1858-1884 - France invades Vietnam and makes Vietnam a colony.
October 1930 - Ho Chi Minh helps found the Indochinese Communist Party.
September 1940 - Japan invades Vietnam.
May 1941 - Ho Chi Minh establishes the Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam).
September 2, 1945 - Ho Chi Minh declares an independent Vietnam, called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
January 1950 - The Viet Minh receive military advisors and weapons from China.
July 1950 - The United States pledges $15 million worth of military aid to France to help them fight in Vietnam.
May 7, 1954 - The French suffer a decisive defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.
July 21, 1954 - The Geneva Accords creates a cease-fire for the peaceful withdrawal of the French from Vietnam and provides a temporary boundary between North and South Vietnam at the 17th parallel.
October 26, 1955 - South Vietnam declares itself the Republic of Vietnam, with newly elected Ngo Dinh Diem as president.
December 20, 1960 - The National Liberation Front (NLF), also called the Viet Cong, is established in South Vietnam.
November 2, 1963 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is executed during a coup.
August 2 and 4, 1964 - North Vietnamese attack two U.S. destroyers sitting in international waters (the Gulf of Tonkin Incident).
August 7, 1964 - In response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
March 2, 1965 - A sustained U.S. aerial bombing campaign of North Vietnam begins (Operation Rolling Thunder).
March 8, 1965 - The first U.S. combat troops arrive in Vietnam.
January 30, 1968 - The North Vietnamese join forces with the Viet Cong to launch the Tet Offensive, attacking approximately one hundred South Vietnamese cities and towns.
March 16, 1968 - U.S. soldiers kill hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in the town of Mai Lai.
July 1968 - General William Westmoreland, who had been in charge of the U.S. troops in Vietnam, is replaced by General Creighton Abrams.
December 1968 - U.S. troops in Vietnam reaches 540,000.
July 1969 - President Nixon orders the first of many U.S. troop withdrawals from Vietnam.
September 3, 1969 - Communist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh dies at age 79.
November 13, 1969 - The American public learns of the Mai Lai massacre.
April 30, 1970 - President Nixon announces that U.S. troops will attack enemy locations in Cambodia. This news sparks nationwide protests, especially on college campuses.
June 13, 1971 - Portions of the Pentagon Papers are published in The New York Times.
March 1972 - The North Vietnamese cross the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the 17th parallel to attack South Vietnam in what became known as the Easter Offensive.
January 27, 1973 - The Paris Peace Accords are signed that provide a cease-fire.
March 29, 1973 - The last U.S. troops are withdrawn from Vietnam.
March 1975 - North Vietnam launches a massive assault on South Vietnam.
April 30, 1975 - South Vietnam surrenders to the communists.
July 2, 1976 - Vietnam is unified as a communist country, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
November 13, 1982 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. is dedicated.