South & Central America (inc. Atlantic Islands): key historical events

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decolonialisation movements

European exploration and colonisation

Belize – see Appendix 0 below

Bermuda -  see Appendix 1 below

Bolivia – see Appendix 2 below

Chile – see Appendix 3 below; also here, Pacific War; Chile/Bolivia/Peru war

Colombia – see Appendix 4 below

Dominican Republic – see Appendix 5 below

Ecuador (and Galapagos Islands) – see Appendix 6 below

El Salvador – see Appendix 7 below

Grenada – see Appendix 7a below

Guatemala – see Appendix 8 below

Guyana – see Appendix 9 below

Haiti – see Appendix 10 below

Honduras – see Appendix 10a below

Jamaica – see Appendix 10b below

Nicaragua – see Appendix 11 below

Panama – see Appendix 12 below

Paraguay – see Appendix 13 below

Peru (and Incas) (Chavin) (Moche) – see Appendix 14 below

Uruguay – see Appendix 15 below

Venezuela -  see Appendix 16 below


1/1/2012, The Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy seceded from Guadeloupe; thereby leaving the European Union.

10/10/2010, The Netherlands Antilles was dissolved; each island was given a new constitutional status.

31/7/1990,  In Trinidad, Muslim rebels released Prime Minister A R Robinson but held other hostages in Port Of Spain television station.

25/1/1988, Ramsewak Shankar was inaugurated as President of Surinam, ending 8 years of military rule.

7/8/1987, The leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua signed a peace plan in Guatemala City to end the 10-year conflict in the region.

18/9/1983, St Kitts and Nevis became independent.

1/11/1981. Antigua and Barbuda became independent from Britain.

27/10/1979. St Vincent and the Grenadines achieved independence.

22/2/1979. St Lucia became an independent member of the Commonwealth.

3/11/1978. The Caribbean island of Dominica became an independent member of the Commonwealth.

1/8/1976, Trinidad and Tobago became independent from Britain.

25/11/1975, Surinam became independent from The Netherlands.  It was formerly known as Dutch Guiana.

19/9/1974, Hurricane Fifi killed 8,000 in Honduras.

10/7/1973. The Bahamas became independent from Britain and joined the Commonwealth.  They had been  British colony since 1783.

1/8/1973, The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) was inaugurated.

30/5/1969, Rioting over low wages and unemployment broke out in Curacao. Shops were looted and burnt. From 1955 the oil refineries had begun to replace labour with automation, and began to contract out services such as cleaning and construction, and contractors paid lower wages than the refinery had done.

19/3/1969. British forces landed on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. The rebel government set up self-appointed President Ronald Webster offered no resistance. Many of the 6,000 islanders welcomed the British invasion force, whose arrival had already been announced by the BBC.

30/11/1966, Barbados proclaimed full independence.

10/7/1964, The Bahamas became independent from Britain.

31/8/1962. Trinidad and Tobago became independent.  It had been a British colony since 1802.

18/2/1960, Seven South American countries established the Latin American Free Trade Association.

1/8/1957, The West Indies Federation was formed.

7/2/1956, A conference was held in London on establishing the British Caribbean Federation; this was set up on 1/8/1957.

29/12/1954, The Netherlands enacted a ‘Statute of the Realm’, giving their remaining possessions in South America and the Caribbean autonomy in domestic affairs.

3/6/1954, The Dutch West Indies were given independence.

30/10/1950, Nationalist uprising in Puerto Rico.

20/1/1950, The first autonomous government of the South American territory of Dutch Guiana, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the ‘States of Surinam’, convened its first session.

1949, Costa Rica abolished its army, under the rule of President Figueres Ferrer, an associate of Fidel Castro.

26/12/1938, The Lima Declaration was issued.  A Pan-American conference in Peru issued a declaration of solidarity and adherence to democratic ideals, in the face of rising totalitarianism and tension in Europe and Asia.

5/3/1921, The US warned Costa Rica and Panama to settle their boundary dispute peacefully via arbitration.

8/5/1902. Mount Pelee on Martinique erupted, destroying the city of St Pierre and killing 30,000 people in just three minutes.

25/7/1898, During the SpanishAmerican War, the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico with a landing at Guánica.

3/2/1852, Argentina abandoned plans to annex Uruguay after De Rosas, Argentine dictator,  was defeated by a force of Brazilians and Uruguayans at the Battle of Caseros. De Rosas fled to Britain.

17/4/1839, The Republic of Guatemala was established.

17/12/1830 . Simon Bolivar died of tuberculosis.

18/7/1830, Uruguay’s constitution came into force.

4/6/1830, De Sucre, aged 35, was assassinated near Pasto, Colombia, as he tried to maintain the unity of Gran Colombia.

17/3/1825. The Spanish colony of Santo Domingo proclaimed its independence as the Dominican Republic.

9/12/1824, The Battle of Ayacucho. Jose de Sucre defeated a Spanish army twice the size of his own.

23/1/1823. The USA recognised the independent states of Argentina and Chile.

15/9/1821. (1) El Salvador proclaimed its independence and became a member of the United Provinces of Central America.

(2) Costa Rica became independent from Spain.

28/7/1821, San Martin and his forces liberated Peru, and proclaimed its independence from Spain.

7/8/1819, At the Battle of Boyaca, Simon Bolivar’s forces won decisively over the Spanish. As a result of this battle, New Granada (Colombia) gained independence from Spain, and eventually Bolivar was able to create the state of Gran Colombia (Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador).

3/2/1807, British forces captured Montevideo, Uruguay.

18/2/1797, The British captured the island of Trinidad from Spain. Spain had been forced to ally with France by Napoleon, making her at war with Britain. The British fleet blocked the Spanish fleet of Don Apodaca in the harbour of Port of Spain; the Spanish decided to scuttle (burn) their ships rather than  face annihilation and capture by the British.

22/7/1795, The Second Treaty of Basle. Spain ceded the Dominican Republic to France.

3/5/1790, Port Louis in Tobago was destroyed by fire.

3/2/1781. Having declared war on the Dutch (see 20/11/1780), the British captured from the Dutch the island of St Eustatius.

9/3/1741, British Admiral Edward Vernon began an assault on the Spanish city of Cartagena, in modern-day Colombia.

4/4/1720, In return for a loan of £7 million to finance war against France, the House of Lords passed the South Sea Bill, granting the South Sea Company a monopoly on trade with South America.

5/5/1659, Saint Helena was occupied by Captain John Dutton of the East India Company.

1647, William Sayle, former Governor of Bermuda, started a British colony on the island of Eeluthera, Bahamas. He named the island Eleuthera, from the Greek ‘eleutheros’ meaning ‘free’, because the new colonists would be able to carry on freely with their Puritan style of worship. The British colonists of 1647 found the Bahamas uninhabvited, because the Spanish, during the 1500s, after Columbus’s visit, had systematically rounded up all the indigenous Amerindians from the Caribbean islands to work in the Mexican silver mines.

1637, Commercial sugar plantations began on Barbados. This industry rapidly supplanted the former tobacco and indigo industries.

25/6/1635, The French Compagnie des Iles d’Amerique took possession of Martinique. St Pierre (destroyed by volcanic eruption in 1902) was founded this year. A colony established by Pierre Belain, Sieur d’Esnambuc, grew to 700 inhabitants by 1637.

1632, English settlements founded on Montserrat and Antigua.

1629, Britain laid claim to the Bahamas; they became a formal UK Crown colony in 1717.

1628, First English settlement on Nevis.

1627, First English settlement on Barbados.

1624, First English settlement on St Christopher.

31/1/1616, The Dutch navigator Willem Schouten completed the first voyage around Cape Horn. He named it Cape Hoorn after his birthplace in the Netherlands.

1604, The French occupied Guayana.

