Guatemala: History

  1. 1523

    Spanish explorer Pedro de Alvarado conquers what is now Guatemala by defeating the native Mayan people and making it a Spanish colony.

  2. 1776

    The current capital, Guatemala City, is founded.

  3. 1821

    Guatemala gains independence from Spain and becomes part of the Mexican Empire.

  4. 1823

    Guatemala joins the United Provinces of Central America.

  5. 1839

    Guatemala gains full independence.

  6. 1941

    Guatemala declares war on the Axis powers.

  7. 1954

    A United States-backed military coup led by Colonel Carlos Castillo topples the government.

  8. 1960

    A civil war breaks out between the military government and guerrilla rebels.

  9. 1966

    Civilian rule is restored.

  10. 1982

    General Efrain Rios Montt takes over the government in a military coup. He forms a military junta and creates a totalitarian government.

  11. 1985

    A new constitution is ratified, which allows for a return to democracy.

  12. 1996

    Peace negotiations between the government and the guerilla rebels are finally signed, ending the civil war.

  13. 2002

    Guatemala and Belize settle their long-standing border dispute.


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