Caribbean Timeline

An historical timeline of Caribbean events

This timeline of Caribbean history covers events from throughout the region. To read more about the events, simply click on the link and you'll be taken to a detailed history article about the event and its time period.

Though the articles are arranged chronologically, sometimes several articles can deal with elements of the same time period, so if there is a period in Caribbean history you're particularly interested in, you may find it best to read through several of these detailed articles on the subject.

4000 B.C.
First artifacts found of human inhabitants
2000 B.C. Second migration into the Caribbean
1000 B.C. Two cultures meet near Puerto Rico
250 B.C. Taínos enter the Caribbean bringing pottery
1450 A.D. Caribs begin expanding into the Caribbean
Columbus sails for the Indies
Columbus lands in Bahamas
Santa Maria sinks Men left at Navidad on Hispaniola
1493 Columbus returns to Spain
Queen decides to firmly colonize lands
Sends Columbus back with agricultural supplies
Pope divides world between Portugal and Spain
1496 Hispaniola's capital changed from Isabella to Santo Domingo
Columbus returns to Spain
Henry VII gives Cabot the right to explore
1498 Roldan revolts on Hispaniola
Columbus leaves on third voyage
1499 Queen revokes Columbus' power in colonies
Bobadilla appointed as governor
Ojeda discovers Curaçao, Bonaire, maybe Aruba
1500 Bobadilla arrives, finding civil war
Columbus reports much gold on Hispaniola
1502 Bobadilla, ship, and gold sink on return trip to Spain
Ovando arrives, takes control - first women and children arrive
Columbus attempts a 4th voyage and lands on Martinique
1503 Columbus stranded in Jamaica's St. Ann's Bay for 1 year
1504 Indian chiefs massacred by Velazquez
1506 Columbus dies
Ovando lets Ponce de Leon go to Puerto Rico where he founds San German
1509 Ovando's leadership ends
Diego Columbus becomes new governor
Appoints Esquivel as governor of Jamaica, Narvaez his 2nd - create Sevilla Nueva near St. Ann's Bay
Ojeda explores Colombia
Nicuesa explores Central America
1511 Arawak on Puerto Rico rebelled with Carib help
Ponce de Leon replaced as governor on Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico founded. Vasquez founds Havana, Cuba
King authorizes slaving expeditions in Caribbean
1512 Audiencia arrives on Hispaniola to settle problems between Diego Columbus and settlers
King of Spain attempts to improve conditions for Indians in colonies
Gold rush in Cuba
1513 Balboa takes over remaining men from Ojeda and Nicuesa's groups, crosses Panama
Pedrarias becomes governor of Panama
1514 Santiago, Cuba founded
1516 Las Casas appointed Protector of the Indians
1518 Most colonists on other islands returned to Hispaniola
Sugarcane widely produced
1519 Jamaican colonists follow Garay to Mexico
Cuban colonists follow Velazquez to Mexico
Panama City founded
Balboa beheaded by Pedrarias
1520 Nearly all Indians removed to Hispaniola from Lesser Antilles and ABC islands
1522 Buccaneer Verrazanno for France takes three Spanish ships
1525 Attempt to farm on Curaçao, some Indians returned
1529 Pedrarias steps down in Panama
1531 Las Casas requests importation of African slaves to relieve Indian problems
1532 Spain fails to colonize Trinidad
1542 Indian slavery abolished
1550 Encomienda system abolished
Havana becomes permanent residence for Spanish governors
British Sir John Hawkins traded slaves on Hispaniola
1569 Spain fails to colonize Trinidad
1573 Sir Francis Drake captures Peruvian silver shipment
1588 Defeat of Spanish Armada by Britain
1592 Spain colonizes Trinidad
1600 Netherlands colonizes Sint Eustatius
1605 British attempt to colonize St. Lucia but are driven out by the Caribs
1609 British attempt to colonize Grenada but are driven out by the Caribs
1621 Truce ends between Netherlands and Spain
Dutch West Indies Company created
1624 British claim St. Kitts, Nevis, and some Virgin Islands
Governor named for St. Kitts, Nevis, Barbados, and Montserrat