28/2/1574, The Spanish Inquisition burnt at the stake two Englishmen and an Irishman for ‘Lutheran heresy’. These were the first European victims of the Inquisition in the New World; previously only native Indians had been burnt, for ‘Aztec paganism’. A further 68 Englishmen were publically lashed and given long terms as galley-slaves. These men were from a fleet headed by Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake that had brought slaves from Africa to sell in the Caribbean, in defiance of a Spanish ban; Drake and Hawkins escaped but had to abandon two ships and crew.

1547, Hernan Cortez died in poverty in Spain.

24/8/1542, Spanish explorers from Quito, Peru, pushed on over the Andes and explored the river they called the Amazon, after the women warriors they met there. However this territory was claimed by Portugal under the Treaty of Tordesillas.

26/6/1541, Francisco Pizarro, Conquistador, was assassinated in Lima, by followers of a rival explorer, Almagro. The two had disputed over the area each was to control.

26/4/1538, At the Battle of Los Salinas, Almagro was defeated by Francisco Pizarro, who then seized Cuzco.

15/8/1537, Asunción was founded by Juan de Salazar y Espinoza

15/11/1533, Pizarro entered Cuzco.

29/8/1533, The end of the Inca Empire. Francisco Pizarro has arranged for Atahualpa to be tried on charges of murder, sedition and idolatry. King Atahualpa, last King of the Incas (1527-33) was at times overconfident; at times over-apprehensive of the Spanish, his vacillation allowed the Spanish to gain control of his empire. Found guilty this day, Atahualpa was executed by strangulation.

16/11/1532, Francisco Pizarro and his army arrived at the Inca city of Cajamarca, and forced the Inca Emperor, Atahualpa, to hand over much gold and silver.

27/12/1530, Spanish ships under Pizarro set sail from Panama into the Pacific to capture the gold and silver of the Inca Empire.

1527, Sebastian Cabot explored the Plate Estuary, and the Paraguay and Parana Rivers.

15/10/1522, Spanish Emperor Charles V promoted Herman Cortes to Governor-General of the new colony of Mexico, founded in 1521.

13/8/1522, Emperor Cuauhtemotzin surrendered Mexico City to the Spanish under Cortez.

31/8/1521, The major city of Tenochtitlan in Central America was conquered by Cortez after an 85-day battle.

10/7/1520, In Mexico, Cortez was driven out of Tenochtitlan by the Aztec leader, Cuauhtemoc. Cortez retreated to Tlaxcala.

30/6/1520. Montezuma II, the last Aztec ruler, was killed by his own people in Mexico City during the Spanish conquest of Mexico under Cortez.

8/11/1519, Hernán Cortés entered Tenochtitlan and the court of Aztec ruler Moctezuma.

15/8/1519, Panama City was founded.

24/4/1519, Montezuma II, the Aztec Emperor, sent envoys to attend the first Easter Mass to be celebrated in the Americas.

25/9/1513. The Spaniard Vasco Nunez de Balboa became the first European to see the Pacific from the Americas. Leaving his base near Darien he headed west across the Isthmus of Panama in a gruelling 25 day trek across 45 miles of almost impenetrable jungle. Hostile natives were an added hazard.

8/8/1508, Juan Ponce de León, a lieutenant under Columbus, founded the first Spanish settlement on Puerto Rico, Caparra, on August 8, 1508.

29/2/1504,  A total eclipse of the Moon. Christopher Columbus was stranded in Jamaica and needed provisions but the locals were reluctant to help him. Columbus knew the eclipse was due and warned the tribal leaders that his God would turn the Moon blood-red if they did not help him. The locals did not comply but when the Moon turned red as Columbus had foretold they did give him necessary provisions.

10/5/1503, Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands, he called them Las Tortugas, after the numerous sea turtles there.

18/9/1502, Christopher Columbus landed at Costa Rica.

10/5/1501. Amerigo Vespucci set sail for what is now called South America.  On 1/1/1502 his fleet entered the bay of Guanabara, where Rio de Janeiro now stands.

25/3/1501, Ascension Island was first sighted by the Portuguese navigator, Joao de Nova Gallego. He named it Ilha de Nossa Senhora de Conceicoa in honour of the Annunciation. It was rediscovered by Alfonso D’Albuquerque on Ascension Day 1503, and thereby acquired its present name.

31/7/1498, Christopher Columbus arrived at an island he called Trinidad.

7/6/1494, The Treaty of Tordesillas was signed. In 1493, Pope Alexander VI had set a line at 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands from north to south Pole; Spain had the rights to colonise west of this line, Portugal to the east. The 1494 Treaty moved this line a further 270 leagues to the west. This resulted in Portugal having possession of both Brazil and Africa; in turn this greatly facilitated the expansion of the slave trade, providing cheap labour for the sugar plantations.

4/5/1494. Christopher Columbus landed on an island he called Santa Gloria, now known as Jamaica.

19/11/1493, Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico, and claimed it for Spain.

3/11/1493, Christopher Columbus, on his second expedition, sighted the island now known as Dominica.

4/1/1493. Christopher Columbus left America on the return voyage to Spain in the Nina.

5/12/1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Santo Domingo.

12/10/1492. Christopher Columbus first saw land; it was not Asia but the continent of America. He called it San Salvador.  Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas.

3/8/1492. Christopher Columbus left Palos de la Frontera, Andalusia, south-west Spain, on his first voyage to search for a passage to the Far East via the Atlantic. He actually found the Americas.  He sailed in the Santa Maria, accompanied by the Nina and the Pinta. Columbus had delayed his sailing until after 2/8/1492 as that was the deadline for Jews to leave Spain; therefore Columbus was now departing from a ‘cleansed’ Spain.

1485, Hernan Cortez was born.

1475, Francisco Pizarro was born.

1432, The Azores, then uninhabited, were discovered by the Portuguese.


2800 BCE, Earliest known fishing villages in the Amazon.

3750 BCE, Earliest fishing villages in Peru.

5400 BCE, Llamas and alpacas were domesticated in the Andes.

5500 BCE, Corn, squash, avocado and chilis were being grown in Central America.

6000 BCE, Estimated date of start of sedentary agriculture in the Andes. Corn cultivation in Ecuador.

9500 BCE, Estimated date of human settlement reaching the tip of South America.


Appendix 0 – Belize

21/9/1981. Belize formerly British Honduras, became independent from Britain.  This was the last British colony on the American mainland.  A border dispute with Guatemala, which had delayed independence, remained unresolved.

1/6/1973. The British colony of British Honduras was officially renamed Belize.  See 21/1/1981.


Appendix 1 – Bermuda

1995, Bermudans rejected independence from Britain in a referendum.

10/3/1973, Following a period of political tension in Bermuda, the Governor, Sir Richard Sharples, was assassinated.

8/6/1968, Bermuda achieved internal self-government.

1677, The Bermuda topsoil was exhausted (see 1618), and the colonists turned to the sea freight industry, also some piracy.

1618, The Bermuda tobacco industry was booming, with 70,000 lbs a year being shipped to London, where it sold for 2s 6d a lb. See 1677.

12/3/1609, The Bermuda Islands became a British colony.

1511?, Bermuda was discovered by the Spanish explorer Juan de Bermudez.


Appendix 2 – Bolivia

9/1969, General Alfredo Ovando Candia deposed President Siles and became dictator.

9/10/1967. The revolutionary Marxist leader Che Guevara was captured in Bolivia and shot. Bolivian troops killed Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and six other guerrillas they had cornered in the village of La Higuera near Vallegrande. The Argentine born hero of Latin American revolutionaries, Guevara was a prominent figure in Fidel Castro’s successful Cuban Revolution of the 1950s and 60s. Guevara then decided to join other struggles of ‘liberation’. Guevara came from a middle class family and his travels convinced him that only violent revolution would solve the economic, political, and poverty problems facing many Latin American countries. The French philosopher Jean Paul Satre described him as ‘the most complete human being of our age’.

6/8/1825, Bolivia proclaimed itself a Republic, independent from Spain, after nearly 300 years of Spanish rule.  Antonio Sacre was the first President.

