1798: Toussaint L'Ouverture leads a successful slave revolt in Haiti.
1804: Haiti, once a French colony, becomes the first Latin American or Caribbean country to declare its independence
1806: British naval forces invade and briefly occupy Buenos Aires, Argentina
1807: British forces invade and briefly occupy Montevideo, Uruguay; King John and his court flees to Brazil to escape Napoleon's invading armies in Portugal
1808-33: King Ferdinand VII rules Spain
1808: Portugal's royal family, headed by King John (Joao) flees Napoleon's invading armies and sails on British ships to Brazil
1810: Father Miguel Hidalgo issues his "Cry of Dolores" and begins Mexico's independence struggle
1811: Venezuela and Paraguay declare independence; Hidalgo killed and replaced by Morelos in Mexico; José Gervasio Artigas leads battle for Uruguayan independence
1815: Bolívar forced to retreat to the island of Jamaica
1816: Argentina declares independence
1818: Chile declares independence
1819: Bolivar becomes president of Gran Columbia.
1821: Iturbide declares Mexico independent with his Plan of Iguala
1822: San Martín and Bolívar meet a Guayaquil, Ecuador; the former departs for France and self-imposed exile
1821: Mexico, Central America and Peru declare independence
1822: Pedro I, son of Portuguese King John, declares Brazil independent and becomes the nation's emperor
1823: Mexico becomes a republic.
1824: Last patriot victories against the Spaniards:
1825: Bolivia declares independence
1825-28: Argentina and Brazil war over Uruguay (Banda Oriental)
1829: Venezuela leaves "Gran Colombia"
1830: Ecuador leaves "Gran Colombia"
- Bolívar at Junín in August and Sucre at Ayacucho.
- Pedro writes a new Brazilian constitution
1829-52: Dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas rules Argentina with an iron fist
1831-1844: Pedro I forced to abdicate.
- Bolívar dies preparing to go into exile
1835-45: Anglo-American settlers in Texas revolt against Mexico, establish an independent nation, and finally join the United States
1844-89: King Pedro II rules Brazil
1838: Latin America's first railroad is built in Cuba
1846-48: US defeats Mexico and annexes the northern half of the country with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
1850: Clayton-Bulwer Treaty in which Great Britain and the US agree to maintain as neutral any Central American canal
1853: With the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico, US acquires route for a railroad through southern Arizona and New Mexico
1854: Ostend Manifesto urges that the US acquire Cuba from Spain, by force in necessary
1855: U.S. filibuster William Walker and his mercenaries invade and occupy Nicaragua. Walker declares himself president, rules for 2 years, and is finally shot by a Honduran firing squad on September 12, 1860
1862-67 French occupation of Mexico until Benito Juárez and his liberal forces defeat and then execute Archduke Maximillian
1865: US mobilizes troops along the Mexican border as a threat to the French occupying army of Louis Napoleon, whose troops arrived there in 1862
1865-70: War of the Triple Alliance (Paraguayan War) Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay defeat Paraguay
1876: First shipment of refrigerated beef from Buenos Aires to Europe. Argentina's beef bonanza is underway.
1876-1911: Dictator Porfirio Díaz rules Mexico (except 1880-84)
1879-84: Chile defeats Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific
1888: Princess Isabel abolishes slavery in Brazil
1889: Brazil's military overthrows King Pedro II and initiates republican government
- Brazil ruled by committee--the Regency--a time of political fragmentation
1895: US forces Great Britain into arbitration in its boundary dispute with Venezuela, asserting US dominance in the Western Hemisphere.
1898: Spanish-American War begins.
1901: Hay Pauncefote Treaty in which Great Britain cedes canal-building in Central America to the US
1901: Platt Amendment to Cuba's new constitution gives the U.S. the unilateral right to intervene in the island's political affairs.
1903: Theodore Roosevelt intervenes to assist Panamanian independence from Colombia
1903-29: Uruguay's middle class, led by José Batlle y Ordóñez
1904: (Theodore) Roosevelt's Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declares the U.S. to be the policeman of the Caribbean. US forces place the Dominican Republic under a customs receivership.
1909-12: William Howard Taft promotes "Dollar Diplomacy," based on the erroneous belief that increased US investment will bring stability and economic prosperity to Latin America
1909-33: US Marines intervene in Nicaragua
1910: Mexican Revolution
1910-20: Bloody phase of the Mexican Revolution
- 1889-90: First Inter-American Conference held in Washington, DC
1914: Panama Canal opens
1914: US forces shell and then occupy Vera Cruz, Mexico
1914-20: Venustiano Carranaz serves as president of Mexico
1915-34: US Marines invervene in and occupy Haiti
1916: Francisco "Pancho" Villa raids Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17 US citizens
1916-22: Hipólito Yrigoyen and his middle-class party rule Argentina
1916-17: US Expeditionary Force under Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing unsuccessfully pursues Pancho Villa in northern Mexico
1917: Zimmermann Telegram revealed in which Germany offers to help Mexico recover territory lost to the US in exchange for support in the First World War
1917: Mexico's revolutionary leaders author a new constitution
1919: Uruguay promulgates a new constitution representing middle-class political values
1923: Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes renounces the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctine. US slowly begins moving away from interventionism.