Dutch claim Berbice (in Guyana, South America)
Dutch West Indies Company attacks Brazil
Dutch attempt to take El Moro Fort in Puerto Rico
French claim St. Kitts
British and Dutch claim occupancy of St. Croix
Dutch fleet takes Mexican treasure fleet
1635 French create Compagnie des Isles d'Amerique
Guadeloupe and Martinique settled by the French
1636 French attack Caribs on several islands
1637 Dutch West Indies Company takes Brazillian forts
Rum produced on Barbados
1641 Barbados cut off from financial backing by civil war in the UK
Steuyvesant on Curaçao attacks St. Martin
1645 Steuyvesant made Governor of New Amsterdam and Curaçao
British drive Dutch out of St. Croix onto St. Martin and St. Eustatius
Dutch lose forts in Brazil
1647 Dutch West Indies Company re-chartered
1648 Thirty Years' War ends between Dutch and Spanish
French and English divide St. Martin
1649 Barbados has armed uprising by servants
St. Kitts' governor Sir Thomas Warner encourages immigration
Charles I of England dies
1650 Barbados' civil fighting ends; declare allegiance to exiled Prince Charles
Spanish drive English out of St. Croix
First Navigation Act in England
French buy St. Croix and St. Kitts from the Spanish
1652 First Anglo-Dutch War begins
1653 French attack Caribs on Grenada
1654 French attack Caribs on St. Vincent
Caribs on St. Lucia and Martinique attack French
England attacks Hispaniola, trying to take it from Spain
Dutch lose last Brazillian fort
Spanish lawmakers turn a blind eye to illegal Dutch trade with colonies
1655 England takes Jamaica from Spain
1657 On Jamaica pirates invited to Port Royal
1658 Cromwell dies in England and Charles II becomes King in England
1660 British and French sign peace treaty leaving islands to the Caribs
1661 Louis XIV became King in France
1662 Spain allows Dutch trade in colonies
1663 Third Navigation Act passed. Barbados begins 4.5% export tax
1664 French West Indies Company created
British Leeward Islands begin 4.5% export tax
1665 Second Anglo-Dutch War begins
French Bertrand d'Ogeron leads Hispaniola and Tortuga
English pirates hit St. Eustatius, Saba, and Tobago
Pirates loot Spanish instead of Curaçao during Second Anglo-Dutch War
Nevis' governor surrendered to French
French took Antigua and Montserrat
1667 British defeat Dutch-French armada near Nevis
Recapture Antigua and Montserrat
Treaty of Breda restored former island ownerships, except Tobago, which becomes French
1669 French recapture Antigua and Montserrat
1670 England wins war and Spain cedes Jamaica officially in Treaty of Madrid
1671 French return St. Kitts to England
Morgan's attack on Panama City
Leeward Island Union created nominally
Danish West Indies Company created
1672 Third Anglo-Dutch War begins
British leave war
France and Netherlands fight
1674 Morgan knighted, becomes lieutenant governor of Jamaica
1676 Netherlands retakes Tobago and St. Martin
1678 Treaty of Nijmegen gives French Tobago;
British Tortola and Virgin Gorda;
Dutch St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, and Saba
1682 Governor Lynch on Jamaica enforced anti-piracy laws
1683 French take treasure port Vera Cruz in Mexico
1684 Spanish sacked Providence
Treaty of Ratisbon brought peace to France and Spain
1685 Code Noir instituted by France
1686 Pirates return to Providence
1688 France declares war on Holland (Spain and other countries join against France)
1689 James II of England deposed for William III
English join Nine Years' War against France
French destroy St. Eustatius and take St. Kitts
1690 Codrington leads British to retake St. Kitts and Anguilla
French burn Spanish St. Iago on Hispaniola (Dominican Republic)
First Maroon War on Jamaica
1691 Codrington invades Guadeloupe but fails
Spanish burn Cap-Français on Hispaniola (Haiti)
1692 Earthquake devastates Jamaica
1693 Codrington invades Martinique and fails
1694 French du Casse attacks Jamaica's south coast
1695 Attack on Cartagena, Colombia