17/12/1819, Simon Bolivar, who had already secured the independence of Venezuela, became the President of the newly independent Bolivia.

30/11/1538, Sucre, Bolivia, was founded under the name of Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo.


Appendix 3Chile

13/10/2010, 33 Chilean miners were  rescued, having spent 69 days underground at San Jose mine.

10/12/2006, General Pinochet, former dictator of Chile (born 1915) died.

16/10/1998, British police placed Augusto Pinochet under house arrest during his medical treatment in Britain. Spain wanted to charge him with crimes of murder and torture.

11/1/1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, leader of the Coalition for Democracy, was elected President of Chile.

11/3/1990.  In Chilean democratic elections, 71-year-old Patricio Alwyn soundly beat Pinochet’s nominee, Hernan Buchi.

14/12/1989, Chile held its first free elections in 16 years. The winner was the Christian Democrat, Patricio Alwyn.

16/10/1988, Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London, after Spain had begun extradition proceedings against him relating to his overthrow of President Allende in 1973.

5/10/1988, The Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was defeated in a plebiscite meant to reinforce his rule. 55% voted against him.

6/11/1984. Chile’s president Pinochet re-imposed a state of emergency.

12/8/1983, 17 people were killed in Santiago, Chile, in protests against General Pinochet.

14/6/1983, Protests in Santiago, Chile, against the rule of General Pinochet.

11/3/1981, Chilean President Augusto Pinochet was sworn in for an 8-year term as President.

11/9/1980, A referendum in Chile approved an eight-year extension of Pinochet’s military government.

12/3/1977, In Chile, political parties were banned and censorship was tightened.

21/9/1976, The former Chilean Ambassador to the US, Orlando Letelier, was killed by a car bomb explosion in Washington DC. He had been an outspoken critic of President Pinochet.

14/9/1973, Most Chileans supported the coup by Pinochet, believing he had saved the country from a Left-wing coup. Pinochet began a savage repression of Allende’s supporters. Many were executed without trial, or simply ‘disappeared’. Congress was dismissed and strict Press control began. This repression was to continue for the next fifteen years.

11/9/1973. A military junta took control in Chile after President Salvador Allende, elected leader of a left-wing government, was deposed. He committed suicide as his palace was bombarded by planes and tanks. The coup was mounted by General Augusto Pinochet, and backed by the USA. Pinochet had made a show of loyalty towards Allende right up till the moment it was clear the military coup was going to succeed.

This was the prelude to a savage repression in Chile in which at least 3,000 civilians were killed, and tens of thousands tortured or exiled. A majority of Chileans had probably favoured the overthrow of Allende, but did not support the repression that followed. Allende had attempted to run a Socialist government but with parliamentary democracy; however there was widespread unrest from business interests, and a major lorry drivers strike in 1972-3, backed by the CIA.  Coups swiftly followed in Uruguay and Argentina, where 30,000 were killed by the dictatorship.

Due to Pinochet’s rule, and that of Mexico’s Carlos Salinas and Peru’s Alberto Fujimori, many Latin Americans in 2003 associate free-market economics with authoritarian rule. Augusto Pinochet ruled for 17 years. His free-market reforms led to rapid economic growth for Chile, but at great cost to human life and rights.

22/8/1973, The Chilean Interior Minister, General Carlos Prats, warned Allende that a coup was now inevitable. Prats resigned, and reassured Allende that his replacement, General Pinochet, was loyal to him. However Prats also warned Allende that the momentum for a coup by the Army was now so strong that any officer who tried to resist it would be powerless.

26/7/1973, A truckers strike began in Chile, backed by the CIA. After 2 months the strike was estimated to have cost the Chilean economy some US$ 100 million, and inflation reached 320%. The Chamber of Deputies called on the Chilean Army to stage a coup to overthrow Allende, and unlike in 1970 (see 17/9/1970) the Army generals were happy to comply, fearing a Left-wing coup. The Deputies hoped that after the coup the Army would retire and civilian rule resume.

1972, Chile’s economy imploded, as the Balance of Payments deficit rose to US$ 298 million, inflation reached 163%, and real wages fell by 7%. Allende was forced to consider food rationing as agricultural imports rose 84% to US$ 400 million. Chile began printing money to cover the deficit. The USSR was also reluctant to bail out a President who had made such a mess of his own economy. With themiddle class destroyed by Allende, the country was polarised into his keen supporters and strong opposers, and with both sides amassing arms stockpiles, even civil war seemed possible. Nixon was happy.

11/1971, Chile suspended foreign loan repayments, unable to make them. The first year of Allende’s rule had appeared to be economically successful. Chilean unemployment had fallen to 3.8%, industrial production was up 6.3% on the previous 12 months, agricultural productivity was up 5.3%, and real wages were 27% higher. Now, however, the wealthy were resentful that they had paid for this success, whilst the Left believed there was no limit to their gains. In fact the economic gains were illusory, brought about by a one-off windfall from nationalising foreign assets in Chile. By end-1971 shortages began appearing in Chilean shops. Housewives protested in what became nown as the ‘March of the Empty Pots’. US President Nixon cut foreign aid to Chile at this time, as did other Western powers.

3/11/1970. Allende became President of Chile. He nationalised much of the Chilean economy, recognised the Castro regime in Cuba, and was regarded as a danger by the USA.Chile.

22/9/1970, In Chile, Viaux’s operatives severely injured Schneider (see 17/9/1970); he died three days later. However no coup resulted from this assassination, and Vaux’s supporters melted away. To the great relief of Nixon, no US connection was uncovered by the Chileans. Allende was duly elected President by Congress, with 153 votes for him and just 42 against or abstaining.

17/9/1970, The CIA began investigating ways to stop Allende becoming President of Chile (see 4/9/1970). The Chilean military were unhappy with the prospect of Allende as leader. A Chilean General, Roberto Viaux, ambitious but recently dismissed from service, was willing to assassinate Allende, but the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Army, General Rene Schneider, was too principled and would not interfere with the democratic process, even if it had produced Allende as winner. The danger was that the coup would fail, the connection to the CIA would be exposed, and the US would suffer a setback comparable to the failed Bay of Pigs adventure in Cuba, a failed 12961 attempt to oust Fidel Castro. The US administration was coming around to playing the long game, living with the Allende administration until 1976 when the next elections were due and he would no longer be President. See 22/9/1970.

4/9/1970, Salvador Allende, Communist, was elected President of Chile. In the 1964 Chilean elections the Right wing Christian Democrat, Eduardo Frei, had won 56% of the vote, against Allende’s 39.4%. However Frei had raised unfulfilled expectations regarding the alleviation of serious underdevelopment in Chile; he had also lost support by taxing the rich, Chilean debt and inflation had worsened as Frei overborrowed, Yet he still had sufficient support to win in 1970, but under Chilean law he could not run for a second term, so the Right chose the uncharismatic Radomiro Tomic as candidate. The US administration and CIA did not believe Allende would win and spent only a small amount – US$ 400,000 – on influencing the Chilean electorate. President Nixon did not want to be seen to overtly intervene in the election. A US company, ITT, with interests in Chile, offered the CIA US$ 1 million to stop Allende but this was turned down. Allende actually won with 36.3% of the vote, a smaller share than he got in 1964, because a third candidate split the opposition vote. The US administration now decided they had until 24/10/1970, 7 weeks, until the Chilean Congress conformed the Presidency, to stop Chile going Communist. Nixon feared that with Communists in both Chile and Cuba, South America would become a ‘Red sandwich’.

7/3/1937, Parliamentary elections were held in Chile. The Liberal Party won a slim majority in the Senate and tied with the Conservative Party in the Chamber of Deputies.

5/9/1924, In Chile, a military junta took power.

25/11/1915, General Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator who overthrew Allende in 1973, was born.

26/7/1908, Salvadore Allende, President of Chile 1970-3, was born.

28/8/1891, Fighting near Valpariaso, Chile.

