South & Central America (inc. Atlantic Islands): key historical events
European exploration and colonisation
Argentina - see Appendix 1 below
Bermuda - see Appendix 2 below
Brazil - see Appendix 3 below
Chile – see Appendix 4 below; also here, Pacific War; Chile/Bolivia/Peru war
Colombia – see Appendix 5 below
Cuba – see Appendix 6 below
Falklands Islands – see Appendix 7 below
Guyana – see Appendix 8 below
Haiti – see Appendix 9 below
Nicaragua – see Appendix 10 below
Paraguay – see Appendix 11 below
Uruguay – see Appendix 12 below
29/5/2017, Manuel Noriega, former ruler of Panama, died aged 83.
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.
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.
26/6/2007, The UN declared the Galapagos Islands an endangered heritage site.
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.
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.
14/1/1993. Ramiro de Leon Carpio was sworn in as President of Guatemala.
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.
31/7/1990, In Trinidad, Muslim rebels released Prime Minister A R Robinson but held other hostages in Port Of Spain television station.
11/6/1990, Right wing politician Mario Vargas Llosa lost the second round of the Peruvian elections.
3/3/1990, Venezuela suspended foreign debt repayments following widespread rioting.
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.
28/2/1989, The Venezuelan President Peres faced food riots as prices rose.
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.
7/1/1983. The US sent arms to Guatemala.
1/11/1981. Antigua and Barbuda became independent from Britain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1/6/1973. The British colony of British Honduras was officially renamed Belize. See 21/1/1981.
31/3/1970, Guatemalan guerrillas kidnapped West German Ambassador, Count von Spreti.
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.
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.
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’.
30/11/1966, Barbados proclaimed full independence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
18/2/1960, Seven South American countries established the Latin American Free Trade Association.
11/11/1957. Jamaica achieved internal self-government.
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.
28/8/1947, Ecuador's new dictator Carlos Mancheno abolished the country's 1944 constitution and proclaimed himself President.
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.
2/6/1936, General Somoza, in Nicaragua, led a coup that deposed President Sacasa.
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.
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.
2/1/1931, President of Panama Florencio Harmodio Arosemena was overthrown and imprisoned by a military junta.
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.
28/4/1924, The US sent troops to Honduras amidst electoral unrest.
11/2/1922. Honduras became an independent Republic.
5/3/1921, The US warned Costa Rica and Panama to settle their boundary dispute peacefully via arbitration.
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.
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 Pichu 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.
19/12/1909, Juan Gomez seized power in Venezuela.
16/12/1909, US marines forced the resignation of President Jose Zelaya of Nicaragua.
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.
31/3/1866, A Spanish fleet under Admiral Casto Mendez Nunez bombarded the port of Valparaiso, Chile. Peru allied with Chile.
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.
27/2/1844, The Dominican Republic became independent.
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.
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.
26/1/1827 Peru ended its union with Chile and declared independence.
29/8/1825, Portugal formally recognised the independence of Brazil.
6/8/1825, Bolivia proclaimed itself a Republic, independent from Spain, after nearly 300 years of Spanish rule. Antonio Sacre was the first President.
17/3/1825. 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.
4/8/1824. The USA gave formal diplomatic recognition to the newly independent Brazil.
10/9/1823. Simon Bolivar became dictator of Peru.
1/7/1823, An assembly at Guatemala City declared the independence of the Untied Provinces of Central America.
23/1/1823. The USA recognised the independent states of Argentina and Chile.
1/12/1822, Dom Pedro was crowned Emperor of newly independent Brazil.
7/9/1822, Brazil proclaimed its independence from Portugal, with Pedro I as Emperor.
24/5/1822, The Battle of Pinchincha, near Quito. Jose de Sucre decisively defeated a Spanish army.
1821, The Dominican Republic (eastern half of Hispaniola, west = Haiti) became independent from Spain.
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.
30/8/1821, Simon Bolivar was named President of Venezuela.
28/7/1821, San Martin and his forces liberated Peru, and proclaimed its independence from Spain.
24/6/1821, Simon Bolivar defeated a Spanish army at Carabob, Venezuela.
17/12/1819, Simon Bolivar, who had already secured the independence of Venezuela, became the President of the newly independent Bolivia.
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).
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.
10/8/1809, Ecuador revolted against Spanish rule.
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.
