- 1000 BC
Illyrians (ancestors of modern-day Albanians) settle in the Balkans.
- 400 BC
Greek colonies are founded along the Adriatic coast in present-day Croatia and Albania.
- AD 272
Roman Emperor Constantine the Great is born in what is today the city of Niš in southern Serbia; he converts to Christianity on his deathbed.
- 5th & 6th centuries
Slav tribes (farmers and herders originally from eastern Ukraine) cross south of the Danube River.
Ban Tomislav unites the first independent Croatian kingdom, although it's not confirmed whether he was ever crowned.
European Christianity divides between Catholic and Orthodox churches. Croats remain under the Catholic influence of Rome and Serbs under the Orthodox influence of Constantinople.
Peak of Serbian Golden Age under Tsar Stefan Dušan, the most powerful of all kings from the Nemanjić dynasty.
Serbs fight Turks at Kosovo Polje; exact events remain unclear ever since although the battle is generally considered a victory for the Ottomans.
Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg defends Albania against Ottoman Turks; they finally take control of Kruja in 1478.
The Ottoman Empire reaches the height of its power under Suleyman the Magnificent, who takes Belgrade in 1521 and besieges Vienna in 1529.
After the failure of the First Serbian Uprising from 1804, Serbia wins de facto independence through the Second Serbian Uprising against the Turks.
Serbia and Montenegro are recognised as fully independent by the Treaty of Berlin. Austro-Hungarian empire takes over Bosnia and Hercegovina.
The First Balkan War begins; Turks are forced to concede present-day Macedonia and Kosovo to Serbia. Albania declares independence.
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is formed after the end of WWI under the Serbian Karadjordjević dynasty; it's renamed Yugoslavia in 1929.
Hitler invades Yugoslavia by bombing Belgrade on 6 April; Croatian fascists take power in the puppet Independent State of Croatia.
After the end of WWII, the leader of Partisan resistance movement Tito forms the new socialist Yugoslavia.
Under Enver Hoxha's hard-line communist rule, Albania's Chinese-style cultural revolution attacks all religions.
After a gradual worsening of relations, Albania breaks with the People's Republic of China and achieves near-total isolation.
Serbia's president Slobodan Milošević abolishes the autonomy of the republic's two provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina.
Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia declare independence from Yugoslavia; wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina begin.
Communists lose power in Albania and the country descended into a free-market vacuum of anarchy.
Croatian army overruns separatist Serb territories in the so-called Operation Storm, and 150,000 civilians flee to Serbia.
The Dayton Agreement ends the conflict in Bosnia, dividing the country into a Serb republic (49% of the territory) and a Croat-Muslim federation (51% of the territory).
Anarchy reign in Albania, as the collapse of pyramid banking schemes set off a violent uprising.
Kosovo becomes a UN protectorate after NATO launches a 78-day anti-Serbian bombing campaign on 24 March.
A short armed conflict between ethnic Albanians and Macedonian security forces ends with the Ohrid Agreement.
Union of Serbia and Montenegro is proclaimed, replacing the rump Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which existed since 1992.
Slovenia is the first of ex-Yugoslav republics to join the European Union.
Union of Serbia and Montenegro breaks up after a referendum in Montenegro, in which 55.5% of voters voted for independence narrowly passing the 55% threshold.
Kosovo declares independence from Serbia. It's recognised by the US and most of the EU countries, but not by Serbia or Russia.
One of the first Eastern European countries to join NATO's Partnership for Peace, Albania becomes a full NATO member.
Croatia joins the EU as its 28th member state after a decade of negotiations.
Montenegro officially joins NATO, despite political discord within the country.