1697 Treaty of Ryswick gave French rights to Hispaniola (Haiti); ends Nine Years' War
1698 British turn down law designed to encourage food crops on West Indies islands
British and French sent fleets to the Caribbean
1702 War of Spanish Succession begins
1714 War ends with Peace of Utrecht
Spain begins taking direct control of Cuba
1716 French open trade to ships based out of 5 major ports
1717 France removes nearly all export taxes on its Caribbean colonies
Spain takes governmental control of Cuba's tobacco production - uprising occurs
1718 Former pirate Rogers becomes Governor of The Bahamas
1721 British planters insist new islands not grow sugar
1729 Treaty of Seville; Britain agrees not to trade with Spain
Parliament passes Molasses Act
Danish purchase St. Croix as slave market
1734 Danish West Indies Company slave monopoly ends
1739 War of Jenkins' Ear begins
1741 Nearly all French ships allowed to trade slaves
1747 Beet sugar provides important competition to cane sugar
1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ends war
1752 Mackandal unites Maroons on Hispaniola
1756 Seven Years' War begins
1758 Mackandal killed
1760 Tacky's Rebellion on Jamaica
1762 British forces occupy Havana
1763 Treaty of Paris ends war<br />England gains St. Vincent, Dominica, Grenada, Tobago, Florida, Canada
France gains St. Lucia, keeps Guadeloupe, Martinique
1764 Britain passes Sugar Duties Act
1765 Charles III lightens trade restrictions on Cuba
Puerto Rico cleans up, allowed foreign slave trade
Britain passes the Stamp Act
1775 St. Kitts is the richest British colony
Puerto Rico opens to artisans and planters, Catholic and Spanish
American Revolutionary War begins
1779 Anglo-Spanish war begins Spanish trade with the U.S.
1783 Treaty of Versailles establishes American Independence
1784 Le Maniel forces a treaty with free blacks on French Hispaniola
1788 King Louis XVI of France announces a meeting of the Estates General and Revolution begins
1789 Foreign slave traders allowed in to Spanish islands
1792 Louis XVI overthrown by Jacobins, family murdered
1793 Britain joins the war against the French
1794 French slaves declared free
1799 Napoleon comes to power in the Caribbean
1801 Black republic of Haiti founded
Constitution gives Toussaint authoritarian control
1802 Leclerc arrives on Hispaniola
1803 Britain again declares war on France
1804 Dessalines becomes governor-general of Haiti
1805 Dessalines names himself Emperor
1806 Dessalines dies in an uprising
1815 Napoleonic wars end
Slave trade abolished on Cuba
Christophe dies in uprising on Haiti
1822 Boyer takes over Spanish Hispaniola
1825 Spain's crown gives island governor-generals nearly unlimited powers
France recognizes Haiti
1826 Rural Code on Haiti brings back slave-like conditions
1828 Dutch attempt to create a federation of their holdings
1834 Slavery abolished on British islands, apprenticeship begins
1838 All British slaves truly free, apprenticeship ends
First railroad crosses Cuba
Danish decree calls for free elementary education for all residents
1844 Dominican Republic gains independence from Spain
1847 Danish slave rebellion
Soulouque takes control on Haiti
1848 Slavery abolished in Danish islands
Dutch abolish slavery on Sint Maarten
The French abolitionists gain power and Scholecher committee is appointed, slavery is abolished
1849 Laws in Puerto Rico designed to abolish squatting and regulate labor
Laws in Danish Virgin Islands impose restrictions on labor
Soulouque becomes Emperor Fausti I of Haiti
1850 Indian indentured servitude becomes extremely important
Planters on Cuba wanted Spain to pay to free the slaves
1858 Dutch official church involved in the abolition movement
1860 The Vatican recognizes Haiti
1863 Slavery abolished on Dutch islands
1865 African and Chinese immigrants came to the Caribbean
Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica spurs Britain to greater island control
Cuba's reformists petitioned for change
Danish push to sell Virgin Islands to the U.S.
