3 million years ago: Presence of Hominidae in the Transvaal

300.000-200.000 years ago: Presence of the Khoisan Civilization in Cape Town and the Drakensberg

3 centuries AD: Bantu peoples progressively settle in the north

1488: Bartholomew Dias lands at the Cape of Good Hope

1652: Arrival of Jan van Riebeeck; First European settlements

1681: First slaves from Asia and Madagascar

1687-1690: Arrival of the French Huguenots

1795: Annexation of Cape Town by the British

1802: France and Great Britain sign the Treaty of Amiens. The Cape Town settlement is given back to the Dutch

1806: The British occupy Cape Town again

1815: Shaka becomes King of the Zulus

1833: Defeat of the Zulu army at the battle of Blood River

1834: Beginning of the “Great Trek” from Cape Town

1852-53: The Boers found the Republics of Transvaal and Free State of Orange

1867: First diamonds discovered

1880: First Anglo-Boer war. The Imperial Prince, son of Napoleon 3rd and Empress Eugenie, fights on the British side

1886: Discovery of the Wiwatersrand gold mines. Foundation of Johannesburg

1893-1914: Presence of the Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa

1899-1902: Second Anglo-Boer war. Victory of the British (the Transvaal and Free State of Orange become British colonies)

1900: Paul Kruger tours Europe; President Emile Loubert receives him at the Elysée

1905-1906: Rebellion of Zulu Chief Bambatha in Natal, violently repressed

1910: Creation of the South African Union, under British dominion

1912: Foundation of the African National Congress (ANC)

1914: Foundation of the Afrikaner National Party (NP) by JB Hertzog

1930: Women obtain the right to vote

1931: The South African Union becomes an independent dominion

1948: Victory of the National Party. Instauration of the apartheid regime

1951: Max Theiler is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his work on yellow fever

1952: Civil disobedience campaign

1955: Upon the initiative of the ANC, adoption of the Freedom Charter by 3.000 delegates from opposition parties

1959: Foundation of the Pan African Congress (PAC) by ANC dissidents

1960: Demonstrations against the “pass” system. Sharpeville Massacre. A state of emergency is declared and African Organisations, including the ANC and PAC, are dissolved. Albert Luthuli, Chairman of the ANC, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

1961: South Africa leaves the Commonwealth and becomes a Republic

1964: Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and Dennis Goldberg are sentenced to life imprisonment

1976: Beginning of the Soweto Riots (16 June)

1977: Steve Biko is arrested. The UN Security Council imposes an embargo on weapons

1984: The Archbishop of Cape Town, Mgr Desmond Tutu, receives the Nobel Peace Prize

1986: The US Congress imposes sanctions against South Africa. Legislation on passes is abrogated. A state of emergency is declared in the country. Thousands of people are placed in custody, the press is censored. Several apartheid Acts are abrogated

1989: Unofficial negotiations between the Government and the ANC. Political prisoners are released, including Walter Sisulu. Public spaces are desegregated. Frederik de Klerk and Nelson Mandela meet for the first time (13 December)

February 1990: Frederik de Klerk gives an address laying the foundations of the political transition. Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners are released (11 February) and liberation movements are authorized again

1991: Official abolition of apartheid. Nadine Gordimer is given the Nobel Prize in Literature

1992: Victory for the “Yes” side in the (whites-only) referendum on whether the negotiations should continue

1993: Creation of a Government of National Unity. Mandela and de Klerk receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The UN and Europe lift sanctions. Frederik de Klerk announces the destruction of the nuclear weapons stock

April 1994: The Interim Constitution comes into force. The first multiracial elections are held. Nelson Mandela is elected as the first President of the Republic of South Africa (10 May)

May-June 1994: South Africa joins the AUO, the Non Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. The UN Security Council lifts its embargo on weapons

1995: Beginning of the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

1996: Nelson Mandela signs the permanent Constitution

1997: Entry into force of the new Constitution. Thabo Mbeki takes over from Nelson Mandela as the Head of the ANC

July 2002: In Durban, the AUO becomes the African Union (AU)

March 2003: The TRC reports back to President Mbeki. John Maxwell Coetzee is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

March 2004: South Africa is chosen to be the host of the Pan-African Parliament

April 2004: Third General Election. President Thabo Mbeki is reelected

November 2004: State Visit of President Mbeki to France

16 October 2006: South Africa is elected as a Non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council

October 2007: The Springboks win the Rugby World Cup in France

February 2008: French President Nicolas Sarkozy goes on a State Visit to South Africa

September 2008: Resignation of President Mbeki

6 May 2009: Jacob Zuma is elected as the new President of South Africa

June-July 2010: South Africa hosts the FIFA Soccer World Cup

12 October 2010: South Africa is elected, for the second time in less than 10 years, as a Non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council for 2011-2012

24 December 2010: South Africa joins the BRIC group of emerging countries which become the BRICS

2-3 March 2011: President Zuma pays a State visit to France

January 2012: The ANC celebrates its 100th anniversary

15 July 2012: Mrs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, becomes the chair of the African Union commission

2012-2013: Cross Cultural seasons France-South Africa

November 2013: President Hollande on a State visit to South Africa

5 December 20135: Former president and father of the nation Nelson Mandela passes away

April 2014: General elections. South Africa celebrates its 20 years of democracy