1888, Chile gained sovereignty over Easter Island.

4/4/1884. By the Treaty of Valparaiso, Bolivia granted Chile the right to control Antofagasta, including the Atacama Desert.

22/10/1883, The Chilean occupation of Lima, Peru, ended, see 17/1/1881.

1881, Argentina and Chile agreed in a treaty that their mutual border should be “The line of highest peaks which divides the waters”. However subsequent exploration revealed that faster flowing westwards streams had, by headwaters erosion, established a watershead many miles east of the line of highest peaks of the Andes. The two countries asked Queen Victoria of Britain to arbitrate a border, which was done at the Courth of Arbitration in 1902, by best available mapping. Subsequently, improved mapping rendered that border ambiguous, and in 1965 the British Government was again asked to arbitrate. On 9/12/1966 the British Government set a new border, which was marked on the ground in early 1967.

17/1/1881, A Chilean army occupied Peru, see 22/10/1883.

17/12/1879. Chilean troops took Lima, Peru.

23/3/1879, The Pacific War between Chile and Bolivia, Peru. Bolivia had seized the assets of the Chilean Nitrate Company at Antofagusta, then in the Bolivian province of Atacama.  On this day Chilean militia marched into Bolivian territory.  Bolivia had declared war on 1/3/1879 but Peru did not declare war until 5/4/1879; this delay enabled Chile to occupy all Bolivia’s ports, and from there to attack Peru.

14/2/1879. The Chilean army under Colonel Emilio Sotomayor Baeza occupied the Bolivian Pacific port of Antofagasta, and on 1/3/1879 Bolivia declared war against Chile. Chile also occupied part of the Peruvian Pacific coast. On 11/12/1883 a peace treaty between Chile and Bolivia was signed whereby Bolivia agreed to the occupation of its seacoast by Chile

31/3/1866, A Spanish fleet under Admiral Casto Mendez Nunez bombarded the port of Valparaiso, Chile. Peru allied with Chile.

1862, The short-lived Mapuche ‘Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia’ was jointly supressed by Chile and Argentina. The Mapuche tribes of southern South America had made a treaty with the Spanish in 1641 establishing their territory as south of the Bobio River in what is now Chile. For some decades the area south of the Bobio was barely touched by European settlers. When Chile began to colonise the area, a French lawyer, Orelie-Antoine de Tounens, attempted, in 1861 to save the Mapuche lands by establishing himself as ‘king’ of the area. Under international law at the time, annexing a people ruyled by a Christian European monarch would have been illegan. However in 1862 Chile arrested de Tounens for sedition, only reprieving him from execution becayse he was deemed insane. De Tounens, banished from Chile, retiunred to France where he died in poverty in 1878, never succeeding in his aim of returning to the Mapuche territory. Chilean and Argentine colonisation of the Maouche lands resulted in a decline in Mapuche numbers of 90%. In 2017 an estimated 1.5 million Mapuche lived in Chile and a further 0.2 million resided in Argentine territory. Their fight for a homeland continues with attacks on farms, suppressed by military raids and heavy law enforcement.

1849,The city of Puntas Arenas (Sand Point) was founded, as a penal colony,

1846, The Chilean Government invited people from Germany to migrate there, to establish agriculture.

4/9/1821, Jose Miguel Carrera, leader in the Chilean fight for independence from Spain, died (born 15/10/1785).

5/4/1818, Chile achieved independence from Spanish rule, after a revolutionary war led by Bernard O’Higgins.

12/2/1818. Chile proclaimed independence from Spain after a revolution led by San Martin and Bernard O’Higgins.

15/10/1785, Jose Miguel Carrera, leader in the Chilean fight for independence from Spain, was born (died 4/9/1821).

1550, The city of Conception was founded by Pedro de Valdivia.

12/2/1541, The Spaniards founded Santiago, Chile.


Appendix 4 – Colombia

6/2017, In Colombia, FARC rebels handed in their weapons, formally ending their insurgency.

11/2016, The Colombian Government and FARC signed a new peace deal in Cuba.

10/2016, In a referendum, the Colombian people rejected a peace deal between the government and Communist FARC guerillas

6/2016, A ceasefire in the 52-year long guerrilla war between the Colombian Government and Communist FARC rebels. The war had killed over 220,000 people and displaced 6 million Colombians.

1999, The guerrilla war in Colombia intensified; Communist FARC supporters kidnapped some 3,000 people.

1997, In Colombia the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) Party was founded by three brothers whose father had been killed by FARC. The AUC went on to kill thousands of FARC supporters.

6/12/1989, In Colombia, 40 were killed by a bomb at the security police headquarters.

27/8/1989, The Medellin drugs cartel declared guerrilla war on the Colombian Government, after President Virgilio Barco reinstated extradition to the USA, a process abandoned by the courts after bribery and threats of violence.

1986, In Colombia the Patriotic Union Party, founded by FARC Communist rebels,won several elections. However its leaders were targeted by right-wing forces.

1982, Communist FARC rebels in Colombia started initial peace talks with Colombian President Belisario Betancur.

5/1966, Communist gierillas under Manuel Marilunda joined with other left-wing rebels in Colombia to form the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). They raised money by kidnappings and drug trafficking.

5/1964, Around 50 Communist rebels against the Colombian Government organised under the leadership of Manuel Marilunda.

9/4/1948, Major riots in Bogota, Colombia, following the assassination of the popular liberal-nationalist politician, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan. Martial law was declared under moderate-conservative Mariano Ospina Perez; the pro-Nazi Gomez became President of Colombia in 1950.

24/5/1934, Colombia and Peru negotiated over the disputed Amazonian port of Leticia, claimed by both countries.

1/9/1932, A band of Peruvians invaded the Colombian port of Leticia, on the Amazon; the Peruvian Government backed their action.

17/10/1903, Following the Colombian Senate’s refusal, in August 1903, of the US’s offer (June 1902) to buy the Panama Canal Zone for US$ 10 million, Panamanian dissidents travelled to Washington and agreed to stage a US backed secession of Panama from Colombia. The date for this secession was set for 3/11/1903 at 6pm, local time. The Panamanians were led by Dr Manuel Amador. President Roosevelt was angered by the Colombian rebuttal, and was said to have referred to ‘those contemptible little creatures in Bogota’.

9/8/1901. Colombian troops invaded Venezuela.

20/7/1810, Colombia declared its independence from Spain.

6/8/1538, Bogota, Colombia, was founded by Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada.


Appendix 5 – Dominican Republic

6/1966, In the Dominican Republic, Bosch was defeated in Presidential elections by former President Balaguer. Under Bosch, the Dominican Republic received much aid from the US to repair the damage done in the 1965 civil war; unemployment, however, remained high. Balaguer was re-elected in 1970 but amidst charges of election fraud; Bosch supporters boycotted the election.

28/4/1965, US forces invaded the Dominican Republic. This country had been in political turmoil since the death of the longstanding dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961. Free elections in December 1962 brought the mildly left-wing Juan Bosch to power, but he was quickly deposed in a military coup. This right-wing military junta was itself deposed in a further coup led by Colonel Francisco Caama, and Bosch was invited to return from exile and restore democracy. However the US was extremely wary, after Cuba, of any more leftist regimes being established in the Caribbean. On 28/4 US troops occupied the western half of the capital, Santo Domingo, whilst in the east right-wing generals took over the San Isidro air base, which was then opened to US military flights. However the US did not want to undertake a permanent occupation of the Dominican Republic; US troops were replaced by a Pan-American force under Brazilian command, and free elections organised in 1966, won by President Joaquin Balaguer.

25/4/1965, The military regime in the Dominican republic that took power in 9/1963 was overthrown by pro-Bosch military officers.

9/1963, The Bosch administration in the Dominican Republic was overthrown in a bloodless coup by the military, who alleged that Bosch was too pro-Communist.