1867 New Spanish government imposes harsh laws on Cuba
Danish approve sale of Virgin Islands to the U.S.
1868 Revolt of Yara on Cuba called for Cuban independence, began Ten Years' War
Revolt of Lares in Puerto Rico challenged Spanish control briefly
1869 British government attempts a federation of Leeward Caribbean islands
1871 British government creates a federation to unite Leeward colonies
All adult males could vote on French islands
1873 Abolition of the 1849 labor laws in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican slaves freed and owners compensated by Spain
1874 Spanish civil war ends and Spain sends troops to Cuba
Dictator Saget became first Haitian president to serve his term and retire
1876 Federation to join Barbados and Windwards, but riot breaks out on Barbados
1878 Pact of Zanjon with General Campos
Full emancipation granted on Danish islands
1880 Spain issues abolition without compensation in Cuba, patrionato follows
1882 St. Kitts and Nevis joined
Heurueax takes power on Dominican Republic
1886 Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and Tobago are joined to one group
1889 Trinidad and Tobago joined
1895 American-owned Santo Domingo Improvement Co. comes to restore Spanish Hispaniola
1896 Captain-general Valeriano Weyler arrives and forces peasants into concentration camps on Cuba
1898 All British islands are crown colonies
U.S. President McKinley steps between Cuba and Spain
Treaty of Paris cedes Puerto Rico and Guam to the U.S. and frees Cuba
First election on Cuba, held by the U.S.
Foraker Act put in place for Puerto Rico
1901 Platt Amendment added to Cuba
1902 Tomás Estrada Palma becomes first President of Cuba
1906 Ramón Cáceres became Dominican Republic president
U.S. troops sent to Cuba after uprising by José Miguel Gómez
Resignation by Estrada and his Vice President
1911 Cáceres assassinated
1915 U.S. occupation of Haiti begins
1916 U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic begins
1917 Negotiations finish for sale of Danish Virgin Islands to the U.S.
Jones Act provides for Puerto Rico's government<br />U.S. troops sent to Cuba
1924 Gerardo Machado y Morales becomes Cuba's President, later dictator
1927 Trujillo given command of the Dominican national guard
Citizens of the U.S. Virgin Islands given U.S. citizenship
1928 National guard in the Dominican Republic becomes the army
1930 Trujillo takes control in the Dominican Republic after the U.S. leaves
Hurricane hits the Dominican Republic
1931 Trujillo became dictator in the Dominican Republic
The Department of the Interior gains control of the U.S. Virgin Islands
1933 U.S. leaves Haiti and political struggles begin
U.S. forces resignation of Cuba's President Machado
Sergeant Fulgencio Batista y Zalvidar takes control in Cuba
1934 Batista forces Cuba's President Grau to resign and names Carlos Mendieta president
Roosevelt and U.S. recognize Batista's government
Platt Amendement annulled but maintain U.S. naval base
1940 Batista elected in an honest election in Cuba with new constitution
Guadeloupe (incl. St. Barthelemy and St. Martin) and Martinique given full political union with France
