||Spanish settlers arrive in Panama. By 1524, the Spanish have moved into the rest of Central America.
||Constitutional monarchy established in Spain; colonial rule
liberalized. Election of town councils in Central America marks the
beginning of national political life.|
||The confederation of Central American provinces proclaims its
independence of Spain.|
||Central American provinces annex themselves to independent
Mexican Empire under General Agustin de Iturbide, later Emperor Agustin I.|
||Agustin I overthrown; Mexico becomes a republic. Costa Rica,
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador form the Central
||United States and Central American Federation sign a treaty of
friendship which is ratified the following year.
||Political conflict between federation members and the capital
increases. In 1838, Central American Congress allows states to leave the
federation; Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica secede.
||American mercenary William Walker is hired by a Nicaraguan
political party to topple the president. He takes control of the government
and sets himself up as president. He is ousted the next year and executed
||The US negotiates the Panama Canal Treaty and establishes control
over the canal zone.
||Dictator Jose Santos Zelaya is overthrown in Nicaragua. Chaos and
instability follow, leading to US financial and military intervention. (1911-
||Potential peace accord among fighting factions in Nicaragua provides
basis for US occupation and subsequent elections. General Augusto C.
Sandino refuses to accept peace accord and leads a guerrilla force against
the US Marines.
||An earthquake destroyes the capital city of Managua.
||General Anastasio Somoza Garcia is named director of the new "non-
partisan" National Guard in Nicaragua. The US Marines withdraw.
||Sandino is murdered by members of the Nicaraguan National Guard;
Guard chief Anastasio Somoza Garcia dominates the country until 1956.
||Somoza officially becomes president.
||Anastasio Somoza is assassinated. His sons, Luis and Anastasio Jr.,
retain control of Nicaragua.
||The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) is founded in
||The Central American Common Market is formed. The Common
Market establishes free trade among five nations and helps to strengthen
||Anastasio Somoza Debayle is "elected" President of Nicaragua.
||A war breaks out between El Salvador and Honduras causing the
collapse of the Common Market.
||An earthquake devastates Managua; Somoza's mishandling of crisis
and of international relief funds increases antipathy to the regime.
||US and OAS fail in mediation attempts with Nicaragua; US suspends
military aid to Somoza.
||Somoza is overthrown and a new governing coalition dominated by
the FSLN (Sandinistas) assumes power.
||The US ends aid to Nicaragua after finding evidence that Nicaragua,
Cuba, and the Soviet Union are supplying arms to Salvadorian rebels.
||The US House of Representatives passes the Boland Amendment,
which prohibits the US from supplying the Nicaraguan Contras (forces opposing the Sandinistas)
with arms for overthrowing the Sandinista government.
||The CIA mines Nicaragua's harbors in a covert operation. Both US
enemies and allies condemn the action. Nicaragua sues the US in the World
Court, and in June 1986 the Court finds the US guilty of violating
||Daniel Ortega, leader of the FSLN, is "elected" president of Nicaragua.
||The US suspends talks with Nicaragua. US president Ronald Reagan
describes the Nicaraguan Contras as "freedom fighters" and compares them
to America's founding fathers. Reagan initiates economic sanctions against
Nicaragua. The US Congress approves humanitarian aid package for the
||The Nicaraguan government closes La Prensa, an opposition
newspaper. A plane carrying US military supplies to the Contras is shot
down and the only American survivor is captured. The US government
announces that contrary to the Boland Amendment, the US has been
providing military aid to the Contras. The supplies were
purchased with funds diverted form the sale of US arms to Iran. The
covert operation became known as the Iran-Contra affair.
||Daniel Ortega, the FSLN leader and President, begins a trip to the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe seeking military and economic aid. The
US Congress approves 7.7 million in humanitarian aid to the Contras. Peace
talks between the Sandinistas and the Contras break down. Ortega
confirms rumors that the Soviets plan to supply Nicaragua with more
||Reagan requests 36.65 million in nonlethal aid and 3.6 in military
aid for the Contras, but is rejected. The Sandinistas and Contras begin a
cease-fire. The House and Senate approve 47.9 million in humanitarian aid
for the Contras and children of the injured.
||Violeta Barios Chamorro of the UNO party (National Opposition
Union) defeats the FSLN's Daniel Ortega in internationally observed
presidential elections. Sandinistas and Contras sign a permanent cease-
fire. The Contras begin to demobilize.
||Rearmed Contras, by then called "re-Contras" take 38 hostages in an
attempt to force Humberto Ortega, Daniel Ortega's brother and Chamorro's appointee as chief of
the army, to resign. In retaliation, some Sandinista soldiers who had previously been demobilized
kidnapped the UNO party's leaders.
||In February Humberto Ortega is replaced by Joaquin Lacayo after five
years of negotiations with Violeta Chamorro.
||Arnoldo Aleman is inaugurated as President with around 49 percent
of the vote compared to Daniel Ortega's 39 percent, thus completing the first democratic and
peaceful transfer of the presidency in Nicaragua's history.