Guatemala Key Dates

 about 2000 B.C.    The fishing and farming villages which emerged on Guatemala’s Pacific coast as early as 2000 BC were the forerunners of the great Maya civilization.
250    By 250, the Early Classic Period, great temple cities were beginning to be built in the Guatemalan highlands.
600 to 900    In the Late Classic Period the center of power had moved to the El Petén lowlands.
1523    Pedro de Alvarado, who became the first captain general of Guatemala, came to conquer Guatemala for the king of Spain.
1524    Ciudad de Guatemala was founded.
1527    The first colonial capital, Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala (later named Ciudad Vieja) was founded.
15 September 1821    Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala declare their independence from Spain and became members of the Empire of Mexico.
1 July 1823    United Provinces of Central America (Costa Rica, El Salcador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras) declared their independence from Mexico.
1831    Under tremendous debt pressure, the Government yielded large portions of territory to Britain for timber. This later became British Honduras, now the independent nation of Belize.
1839    The union broke up, largely due to a revolt against it led by José Rafael Carrera, an Indian general who had seized control of Guatemala, which thereupon became an independent country.
1931    General Jorge Ubico Castañeda was elected President.
1941    After Guatemala declared war on the Axis powers in 1941, the large German-owned coffee holdings were expropriated.
1951    Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán became president.
June 1954    The United States aided the anti-Arbenz military force that placed Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas in power.
1961    Guatemalan bases were used to train anti-Castro guerrillas for the invasion of Cuba.
1962    The "Las Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes" (FAR) was formed.
1966    The moderate leftist Julio César Méndez Montenegro was elected president.
1974    The legislature declared General Kjell Laugerud García president.
1975    Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres" (EGP) was formed.
1979    Organización del Pueblo en Armas" (ORPA) was formed.
February 1982    The leftist guerrillas became known as the "Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca" (URNG).
23 March 1982    Only a few days after a rigged election which brought him to power, Lucas Garcia was ousted in a military coup and replaced by General Efraín Ríos Montt.
August 1983    Another coup staged by the CIA deposed Ríos Montt and General Oscar Mejía Víctores came into power.
October 1987    Representatives of the URNG and Vinicio Cerezo’s government met in Madrid, the first direct negotiations between the Government and guerrilla forces in 27 years.
1 June 1990    A basic agreement was signed in Madrid by the National Commission for Reconciliation, the political parties and the URNG.
January 1994    The Government and guerrillas signed agreements for the resettlement of the population displaced by the armed conflict, without a mediated cease fire.
June 1994    The URNG and the Government signed a draft agreement for the «Resettlement of the People Uprooted by the Armed Confrontation», in Oslo, Norway.
December 1996    First in Europe and then in Mexico and Guatemala – the Government and the URNG signed a series of peace agreements which put an end to the civil war.
December 1997    Guatemala was amongst the five Latin American countries most affected by climatic change resulting from El Niño.
26 April 1998    Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera was murdered.
14 January 2000    Alfonso Portillo Cabrera became president.

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