24/7/1783, Simon Bolivar, South American revolutionary and liberator of South America from Spanish colonial rule, was born in Caracas, capital of Venezuela.
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.
14/7/1698, The first settlers left Scotland for an ill-fated scheme to colonise Panama; the Darien scheme.
5/5/1659, Saint Helena was occupied by Captain John Dutton of the East India Company.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
1539, Pizarro founded the town of Ayacucho, Peru.
30/11/1538, Sucre, Bolivia, was founded under the name of Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo.
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
18/1/1535, Lima, Peru, was founded by Francisco Pizarro.
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. 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.
13/5/1532, Francisco Pizarro landed on the northern coast of Peru.
27/12/1530, Spanish ships under Pizarro set sail from Panama into the Pacific to capture the gold and silver of the Inca Empire.
19/1/1530, (-151,675) Francisco Pizarro sailed from Spain, with a commission to conquer Peru. He sailed to Panama, and from there to Peru in 12/1530.
8/9/1529, The city of Maracaibo, Venezuela, was founded by Ambrosius Ehinger.
1527, Sebastian Cabot explored the Plate Estuary, and the Paraguay and Parana Rivers.
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.
1525, In Peru, Huanaya Capac, 11th Inca King, died at Quito. His empire was divided between his two sons, Huascar and Atahualpa.
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.
1511, The Dominican Republic (eastern half of Hispaniola, west = Haiti) became a Spanish colony.
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.
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.
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.
22/4/1500. The Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovered the coast of Brazil. He claimed this territory for Portugal, which he named Vera Cruz or ‘true cross’ but which was to be called Brazil, after the red-coloured brazil-wood, which grew there.
26/1/1500, The explorer Vincente Yanez Pinson discovered Brazil, and claimed it for his native Portugal.
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.
1493, Accession of Inca ruler, Huayna Capac. He ruled until 1525.
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.
1480, The last Aztec Emperor, Montezuma II, was born.
1476, Inca conquest of the south coast of Peru.
1475, Francisco Pizarro was born.
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.
1469, Axayactl became Aztec ruler, until 1481.
1438, The Inca dynasty that ruled Peru until 1553 was founded by Pachacutec. He ruled until 1471.
1432, The Azores, then uninhabited, were discovered by the Portuguese.
1425, Mayan domination of the Guatemala region began.
13/3/1325, The founding of Tenochtitlan on a small island in Lake Texcoco by the Mexica empire at the dawn of the day. The Aztec capital became Mexico City in 1521.
1219, Traditional date for the founding of the Inca civilisation in Peru by Manco Capac.
29/7/615, Queen Sal K’uk was succeeded by her son Pacal the Great as ruler of the Maya city state Palenque (Mexico). He began a building program at his capital that produced some of Maya civilization's finest art and architecture.
550, The Toltec people overran the Teotihuacan culture on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
350. Mayan cities, which emerged around 200 BC, were at the peak of their power.
200 BCE. Urban centres emerged in the Maya region of Mexico. See 350 AD.
850 BCE, Peak of Chavin culture in Peru.
1200 BCE, Olmec rule began in western Mexico. Chavin culture emerged in the Andes.
3372 BCE, First date in the Mayan calendar.
5,400 BCE, Llamas and alpacas were domesticated in the Andes.
5,500 BCE, Corn, squash, avocado and chilis were being grown in Central America.
6,000 BCE, Estimated date of start of sedentary agriculture in the Andes. Corn cultivation in Ecuador.
9,500 BCE, Estimated date of human settlement reaching the tip of South America.
Appendix 1 – Argentina
25/5/2003, Nestor Kirchner became President of Argentina, defeating Carlos Menem.
12/1/2003, Leopoldo Galtieri, President of Argentina, died.
1/12/2001, The Argentine Government froze all bank accounts; depositors were only allowed to withdraw 250 Pesos a week (later raised to 300 pesos). US Dollar accounts were totally frozen, unless the depositor agreed to take Pesos. The Argentine Peso was nominally at par with the US$ but a devaluation was widely anticipated as the Peso was grossly overvalued. Then the Peso was devalued to 4 to the US$, and Dollar depositors had to accept the conversion of their Dollars to Pesos at the old 1:1 rate, effectively losing three quarters of their savings.
18/4/1995, Artuto Frondizi, President of Argentina, died.
