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South America History Timeline

South America Timeline:

  • 5000 BC - 1200 BC The ancient ancestors of the people of South America were believed to have been nomadic Asian hunter-gatherers who crossed over the frozen Bering Strait and into North America. From there they traveled south to the lands of Central and South America.
  • 900 BC – 300 BC The Chavín civilization established a trade network and developed agriculture products in the highlands of Peru.
  • 400 BC – 800 Along the central coastline of Peru, the Moche, Paracas and Nazca cultures flourished.
  • 600 BC – 1200 The Tiahuanaco and Wari empire of central and northern Peru expanded their influence to all of the Andean region.
  • 1000 BC – 1450 The Cañaris culture of Ecuador, Chimu Empire in Peru, and the Chachapoyas, and the Aymaran kingdoms of Bolivia and southern Peru flourished.
  • 1400 Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. It is positioned on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru.
  • 1400 - 1550 The empire of the Incas covered Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador. It began as a tribe in the Cuzco, Peru area, and from there the Inca state grew to absorb other Andean communities. In 1442, the Incas began a far-reaching expansion across the western edges of the continent.
  • 1498 Christopher Columbus explored the northern coastline of South America, and word of his discovery eventually spread to Europe. Spanish Conquistadores led by Francisco Pizarro arrived in the 1500's intent on finding treasure and conquering this rich land. Over matched by superior weapons and military tactics, the indigenous sovereignty enjoyed by the Incas was lost, but their traditions live on.

1500's

  • 1500 Portuguese explorer Alvares Cabra lands in Brazil
  • 1516 Juan Solis discovers the Rio de la Plata
  • 1520 Ferdinand Magellan sails through Tierra del Fuego
  • 1521 Cortez defeats the Aztecs; conquers their capital
  • 1526 The Spaniards establish Santa Marta, Colombia
  • 1532 Francisco Pizarro conquers Ecuador
  • 1533 Spanish Conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro, conquered much of the existing Inca territory including the Inca capital of Cuzco
  • 1533 Cartagena founded by the Spanish
  • 1535 Lima, Peru is founded
  • 1536 Buenos Aires, Argentina established
  • 1537 Asuncion, Paraguay founded
  • 1540 Chile explored by Valdivia
  • 1541 Buenos Aires, Argentina abandoned
  • 1545 Silver discovered in Potosi, Bolivia
  • 1548 La Paz, Bolivia established by the Spanish
  • 1550 African slaves arrive in Brazil
  • 1552 Cattle imported into Argentina and Paraguay
  • 1555 Smallpox epidemic along coastal Brazil
  • 1567 Caracas, Venezuela founded
  • 1571 Inca leader Tupac Amaru beheaded
  • 1555 British pirates pillage Valparaiso, Chile
  • 1580 Buenos Aires re-established

1600's

  • 1613 Serious smallpox outbreak sacks Brazil
  • 1616 Dutch explorer Schouten sails around Cape Horn
  • 1621 Dutch West India Company invades Guyana
  • 1629 Dutch troops conquer Pernambuco, Brazil
  • 1647 Strong earthquake strikes Santiago
  • 1693 Gold discovered in Brazil
  • 1697 Pirates raid Cartagena, Colombia

1700's

  • 1711 War of the Mascates begins in Brazil
  • 1720 Spain ends its repressive labor practices
  • 1711 Easter Island discovered
  • 1729 Montevideo, Uruguay established
  • 1711 Diamonds discovered in Brazil
  • 1743 University founded in Santiago
  • 1759 Spanish expelled Jesuits from Brazil
  • 1777 Venezuela established administrative divisions
  • 1783 Indio rebellion is defeated in Peru
  • 1791 Chile forbids forced labor of indigenous people
  • 1797 British raid and conquer Trinidad
  • 1799 Brazil's populations exceeds three million

