This page is full of information on the history of Central America and Mexico from the 1900's on. The countries included in this are: Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama. The information for each of these countries can be found in the order previously listed and begins below our video. We have used both timelines and outlines to display the information. Our sources can be found at the bottom of our page, along with a map of the area we studied. We hope that you find the information on this site useful and interesting. Feel free to let us know what you think on our discussion board.

Thank you,

Emily K, Claire D, Alias, John G.

Essential Questions-
• How has Mexico's economy developed after Diaz fell from power and democracy was introduced?
• How were the people of Honduras effected by Hurricane Mitch in 1998?
• How did the building of the Panama Canal affect those living there?
• What certain event has led to Costa Rica enjoying peace and democracy for over fifty years? Why do you think it has helped so much?
• Why was independence granted soon after self government was allowed in Belize, and how has this affected relations between Belize and Guatemala?

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Nicaragua- nicargua.gif

1909- United States supported a revolution in Nicaragua that restored Conservative rule.

1933- General Augusto Cesar Sandino conducted a guerrilla war until the US Marines departed.

1934- Sandino is killed by the National Guard after agreeing to cease fighting.

1936- General Anastasio Somoza Garcia seized power.

1956- Somoza was assinated and the power was assumed by his two sons.

sandinistas_in_nicaragua.jpeg 1962- The Sandinistas are formed with the goal of overthrowing the Somozas.

1972- A massive earthquake destroys Nicaragua's capital city, Managua.

1978- Riots break out after an anti-Somoza newspaper editor was assassinated.

1979- Somoza is forced to flee country when the Sandinisatas took control.

1981- US government suspended economic aid to Nicaragua.

1987- President Ortega and leaders of four other Central American nations
signed a reigonal peace plan.

1990- Ortega was defeated by widow of the assassinated newspaper editor in the election.

1996- First time in a century that a democratically elected civilian president was transferred to power.

1998- Country sufferes widespread damage due to Hurricane Mitch.


guatemala.gif 1931- Jorge Ubico becomes president; he leads by repressive rule, and wants to improve the country’s finances.

1941- Guatemala declares war on the Axis powers.

1944- Juan Jose Arevalo becomes president after Ubico is overthrown, and introduces social-democratic reforms, including a social security system and giving land to homeless peasants.

1951- Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman becomes president and contines Arevalo’s reforms.

1954- Land reform stops with the power of Colonel Carlos Castillo in a coup backed by the US and prompted by Arbenz’s nationalism of plantations of the United Fruit Company.

1963- Colonel Enrique Peralta becomes president after Castillo was assassinated.

1966- Civilian rule restored; Cesar Mendez elected president.

1970- Military-backed Carlos Arena was elected president.

1970s- Military rulers embark on a program to eliminate left-wingers, resulting in about 50,000 deaths.

1976- 27,000 people are killed and more than a million are left homeless by an earthquake.

1981- About 11,000 people are killed by death squads and soldiers in response to growing anti-government guerrilla activity.

1982- General Efrain Rios Montt gains power following the military coup.

1983- Montt ousted in coup led by General Mejia Victores, who declares amnesty for guerillas.

1985- Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo elected president and the Guatemalan Christian Party wins legislative elections under a new constitution.

1989- Attempt to overthrow Cerezo fails, civil war toll since 1980 reaches 100,000 dead and 40,000 missing.

1991- Jorge Serrano Elias elected president. Guatemala restored diplomatic relations with Belize, where Guatemala had long-standing
territorial claims.

1993- Serrano forced to resign after he attempted to impose an authoritarian regime; Ramiro de Leon Carpio elected president by legislature.

1994- Peace talks between the government and the rebels of the Guatemalan Revolutionary National Unity commences; right-wing parties win a majority in legislative elections.

1995- Rebels declare ceasefire; the UN and US accuse Guatemala for a large amount of human rights violated.US_in_guatemala.jpg

1996- Alvaro Arzu elected president; 36 years of civil war ended.

1998- Bishop Juan Gerardi, a human rights campaigner was murdered.

1999- The UN says that security forces were behind 93% of all human rights atrocities committed during the civil war.

2000- Alfonso Portillo sworn into presidency.

2002- Guatemala and Belize agree on draft settlements to their long-standing border dispute talks.

2003- Oscar Berger is elected to presidency; Guatemala along with other countries in Central America agree on free-trade agreements with US.

2004- army bases are closed, and 10,000 soldiers retire.

2004- $3.5 million in damage paid to victims of civil war.

2005- Tropical Storm Stan kills hundreds of people.

2006- The government and the UN agree to create a commission to find and dismantle powerful armed groups.