7/1/1993. The British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, became the first Cabinet Minister to visit Argentina since the Falklands War of 1982. He met Argentine President Carlos Menem, and the still disputed question of ownership of the Falkland Islands was avoided. Oil exploration and fishing issues were discussed,
3/12/1990, Argentinean President Carlos Menem foiled an attempted coup.
15/5/1989, Carlos Menem won the presidential elections in Argentina.
30/10/1983, The first democratic elections were held in Argentina after 7 years of military rule.
24/3/1976, Isabel Peron, third wife of former President Juan Peron, was ousted as President of Argentina in a bloodless military coup.
1/7/1974. General Juan Peron, President of Argentina, died aged 78. He was succeeded by his wife, Maria Estela Peron. However she was deposed in a military coup in March 1976 and sentenced to five years in prison for alleged corruption.
23/9/1973. General Juan Peron was elected President of Argentina.
20/6/1973, Juan Peron returned to Argentina as President after 20 years exile.
25/5/1973, The Peronist Hector Campora was elected President of Argentina.
11/3/1973, In Argentine general elections, the Peronist candidate, Hector Campora, won. On 13/7/1973 he resigned to make way for Peron.
21/9/1955, Juan Peron, Presidential dictator of Argentina since 1946, resigned and went into exile, ousted by a military coup. He was born on 8 October 1895, son of a wealthy rancher. In 1930 he took part in an uprising against President Hipolioto Irigoyen A widower in 1945, he met and married Maria Eva Durate, known as Evita. Evita died in the early 1950s, and economic difficulties and labour unrest increased in Argentina. Peron disliked the Catholic Church in Argentina and sought to minimise its influence, which brought him into conflict with the military officers. In 1955 Peron arrested 85 priests and expelled the Bishop of Buenos Aires, which earned him an excommunication from Pope Pius XII. On 18/6/1955 officers from the Argentine air force and navy rebelled and fighter planes bombed government buildings at Plaza del Mayo. Over 300 civilians were killed in the attack and Peron placed Argentina under martial law. A full military coup was launched on 16/9/1955 by General Eduardo Lonardi. Peron fled to Paraguay, remaining in exile until 1973 when his party won Argentine elections. Peron retuned to a heroes welcome, becoming President until his death on 1/7/1974.
19/9/1954, Juan Peron, President of Argentina since 1946, resigned and went into exile in Paraguay.
26/7/1952. Eva Peron (Evita), Argentina’s first lady, died of cancer aged 33.
11/11/1951, Juan Peron was re-elected President of Argentina.
7/3/1948. Juan Peron won elections in Argentina.
4/6/1946. General Juan Peron became President of Argentina.
24/2/1946. Juan Peron was elected President of Argentina.
6/9/1930, In Argentina, demonstrations by the people and an army rebellion forced President Hipolito Irigoyen to resign. General Jose Uriburu was appointed President.
14/6/1928. Birth of the Argentine revolutionary, Che Guevara, at Rosario, Argentina.
8/10/1895, Juan Peron, Argentinean general and nationalist dictator, was born in Lobos.
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.
11/11/1859. The city of Buenos Aires, which broke away from the Argentine Federation in 1853, was compelled to rejoin today.
8/12/1829, De Rosas made himself Governor of Buenos Aires.
9/7/1816. Argentina, as the ‘United Provinces of the River Plate’, formally declared independence from Spain. In practice independent government had been run since 25/5/1816.
9/7/1815, At the Congress of Tucuman, Argentina declared independence from Spain, after a long campaign by Jose de San Martin.
25/5/1810, Argentina formed a revolutionary government under General Manuel Belgrano, that was only nominally dependent on Spain.
1/3/1565. The Portuguese established a colony at Rio de Janeiro.
1536, Buenos Aires was first founded by the Spanish.
Appendix 2 – Bermuda
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 3 – Brazil
12/6/1998, Transpetro, the largest oil and gas pipeline transportation company in Brazil, was established.
3/6/1992. The Earth Summit began in Rio de Janeiro.
18/12/1991, The World Bank, the European Commission and the Group of Seven leading industrial nations granted Brazil US$ 250 million for conservation work in the Amazon rainforest. $ 100 million of that sum was for scientific research; the rest was for the establishment of national parks, tribal reserves, and promoting non-destructive use of Amazon Forest, such as rubber tapping and brazil-nut harvesting.
