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Cozumel History Timeline

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Cozumel timeline

550 - 1900s

  • (550 - 1500) The Mayan culture flourished along the Yucatan Peninsula
  • (1518) Spanish explorer, Juan de Grijalva, while leading expedition from Cuba, set foot on Cozumel, claimed for Spain
  • (1519) Hernan Cortes came with fleet, destroyed many Maya temples
  • (1519 - 1570) Smallpox devastated Mayan population
  • (1526) Francisco de Montejo, representative of King of Spain, gave island name of San Miguel de Cozumel
  • (1658 - 1688) Pirate Henry Morgan used Cozumel as stopover during Caribbean raids
  • (1800s) Pirate Jean Lafitte hid from pursuers near Cozumel
  • (1848) Caste War of Yucatan resulted in refugees settling in Cozumel
  • (1849) Quintana Roo Governor Barbachano established village of San Miguel
  • (1927) Charles Lindberg flew first airplane to land on the island
  • (1943) Cozumel Airport opened
  • (1945) French oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau, visited the island
  • (1961) Jacques Cousteau proclaimed Cozumel's waters to be most spectacular scuba diving spots in the world
  • (1969) First cruise ship arrived
  • (1970) Mexican airliner enroute to Cozumel, hijacked to Cuba
  • (1972) Pre-Columbian city, San Gervasio, discovered on Cozumel
  • (1974) Cozumel became major cruise ship destination
  • (1988) Hurricane Gilbert struck, caused significant damage
  • (1990s) Deepwater pier built for cruise ships to dock
  • (1993) Diver killed by shark off the coast


  • (2000) British singer, Kirsty MacColl, killed by speedboat while diving
  • (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); caused significant damage in Cozumel
  • (2009) All tourist activity stopped for several months, due to sanitary crisis from swine flu
  • (2009) Cozumel was named "Island of Peace" and awarded "The Banner of Peace"
  • (2009) Cozumel hosted the Iron Man competition with over 2,000 participants
  • (2011) Yucatan area of Mexico (Cozumel, Cancun) rated as one of the five safest places to visit in Mexico

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