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Venezuela History Timeline

1400s - 1700s
  • (1498) Christopher Columbus landed in Venezuela
  • (1528-46) Charles I, King of Spain, leased Venezuela to German banking group to pay debts
  • (1535) Spanish conquistadors began colonizing Venezuela
  • (1550) African slaves shipped to Venezuela to work on plantations
  • (1700s) Spain combined Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Panama into one large colony called the Vice-royalty; Venezuelan General Francisco Gabriel de Miranda participated in major political events for three decades
1800s
  • (1810) King of Spain overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte; territories of Vice-royalty of New Granada set up independent governments
  • (1811) Venezuela declared independence from Spain
  • (1812) Simon Bolivar, revolutionary leaders fled abroad
  • (1814) Spain sent troops to South America to suppress uprising of colonists
  • (1819) Simon Bolivar defeated Spanish at Battle of Boyaca; Republic of Gran Colombia proclaimed with Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela
  • (1821) Simon Bolivar established Gran Columbia, became first president
  • (1829-30) Venezuela seceded from Gran Columbia, became an independent republic, capital at Caracas
  • (1830) Venezuela, Ecuador left Gran Columbia, became totally independent
  • (1831) General Jose Antonio Paez became first president of Venezuela
  • (1800s) Venezuela torn by civil war
  • (1870-1888) Guzman Blanco ruled Venezuela; ended civil wars
1900s
  • (1908-1935) Gomez ruled Venezuela with strong military backing
  • (1947) Venezuela's first democratically elected leader, Romulo Gallegos, overthrown in eight months in military coup led by Marcos Perez Jimenez; formed government backed by the armed forces and the US
  • (1950) Marcos Perez Jimenez served as dictator
  • (1958) Jimenez forced into exile, led to Venezuela democracy
  • (1964) Venezuela's first presidential handover from one civilian to another took place when Dr. Raul Leoni was elected president
  • (1973) Venezuela's currency peaked against US dollar from oil boom; oil, steel industries nationalized
  • (1983-84) Fall in world oil prices generated unrest and cut welfare spending; Dr. Jaime Lusinchi elected president, signed pact with
  • (1989) Carlos Andres Perez elected president; social, political upheaval included riots, martial law, general strike, over 2,000 people killed
  • (1992) 120 people killed in two attempted coups led by Colonel Hugo Chavez; Chavez jailed two years before pardoned
  • (1993-95) Ramon Jose Velasquez became interim president, Perez ousted on charges of corruption; Rafael Caldera elected president
  • (1996) Perez imprisoned, found guilty of embezzlement, corruption
  • (1998) Hugo Chavez elected president
  • (1999) Voters approved new constitution; severe floods, mudslides in the north, killed tens of thousands of people
2000s
  • (2000) Foreign minister Jose Vicente Rangel disclosed plot to kill Chavez; Chavez won another six years in office; Chavez, first foreign head of state to visit Iraq
  • (2002) Venezuela national currency, the Bolivar, plummeted 25% against US dollar after government scrapped exchange rate controls; opposition strike crippled oil industry
  • (2003) Venezuela clashed between opponents, supporters of President Chavez; thousands of bank workers stayed home to support nation-wide strike to seek new presidential elections; opposition leaders turned in 2.7 million signatures demanding referendum on ending Hugo Chavez's tumultuous four-year presidency
  • (2004) President Chavez won referendum where Venezuelans asked whether he should serve out the remainder of term
  • (2005) Loyal parties to President Chavez made big gains in parliamentary elections; opposition parties boycotted polls, left parliament made up of supporters of the president
  • (2006) President Chavez signed a $3 Billion arms deal with Russia, included agreement to buy fighter jets, helicopters; Hugo Chavez won third term as president, with 63% of the vote
  • (2007) Chavez suffered first defeat, voters in majority narrowly rejected proposals to extend his powers
  • (2008) President Chavez announced plans to nationalize one of the country's largest private banks, the Spanish-owned bank of Venezuela; Mexican cement giant Cemex sought World Bank arbitration over Venezuela nationalization of local subsidiary; first Venezuelan telecommunications satellite launched from China; Russia and Venezuela signed accord on joint civilian nuclear cooperation
  • (2009) Voters in referendum approved plans to abolish limits on number of terms in office for elected officials; Columbian government, US signed deal on use of Columbia's military bases; President Chavez ordered 15,000 troops to Columbian border, cited increased violence by Columbian paramilitary groups
  • (2010) President Chavez devalued Venezuela's currency, the Bolivar, by 17% against the US dollar for "priority" imports, by 50% for items considered non-essential, in effort to boost revenue from oil exports; Venezuela's government announced that expenditure of $15 billion over next 5 years to increase electricity production; President Chavez declared national emergency in electric sector as worst drought in 50 years dried up water supplies in hydroelectric dams
  • (2013) On March 6, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez died at age 58, after 14 years in power. Mr Chavez had been seriously ill with cancer for more than a year, undergoing several operations in Cuba

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.