El Salvador-

1931- Military governments begin in power.

1932- Coffee prices collapsed and farmers rebelledel_salvador.gif.

1969- Border war from tensions of emigration of Salvadorans into Honduras begins.

1977- Political violence increases after election.

1979- A rival faction of the military overthrew the government.

1983- New constitution is adopted.

1989- Alfredo Cristiani of the National Republic Alliance becomes president.

1990- Agreement is reached that allows the UN to monitor human rights violations.

1992- UN sponsored peace agreement between the leftist FMLN and right-wing government.

1992- Formal peace is declared.


Banana Enclave
1. Foreign investors attracted inland peasants to work on fruit plantations
2. In 1930, Honduras had become the number one banana producer in the world
Pearl Harbor
1. Joined Allied Nations in 1941
honduras.gif 2. In 1942, signed the “Declaration by United Nations”
Soccer War
1. Between Honduras and El Salvador
- a) Honduran military government blamed 300,000 Salvadoran immigrants for the economic depression
- b) Tensions erupted during the Soccer World Cup
2. CACM (Central American Common Market)
- a)Destroyed during the War
Breaks in the parties
1. Groups such as teachers’ unions, pesants, cattlemen associations, and the Catholic Church challenged the dominating parties ( National and Liberal)
- a) Continued to voice their opinions
1. Three hurricanes between 1970-74
- a) Fifi destroyed banana farms, and took over 10,000 lives

hurricane_mitch.jpg 2. Hurricane Mitch (1998)
-1/6 population homeless.
-damage to agriculture, power lines, roads, and other infrastructure that was estimated to set back development efforts for 30 years.
-The death toll stood at 5,657, while 8,000 other Hondurans were listed missing or dead
- a) destroyed 70% of crops
- b) killed over 12,000 people
- c) destroyed 33,000
Civilian power
1. 1981, General Policarpo Paz Garcia transferred power from the military government to a civilian president
2. Military government continued to increase when the USA built training posts in the area


Cession of Land
belize.gif 1. Guatemala assumed Spain’s monarch rule over Belize
2. Agreed to leave with promise of a road built from Guatemala City to Belize (the road was never built
3. Negotiations for possible cession of land to Guatemala
Self Government
1. Limited self government was established in 1954
2. PUP (People’s United Party) ran in elections, and won 8 out of the 9 seats in the Legislative Assembly
- a)Three years later, it won all 9
- b)1961- under new constitution, number of elective seats was raised to 18
- c)leader of PUP, George Price, was given the title of premier
1. In 1981, Guatemala’s claims were causing tension between Britain and Belize
2. On September 21, Britain gave Belize their independence
- Guatemala pushed out and relationship is strained
3. 1991: Guatemalan government formally recognizes Belize’s independence and countries have full dimplomatic relations
1. 1984: Manuel Esquivel of the United Democratic Party becomes prime minister
2. 1989: George Price of the PUP
3. Currently, the head is the Queen of Belize, or Queen Elizabeth II of the UK
1 . Queen of Belize
- a) Represented in the country by the Governer-general
2. The Cabinet, headed by the prime minister, are advisors to the Governer-General
3. Parliament (National Assembly)
- a)House of Representatives
- b) Senate

Costa Rica-

1948- Civil war erupts for six weeks after a dispute over elections.
1949- Election dispute is settled.

1955- A minor invasion of Nicaraguan rebels took place.

1986- Costa Rica was burdened with over 250,000 exiles during the Nicaraguan civil war.

1990- Rafael Calderon Fournier succeeds Sanchez.


1994- Mounting economic problems begin to occur.

1998- Miguel Angel Rodriguez is elected president.

2004- Three former Costa Rican presidents were plagued by accusations of scandal.

Modern Mexico-

  1. La Regeneracion
    1. Newspaper
      1. Lead by Enrigue, Picardo, and Jesus Flores Magon
      2. Talked about excess of Diaz dictatorship
    2. Diaz has Magon brothers arrested
      1. After release, fled to U.S.
    3. Francisco I. Madero = reader
      1. Opposes Diaz in presidential run
      2. Is arrested
      3. Diaz wins election with Madero in Jailmexico.gif
      4. Leads revolution
        1. November 20, 1910 - San Antonio
  2. Overthrow of Diaz
    1. Revolution
      1. Small armed bands rose up in parts of mexico
        1. Many crushed by Diaz’s army
      2. Chihuahua revolution grew
        1. Lead by Pascual Orozco
        2. Defeated army time after time
        3. May 1911 – captured Chihuahua city causing other revolutionaries to rise up again
    2. Take over
      1. Diaz officials entered negotiations
        1. Treaty of Ciudad Juarez
        2. Diaz resigns end of May
      2. October 1911- Madero wins elections and is sworn in as pres.
    3. Democracy
      1. Mixed economy, economic nationalism.
      2. producing cars and other neccesities
      3. free trade
      4. oil discovered - helped to modernize industries.
    4. Revolutionary Turmoil
        1. Overthrow of Madero
          1. February 1913 – Madero overthrown and assassinated
          2. Take over
          3. Victoriano Huerta takes over
          4. Dictatorship overthrown in 1914

