalist Waldemar Milewicz and another member of his crew are killed in an ambush while covering the war in Iraq.
October 2005 The Law and Justice party candidate, Lech Kaczynski, wins the presidential election following the success of the party in September's general election. Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz replaces Belka as Prime Minister.
May 2006 Three senior government officials are arrested and accused of granting tax exemptions to businessmen and organized criminals in exchange for monetary bribes.
July 2006 Marcinkiewicz resigns following a dispute with party leaders. President Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, becomes the new Prime Minister. The Kaczynskis vow to combat corruption and crime.
March 2007 The Washington Post reports, "a controversial law went into effect requiring an estimated 700,000 civil servants, teachers and journalists to sign an oath declaring whether they collaborated with the communist secret police before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Anyone caught lying, or who refuses to sign, is to be fired." Polish citizens view this law with mixed emotions, feeling the need for reparations but not wishing to further divide their nation.
April 2007 Former government minister Barbara Blida commits suicide as Internal Security Agents search her home on charges of corruption, specifically of receiving material bribes. Thirteen others are searched in connection with similar charges.
June 2007 A Human Rights Watch report reveals that the CIA maintained secret prisons in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2005 in order to interrogate terrorist suspects.
July 2007 The Central Anti-corruption Bureau detains two people suspected of bribing Agriculture Minister Andrzej Lepper with US$1.2 million in exchange for favorable land-use agreements.
August 2007 Janusz Kaczmarek, interior minister, is dismissed from his position after the Anti-corruption Bureau finds him responsible for leaking information which impeded a sting operation by the Bureau. The former chief of police, Konrad Kornatowski, is arrested, as is Jaromir Netzel, CEO of Poland's largest insurer, PZU
Former parliament member Stanislaw Lyzwinski is arrested and accused of accepting sexual favors from women in exchange for placing them in jobs. Lyzwinski was immune from prosecution until the end of his Parliament term. He now faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.
The ruling coalition government is failing, calling for the need for the forthcoming elections to be held earlier than scheduled.
September 2007 Polish author Krystian Bala is sentenced to 25 years in prison for planning the murder of Dariusz Janiszewski. Janiszewski's body was found in the Oder River in Poland in December 2000. Autopsies revealed his death was eerily similar to the death of a character in Bala's book, "Amok."
October 2007 The general election occurs with the liberal, pro-EU party winning a majority of votes.
J. Kaczynski is defeated by Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform, losing his place aside still-reigning president Lech Kaczynski. Tusk vows to improve relations with the European Union, which had become strained in recent months due to Poland's adherence to non-EU voting rules.
November 2007 Henryk Stoklosa, Polish billionaire businessman, is arrested in connection with a 2006 corruption investigation into three ministry officials..
December 2007 Beata Sawicka, parliamentary member and mayor of Hel, is released on bail following her October 2007 arrest on charges of accepting a bribe leading up to the parliamentary elections.
July 2008 Former Prime Minister Marek Belka is named Director of the IMF's European Department.