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Nicaragua History Timeline

1500's
  • (1522) Spanish explorer Gil de Avila named Nicaragua after a local Indian chief, Nicarao
  • (1523-24) Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba completed conquest of Nicaragua
  • (1524) Hernandez de Cordoba founded Granada and Leon in Nicaragua
1800's
  • (1806) the Spanish king set boundaries between Honduras and Nicaragua
  • (1821) Nicaragua became independent; incorporated into the Mexican empire
  • (1823) United Provinces of Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador) gained independence from Mexico
  • (1838) Nicaragua fully independent
  • (1855) William Walker, US adventurer, stormed into Granada, Nicaragua
  • (1856) William Walker declared himself president of Nicaragua; Battle of San Jacinto, Nicaragua defeated invaders
  • (1860) William Walker, conqueror of Nicaragua, convicted and executed by the government of Honduras; British cede control over the country's Caribbean coast to Nicaragua
  • (1885) Managua, Nicaragua leveled by earthquake
  • (1893) General Jose Santos Zelaya, liberal, seized power and established dictatorship
  • (1896)US Marines landed in Nicaragua to protect US citizens in the wake of a revolution
1900's
  • (1900) US and Great Britain signed the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, gave US rights to build a canal in Nicaragua, but not to fortify it
  • (1902) French offered to sell their Nicaraguan Canal rights to US
  • (1909) US troops helped depose president Zelaya
  • (1912-25) US established military bases
  • (1927-33) guerrillas led by Augusto Cesar Sandino campaigned against US military presence
  • (1934) Sandino assassinated on orders of the National Guard commander, General Anastasio Somoza Garcia
  • (1937) General Somoza elected president, started a 44-year-long dictatorship by his family
  • (1945) Nicaragua first nation to formally accepted the United Nations Charter
  • (1949) Nicaragua and Costa Rica signed friendship treaty, ended hostilities over their borders
  • (1956) Anastasio Somoza assassinated, succeeded by his son Luis Somoza Debayle
  • (1960) Central American Common Market set up by a treaty between El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and later Costa Rica
  • (1961) Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) founded
  • (1967) Luis Somoza died, succeeded as president by his brother, Anastasio Somoza; Anastasio, last Somoza ruler
  • (1972) Managua, Nicaragua devastated by an 6.25 earthquake, killed between 5,000-10,000
  • (1978) Assassination of opposition Democratic Liberation Union leader, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, triggered general strike; FSLN united in quest to oust Somoza
  • (1979) President Somoza resigned; FSLN military offensive ended with ousted Somoza
  • (1980) Former Nicaraguan President, Anastasio Somoza, assassinated in Paraguay; FSLN government led by Daniel Ortega nationalized, turned lands held by Somoza family into cooperatives
  • (1984) Daniel Ortega elected president; US mined Nicaraguan harbors, actions condemned by World Court

1900s continued

  • (1985) US President Reagan ordered embargo against Nicaragua; US House of Representatives approved $27 million in aid to Nicaraguan contras; US House of Representatives voted to limit use of combat troops in Nicaragua
  • (1987-88) Nicaraguan leadership signed peace agreement, talks held with Contra
  • (1990) US backed center-right National Opposition Union defeated FSLN in elections; Violeta Chamorro president; trade sanctions lifted against Nicaragua by President Bush
  • (1992) Earthquake rendered 16,000 homeless
  • (1996) Arnoldo Aleman elected president
  • (1998) Hurricane Mitch caused massive devastation, more than 3,000 killed, hundreds of thousands left homeless; Nicaragua filed large damage suit against all major US tobacco companies
2000s
  • (2000) FSLN won Managua municipal elections
  • (2001) Enrique Bolanos defeated former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua's presidential election
  • (2002) Opposition Sandinista party re-elected Daniel Ortega; former President Arnoldo Aleman charged with money laundering, embezzlement during term in office
  • (2003) Ex-president, Arnoldo Aleman, found guilty of fraud, jailed for 20 years
  • (2004) World Bank eliminated 80% of Nicaragua's debt; agreement made with Russia to write-off Nicaragua's multi-billion-dollar Soviet-era debt
  • (2005) Seven Central American nations (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama) agreed to create rapid-response force to combat drug trafficking, terrorism, other regional threats; cost of living, rising fuel prices triggered weeks of street protests; government and opposition alliance embroiled in power struggle
  • (2006) Free trade agreement with US in effect; Nicaragua's Congress approved Central American Free Trade Agreement; President Bolanos unveiled plans to build new ship canal linking Atlantic, Pacific Oceans; Nicaragua's congress voted to ban all abortions; ex-president Daniel Ortega returned to power in elections
  • (2007) International Court of Justice in The Hague settled long-running territorial dispute between Honduras, Nicaragua
  • (2009) President Ortega announced plans to change constitution to allow him to stand another term in office; UN's highest court's judgment ended four-year legal battle: entire San Juan River belonged to Nicaragua up to Costa Rican bank, Costa Rican ships had freedom of navigation for commerce

Nicaragua Photographs

jose santos zelayabattle of san jacintoanastasio somoza garcia

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.