27/2/1963, Juan Bosch, Dominican Revolutionary Party, winner of the elections of the elections of December 1962 (first free elections there for over 30 years), was inaugurated as President.

30/5/1961, Rafael Trujillo, corrupt and dictatorial President of the Dominican Republic, was assassinated. He had been ruler since he overthrew the benevolent but inefficient rule of President Horacio Velasquez, who acceded in July 1924. After the assassination a brief period of democratic rule under President Juan Bosch from December 1962 to September 1963 was succeeded by a military junta.

1937, Under President Trujillo, the ‘Parsley Massacre’ took place. Over 20,000 people were killed for failing to pronounce the word for parsley (perejil) correctly). The massacre was aimed at Haitian migrants who, not being native Spanish speakers, struggled to roll the letter ‘r’.

27/2/1844, The Dominican Republic became independent.

1821, The Dominican Republic (eastern half of Hispaniola, west = Haiti) became independent from Spain.

1511, The Dominican Republic (eastern half of Hispaniola, west = Haiti) became a Spanish colony.


Appendix 6 – Ecuador (and Galapagos Islands)

2/4/2017, Run-off presidential elections in Ecuador produced a narrow victory for the :Leftist candidate, Moreno (51%) over the 49% for the Rightist Lasso. The narrow margin produced accusations of fraud from the Right. Assange, who had been avoiding extradition to Sweden on rape charges (and on to the US on espionage charges) by hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since August 2012, was relieved; Lasso had said he would evict him if he won.

1965, Ecuador declared the Galapagos Islands a National Park.

28/8/1947, Ecuador's new dictator Carlos Mancheno abolished the country's 1944 constitution and proclaimed himself President.

20/1/1911, Ecuador refused to allow the Hague Tribunal to arbitrate in its boundary dispute with Peru.

3/6/1910, Ecuador and Peru withdrew their troops from the border between the two nations as the first step in the mediation of their dispute.

1835, Charles Darwin arrived on the Galapagos Islands.

1832, General Jose Villamil started a colony on Santa Maria island, Galapagos, with political prisoners from Ecuador.

13/5/1830. The Republic of Ecuador was created, with Juan Flores as President.  It was formerly the Presidency of Quito, before Gran Colombia broke up.

24/5/1822, The Battle of Pinchincha, near Quito, Ecuador. Jose de Sucre decisively defeated a Spanish army.

10/8/1809, Ecuador revolted against Spanish rule.

1535, Fray Tomas de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, became the first European to set foot on the Galapagos islands, when his ship, sailing from Panama to Peru, was becalmed, then carried werstwards to the islands by the strong equatorial ocean currents.


Appendix 7 – El Salvador

15/12/1992. El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, which had killed 75,000, officially ended.

1/2/1992. UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar brokered a peace deal in El Salvador.

13/2/1989, The Salvadoran Army attacked Encuentros Hospital, and raped its patients.

30/10/1980, Honduras and El Salvador formally settled their boundary dispute.

30/3/1980, Twenty were killed as the funeral of the murdered Salvadorean rebel Archbishop Oscar Romero became a bloodbath.

24/3/1980, In El Salvador the Human Rights activist, Archbishop Oscar Romero, was assassinated by a sniper whilst saying Mass.

14/7/1969, Outbreak of the ‘Football War’ between El Salvador and Honduras; hostilities lasted until 18/7/1969, and a ceasefire was negotiated on 20/7/1969 by the Organisation of American States. In 1969 wealthy landowners controlled most of the land in El Salvador, which resulted in the migration of many poor El Salvadoran labourers into Honduras, causing social tensions there. In 1969 Honduras decided to distribute land to its own poor, thereby evicting the Salvadoran migrants. El Salvador became concerned that the returning peasants would spark demands for land reform there too, Tensions between the two countries rose during the qualifying matches for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Salvadoran troops attacked into Honduras. The troops were withdrawn in early August 1969, but a full peace treaty was not signed between the two combatants until 30/10.1980. The border essentially remained where it had been before the war. Both sides suffered around 2,000 casualties each.


Appendix 7a – Grenada

4/11/1983, The Governor of Grenada declared a State of Emergency.

25/10/1983. 2,000 US Marines invaded Grenada to restore order after, on 19/10/1983, Grenada’s army had murdered the Prime Minister (Maurice Bishop) and taken power. Britain opposed the US invasion. The US said it had saved Grenada from becoming a Soviet-Cuban colony.

19/10/1983, Left-wing coup in Grenada. Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was killed.

13/3/1974, Sir Eric Gairy, Prime Minister of Grenada, was ousted in a coup by 33-year-old Marxist, Maurice Bishop, whilst Gairy was away in New York.

7/2/1974, Grenada, in the Windward Islands, became an independent state within the Commonwealth, with Eric Gairy as its first Prime Minister. It had been a British colony since 1783.


Appendix 8 – Guatemala

14/1/1993. Ramiro de Leon Carpio was sworn in as President of Guatemala.

7/1/1983. The US sent arms to Guatemala.

23/3/1982, Military coup in Guatemala.

31/3/1970, Guatemalan guerrillas kidnapped West German Ambassador, Count von Spreti.

1944, Revolution against the dictatorial leader Jorge Ubico.

1859, Britain agreed with Guatemala to build a highway connecting Guatemala City to the Caribbean coast, in exchange for Guatemala recognising the integrity of Belizean territory. Guatemala has had a long-standing claim on the southern 53% of Belize. Belize came into existence as a British colony when Spain agreed to let Britian cut mahogany in what is now northern Belize; however British cutters gradually moved southwards too. When Spain retreated from Latin America in the 1800s, Britain claimed the entire territory, naming it British Honduras. In the event, Britain never built the promised road, and Guatemala claims to have inherited the southern half of modern Belize from Spain.

1/7/1823, An assembly at Guatemala City declared the independence of the United Provinces of Central America.


Appendix 9 – Guyana,

22/12/2002, Desmond Hoyte, President of Guyana, died.

5/10/1992, In Guyana, general elections produced a narrow victory for the People’s Progressive Party, ending the 28-year rule of the People’s National Congress.

29/11/1978, In Jonestown, Guyana, 914 bodies, including 276 children, were found, all believed to have committed suicide, at the premises of the People’s Temple sect. Jonestown was a communal village built by a cult leader, the Reverend Jim Jones (formerly a Methodist Minister). Jones persuaded most of his followers to drink cyanide in an act of “revolutionary suicide”. However not all the 1,100 persons there did so, and there were reports that some had been forced to drink the poison.

23/2/1970, The colony of Guyana, South America, became a Republic. The first President of the Republic of Guyana was Arthur Chung.

26/5/1966. Guyana became independent, under President Burnham. It was formerly known as British Guiana.

14/12/1964, In elections in British Guiana, Cheddi Jagan’s Progressive People’s Party lost its majority. Forbes Burnham of the People’s National Congress became the new Prime Minister.

26/7/1964, Sugar workers strike in British Guiana was called off.

22/5/1964, UK troops flown to British Guiana as a state of emergency was proclaimed as unrest grew.

25/3/1964, Unrest in British Guiana as a strike by sugar workers continued (strike ended 26/7/1964).

9/5/1963, A state of emergency was proclaimed in British Guiana but her governor, at the request of Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan.

22/4/1963, A general strike began in British Guiana (Guyana), with rioting and terrorism. The strike lasted until 8/7/1963.

12/8/1957, Following Britain’s decision to restore self-government to British Guiana (Guyana), an election for the 14 seats on the Legislative Council gave Cheddi Jagan’s People’s Progressive Party 9 seats. On 15/8/1957 Jagan formed a new Government.

12/4/1954, In British Guiana (Guyana) Dr Cheddi Jagan, leader of the People’s Progressive Party, was jailed for 6 months for violating an order restricting his  movements.

27/10/1953, British gunboats foiled a left-wing coup in British Guiana.

