Fast Facts: Milestones in Somalia's History

The following is a list of events in Somali history since independence.

• July 1, 1960: Formerly British-ruled Somaliland Protectorate and former Italian Somaliland merge, become independent.

• Oct. 21, 1969: Bloodless coup, following which Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre becomes president.

• January 1991: Barre is overthrown by clan-based rebels, who quickly turn on each other.

• April 1992: Massive U.N. relief operation begins to help thousands of civilians left starving because of fighting. More than 100,000 people die in 1991-92.

• August 1992: U.S. planes begin delivering food to Somalia; within a month U.S. Marines arrive to guard it.

• December 1992: First U.S. troops arrive in Somalia.

• January 1993: U.S. stages first air strike on warlord's headquarters.

• October 1993: Militiamen shoot down Blackhawk helicopter; 18 servicemen die in crash and subsequent rescue attempt. U.S. troops reduce combat operations against warlords.

• March 1994: U.S. troops withdraw from Somalia, leaving a U.N. peacekeeping operation in place.

• March 1995: U.S. Marines escort the last U.N. peacekeepers out of Somalia, ending a two-year, $2 billion relief operation.

• August 1998: Simultaneous suicide bombings destroy the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing more than 200 Africans and 12 Americans. The ringleaders flee to Somalia.

• November 2002: An al-Qaida cell attacks an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya, killing 15, and attempts to shoot down an Israeli-owned airliner over Kenya. Investigators believe the same men responsible for the embassy bombings planned the attacks, and again fled to Somalia afterward.

• March 2003: Warlord Mohammed Dhere captures a suspect in the 1998 bombings and turns him over the U.S. authorities, via Kenya. There are reports he has captured other suspected al-Qaida members and handed them to U.S. authorities as well.

• October 2004: After two years of U.N.-sponsored talks, Somali warlords and civilian leaders meeting in Nairobi agree on a new government with former Col. Abdullahi Yusuf as president.

• March 2005: Islamic leader Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former army colonel, threatens a holy war if foreign troops enter Somalia again, and pledges to establish an Islamic government.

• Feb. 26, 2006: U.N.-backed parliament meets for the first time inside Somalia, in the central town of Baidoa.

• March 21-24, 2006: The Alliance for the Restoration of Hope and Counterterrorism fights against the extremist Islamic Courts Union for the first time, leaving 73 people dead in Mogadishu. Aweys accuses the United States of financing the alliance.

• June 5, 2006: Islamic militia claims control of Mogadishu after weeks of bloody fighting.