17/12/1989. Brazil held its first free elections in 29 years. Ferdinand Collor de Mello defeated Jose Sarney. Brazil faced a massive foreign debt burden; interest payments ate up 40% of export earnings. The IMF imposed austerity measures on Brazil, despite recent rapid growth in the economy, to guarantee loan repayments. Prices rose, wages were cut, and annual inflation stood at 700%. Economic problems increased calls for democracy.
15/3/1985, Brazil returned to civilian rule under President Jose Sarney, after 21 years of military rule.
6/12/1976, Joao Goulart, President of Brazil, died.
11/4/1964, Marshal Humberto Castello Branco became President of Brazil,
1/4/1964, President Goulart of Brazil was overthrown in a military coup. President Johnson of the USA feared a socialist takeover.
21/4/1960. Brasilia was inaugurated as the new capital of Brazil. The city was planned by Lucio Costa.
24/8/1954, President Vargas of Brazil resigned under pressure, and committed suicide. He was succeeded by Vice-President Filho.
1/11/1942, Brazil replaced the Millreis with the Cruzerio as its currency. One millreis = 1 cruzerio. The millreis was the old currency of Portugal.
11/3/1942, Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas reiterated his powers to declare war or a state of national emergency, clearing the way for the seizure of subjects and property of Axis countries.
1/11/1930, Vargas dissolved the Brazilian Congress and assumed dictatorial powers.
26/10/1930, Vargas became President of Brazil.
12/6/1926. Brazil left the League of Nations.
1897, The original ‘favela’ was erected on the Morro de Castelo, Rio de Janiero, by soldiers returning from the Canudos Campaign, who had gone unpaid. It is now a generic word for shanty towns, especially in South America.
5/12/1891, Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, died.
15/11/1889, Dom Pedro was dethroned as Emperor of Brazil, and a Republic proclaimed.
1845, A ten-year effort by Rio Grande do Sul to break away from Brazil as an independent Republic ended in defeat.
24/9/1834, Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil, died.
2/12/1830, Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, was born.
16/1/1816, Brazil proclaimed its independence from Portugal, with the Portuguese Prince Regent Joao as Emperor.
1727, Coffee production began in Brazil.
6/2/1694, Portuguese forces in Brazil captured Macaco, the past stronghold of the Palmares, after a siege of 42 days. The Palmares were Africans, Mocambos, who had fled from the Brazilian plantations and established their own de-facto independent state in eastern Brazil in the early 1600s. The name Palmares derives from the palm trees of the area which provided food and shelter.
1674, The settlement of Manaus, Brazil, was founded, 1,601 km from the mouth of the Amazon.
1557, The Portuguese founded the city of Sao Paulo.
12/3/1537, The Portuguese founded the city of Recife, Brazil.
1534, The first African slaves were imported into Brazil by the Portuguese.
1530, The Portuguese established their first colony in Brazil.
Appendix 4 – Chile
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.
11/3/1990. 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.
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.
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
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.
1550, The city of Conception was founded by Pedro de Valdivia.
12/2/1541, The Spaniards founded Santiago, Chile.
Appendix 5 – 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.
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 6 – Cuba
25/11/2016, Fidel Castro, former leader of Cuba from 1959, died aged 90. He had been succeeded by his brother Raul in 2008.
18/2/2008, Fidel Castro, aged 81, announced he was resigning as President of Cuba after 49 years in post. His brother Raul Castro was selected to succeed him.
7/1/1964, In a drive to improve trade links with Europe, Cuba ordered 400 British buses.
1963, The 1,000 acre maximum private landholding in Cuba (see 5/1959) was reduced to 160 acres. This increased State landholdings from 40% to 60% of Cuba’s land.
28/4/1963, Cuban President Fidel Castro visited the USSR.
19/2/1963. The USSR agreed to withdraw troops from Cuba.
20/11/1962, President Kennedy lifted the blockade of Cuba, having verified that Soviet nuclear missiles had been removed.
18/11/1962. President Kennedy told a press conference that Nikita Khrushchev had told him all Soviet jet bombers would be withdrawn from Cuba within ten days.
13/11/1962. Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader, warned the US reconnaissance planes would be shot down if they continued to fly over Cuba.
