Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guatemala .. back in the day

1500 BC nomads settle into agricultural communities and are regareded as the first Maya
300-900 AD Classic Period of Maya cultures sees advances in architecture, astronomy and art, and the emergence of political alliances/rivalries

750 AD Warring increases and Maya cities gradually decline. Highland villages begin to take shape, becoming the home of the last vestiges of Maya culture

1523 Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado arrives, and takes advantage of tribal rivalries to bring the Maya under Spanish control

1773 Antigua is destroyed by an earthquake, resulting in the relocation of the capital to Guatemala City

1847 Guatemala declares itslef an independent republic

1871 Rufino Barrios arrives from Mexico to start a leiberal revolution, which heralds sweeping social changes but crushes dissent and marginalizes the rural poor

1901 The United Fruit Company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit) begins to grow bananas in Guatemala. They monopolize railways and port facilities, and establish a pervasive political presence

1930 Jorge Ubico becomes president, promising reform; he doesn[t success, but build a nice palace

1944 (wiki) On July 4, 1944, Dictator Jorge Ubico Castañeda was forced to resign his office in response to a wave of protests and a general strike. His replacement was later also forced out of office by a coup d'état. The country was led by a military junta..
The Junta called Guatemala's first free election, which was won with a majority of 85 percent by the prominent writer and teacher Juan José Arévalo Bermejo, who had lived in exile in Argentina for 14 years. Arévalo was the first democratically elected president of Guatemala to fully complete the term for which he was elected.

His "Christian Socialist" policies, inspired by the U.S. New Deal, were criticized by landowners and the upper class as "communist."This period was also the beginning of the Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR, which was to have a considerable influence on Guatemalan history. From the 1950s through the 1990s, the U.S. government directly supported Guatemala's army with training, weapons, and money.

1954 The CIA sets up an invasion of Guatemal to overthrow its "communist-leaning" government

1955 -1985 Military government send the country into a spiral of violence, economic decline and corruption

1978 Lucas Garcia takes over, escalating the civil war and massacring some 25,000 peasants, intellectuals, politicians, priests and protesters

1982 Efrain Rios Montt stages a successful coup. His Civil Defence Patrols polarize the country, trapping peasants between armed forces and guerrlla groups

1985 first legitimate elections in 30 years

1992 Civil war rumbles on.

1996 Peace accords are signed on December 29

1998 Bishop Juan Gerardi is assassinated tow days after publishing an investigation of wartime atrocities, exposing the military´s continuing strength

2007 Guatemala¨s first left leaning president in 50 years, Alvaro Colom, is elected. His wife, Sandra de Colom, is set to become Guatemala's Evita, with a remit to front a committee to the alleviation of poverty.

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