  • Convention of Aguascalientes (1914)
    1. Benustiano Carranza governms Mexico
      1. Made president in 1917
      2. Assassinated in 1920
  • Decade of Violence (1910-20)
    1. Uprisings
      1. Emiliano Zapata
        1. Opposed rulers following Diaz
        2. Could not be defeated by government, but assassinated in 1919
      2. 1912- Orozco leads an anti-Madero revolt
    2. Constitutionalists
      1. Led revolutions to avenge Madero’s death
      2. Were met by counterrevolutions hoping to bring back Diaz’s government
    3. 1917-new constitution
      1. Education free, obligated, and secular
      2. Division of land allowed if land is not used beneficially
      3. Laborers allowed to organize, bargain, and go on strike
        1. 8hr work day, minimum wage and no pay discrimination
  • Implementing the Constitution
    1. Alvaro Obregon elected president in 1920
      1. 1000 new schools in rural Mexico
      2. Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers (CROM) – 1.2 million members by 1924
    2. 1924- Plutarco Calles president
      1. 2000 more new schools
      2. CROM increased membership to 1.8 million
      3. Distributed over 8 million acres of land.
        1. Cristero Rebellion – unsuccessful but bloody- upset about land
    3. 1928-1934 slow down
      1. Emilio Portes Gil, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, and Abelardo Rodriguez
        1. Presidents moved revolution to right
        2. Depression cause economic slow down
    4. Lazaro Cardenas elected president (1934-40)
      1. Dedicated to land distribution, and by 1940 had distributed over 49 million acres.
      2. Education still growing
      3. 1938 – took over oil companies and nationalized them =D
    5. Cultural Revolution
  • Mexico After 1940
    1. Manuel Avila Camacho president (1940-46)
      1. Economy must expand
    2. Successors continue – Miguel Aleman (1946-52), Adolfo Ruiz Cortines (52-58), and Adolfo Lopez Mateos (58-64)
      1. Industrialization –Nacional Financiera – bank made to loan money to industry
      2. Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (1964-70) and Luis Echeverria Alvarez (70-76)
        1. Critisized for rapid pop. Growth, underemployment and unemployment, and inflation
        2. Mass poverty
        3. Oct 2, 1968 – student demonstration in Plaza of the Three Cultures left hundreds dead.
  • Birth of a Multi-Party Government
    1. Oil discovered with massive profit
      1. Suffered after recession and oil surpluss,
        1. Caused $80 billion foreign debt.
    2. Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado – 1982 elected pres.
      1. Devastating 1985 earthquake
        1. Inflation rose
        2. Renegotiated debt payments
      2. Made electoral reforms
    3. Carlos Salinas comes to power
      1. Reforms including privatizing gvmt industries, altering land agreements, and NAFTA
      2. Election fraud continued
      3. January 1, 1994 – revolts against NAFTA demanded more reforms
        1. January 10 peace talks begin
        2. Rejected in June
  • Zedillo (president 1994-2000) and Successors
    1. Economic and political liberation
      1. Zedillo becomes known as honest and effective
      2. Electoral reforms to have primary elections within parties before presidential election
    2. July 2, 2002 Vicente Fox Quesada wins elections
      1. Healthy economy
      2. Exporting to US and a 6.6% economy growth
      3. Challenges
        1. Slowed export growth, changing agricultural economy, increased rural unemployment, and the rise of China as a competitor
        2. Caused economy to suffer and more reforms to go into affect.
          1. Stabilized and maintained economy
      4. US relations
        1. Immigration caused strained relationships
          1. Distracted countries from main priorities including trade and investment
    3. Calderon Hinojosa elected president in 2002
      1. Recount demanded by opponent; Lopez Obrador
        1. Demonstrations and tent cities in the streets of Mexico City
        2. Calderon wins recount on September 5th
      2. Obrador continues to have rallies, but support begins to decline
      3. Calderon inaugurated Dec 1, 2006 diaz2.jpeg
    Porfino Diaz-

Panama History-

Independence and Protectorate Period
  1. Independence from Columbia
    1. November 3, 1903
    2. Aided by U.S. (wanted to build canal) panama.gif

