(Reuters) - Leaders of Cyprus' estranged Greek and Turkish communities launched talks on Wednesday to reunite the island.
Following is a chronology of key events in Cypriot history since independence:
1960 - Britain grants independence to Cyprus under a power-sharing constitution between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
1964 - Power sharing crumbles amid fighting; government formed without Turkish Cypriots and recognised worldwide as only legitimate authority on island. U.N. peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) established.
1974 - Military junta in Greece backs July coup against President Archbishop Makarios. Five days later Turkish troops invade Cyprus.
-- Turkey and Greece come close to war. The coup quickly collapses as does the Athens junta. Turkish forces occupy the northern third of the island.
1983 - Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash declares a breakaway state in northern Cyprus. Only Turkey recognises it.
1989 - U.N. brokers agreement with Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides for partial military disengagement of sentry posts in Nicosia and its suburbs where the two were near each other.
2002 - U.N. presents a peace plan for Cyprus calling for broad power-sharing and a return of territory to Greek Cypriots.
2003 - President Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, loses election to Tassos Papadopoulos.
-- Denktash authorises opening checkpoints on the so-called "Green Line" for day trips.
April 24, 2004 - Greek Cypriots reject U.N. power-sharing plan in referendum. Turkish Cypriots, under new leadership of Mehmet Ali Talat, accept it.
-- May 1 - Cyprus joins the EU, still partitioned.
October 4, 2005 - Turkey starts EU entry negotiations. Cyprus says Turkey must open its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic.
-- May 21, 2006 - The first election since the 2004 referendum reaffirms Greek Cypriot backing for leaders advocating a tougher stance towards Turkey in EU entry talks.
-- July 8 - Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders agree to a framework for resuming peace talks.
September 5, 2007 - Papadopoulos and Talat fail to make progress in relaunching peace talks.
February 24, 2008 - Communist party leader Demetris Christofias wins presidential election and agrees to revive reunification efforts.
March 21 - Christofias and Talat meet. They agree to reopen the barricaded Ledra Street in Nicosia.
April 3 - Greek and Turkish Cypriots pull down barricades that have separated them for half a century, reopening Ledra Street. Turkish Cypriot leader Talat crosses the newly opened checkpoint on April 11 in a signal of closer ties.
July 25 - The U.N. announces that Greek and Turkish leaders will launch direct negotiations on September 3.