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1811 Nov 5
El Salvador fought its 1st battle against Spain for independence.
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1821 Sep 15
A junta convened by the captain-general in Guatemala declared independence for its provinces Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua San Salvador and Chiappas.
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1823 Jul 1
The United Provinces of Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and San Salvador) gained independence from Mexico. The union dissolved by 1840.
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1839
1840
The Liberals of the United Provinces of Central America under leader Francisco Morazan were defeated in a civil war led by Rafael Carrera. The confederation dissolved into its 4 component states: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
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1854 Apr 16
San Salvador was destroyed by an earthquake.
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1930 Oct 13
Shafik Handal, later head of the Salvadoran left, was born to immigrant Palestinian parents from Bethlehem in the city of Usulutan, El Salvador.
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1932 Jan 23
El Salvador army killed 4,000 protesting farmers.
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1942
1945
Jose Arturo Castellanos (d.1977 at 86), Salvadoran diplomat in Geneva, gave citizenship certificates to as many as 40,000 Jews during the Holocaust. In 2010 Israel named him posthumously as one of the "Righteous Among the Nations."
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1960
The Central American Common Market was set up by a treaty between El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and later Costa Rica. It fell apart by the end of the decade.
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1969 Jun 27
Honduras and El Salvador broke diplomatic relations due to soccer match. El Salvador and Honduras fought a 4-day "Soccer War" when fans brought out long-simmering tensions during World cup qualifying matches. Some 3,000 people died in the 4-day conflict.
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1972 Feb 20
El Salvador held presidential elections. The blatancy of fraud employed to maintain the PCN in power outraged and disillusioned many Salvadorans, including members of the armed forces. Leftists protested the election fraud.
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1972 Mar 25
In El Salvador a group of young army officers, led by Colonel Benjamin Mejia, launched a coup. Their immediate goal was the establishment of a "revolutionary junta." It seemed clear, however, that the officers favored the installation of Jose Duarte as president.
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1972
Shafik Handal (1930-2006) became leader of the Salvadoran Communist Party.
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1975 May 10
In El Salvador leftist poet and novelist Roque Dalton (b.1937) was executed by a group of commandos. In 2010 his relatives petitioned prosecutors to file homicide charges against two ex-rebel commanders, who they claim participated in the decision to kill the writer. The complaint named former Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front leader Joaquin Villalobos and Jorge Melendez, who serves in the current government as head of the civil defense office. In 2012 a judge closed the case ruling it's too late for a prosecution.
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1976 Oct 6
A Cuban aircraft from Venezuela with 73 people onboard was blown up on a flight over the Caribbean. Castro blamed the explosion on the US. Luis Posada Carriles, a veteran of the Cuban exile’s war against Castro, was charged and twice acquitted in the bombing. Venezuelan authorities kept him in jail for 9 years until his escape in 1985 when he settled in El Salvador. In April, 2005, Posada sought asylum in the US. In May, 2005, declassified documents were made public that linked Posada to the bombing and indicated he was on the CIA's payroll for years.
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1977
In El Salvador guerrilla activities by the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) intensified amid reports of increased human rights violations by government troops and right wing death squads.
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1979
In El Salvador guerrilla warfare broke out in the cities and countryside amid government repression.
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1979
1981
In El Salvador an estimated 30,000 people were killed by army-backed right-wing death squads.
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1980 Mar 24
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, one of El Salvador's most respected Roman Catholic Church leaders, was shot to death by gunmen as he celebrated Mass in San Salvador. In 1993 a UN-sponsored truth commission determined that the assassination was ordered by a former army major and Maj. Roberto D'Abuisson, founder of the Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA). D’Abuisson (d.1992) was also credited with founding the national death squads. In 2004 a California federal judge found Alvaro Rafael Saravia, a retired Salvadoran air force captain living in Modesto, Ca., liable in the slaying of archbishop Romero and ordered him to pay $10 million in damages.
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1980 Apr
In El Salvador Army Major Roberto d’Aubuisson (d.1992) founded the rightist Republican Nationalist Alliance (ARENA).
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1980 Sep 11
In Santa Rosita soldiers in search of leftist rebels killed Dolores Soriano (19) and 16 of her neighbors. Soriano was 6-months pregnant.