6/10/1953, Britain, fearing the establishment of a Communist regime in British  Guiana by the People’s Progressive Party, sent troops to the country. On 9/10/1953 the Constitution was suspended and the country governed under a State of Emergency. Party leaders were arrested.

30/4/1953, In British Guiana (Guyana), elections were won by the left-wing People’s Progressive Party under Cheddi Jagan.

22/3/1918, Cheddi Jagan, President of Guyana, was born.

3/12/1905, British troops quelled a riot at Georgetown, British Guyana.


Appendix 10 – Haiti, See Earthquake for seismic events.

4/10/2014, Jean Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier died, aged 63. He became dictator of Haiti in 1971. Like his father, Papa Doc, he lived in luxury whilst most Haitians lacked paved roads or sewerage. The poorer Haiti was, the more foreign aid came in, to be diverted to luxuries for the Duvaliers. In the 1980s the Haitian economy collapsed, with many fleeing on boats to Florida; in 1986 food riots forced the Duvaliers to flee, on an American plane. He was useful to the USA as an anti-Communist close to Cuba, and Haiti was a non-unionised cheap-labour locale for US businesses. To universal surprise he returned to Haiti in 2011, after the disastrous earthquake, broken, he said, by exile, and claiming he wished to help his country. His ex-wife Michelle had bankrupted him, taking all the money, and Jean Claude was reduced to living in two rented rooms in Paris. A Haitian judge ruled that any charges against him were time-expired.

29/2/2004, Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a military coup.

16/12/1990, Bertrand Aristide was elected President of Haiti, ending 3 decades of military rule.

18/9/1988, In Haiti, General Namphy was deposed in a military coup.

19/6/1988, In Haiti, Leslie Manigat, civilian President, was deposed in a military coup and replaced by General Henri Namphy.

7/2/1988, In Haiti, Leslie Manigat was inaugurated as President, ending 2 years of military rule.

7/2/1986. Baby Doc Duvalier was ousted from government in Haiti, ending 28 years of one-family rule there. He fled to exile in France, taking perhaps US$ 100 million with him. In Port-au-Prince, members of Duvalier’s secret police, the Tonton Macoutes, were lynched by an angry mob.

21/4/1971. The Haitian dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, or Francois Duvalier, died in his bed aged 64, after ruling for 14 years. He survived six assassination attempts. He was succeeded by his son, 19-year old Jean Claude.

23/9/1957. Dr Francois ‘Papa doc’ Duvalier was elected President of Haiti. He had promised to end corrupt military regimes in Haiti but his own regime mixed voodoo with the presence of brutal secret police, the Ton Ton Macoute.

25/9/1954, Papa Doc Duvalier won Presidential elections in Haiti.

6/8/1934, US Marines withdrew from Haiti, ending 19 years of military occupation.

27/7/1915. Revolution in Haiti.

5/2/1911, Revolution in Haiti was suppressed after its leader, General Montreuil Guillaume, was captured by government troops and shot.

14/4/1907, Francois Duvalier, Haitian President and dictator, was born.

17/10/1806, The tyrannical Emperor Jacques I, first ruler of Haiti, was assassinated.

1/1/1804, Haiti became independent from France after an 11-year anti-colonial war. Haiti was the first state vin Latin America to gain independence.

29/8/1803. General Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Haiti. In 1844 the Dominican Republic seceded from Haiti.

6/12/1492. Christopher Columbus landed on an island he called Hispaniola, now Haiti, in search of gold. He had won backing from Spain for his expedition on condition he found gold to finance another war by Christian Spain against the Moors. Many Christians also believed that Christ’s second coming would not occur until all pagans had been converted to Christianity or at least defeated by Christendom.


Appendix 10a – Honduras

30/10/1980, Honduras and El Salvador formally settled their boundary dispute.

14/7/1969, Outbreak of the ‘Football War’ between El Salvador and Honduras; hostilities lasted until 18/7/1969, and a ceasefire was negotiated on 20/7/1969 by the Organisation of American States. In 1969 wealthy landowners controlled most of the land in El Salvador, which resulted in the migration of many poor El Salvadoran labourers into Honduras, causing social tensions there. In 1969 Honduras decided to distribute land to its own poor, thereby evicting the Salvadoran migrants. El Salvador became concerned that the returning peasants would spark demands for land reform there too, Tensions between the two countries rose during the qualifying matches for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Salvadoran troops attacked into Honduras. The troops were withdrawn in early August 1969, but a full peace treaty was not signed between the two combatants until 30/10/1980. The border essentially remained where it had been before the war. Both sides suffered around 2,000 casualties each.

28/4/1924, The US sent troops to Honduras amidst electoral unrest.

11/2/1922. Honduras became an independent Republic.

19/7/1918, Honduras, rather belatedly, joined the Allied war effort and declared war on Germany.


Appendix 10b – Jamaica

10/1968, The so-called Rodney Riots broke out when Prime Minister Hugh Shearer banned Black activist Guyanese university lecturer Dr Walter Rodney from returining to his teaching position. Several people were killed and millions of US$ of damage was done.

4/1967, Hugh Shearer, aged 44, became Prime Minister of Jamaica.

6/8/1962. Jamaica became independent, after being a colony of Britain for over 300 years.

11/4/1962, In Jamaica, Alexander Bustamante, Labour, formed a government.,

19/9/1961, Jamaica left the West Indies Federation.

11/11/1957. Jamaica achieved internal self-government.

1692, Earthquake in Jamaica. 3,000 killed, as Port Royal subsided into the sea.

10/5/1655. The English captured Jamaica from the Spanish. Christopher Columbus had arrived in Jamaica in 1494, and claimed the island in the name of the King and Queen of Spain. However Europeans did not occupy the island until 1509. 146 years later the English forces arrived at Passage Fort in Kingston harbour. Commanded by Admiral Penn and General Venables they marched on Spanish Town. They had been sent by Oliver Cromwell to capture Hispaniola but failed so went to Jamaica instead. After surrendering, the Spanish were given a few days to leave Jamaica. Most went to Cuba, but a few secretly went to the north side of Jamaica.

1510, The Spanish founded the first European settlement on Jamaica. Within 50 years the Arawaks had died out, killed off by disease, overwork inflicted by the Spanish and suicide. The Spanish replaced their labour with slaves from Africa.

1494, Christopher Columbus made his first visit to Jamaica, anchoring in St Ann’s Bay.

750 AD, Arawak Indians, originating from the Amazon Basin, reached Jamaica.


Appendix 11 – Nicaragua,

10/7/1992. Ex-President Noriega of Nicaragua, forcibly brought into the USA, was sentenced to 40 years on drugs charges.

25/2/1990. Sandinistas defeated in Nicaraguan elections.

7/5/1989, In Panama, General Noriega was defeated in elections. However he ignored the result and remained in power.

23/3/1988, In Nicaragua, Contra commanders and Government officials signed a 60-day ceasefire agreement.

17/1/1988, The Nicaraguan Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega, offered a ceasefire to the Contras.

5/11/1984. Daniel Ortega was elected President of Nicaragua.

17/9/1980, Anastasio Somoza, 54-year-old former dictator of Nicaragua, was machine gunned to death in Asunscion, Paraguay.

20/7/1979, Sandinista rebels entered Managua, Nicaragua, and set up a 5-man junta.

17/7/1979, Anastasio Somoza, dictator of Nicaragua, fled to the USA.

9/7/1979, General Somoza, whose family had ruled Nicaragua for 47 years, was overthrown by the Sandinistas. General Somoza had lost the support of conservative businessmen and the USA.

12/2/1978, In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas prepared for civil war.

1/9/1974, General Somoza was elected as President of Nicaragua.

11/11/1945, Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, was born.

2/6/1936, General Somoza, in Nicaragua, led a coup that deposed President Sacasa.

22/2/1934, General Augusto Sandino of Nicaragua was executed by rival USA-backed leader General Anastazio Somoza. Sandino’s guerrilla forces had opposed a US occupation of Nicaragua from 1912; the US withdrew in 1933 after Sandino agreed a ceasefire.