28/10/1962. Khrushchev began to dismantle Soviet missile bases in Cuba, so ending the Cuba Missile Crisis. Crisis; the Soviet Union simply ignored its earlier demand regarding Turkey. President Kennedy was leader of the USA at the time; on Saturday 27/10/1962 he was just about to order US air strikes on the missile bases, when on Sunday the news came that the USSR had agreed to withdraw the missiles. The USSR attempted to leverage the removal of NATO missiles from Turkey but did not achieve this. The USA had to achieve this result, for political, not military, reasons, or else how could USA support be relied upon further from home. In fact the danger from the Cuban missiles was not much greater than if the same intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched from 5,000 miles away in the USSR. Actually the 40 or so missiles on Cuba would have reached the USA before any USSR-launched missiles, so acting as an early warning for the USA to launch its 1,685 missiles against the USSR. The USA did not know, however, that only a fraction of the USSR-based missiles were operational, so the 40 Cuban missiles did amount to a substantial increase in Soviet firepower against the USA.
26/10/1962, The USSR offered to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba if NATO missiles were removed from Turkey; the US rejected this idea. In fact the US had been planning to remove these missiles anyway, seeing them as obsolete; however a removal now might be seen as a victory for the Soviet Union.
24/10/1962. The USA began to blockade Cuba over the Cuban Missile Crisis. At 10.15am, 500 miles from the Cuban coastline, two Soviet merchant vessels, the Gargarin and the Komiles, encountered American warships. The Essex had orders to sink the accompanying Soviet submarines should they refuse to surface when challenged.
22/10/1962 President Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba after Soviet missile sites were found there.
16/10/1962, President Kennedy saw aerial photos of Cuba which appeared to show nuclear-armed missiles being installed in Cuba.
2/9/1962. The USSR agreed to supply weapons to Cuba. This started the Cuban Missile Crisis.
29/8/1962. American spy planes took pictures of Soviet technicians constructing missile launch pads in Cuba.
8/4/1962. In Cuba, over 1,000 Bay of Pigs invaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail. See 17/4/1961.
9/1/1962, A Cuban-Soviet trade treaty was signed.
17/4/1961. 1,300 Anti-Castro Cuban exiles, led by Jose Cardona, attempted to invade Cuba from the Bay of Pigs. However on 18 and 19/4/1961 the exiles were pinned down on the beach by Castro’s troops. The USA under President Kennedy backed down following Khrushchev’s declaration that the USSR would defend Cuba against the USA and the 1,200 survivors were left to their fate. They surrendered to Cuban authorities on 20/4/1961.
3/1/1961. The US severed all diplomatic relations with Cuba.
19/10/1960. The USA imposed an embargo on shipments to Cuba, banning all exports to Cuba except food and medicine. Cuba had been buying arms from the USSR, and when the USA imposed economic sanctions by refusing to buy Cuban sugar, Castro nationalised USA businesses. Cuba also attempted to 'export Revolution', to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Nicaragua. However many young US citizens supported Castro.
6/8/1960. Castro nationalised all US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.
23/6/1960, Castro threatened to seize US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.
21/2/1960. Castro nationalised all private businesses in Cuba.
4/6/1959. Cuba nationalised USA sugar mils in its territory.
5/1959, Cuba passed the Agrarian Reform Law, limiting private landholdings to a maximum of 1,000 acres. Some 40% of Cuba’s land now came into State ownership. Some of this land was redistributed to landless peasants but most stayed under the care of the Instituto Nacional de Reforma Agraria (INRA). See 1963. Before this reform, nine large foreign-owned sugar companies owned some 2,500,000 acres between them., with the Cuban Atlantic Company alone possessing 660,000 acres. Following this expropriation of land, the US struck Cuba from its sugar quota import list in 1960.
16/2/1959. Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. At age 32, he was the youngest ever leader of Cuba. See 1/1/1959.
8/1/1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana in triumph.
1/1/1959. The Right-wing President Fulgencio Batista of Cuba was overthrown and fled to the Dominican Republic. Fidel Castro, aged 32, proclaimed a new Government. See 16/2/1959. Castro executed his opponents and legalised the Communist Party.
17/9/1958, Fidel Castro began an offensive against the Batista regime in Cuba.
5/4/1958. Castro began 'total war' against the Cuban dictator, Batista.
2/4/1958. The USA embargoed arms shipments to Cuba.
29/10/1957, Fulgencio Batista suspended the Cuban Constitution.