1947 Jones Law amended; Puerto Rico may elect its own governor
Industrial Incentive Act of 1947 encourages industry in Puerto Rico
1948 Luis Muñoz Marín becomes Puerto Rico's first governor
Netherlands Antilles grant full adult suffrage
1950 Public Law 600 allows Puerto Rico to create its own constitution
Netherlands Antilles given internal self-government
1952 Puerto Rico becomes a commonwealth of the U.S.
Batista leads a second coup and takes leadership in Cuba
1953 Fidel Castro leads a revolt against Batista in Cuba
1954 Statute of the Realm rules the Netherlands Antilles
1955 First tourist hotel built on Sint Maarten
1956 British Leeward Islands Federation crumbles
1957 François Duvalier, 'Papa Doc' won the presidency in Haiti, became a dictator
1958 British create West Indies Federation
British Virgin Islands do not join new federation
1959 Batista leaves Cuba with much of its treasury
Fidel Castro takes leadership in Cuba, begins taking control of businesses
1960 Rioting on Martinique over lack of island authority
1961 Trujillo assassinated
Bay of Pigs invasion on Cuba
Castro declares his communist intent for Cuba
1962 Juan Bosch becomes president in the Dominican Republic in free elections
Montserrat becomes a Crown Colony again when West Indies Federation crumbles
Jamaica becomes independent
Missile Crisis with Cuba
1963 Bosch was exiled to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic for communist sentiment
Offshore banking begins in Curaçao because of U.S. agreement
1964 Muñoz Marín does not run for the position of Puerto Rico's governor
1965 U.S. again invades the Dominican Republic
1966 Joaquin Balaguer elected in honest election in the Dominican Republic
New constitution in the Dominican Republic kept all-powerful central government and president
Barbados becomes independent
1968 U.S. Virgin Islands given limited self-government
1970 Balaguer re-elected in the Dominican Republic
Bosch returns to the Dominican Republic from exile, founds political party
1971 Papa Doc Duvalier dies, Baby Doc Jean-Claude Duvalier becomes successor
First election for governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands
1972 Turks and Caicos gain local government
1974 Balaguer re-elected in the Dominican Republic
Grenada becomes independent
Cuba sends troops to Angola
1976 First election on the Turks and Caicos
1977 Cuba sends troops to Ethiopia
Jimmy Carter works to improve relations with Cuba
1978 Balaguer loses election to Antonio Guzmán
U.S. steps in to oversee change of power on Dominican Republic
1979 Hurricane devastates Dominican Republic but Guzman and appointees misappropriate funds
1980 Mariel boat lift from Cuba
1981 Antigua becomes independent
1982 Salvador Jorge Blanco wins election in the Dominican Republic
Political changes in France cause upheaval on Martinique and Guadeloupe
Anguilla gains own constitution, separated from St. Kitts and Nevis
1984 Riots over poverty in the Dominican Republic
1985 Turks and Caicos chief minister Normal Saunders and councilmen arrested for drug trafficking
Nathaniel Francis replaced Saunders as Turks and Caicos chief minister
1986 Balaguer re-elected in the Dominican Republic.
Baby Doc Duvalier ousted and exiled from Haiti
Jorge Blanco investigated for corruption in the Dominican Republic and fled to the U.S.
Aruba moves for independence from the Netherlands Antilles group
Francis declared unfit by government report in Turks and Caicos and government increases governor's power
1988 U.S. support for Curaçao's offshore banking ends due to drug trafficking issues
1989 Hurricane Hugo devastates many Caribbean islands
1990 Balaquer re-elected in the Dominican Republic
U.S. forces elections in Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide elected
Soviet collapse causes changes in Cuba<
1991 Aristide ousted in Haiti
Jorge Blanco returns to the Dominican Republic and sentenced to 20 years in jail
1994 Balaguer re-elected in the Dominican Republic
Aristide was returned to power by U.S. invasion
Jorge Blanco released from prison early in the Dominican Republic
1995 Chances Peak volcano erupts on Montserrat
1996 René Préval elected in Haiti
Leonel Fernández Reyna elected in the Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico ends tax exemptions for foreign investors
Aruba was a top drug transit location
Montserrat volcano erupts again
2000 Aristide wins election in Haiti
2004 Leonel Fernández Reyna becomes Dominincan president

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