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1980 Dec 2
Three American nuns and a lay worker were abducted, raped and shot in San Salvador. Peasants discovered their bodies the next day and buried them. Nuns Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, and lay worker Jean Donovan were raped and shot by guardsmen. The murders occurred as the US began a 10-year $7 billion aid effort to prevent left-wing guerrillas from coming to power. Five national guardsmen were later convicted in the killings, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
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1980 Dec 3
In El Salvador peasants discovered the bodies of nuns Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, and lay worker Jean Donovan and buried them.
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1980 Dec 4
In El Salvador the bodies of four American nuns slain two days earlier were unearthed. Colonel Edgardo Casanova was the military commander of the area at the time. Five national guardsmen were later convicted of murder and sentenced in May 1984 to 30 years in prison. In 1998 the guardsmen admitted that they were acting on orders from above. In 1993 a UN Truth Commission report concluded that Colonel Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, director of the National Guard and brother of Edgardo, and Gen’l. Jose Guillermo Garcia, the minister of defense, had organized an official cover-up. Both men were granted residence in the US. 3 of the 5 convicted guardsmen were released in 1998 due to prison overcrowding. In 1999 families of the victims filed suit against Casanova and Garcia who were living in Florida. In 2000 a federal jury cleared the 2 retired generals. In 2002 a Florida jury found Casanova and Garcia responsible for torture and ordered payment of $54.6 million to 3 victims living in Florida.
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1980 Dec 13
Christian Democrat Jose Napoleon Duarte was named the president of El Salvador’s new government.
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1980
In El Salvador an agricultural reform was instituted and the Finca El Espina coffee plantation was confiscated from the Duenas family and given to their workers, who formed a cooperative. The Duenas received $4 million in compensation.
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1980
The Salvadoran Communist Party, led by Shafik Handal (1930-2006), merged with four other leftist groups into the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN.
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1980
1992
In El Salvador a civil war raged during which security forces have been blamed for killing 40,000 civilians with torture commonplace. It was later reported that the US had pumped $1.5 million a day into the fight "to make El Salvador safe for democracy."
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1981 Jan 7
An operational and planning assistance team (OPAT) arrived in El Salvador to provide assistance in protecting the harvest from the guerrillas. By the end of the Carter Administration, nineteen US military advisors had been deployed there.
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1981 Feb 19
The U.S. State Department called El Salvador a "textbook case" of a Communist plot.
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1981 Mar 2
The United States planned to send 20 more advisors and $25 million in military aid to El Salvador.
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1981 Mar 25
The US Embassy in San Salvador was damaged when gunmen attacked, firing rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.
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1981 Jul 25
In El Salvador 45 farmers were allegedly massacred at the hands of the military in San Francisco Angulo. In 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must investigate the massacre.
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1981 Dec 11
In El Salvador hundreds of people were killed over 3 days in the village of El Mozote by an elite US-trained army battalion. In 1991 the office of Maria Julia Hernandez (1939-2007) published the first investigation into El Mozote. In 1992, under a UN sponsored Truth Commission, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team found 143 skeletons, 131 of which belonged to children under 12. The bullet cartridges showed manufacture in Lake City, Mo. In Dec, 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that El Salvador should reopen its investigation into the army’s killing of some 1000 civilians.
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1981
A former US diplomat said that a dozen suspected leftist Salvadorans were thrown from a plane to their deaths in this year.
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1981
El Salvador’s FMLN was recognized by France and Mexico recognized in as a legitimate political force, while the US was criticized for aiding the military government, whose army backed right-wing death squads.
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1982 Mar 28
Voters in El Salvador went to the polls for a constituent assembly election that resulted in victory for the Christian Democrats, led by President Jose Napoleon Duarte.
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1982 Apr 29
Alfredo Magana was elected president of El Salvador.
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1982
In El Salvador 3 police officers arrested 6 university students, held them in a clandestine prison and tried to kill them. The officers became fugitives in Oct 1996 when faced with the accusations.
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1982
In El Salvador 10 police officers were involved in the killing of a Nicaraguan mechanic and a Honduran farmer suspected of transporting arms to rebels in El Salvador. They were charged with the murders in July 1995.
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1983 Apr 6
Melida Anaya Montes ("Comandante Ana Maria"), Salvadoran FMLN guerrilla leader, was killed in Nicaragua, where many Salvadoran guerrillas took refuge under its leftist government. In 2007 her body was exhumed and buried in her homeland.
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1984 Mar 25
Jose Napoleon Duarte (1925-1990), a Christian Democrat political moderate, was elected president of El Salvador following 5 years of military rule.
