From above: The Rohingya mass exodus
From above: The Rohingya mass exodus

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Rohingya crisis: How we got here

Updated 8:34 PM ET, Sun November 12, 2017

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(CNN)More than half a million Rohingya have fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State since August, pouring into Bangladesh with horrific stories of atrocities.

Separated from the rest of Myanmar by a rugged mountain chain, the region, once known as Arakan, has for most of its history been a distinct political entity.
The Rohingya trace their history here as far back as the eighth century and it's also home to the Rakhine, a predominantly Buddhist ethnic group. Here's a short history of the mostly Muslim Rohingya and some of the key events that have led to what the United Nations says is the world's fastest growing refugee crisis.
1057

1057

First unified Myanmar state established at Bagan.

1430

1430

Last Rakhine kingdom founded, with its capital in Mrauk U. Situated on the border between Buddhist and Muslim Asia, the city became one of Asia's richest. In 1785 it came under Burmese control.

1824-1948: British rule

1824-1948: British rule

The Muslim community in Rakhine expanded rapidly during colonial times, doubling from the 1880s to 1930s. Expanding rice cultivation required significant labor, largely filled by Muslim workers from neighboring Bengal.

1941-1945: World War II

1941-1945: World War II

Rakhine State was on the front line between the Japanese troops and allied forces. Muslims were mostly pro-British, while Rakhine Buddhists initially supported the Japanese.

1948

1948

Shortly after Myanmar's independence from British rule, a Muslim rebellion erupted in Rakhine, demanding equal rights and an autonomous area. The rebellion was eventually defeated.

1962

1962

Military rule begins. Rights that Rohingya had enjoyed before the coup were eroded. In 1978 and 1991, heavy-handed government campaigns pushed more than 200,000 Muslims across the border into Bangladesh.

1982

1982

New citizenship law passed identifying 135 national ethnic groups. The Rohingya aren't one of them, effectively rendering them stateless.

2010

November 13, 2010

Opposition leader and Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest.

2012

June 2012

Religious violence leaves more than 200 dead and close to 150,000 homeless in Rakhine -- predominantly Rohingya. Violence flares again in October. Between 2012 and 2015, more than 112,000 Rohingya flee, largely by boat to Malaysia.

2014

2014

Myanmar conducts first census in more than three decades but Rohingya are excluded.

2015

November 2015

In the first democratic elections since end of military rule, Rohingya aren't allowed to participate as candidates, nor as voters. Suu Kyi's party wins and she becomes de-facto leader in a power-sharing agreement with the military.

2016

October 9, 2016

About 300 Rohingya men attack border posts in Rakhine State, killing nine police officers, according to state media. The attacks spark an intense crackdown by the Myanmar military and trigger an exodus of 87,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh. Rohingya insurgent group, now known as Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), claims responsibility for the border post attack.

August 25, 2017

August 25, 2017

Myanmar's state media reports 12 security officers were killed by ARSA insurgents during a series of coordinated attacks targeting at least 20 police outposts and an army base in Rakhine State. Military responds with what they describe as "clearance operations," burning down villages and triggering a mass exodus of Rohingya to Bangladesh.

September 2017

September 19, 2017

In a televised speech, Suu Kyi condemned any human rights violations but was widely criticized for failing to acknowledge the alleged atrocities by the military. Myanmar's military has repeatedly denied conducting atrocities, saying it is targeting terrorists.

October 2017

October 23, 2017

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar since August 25.