Guatemala - Country history and economic development
1524. Pedro de Alvarado of Spain invades Guatemala.
1528. Alvarado defeats Guatemalans, and Spanish rule begins.
1786. Spaniards separate Chiapas, Honduras, and Nicaragua from the province of Guatemala.
1821. Guatemala, along with Central America, declares its independence from Spain.
1823. Guatemala joins with other nations to form the United Provinces of Central America.
1840. Guerilla group led by Rafael Carrera overthrows president of United Provinces, resulting in the abolition of the federation.
1850s. Guatemala embarks upon a long period of un-democratic rule, marked by a series of dictatorships, military governments, coups, and insurgencies that continue until the mid-1980s.
1901. United Fruit Company establishes itself in Guatemala, becoming the first transnational corporation in the country.
1944. The "October Revolutionaries," a group of students, liberal professionals, and military dissidents, overthrow General Jorge Ubico's dictatorship.
1945. Guatemala joins the United Nations.
1948. Guatemala joins the Organization of American States.
1952. Communist Guatemalan Labor Party gains legal status and institutes agrarian reforms that distribute unused lands to peasants.
1954. U.S. CIA deploys "Operation Success" with help from domestic forces, invading Guatemala and overthrowing President Jacobo Arbenz.
1960. Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) forms; civil war over economic and land issues commences.
1966. United States sends in Green Berets and directs counterinsurgency campaign in Guatemala; Mano Blanca and other Guatemalan death squads form.
1970s. Manufacturing expands markedly in Guatemala, growing at an annual rate of 6.2 percent.
1978. United States bans the sale of arms to Guatemalan government.
1980. Spain breaks off diplomatic relations with Guatemala after a government massacre in which Indian protestors were burned inside of the Spanish Embassy. Debt crisis strikes Guatemala; high inflation and foreign debt accumulation ensue.
1981. Guatemalan army initiates counteroffensive, destroys over 400 Indian villages in 2 years.
1982. Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP), Organization of Armed People (ORPA), and Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) combine to form the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit (URNG). Efrain Rios Montt overthrows General Angel Anibal Guevara presidency.
1983. Military overthrows Rios Montt. United States resumes sale of arms to Guatemala.
1985. Marco Vinicio Cerezo is elected, becoming the first civilian president in 15 years. United States reinstates official economic and military aid to Guatemala.
1987. Central American Peace Accord is signed.
1990. United States again cuts off military aid and arms sales to Guatemala.
1991. Economic recovery begins; Guatemala regains healthy inflation rates and experiences consistent growth.
1994. Guatemalan government and guerrillas sign agreements on human rights, resettlement, historical clarification, and indigenous rights. United Nations Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) is formed.
1996. Alvaro Arzú, member of National Advancement Party, is elected president. Guatemalan government and guerillas sign peace accord, ending 36-year conflict.
1997. URNG demobilizes and becomes political party.
1999. Alfonso Portillo, member of Guatemalan Republican Front, is elected president.