21/2/1934, Cesar Sandino, Nicaraguan revolutionary, died aged 40.

18/10/1929, Violeta Chamorro, President of Nicaragua, was born.

4/11/1928, The Nicaraguan general election was held; José María Moncada was elected president.

2/5/1926, In Nicaragua, a revolt against the new President, Emiliano Chamorro, was underway. This day US troops landed in Nicaragua to protect US personnel and property interests there.

16/12/1909, US marines forced the resignation of President Jose Zelaya of Nicaragua.

1821, Nicaragua declared independence from Spain.


Appendix 12 – Panama

29/5/2017, Manuel Noriega, former ruler of Panama, died aged 83.

1/9/1989, The US broke off diplomatic relations with Panama.

2/1/1931, President of Panama Florencio Harmodio Arosemena was overthrown and imprisoned by a military junta.

15/8/1914, The 40-mile long Panama Canal opened; construction work had begun on 4/7/1914. The first ship to pass through the canal, this day, was the SS Ancon. Ships passed through three locks 30 metres wide and 300 metres long, rising to 85 feet above sea level at Lake Gatun, which had been created by damming a river, before descending through more locks. Since 1914 over one million ships have used the Canal, saving 3,000 miles and eight days of travel around Cape Horn. In 2013 12,036 vessels, carrying 319 million tonnes of cargo, transitted the Canal, paying US$ 1,800 million in tolls. 86.7 million tons of this cargo originated from the USA, and 49.8 million tons was destined for the USA. In 2013 some 3% of world maritime cargo, worth US$ 270 billion (UK£ 160 million at 2014 exchange rates). However many 21st century cargo ships are too big for the Canal, and in 2006 the Panama Canal Authority announced expansion plans, costed at US$ 3,200 million, due for completion in 2016.

23/4/1904, The US acquired the assets of the French Panama Canal Company.

18/11/1903, Panama granted the canal strip to US, by treaty ratified on 26/2/1904.

3/11/1903, Panama revolted and declared itself independent from Colombia. At precisely 6pm the rebels bribed the Colombian garrison to surrender, the USS Nashville steamed into Panama harbour, and Panama proclaimed its independence. On 6/11/1903 the US recognised Panamanian independence. On 12/8/1903 the Colombian Senate had rejected US plans for a canal at Panama. On 18/11/1903 the US and Panama signed a treaty to build the Canal. See 22/1/1903.  On 2/11/1903 the US sent three warships to Panama.

18/10/1903, Panamanian revolutionaries in New York purchased fabric from Macey’s to create the new Panamanian flag. Mr Bunau-Varilla, a French engineer who had worked on the now-bankrupt French Panama canal construction company, was named as the first Panamanian ambassador to the US, despite not being a resident of Panama.

14/7/1698, The first settlers left Scotland for an ill-fated scheme to colonise Panama; the Darien scheme. 1,200 Scottish colonists set out to create the city of New Edinburgh, in mosquito-infested rainforest. Within a year all but 300 had died, and the project had cost a quarter of Dcotland’s national wealth. This loss allegedly persuaded Scotland to agree to the Act of Union with England in 1707.

26/7/1527, The (Spanish) Council of the Indies granted Francisco Pizarro, 54, the right to conquer and take riches from the Panama area. The Panamian indigenous inhabitants were not consulted.

2/11/1503, Columbus discovered Panama. He also observed the inhabitants playing with a heavy black bouncing ball, made of a substance new to him, rubber.


Appendix 13 – Paraguay

3/2/1989, General Stroessner of Paraguay was ousted after eight terms and 35 years in office. General Andres Rodriguez, previously close to Stroessner, took control.

2/3/1954, President Lopez of Paraguay died, aged 54, as Asuncion. General Alfredo Stroessner was elected in his place; he gave refuge to Nazi war criminals.

10/10/1938, A meeting of Latin American Presidents awarded most of the Chaco Boreal to Paraguay, whilst providing that Bolivia should have a trade route to the Atlantic via the Paraguay River.

11/3/1936. Paraguay set up America’s first Fascist regime.

12/6/1935. Bolivia and Paraguay signed an armistice to end their 3 year war over the disputed Chaco area. This war had claimed 35,000 lives for the Chaco Boreal, a wasteland of some 100,000 square miles west of the Paraguay River, the subject of a dispute between Paraguay and Bolivia since 1825. Bolivia, deprived of its coastal territories since the Pacific War with Chile, wanted to use the Chaco as a shipping route for its oil exports, and to exploit the oil reserves of the Chaco itself. Bolivian troops invaded in 1928; skirmishes continued until Paraguay launched a major offensive in 1932 and formally declared war in May 1933. Initially the larger and better-trained Bolivian army had success but in 1934 Paraguay gained the upper hand, capturing much Bolivian land. By 1935 both sides were weary of war, so agreed an armistice. See 15/6/1932.

10/5/1933. Paraguay formally declared war on Bolivia.

15/6/1932, The Chaco war broke out. Bolivian troops attacked Paraguay. The dispute had been exacerbated by the issue of a Paraguayan postage stamp bearing a map with the Chaco labelled as ‘Chaco Paraguayo’, along with the provocative words ‘Ha sido, es, y sera’(Has been, is, and will be). The war lasted until 1935, see 12/6/1935.

16/9/1929. Bolivia and Paraguay signed an agreement to end their 10 month border dispute.

3/11/1912. Alfredo Stroessner, President of Paraguay, was born.

1/3/1870, President Lopez of Paraguay was killed.

For map of earlier territories held by Paraguay, see

1/5/1865. Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay formed a triple alliance against Paraguay. This war began when Paraguayan President Lopez tried to force a pro-Paraguayan president on the people of Uruguay. Brazil intervened in support of the legitimate candidate, and Lopez declared war on Brazil. He also declared war on Argentina, for refusing passage for his troops across its territory, and for good measure declared war on Uruguay too. A few months later Brazil had sunk the Paraguayan navy in the Parana River and by 1867 the alliance’s land forces under Argentine General Bartolome Mitre had penetrated deep into Paraguayan territory. By January 1869 the Paraguayan capital Asuncion lay in ruins and two thirds of the adult population of Paraguay was either dead or missing.

12/11/1864, Paraguay seized a Brazilian arms ship.

31/8/1864, President Francesco Lopez of Paraguay issued an ultimatum to Brazil not to interfere in Uruguay. In October 1864 Brazil invaded Paraguay.

10/9/1862, Carlos Lopez, dictator of Paraguay, died aged 75. He was succeeded by his 36-year-old son, Francisco Lopez.

17/7/1852, Argentina recognised the independence of Paraguay.

14/5/1811. Paraguay proclaimed itself independent.

1537, Asuncion was founded by the Spanish explorer, Juan de Salazar.

1535, Paraguay was first settled by the Spanish.


Appendix 14 – Peru (and Incas) (Chavin) (Moche)

22/4/1997, The siege of the Japanese Embassy in Peru by Tupac Amaru guerrillas was ended violently by government troops. 14 guerrillas and one Japanese citizen were killed; the remaining 71 hostages were rescued. The guerrillas wanted the release of 440 of their comrades.

6/1/1993, President Alberto Fujimori restored constitutional government in Peru.

7/10/1992, In Peru, the Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison.

14/2/1991, The Peruvian Cabinet resigned over splits caused by an economic crisis.

28/7/1990, Alberto Fujimori became President of Peru.

11/6/1990, Right wing politician Mario Vargas Llosa lost the second round of the Peruvian elections.

27/7/1980, President Fernando Belaunde Terry of Peru was inaugurated, ending 12 years of military rule.

10/1968, President Belaunde’s government resigned after his decision to pay Standard Oil compensation for handing their installations over to Peru. Juan Velasco Alvarado seized power in a military coup, and nationalised entire industries, including fishing, mining, power and telecommunications. He held power until 1975.

