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Cancun History Timeline

Cancun timeline

550 - 2011

  • (550 - 1500) The Mayan culture flourished along the Yucatan Peninsula
  • (1519) Spanish explorers discover the area; in a few short years the Mayan population was decimated
  • (1700s) The name Cancun, Cancum or Cankun first appeared on maps of the day
  • (1970) The Mexican government began the construction of the Cancun resort on January 23, 1970. The initial project included nine hotels along the edge of the Caribbean Sea
  • (1974) Cancun's International Airport opened
  • (1988) Hurricane Gilbert, a category 5 hurricane, stormed into the Caribbean and struck Cancun. Many of the beaches disappeared, there was no water, no food, no electricity, the airport was inoperable and eight thousand tourists were ejected from their hotel rooms
  • (2004) Intense hi-rise condominium and hotel development began in the hotel zone as the Mexican government and international travel experts agreed that Cancun had the potential to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Americas
  • (2005) According to the Cancun Visitors Bureau, approximately three million tourists visited Cancun that year, accounting for 30 percent of all tourism dollars spent in Mexico
  • (2005) On October 21, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with strong winds in excess of 150 mph (240 km/h); damage was severe
  • (2007) The eye of Hurricane Dean came ashore 190 miles (310 km) to the south of Cancun. Fierce winds at the outside of its impact cone stripped some of the sand off 7.5 miles of Cancun beach
  • (2010) With a quickly changing skyline and new construction jobs, the estimated population of Cancun reached 700,000, a 20% increase from the census in 2005
  • (2010) Cancun hotel rooms exceed 22,000 in number
  • (2010) United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Cancun
  • (2010) Cancun International Airport added an additional runway to help serve the thousands of yearly flights