5/9/1957, Rebels under Fidel Castro, along with Cuban navy Officers, tried to seize a naval base at Cienfuegos. Forces loyal to President Batista of Cuba defeated the attempt, and the rebel leaders were executed.
2/12/1956, Fidel Castro clandestinely returned to eastern Cuba, from Mexico, landing in the yacht Gramma. He then waged an 18-month guerrilla campaign against the Batista government. See 8/1/1959. See 8/1/1959. The invasion initially suffered major setbacks, with the Gramma first delayed by storms then grounding on a mudbank where government aircraft could easily spot it. The entire invasion force of 82 men were flushed out of cane fields by government soldiers, and only 12 managed to escape to the Sierra Maestra. Here, however, Castro had friends from his childhood as a sugar farmer’s son. With the increasing support of local peasants, and by clever use of the terrain, Castro’s supporters eventually won.
26/7/1953, Fidel Castro led an assault on the Moncada Barracks; this failed, but set him up as revolutionary leader in Cuba. Castro served two years in prison before release under a general amnesty. He went into exile in Mexico where he prepared a campaign against Batista.
10/3/1952,Military coup in Cuba. President Socarra was overthrown and replaced by General Zaldivar (Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar), who had previously been ruler of Cuba, 1933-40.
8/4/1947, Following a series of killings due to labour strife, the Cuban Interior Ministry banned all political meetings that might provoke disorder.
18/11/1944, The Popular Socialist Youth organization was founded in Cuba.
12/8/1933, Saturday (-4,287) In Cuba the army, led by Fulgencio Batista, and backed by the US, overthrew President Machedo.
13/8/1926. Cuban revolutionary and leader Fidel Castro was born near Biran, the son of a sugar planter.
31/5/1912. US marines landed in Cuba to quell a slave revolt.
12/6/1901, A new Constitution for Cuba was drawn up, giving the US extensive rights that made the island virtually a US protectorate.
20/5/1901, End of US military rule in Cuba.
21/2/1901, Cuba became a republic.
5/11/1900, The Cuban Constitutional Convention began to sit, until 21/2/1901.
18/9/1810, Cuba declared independence from Spain.
13/8/1762, The British captured Havana, Cuba, from the Spanish.
1515, Havana was founded by the Spanish.
1509, The Spanish began the conquest and colonisation of Cuba.
28/10/1492. Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba, believing it to be Japan.
Appendix 7 – Falklands Islands
15/2/1990, The UK and Argentina restored diplomatic links, 8 years after they were broken off in response to the Falklands War.
31/10/1988, General Galtieri of Argentina was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment because of his incompetent management of the Falklands War.
16/5/1986, Ex-President Galtieri of Argentina was jailed for negligence during the Falklands War.
8/7/1985, The UK lifted its ban on trading with Argentina
12/5/1985, Prince Andrew opened the new Falkland Islands Airport, which had cost the UK £276 million.
22/7/1982, Britain lifted the 200-mile exclusion zone around the Falkland Islands.
12/7/1982, Hostilities between Britain and Argentina, over the Falklands, officially ceased.
18/6/1982. President Galtieri of Argentina was removed from office by his generals following the British victory in the Falkland Islands.
17/6/1982, Fourteen Argentinean Army Generals at an army base decided unanimously to depose General Galtieri, who had taken on the UK to claim the Falklands Islands. By declaring an end to all hostilities, the 10,600 Argentinean PoWs still held on the Falklands could be repatriated.
14/6/1982, Argentinean forces formally surrendered to British forces on the Falkland Islands.
8/6/1982, British troops landed near Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.
1/6/1982. British forces continued their advance in the Falkland Islands, (see 2/4/1982), fighting with the Argentineans 12 miles from Port Stanley. The Argentinian forces surrendered on 14/6/1982, the day Port Stanley was recaptured. Total casualties were 254 British and 750 Argentine lives.
29/5/1982. Battle of Goose Green in the Falkland Islands. British paratroopers defeated a larger Argentine force in the first land battle of the war.
28/5/1982, British troops reached Darwin in the Falklands Islands.
25/5/1982, HMS Coventry and the merchant ship Atlantic Conveyor were sunk in the Falkland War, with the loss of 32 lives. The loss of Atlantic Conveyor was a disaster that could soon have meant the end of the British attempt to regain the Falklands.