1927-33: Augusto César Sandino and his guerrilla fighters successfully defy US Marine in Nicaragua
1929: Ecuador becomes the first Latin American nation to grant women the right to vote
1929: The Great Depression brings economic disaster and radical political change to Latin America
1932-35: Paraguay defeats Bolivia in the Chaco War
1933: FDR announces "Good Neighbor Policy" of non-intervention in Latin America
1933: US offers to intervene in El Salvador to put down a peasant rebellion. The Salvadoran military dictator refuses, then murders thousands of peasants.
1934: US abrogates the Platt Amendment of 1901.
1934-40: Lazaro Cardenas brings populist reform to Mexico and nationalizes the oil industry, including many US holdings, in 1938
1937: Vargas imposes the Estado Novo (New State) in Brazil
1944-54: The "Guatemalan Revolution" brings needed change under Juan José Arévalo and Jacobo Arbenz
1945: Garbriela Mistral, female poet from Chile, wins Latin America's first Nobel Prize in literature
1947: Rio Pact signed, providing for mutual defense against Communism
1948: Organization of American States (OAS) formed
1952: Guatemala enacts a sweeping land reform law that takes land from the US-owned United Fruit Company (UFCO)
1952-64: The Bolivian Revolution brings land and labor reform but the efforts are thwarted by the military
1954: CIA overthrows constitutional government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala
1956: US-supported dictator Anastasio Somoza assassinated in Nicaragua
1957-86: Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier rule Haiti as dictators, with US support
5/1958: Vice President Richard Nixon meets strong anti-American sentiment on his "good will" tour of Latin America
1959: Dictator Fulgencio Bastista, supported by the US until 1958, flees Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba
1957: US high school students in the Panama Canal Zone burn a Panamanian flag, sparking riots that kill and injure more than 100 people
1960: CIA plots to depose or assassinate Fidel Castro in what is eventually named "Operation Mongoose"
1961: Eisenhower administration breaks diplomatic relations with Castro in Cuba
1961: Failed Bag of Pigs invasion of Cuba
1961: US-supported dictator Rafael Trujillo assassinated in the Dominican Republic
1961-69: Kennedy's Alliance for Progress tries to bring reform and development to Latin America
1962: Missile Crisis with Cuba and USSR
1964: Brazilian President Joao Goulart overthrown by the military, with covert US support
1965: US forces, fearing a Communist takeover, occupy Dominican Republic.
1970: For the first time, Latin America's population is as urban as it is rural. The US reached this point in 1920.
1970-73: US and multinational corporations work covertly to overthrew socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile. He dies in the September 1973 military coup.
1974-76: Isabel Perón serves as Argentina's and Latin America's first female president
1977: US and Panama sign a new treaty providing for Panamanian control of the canal in 1999
1979: Sandinista (FSLN) Revolution takes power in Nicaragua
1977-80: President Jimmy Carter makes human rights a major goal in his Latin American policy
1980: Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) revolutionaries begin attacks in Peru
1981-86: Reagan administration officials secretly direct counter-revolutionary (Contra) forces against the Nicaraguan Sandinista government
1981-88: Reagan administration strongly supports the Salvadoran military in their fight against the FMLN guerrillas
1982: Argentina invades the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, held since 1833 by Great Britain. Reagan administration officials debate for two weeks before siding with Great Britain.
1983: Reagan orders US forces to invade the island of Grenada to halt Cuban work on an airstrip
1985: Civilian rule returns to Brazil for the first time since 1964
1986: Congress begins investigations of the Iran-Contra scandal
1987: President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica wins the Nobel Peace Prize
1989: End of the Cold War diminishes Latin America's significance in US foreign policy
1992: Guatemala's Rigoberta Menchú, a Quiche Mayan woman, wins the Nobel Peace Prize
1993: US, Mexico, and Canada form NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement
1994: NAFTA takes effect.
- 1911-13: Francisco Madero replace Porfirio Díaz as president of Mexico
- 1913-14: Victoriano Huerta assassinates Madero and rules as dictator of Mexico, arousing opposition from the United States
1994: Threatened invasion of Haiti by US troops
1994: Summit of the Americas meeting in Miami
1996: Helms-Burton Law increases economic boycott of Castro's Cuba.
1997: Bill Clinton visits several South American countries and speaks of extending free trade to more of the region.
1990s: High levels of drug trafficking, massive foreign debt, economic dependency, rain forest and coral reef destruction, illegal immigration to the US, and other problems continue to face the US and Latin America.
1999: Panama begins sole operation of the Panama Canal.
- EZLN (Zapatista) revolutionaries launch attacks in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas
This chronology based on the work of
Richard W. Slatta [Slatta@ncsu.edu]
Professor of History
North Carolina State University
Used by permission.
Revised January 2004