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El Salvador History Timeline

1500s
  • (1524) Spanish adventurer, Pedro de Alvarado, conquered El Salvador
  • (1540) El Salvador became Spanish colony
1800s
  • (1811) El Salvador fought Spain in first battle for independence
  • (1821) El Salvador gained independence from Spain
  • (1823) El Salvador became part of United Provinces of Central America with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua following independence from Mexico
  • (1840) United Provinces of Central America dissolved, El Salvador became fully independent
  • (1854) Earthquake destroyed San Salvador
  • (1859 - 1863) Coffee growing introduced by President Garardo Barrios
1900s
  • (1932) 30,000 people killed during peasant uprising led by social activist and Communist leader, Agustin Farabundo Marti; El Salvador army killed 4,000 farmers
  • (1961) Right-Wing National Conciliation Party came to power after military coup
  • (1969) After eviction of Salvadoran illegal immigrants from Honduras, brief war known as Soccer War, between El Salvador and Honduras occurred
  • (1977) General Carlos Romero elected president; Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) engaged in guerrilla activities
  • (1979 - 1981) Army-backed right wing death squads killed over 30,000 people
  • (1979) General Romero ousted in coup
  • (1980) Jose Napoleon Duarte became first civilian president since 1931; human rights activist and archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, assassinated
  • (1980 - 1992) During 12-year civil war, human rights violations by government security forces, left-wing guerrillas were rampant
  • (1981) FMLN recognized as legitimate political force by France, Mexico; more than 1,000 civilians killed in anti-guerrilla campaign in El Mazote by Salvadoran armed forces trained by US military; US Embassy in San Salvador damaged by attack
  • (1982) Parliamentary elections won by National Republican Alliance (ARENA)
  • (1984) Duarte re-elected as president
  • (1985) Four off-duty US Marines, 9 others killed at sidewalk restaurant in San Salvador by guerillas
  • (1986) Duarte began negotiating settlment with FMLN; earthquake struck San Salvador, US provided $60 million emergency aid, reconstruction money
  • (1989) Alfredo Crisiani, ARENA party, elected president, elections believed to have been rigged; FMLN intensified attacks; Salvadoran army attacked hospital, raped, killed patients
  • (1991) FMLN, government signed peace agreement sponsored by UN
  • (1992) El Salvador's government officials, rebel leaders signed pact to end 12-year civil war which left 75,000 dead
  • (1993) Amnesty granted to people implicated by UN-sponsored commission for human rights atrocities
  • (1994) Armando Calderon Sol, ARENA candidate, elected president
  • (1997) Depositors in Credi Club bank scandal lost $11 million; 22 murders a day took place in El Salvador during the year
  • (1998) Hurricane Mitch killed over 4,000; Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador agreed to build $2 billion railroad network linking Central America and Mexico
  • (1999) Francisco Flores, ARENA candidate, elected president
2000s
  • (2000) 10-year agreement for drug surveillance missions to be flown from from Comalapa Airport signed between El Salvador and US; Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras reached free-trade agreement with Mexico
  • (2001) Earthquakes killed 1,200; over one million homeless, damages of $1 billion; over 100 small earthquakes hit El Salvador in 24 hours; drought caused 80% loss of crops; US dollar adopted as official currency
  • (2002) US-based Salvadoran army generals ordered to compensate victims for civil war atrocities
  • (2003) 360 Salvadoran troops sent to Iraq; El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala agreed to free-trade agreement with US
  • (2004) ARENA candidate, Tony Saca, elected president; inmates at a San Salvador prison fought each other with knives, 31 people dead, 24 injured
  • (2005) Investigation of 1981 massacre of hundreds of peasant famers in El Mozote reopened by OAS human rights court, considered to be one of worst atrocities of civil war; Ilamatepec volcano erupted, two killed, thousands fled; Tropical Storm Stan caused major flooding, landslides, 72 killed, over 50,000 evacuated; "Operation International" captured 660 dangerous gang members during raids in El Salvador, US, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico
  • (2006) El Salvador first Central American country to implement regional free trade agreement with US; protest march by thousands of street vendors, university students, labor unionists in San Salvador against free trade accord with US; common customs system to allow residents to cross borders without passports or visa agreed to by Central American presidents
  • (2007) Three members of ARENA party murdered in Guatemala
  • (2008) El Salvador had world's highest murder rate
  • (2009) ARENA party won largest number of seats in local elections; former Marxist rebel, Mauricio Funes of FMLN party, won presidential election; Funes restored diplomatic relations with Cuba; floods, landslides killed 140, left thousands homeless
  • (2010) US granted 18-months (Until January 2012) temporary legal status to people from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras due to devastation caused by 1998 Hurricane Mitch; 14 passengers killed by gang members who set bus on fire near capital in El Salvador

El Salvador Photographs


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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.