  1. Panama Canal
    1. Influential People: Philippe Jean Bunau-Varilla, William N Cromwell
      1. Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty
        1. Gave U.S. 10-mile wide strip of land to build Canal
        2. Paid Panama only about 2% of cost.
    2. Over 150,000 immigrants came to work on canal
    3. started a revolution for independence
    4. gave jobs but left Panama "cut in half"
  2. First President
    1. 1912- Belisario Porras
      1. 1915 international exposition
      2. Attempted to turn Panama into a modern state.
      3. The Canal Zone is self-sufficient and run by the U.S. government
  3. Arias Decade
    1. Common Action Group
      1. Lead by Harmodio and and Arnulfo Arias
        1. 1932-36 Harmodio Arias president.
        2. 1940 – Arnulfo president after a violent campaign.
      2. Lobbied for better treatment from U.S.
    2. Harmodio
      1. Strengthened police for political control
      2. 1935- founded University of Panama
      3. 1936- signed Hull-Alfaro treaty to alleviate abuse and adjust canal payments
        1. depression hit hard and economy suffered
    3. Arnulfo
      1. Nationalist Constitution of 1941
        1. Extended term to 6 years
        2. Revoked citizenship rights of non-white immigrants
      2. Overthrown, exiled, put in jail – continued a growing following among poor natives.
  4. National Guard
    1. Return to 1946 constitution and democratic procedures
      1. Arnulfo still gaining support for nationalism
        1. Won 1948 presidential election, but was put out of power by National Police – lead by Jose Antonio Remon
        2. 1949- Arnulfo allowed to be president
          1. tried to put Nationalist constitution back into power but faced impeachment and was removed in 1951 by Remon.
    2. Remon and National Guard
      1. 1952- Remon elected president
        1. promoted economic development, social reforms, and less dependence on the canal.
        2. Renamed police National Guard
      2. Eisenhower-Remon treaty
        1. Increased Panamas benefits from canal
      3. Remon assassinated in 1955
  5. Democratic Interlude
    1. Panama struggling for Canal Control
      1. Presidential attempts at success
        1. Ernesto de la Guardia (1956-60)
        2. Roberto Chiari (1960-64)
      2. Panama wants control but U.S. will not give in
        1. Flag Riots of 1964
          1. Students insist that Panamanian flags be flown in the canal zone
          2. Also that toll payments should beshared
    2. 1964 Canal Treaties
      1. Presidents Marco Aurelio Robels and Lyndon Johnson draft three new treaties
        1. Govern canal, provide defense, and authorize a sea-level canal
        2. Draft information leaked in 1967 and treaties ended.
  6. Torrijos Era
    1. Arnulfo Arias
      1. Wins 1968 elections
        1. Wary of military and reassigned top officials
        2. 11 days into administration he was removed by Colonel Omar Torrijos.
    2. Dictatorship
      1. Torrijos pushed other leaders aside and failed at forming a sound government so became a dictator
        1. Enforced by National Guard
      2. Violence, censorship, torture, exile, etc.
      3. Accepted by rural poor
    3. 1974 treaty talks with US
      1. based off of 1967 drafts
        1. approved by Torrijos and Jimmy Carter in 1977
        2. put into affect in 1979
  7. Noriega Years
    1. Torrijos hands power over to president
      1. Aristides Royo
      2. Torrijos dies in a plane crash in 1981, leaving country in massive debt.
    2. Manuel Antonio Noriega begins consolidating power over National Guard
      1. 1983-secretly making policies for government
        1. Nicolas Ardito Barkletta elected in 1984 but failed as a leader
        2. Pushed out in 1985 by Noriega
      2. Noriega gained power and loyalties, while pushing aside those in his way
    3. Fall of Noriega
      1. Had always profited from drug trade
        1. 1980 - he had become a major link between Colombian and US drug trade
        2. occasionally sacrificed drug dealers to U.S. to look good.
      2. Helped Reagan administration illegally run arms to forces in Nicaragua yet at the same time sold guns to Salvadoran Rebels.
        1. Strengthened himself while double-crossing many others, including US secret services.
          1. December 1989-US invasion to demolish Noriega’s headquarters and capture Noriega
            • Noriega captured, put on trial for drug crimes, and sentenced to forty years in prison.
    4. New Beginnings
      1. In 1994, the first fair elections since 1968 were held
      2. Over a dozen presidential candidates
        1. Ernesto Perez Balladares won presidency with a little over 33% of votes.
        2. Democratic Revolutionary Partyimage.jpeg

    Contruction of the Panama Canal



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