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1985 Jun 19
In El Salvador 4 off-duty US Marines and 9 others were killed at sidewalk restaurants in the Zona Rosa section of San Salvador. Pedro Antonio Andrade Martinez (aka Mario Gonzalez), a Marxist guerrilla, was one of the reputed masterminds of the massacre. Andrade later became an informant for the CIA and sought US asylum. Andrade was deported from the US in 1997.
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1985
Four off-duty US Marines and 9 others were killed at sidewalk restaurants in the Zona Rosa section of San Salvador. Pedro Antonio Andrade Martinez (aka Mario Gonzalez), a Marxist guerrilla, was one of the reputed masterminds of the massacre. Andrade later became an informant for the CIA and sought US asylum. Andrade was deported from the US in 1997.
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1985
The SF Board of Supervisors declared SF a "city of refuge" for immigrants seeking asylum from El Salvador and Guatemala, whose right-wing governments were backed by the Reagan administration. It prohibited police from helping federal authorities deport undocumented workers. Mayor Diane Feinstein signed the legislation. In 1989 the (1984) resolution was made into an ordnance. In 1992 and 1993 the legislation was altered to allow law enforcement to report felony arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.
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1986
A large earthquake hit El Salvador. The US provided $60 million in emergency aid and $98 million in reconstruction funds.
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1987 Oct 26
Head of Salvadoran Human Rights Commission was assassinated by death squads.
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1987 Oct 26
Herbert Anaya Sanabria, the head of Salvadoran Human Rights Commission, was assassinated by death squads.
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1987
Under a conservative El Salvador government the Supreme Court ruled that the Finca El Espina coffee plantation had been illegally expropriated from the Duenas family and should be returned.
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1988 Feb 16
1st documented combat action by US military "advisors" in El Salvador.
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1989 Feb 1
In his first diplomatic mission of the Bush administration, Vice President Dan Quayle began a trip to Venezuela and El Salvador.
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1989 Feb 13
Salvadoran army attacked Encuentros hospital where they raped and killed patients.
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1989 Mar 19
Alfredo Cristiani of the right-wing ARENA party was elected president of El Salvador, defeating Fidel Chavez Mena of the Christian Democratic Party.
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1989 Oct
In El Salvador the CIA station in San Salvador began providing the Salvadoran security forces with money to the resettle Marxist guerilla turned informer, Pedro Antonio Andrade Martinez (aka Mario Gonzalez), in the US. He had been recently captured and became a highly paid informer for the Salvadoran armed forces. Information from Andrade later led to the capture, torture or disappearance of some 200 guerrillas. In 1996 he was arrested in the US for failure to renew his visa. In 1997 the Clinton administration sought to deport him.
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1989 Nov 16
In El Salvador 6 Jesuit priests and two other people were slain by uniformed gunmen at the Jose Simeon Canas University in an attack later blamed on army troops. Later 19 Salvadoran soldiers, trained at the US Army School of the Americas, were linked to the killing. In 2006 US police in Los Angeles arrested a Salvadoran ex-lieutenant convicted of killing the 6 Jesuits. In 2009 a Spanish judge opened an investigation into 14 ex-Salvadoran military officials and considered indicting them over the killings. In 2009 the 6 Jesuits were decorated with the country's highest honor. In 2011 twenty Salvadorans were indicted in Spain for their alleged roles in the killings. On Feb 5, 2016, police arrested four former soldiers wanted in Spain for the murder of the six Jesuit priests.
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1989 Nov 19
Funeral services were held in El Salvador for six Jesuit priests slain by uniformed gunmen.
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1989 Nov 23
Lucia Barrera de Cerna, a housekeeper who said she had witnessed the slaying of six Jesuit priests and two other people at the Jose Simeon Canas University in El Salvador, was flown to the US under heavy security.
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1989 Nov 26
El Salvador broke relations with Nicaragua after a weapons-loaded plane from that country was downed in El Salvador.
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1989
El Salvador’s right-wing ARENA party began to be supported by the US government.
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1989
El Salvador military officers Colonel Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, director of the National Guard and Gen’l. Jose Guillermo Garcia, the minister of defense, retired to Florida. In 2002 a Florida jury found Casanova and Garcia responsible for torture and atrocities committed in 1983 and ordered payment of $54.6 million to 3 victims living in Florida. [see El Salvador Dec 4, 1980]
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