9 August 1961: Britain formally applies to join what was then called the European Economic Community (EEC).

14 January 1963: France's president Charles de Gaulle vetoes the application. He rejects it again on 27 November 1967.

1 January 1973:  Britain finally enters the EEC at the same time as Ireland and Denmark, after De Gaulle has left office..

5 June 1975: In a referendum called by the new Labour government on remaining in the EEC, more than 67% of Britons vote "Yes".

30 November 1979: New Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher demands a rebate on Britain's contribution to the European budget, reportedly demanding at a summit: "I want my money back." She gets her way in 1984.

20 September 1988: Thatcher gives a speech in the Belgian city of Bruges that becomes a rallying cry among eurosceptics for less European political integration.

7 February 1992: A new stage of political and economic integration is launched by the Maastricht Treaty under which the bloc becomes the European Union. Britain secures an opt-out from some provisions, including joining a planned single currency.

23 July 1993: After infighting in his governing Conservative Party over integration in Europe, prime minister John Major survives a confidence vote.

23 June 2016: At a referendum organized after the Conservatives come to power in 2015, Britain votes by 52% to 48% to quit the EU. Prime minister David Cameron, who had campaigned to remain, resigns.

29 March 2017: Mr Cameron's successor, Theresa May, starts the two-year countdown to Britain leaving the EU with a formal letter of notice to EU president Donald Tusk.

22 November 2018: Britain and the EU reach a provisional agreement on their post-Brexit relations, a week after striking a draft divorce deal. It is formalised on 25 November by EU leaders.

15 January 2019: Britain's lower house of parliament votes against the deal, the first of three times it will do so.

22 March 2019: The EU approves delaying Brexit to 12 April 2019

10-11 April 2019: The EU agrees to delay Brexit until 31 October.

24 July 2019: Brexit figurehead Boris Johnson replaces May as prime minister, vowing to take Britain out of the EU on 31 October with or without a deal.

17 October 2019: European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Mr Johnson announce their agreement on a new draft Brexit accord. The British parliament delays its vote on the text, forcing Mr Johnson to ask Brussels for a new postponement of the Brexit date. It is set for 31 January 2020.

12 December 2019: At snap elections on 12 December, Mr Johnson's Conservatives secure a large parliamentary majority, ensuring easy passage for his divorce deal.

31 January 2020: Brexit comes into force at 11pm British and Irish time. There will be a transition period until at least 31 December 2020, to allow both sides to work out their new relationship, notably on trade

De Gaulle Speech in 1963

"England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her exchanges, her markets, her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has in all her doings very marked and very original habits and traditions. In short, the nature, the structure, the very situation (conjuncture) that are England’s differ profoundly from those of the continentals".

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