1800's

  • 1800 Peru's population in sharp decline
  • 1806 Rio de Janeiro largest city in Brazil
  • 1800 Britain takes Buenos Aires from Spain
  • 1807 Locals expel Britain from Buenos Aires
  • 1808 After Napoleon invaded Portugal, The King of Portugal (Dom Joao) moved his capital city to Brazil
  • 1811 Brazil signs exclusive trade deal with Britain
  • 1813 Simon Bolivar invades Venezuela from Bogota
  • 1814 Bernardo O'Higgins leads Chilean rebels
  • 1814 Bolivar defeated, expelled from Venezuela; O'Higgins is defeated and flees to Argentina
  • 1818 Colombia abolishes slavery by law
  • 1818 Chile declares its independence from Spain
  • 1819 Gran Colombia (Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador) is established, Simon Bolivar is president
  • 1820 Civil war all but destroys Argentina
  • 1820 Dom Joao returns to Portugal, Pedro (his son) appointed governor of Brazil
  • 1821 Peru declares its independence
  • 1823 Simon Bolivar arrives in Lima
  • 1820 Portugal & USA recognize independent Brazil
  • 1832 Ecuador claims Galapagos Islands
  • 1833 Britain invades Falkland Islands
  • 1832 Ecuador claims Galapagos Islands
  • 1834 Civil War breaks out in Peru
  • 1838 Brazil imports thousands of African slaves
  • 1841 Jose Ballivian appointed president of Bolivia
  • 1851-52 Cattle is now Argentina's largest export
  • 1852 Slavery abolished in Uruguay
  • 1860 Peru enacts a new constitution
  • 1862 Ecuador declares war on Colombia
  • 1864 Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay attack Paraguay
  • 1869 Argentina population approaches two million
  • 1876 Peru population approaches three million
  • 1882 Maximo Santos elected President of Uruguay
  • 1888 Chile annexes Easter Island
  • 1888 Slavery abolished in Brazil
  • 1888 Ecuador claims Galapagos Islands

1900's

  • 1902 Uruguay's population exceeds one million
  • 1903 Jose Battle y Ordonez elected President of Uruguay; the first civilian president of Uruguay
  • 1905 Riots over high prices in Santiago, Chile
  • 1910 Hermes da Fonseca elected President of Brazil
  • 1912 After many years of construction the subway opens in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1917 Oil discovered in western Venezuela
  • 1925 With its new president installed, Chile has now had over 120 different governments since 1892
  • 1929 Venezuela is now the world's second largest producer of oil
  • 1931 The President of Chile resigns under fire
  • 1937 Exports in Chile triple in five years
  • 1940 Peru's population now exceeds seven million
  • 1945 First open and free election held in Peru
  • 1946 Venezuela holds first free elections
  • 1949 Josef Mengele, the Nazi war criminal, secretly arrived in Argentina
  • 1949 Juan Peron, President of Argentina, stifles free speech and other personal freedoms
  • 1950-55 European immigrants by the tens of thousands continue to arrive in South America countries
  • 1950 Brazil population now exceeds 50 million
  • 1952 Eva Peron, the First Lady of Argentina dies, millions mourn her passing
  • 1957 Students riot in Chile over college costs
  • 1960 9.5 magnitude earthquake strikes Chile
  • 1960 Nazi Adolf Eichmann arrested in Argentina
  • 1970 Brazil population now exceeds 90 million
  • 1971 Chile's Pablo Neruda awarded Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1973 Chile general, Augusto Pinochet, begins his long, brutal dictatorship
  • 1976 Chile's population now exceeds 11 million
  • 1979 A subway opens in Rio de Janeiro
  • 1981 Ecuador's president dies in an plane crash
  • 1983 Bolivia holds its first free elections
  • 1987 Colombia's drug cartels terrorize the country; thousands would die over the next few years
  • 1988 Pinochet resigns, his dictatorship over
  • 1990 Argentina's inflation exceeds 8,000%; the economy falls into a rapid decline
  • 1992 Venezuela survives a coup by Hugo Chavez
  • 1993 The world's most famous drug lord, Pablo Escobar, is killed by police in Colombia
  • 1996-98 FARC kills dozens of Colombian soldiers
  • 1998 Hugo Chavez elected President of Venezuela

2000's

  • 2000 Brazil's population exceeds 170 million
  • 2000 The economy of Argentina totally collapses
  • 2002 Brazil wins soccer world cup for the fifth time
  • 2002 Luiz Inacio Lula elected in Brazil
  • 2003 Bolivian landslide kills hundreds
  • 2004 Fire in Paraguay mall, hundreds dead
  • 2005 Ecuador's President flees the country
  • 2006 Evo Morals, the President of Bolivia, launches a controversial nationalization plan
  • 2007 Drug lord Diego Montoya arrested in Colombia
  • 2007 Cristina Fernandez elected President of Argentina
  • 2008 Ecuador has a new constitution
  • 2010 Argentina approves same-sex marriages
  • 2010 An 8.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Chile, hundreds die
  • 2010 After weeks of planning, Chile finally rescues 33 miners trapped deep underground for 69 days
  • 2010 Dilma Rousseff elected President of Brazil

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This page was last modified on September 19, 2016.