8/8/1912, The Pope issued an encyclical about abuse of the indigenous tribes in the Putumayo region of Peru.

7/1911, The lost city of Machu Picchu, Peru, was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham.

20/1/1911, Ecuador refused to allow the Hague Tribunal to arbitrate in its boundary dispute with Peru.

3/6/1910, Ecuador and Peru withdrew their troops from the border between the two nations as the first step in the mediation of their dispute.

1864, Spain occupied the Peruvian island of Central Chinch, rich in guano, in an attempt to regain Peru.

26/1/1827 Peru ended its union with Chile and declared independence.

10/9/1823. Simon Bolivar became dictator of Peru.

28/7/1821, San Martin and his forces liberated Peru, and proclaimed its independence from Spain.

1543, A South American Indian, Diego Gualpa, discovered a rich seam of silver ore in the mountains of Peru. This gave rise to the silver boom town of Potosi and ultimately had a major impact on world finances. Between 1556 and 1783 the mountain of Cerro Rico, or ‘rich hill’, yielded 45,000 tons of pure silver.

1539, Pizarro founded the town of Ayacucho, Peru.

18/1/1535, Lima, Peru, was founded by Francisco Pizarro.

13/5/1532, Francisco Pizarro landed on the northern coast of Peru.

19/1/1530, Francisco Pizarro sailed from Spain, with a commission to conquer Peru. He sailed to Panama, and from there to Peru in 12/1530.

1525, In Peru, Huanaya Capac, 11th Inca King, died at Quito. His empire was divided between his two sons, Huascar and Atahualpa.

1493, Accession of Inca ruler, Huayna Capac. He ruled until 1525.

1476, Inca conquest of the south coast of Peru.

1471, Topa became the 10th Sapa Inca, and began a road building programme to connect all parts of his empire. He ruled until 1493.

1470, The Incas captured the city of Quito from local Amerindian tribes; even then it was a major settlement.

1438, The Inca dynasty that ruled Peru until 1553 was founded by Pachacutec. He ruled until 1471.

1219, Traditional date for the founding of the Inca civilisation in Peru by Manco Capac.

850 BCE, Peak of Chavin culture in Peru.

100 AD, The Moche culture began in what is now northern coastal Peru. It lasted until ca. 700..


Appendix 15 – Uruguay

1/3/1985. Uruguay returned to civilian rule under President Sanguinetti after 12 years of military dictatorship under which inflation had risen to 66% and foreign debt rose to US$ 3 billion.

9/1/1971, Uruguayan president Jorge Pacheco Areco demanded emergency powers for 90 days due to kidnappings. He received them the next day.

8/1/1971, The British Ambassador to Uruguay, Geoffrey Jackson, was kidnapped by left-wing Tupumaros guerrillas.

9/9/1970, The British Ambassador to Uruguay, Geoffrey Jackson, kidnapped on 8/1/1970, was released.

27/8/1828, Brazil formally recognised the independence of Uruguay.

20/2/1827, With Argentine help, Uruguay defeated the Brazilians at Ituzaingo.

25/8/1825, Uruguay gained independence from Spain, under Jose Artigas. Brazil,fearing that the socialist principles of Artigas would influence their country, attacked Uruguay.


Appendix 16 – Venezuela

28/1/2019, The US Government announced sanctions on Venezuela’s State-owned oil company, PDVSA. This move was intended to restrict the oil revenues of President Nicolas Maduro, and strengthen the opposition led by Juan Guaido. The ultimate aim was to force an election in Venezuela. Under the sanctions, companies can continue to trade but payments are held in an account that is blocked to Maduro.

23/1/2019, Venezuela teetered in the brink of civil war as crowds demonstrated in favour of Juan Guido, who they held had won the recent elections. However the incumbent President, Nicolas Maduro, refused to relinquish power. The US, along with the UK, France, Germany and rightist countries in South America, including Brazil, demanded that Maduro call new elections within 8 days, or else they would recognise Guido, not Maduro, as President.

Venezuela, despite being oil-rich, has suffered economic catastrophe and deep poverty since Hugo Chavez became leader in 1998. Chavez took on a country that, although overall middle-income, was plagued by severe inequality. Chavez drove through a ‘Bolivarian Revolution’, using oil money to bypass Parliament and enforce, from 1999, a new Constitution. However Chavez died of cancer in 2013 and was succeeded by his Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro. Meanwhile by 2010 Venezuelan reforms had begun to stall as the world oil price fell, and the lack of democratic accountability fostered inefficiency and corruption. Furthermore, Maduro lacked the charisma of Chavez; he compensated for this by stifling dissent and packing government functions, including the judiciary, with his own supporters. Maduro also cancelled reforms he disliked, such as the freeing of political prisoners.

In May 2018, in an attempt to consolidate his power, Maduro called Presidential elections; these were dismissed by the US, the UN, the EU and the Organisation of American States as being rigged. Most Venezuelans are believed to back Guido; however the Army is still behind Maduro (although there have been a few minor military mutinies). Military leaders still (2019) control key sectors including mining, oil, and food distribution. Russia supports Maduro, in a country just three hours flying time from Miami, but there may be a US clandestine presence also in Venezuela.

21/8/2018, Venezuela, in the grip of hyperinflation, introduced a new ‘Sovereign Bolivar’ at a rate of 1 to 100,000 old Bolivars. Venezuelans were limited to withdrawing just 10 Sovereign Bolivars a day, worth about 12p. A cup of coffee cost 25 Sovereign Bolivars at this time. The Venezuelan Minimum Wage, which stood at 3 million Bolivars (30 Sovereign Bolivars), was on 24/8/2018 raised 60x to 1,800 Sovereign Bolivars, equivalent to 30 US$.

5/2018, Maduro won a second term as President. However the election was boycotted by the opposition, and tainted by accusations of vote-rigging.

3/2017, Protests against Maduro’s plans for a ‘constituent assembly;, with powers to overrule the opposition-controlled Parliament.

12/2015, An opposition coalition gained control of Parliament, ending 16 uears of control by the Socialist Party

4/2013, A month after Hugo Chavez died, Maduro was elected President by a narrow margin. The election result was disputed.

1998, Hugo Chavez, a former army officer who was elected President of Venezuela, died. Chavez was a leftist, admirer of Fidel Castro, and chose Maduro to succeed him.

23/12/1997, Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal was sentenced to life imprisonment, after being arrested in Sudan.

3/3/1990, Venezuela suspended foreign debt repayments following widespread rioting.

28/2/1989, The Venezuelan President Peres faced food riots as prices rose.

1/1/1976, Venezuela nationalised its oil industry.

2/7/1961, Venezuelan President Romulo Betancourt laid the foundation stone of the new city of Sao Tome de Guyana, describing it as “The future Ruhr of Venezuela”.

1959, Romulo Betancourt was inaugurated as President of Venezuela.

18/12/1935, President Gomez of Venezuela died, aged 78. He had been dictator for 26 years, over which period Venezuela had be come a major oil producer.

14/12/1922, Royal Dutch Shell struck oil near Lake Maracaibo.

19/12/1909, Juan Gomez seized power in Venezuela.

30/8/1821, Simon Bolivar was named President of Venezuela.

24/6/1821, Simon Bolivar defeated a Spanish army at Carabob, Venezuela.

1/1/1814, Simon Bolivar became President of Venezuela.

6/8/1813. Simon Bolivar marched into Caracas, Venezeula.

5/7/1811, Venezuela proclaimed its independence from Spain. Venezuela took advantage of Napoleon’s occupation of Spain.

24/7/1783, Simon Bolivar, South American revolutionary and liberator of South America from Spanish colonial rule, was born in Caracas, capital of Venezuela.

1567, Caracas was founded, as Santiago de Leon de Caracas, by Diego de Losada.

8/9/1529, The city of Maracaibo, Venezuela, was founded by Ambrosius Ehinger.

1498, Christopher Columbus sighted the delta of the Orinoco River, eastern Venezuela.


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