Venezuela: History

  1. 1521

    Spain begins to colonize present-day Venezuela.

  2. 1821

    After several unsuccessful uprisings, Venezuela achieves independence from Spain under the leadership of Simon Bolivar.

  3. 1870

    Antonio Guzman Blanco modernizes the country, attracting foreign investment and developing the economy.

  4. 1908-1935

    Juan Vicente Gomez becomes leader of the country and establishing a dictatorship. During his rule, the economy shifts from being focused on agriculture to petroleum production, and Venezuela becomes the world’s largest exporter of oil.

  5. 1973

    Oil and steel industries are nationalized as the country enjoys the benefits from an oil boom.

  6. 1989

    Riots are launched in response to President Carlos Andres Perez’s economic austerity programs, brought about as the country falls into a depression. An estimated 300 people are killed in the capital during the protests.

  7. 1998

    Hugo Chavez is elected president after campaigning for broad reform, constitutional change and a crackdown on corruption.

  8. 2005

    Chavez introduces a land redistribution program aimed to bring justice to the poor. The plan is heavily opposed by the country’s ranchers.

  9. 2005

    Venezuela agrees to supply 13 Caribbean states with cheap oil, a move decried by critics who say Chavez is using its oil to wield influence over other countries.

  10. 2007

    President Chavez begins to implement his plans to socialize the country by nationalizing the telecommunications and electricity sectors, as well as finalizing a majority government share in most oil projects.

  11. 2011

    Price controls on basic goods are put in place to combat the inflation rate, one of the highest in the world.

  12. 2012

    Venezuela becomes a full member of regional trading bloc Mercosur.

  13. 2013

    President Maduro, who won the presidential election after Chavez's death, uses his emergency powers to enact laws that limit companies' profit margins, in an attempt to combat inflation.


BBC News