21/5/1982. Argentine rockets sunk the British cruiser Ardent; 22 men died. On 24/5/1982 another British cruiser, the Antelope, was sunk, with 8 men lost. On 25/5/1982 Argentine Exocet missiles destroyed HMS Coventry, a destroyer, and the Cunard container ship Atlantic Conveyor; 32 people were killed. This day 5,000 UK troops landed at San Carlos Bay on the Falkland Islands and raised the Union Jack.
12/5/1982, The QE2 sailed south to join the Falkland Islands Task Force.
4/5/1982. An Argentinean Exocet missile sank the British ship HMS Sheffield. 20 men were killed.
2/5/1982. The Argentine cruiser General Belgrano was torpedoed and sunk by British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror, off the Falkland Islands. 800 of the 1,042 crew survived. The General Belgrano, originally called The Phoenix, had been sold to Argentina by the USA after World War Two, and was the last surviving warship from Pearl Harbour.
1/5/1982, British naval forces, the HMS Hermes under commander Sandy Woodward, entered the Argentine exclusion zone around d the Falklands, and the Falklands War began. Stanley Airport was bombed by UK forces.
See also Great Britain
25/4/1982. Britain recaptured South Georgia from Argentina.
12/4/1982, 12,000 Argentinean troops were stationed in the Falklands.
6/4/1982, Britain banned the import of Argentinean products.
5/4/1982, The British Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, resigned, as a British invasion fleet left Portsmouth for the Falklands. On 18/3/1982 an Argentine scrap-metal dealer had raised the Argentine flag on South Georgia, a sign of intention from Argentina that was not interpreted correctly by the British Foreign Office. See 1/5/1982.
4/4/1982, The British Falkland Islands Garrison surrendered to Argentina.
3/4/1982. The UN Security Council voted in favour of a resolution that Argentina withdraw from the Falklands.
2/4/1982. Argentina launched an invasion of the Falkland Islands. On 4/4/1982 Argentina seized South Georgia, a Falklands dependency. British forces set out from the UK on 5/4/1982 and landed in the Falklands on 21/5/1982. South Georgia was recaptured on 25/4/1982 with no casualties. See 1/6/1982.
19/3/1982, Argentine scrap metal merchants landed on uninhabited South Georgia and raised the Argentine flag, starting the Falklands War.
4/4/1980, Argentina increased its links with the Falkland Islands; a preliminary to the invasion of 1982.
16/12/1978. Ministers from Britain and Argentina met to discuss the Falkland Islands, to which Argentina had reiterated its claim.
27/3/1968. The UK foreign secretary said the Falklands will stay British.
29/9/1966. Argentina raided the Falkland Islands.
6/5/1955, Britain went to the International Court over the Falklands.
16/2/1948, Britain warned off Argentina as the Argentines conducted naval exercise near the Falkland Islands.
8/12/1915, Battle of the Falkland Islands. A British squadron sank four out of five German ships, killing Admiral Von Spree and his two sons.
22/1/1842, Lieutenant Governor Moody became the first Governor of the Falkland Islands. See 1767.
1767, Spain demanded that France transfer her Falklands colony to Spain, because it was so close to the Spanish colony of Argentina. However unknown to either the \French of the Spanish, in 1765, the English had started a settlement at Saunders Island, West Falklands. After discussions between Spain and Britain, the Falklands returned to British control, see 22/1/1842.
1764, The first permanent settlement on the Falklands was made, by 28 Frenchmen, led by Antoine Loius de Bougainville, at Port Louis, east Falkland. See 1692 and 1767.
1692, The first landing was made on the Falkland Islands, by the British, from the ship Welfare, commanded by Captain John Strong. The Falklands may have been sighted in 1592 by the English ship Desire, but no landing was made then. Hopwever eeven then, no permanent settlement was made, see 1764.
Appendix 8 – Guyana,
22/12/2002, Desmond Hoyte, President of Guyana, died.
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 9 – 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.
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 10 – 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.
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.
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.
21/2/1934, Cesar Sandino, Nicaraguan revolutionary, died aged 40.
1821, Nicaragua declared independence from Spain.
Appendix 11 – Paraguay
3/2/1989, General Stroessner of Paraguay was ousted after eight terms and 35 years in office.
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 https://www.timemaps.com/history/argentina-1837ad/
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.
1535, Paraguay was first settled by the Spanish.
Appendix 12 – 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.