Cyber-Placazo's Useful Chronology of U.S. Latinos
Have you ever felt ignorant of, or threatened by U.S. Latino culture? Pocha Nostra has put together a comprehensive, user-friendly chronology of U.S. Latinos to help you understand who they are, why they are here, and how come they are so pinche dammed complicated. If you find it useful please forward it to your colleagues.
10,500 B.C. Humans populate the Americas from Alaska to Patagonia, including East L.A. and Tijuana.
1500-1000 B.C. Olmec people create the first great Meso-American civilization. At the same time, their hairy European contemporaries are still roaming around naked with stone axes.
00 A.D. Jesus Christ Superstar is born. Chicano abuelitas revere him ever since.
120 Puerto Rico settled by the Igneri people, militant swingers and makers of delicate pottery and cave-porn iconography.
500 Mayan civilization at its height in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. They practice astronomy, licantropy and performance art. Actors are killed during the actual performances.
1325 Aztecs found great city of Tesmogtitlan; they trade precious metals, macaw feathers, wrist watches, and other goods with tribes to the North.
1400 Height of Inca civilization in Peru. According to the Aztec census bureau, the indigenous population of the Americas reaches 90 million.
1420-92 Europeans begin voyages of exploration in the Atlantic Ocean. They get systematically lost and misname everything they come across. They mistake dolphins for mermaids, Chihuahua dogs for midget jackals, and the inhabitants of the "New World" for cannibals.
1491 Ciboney, Arawak, and Carib peoples inhabit all Caribbean Islands. They are great guaguanco dancers. Same-sex couples are allowed.
1492 Columbus visits present-day Haiti, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. He uses trained dogs to pacify "the Indians." The genocide of Indigenous Americans begins. Gringo historians believe that Columbus actually landed in Ohio.
1519 Cortez lands in Veracruz and marches west; conquers Montezuma and Tenochtitlan with the help of other indigenous peoples, disease, horses, and guns.
1520 Cortez and la Malinche become "the Mexican couple of the year," and la Malinche "the first bilingual secretary of the Americas."
1522 First Africans brought to Cuba as slaves. Buena Vista Social Club is founded clandestinely.
1527 Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked on Texas coast; begins his lunatic journey across the Southwest. After eight years he goes mad and becomes "the first hippie of the Americas." He tries out several ritual drugs and changes his name to "Cabeza de Pollo."
1540 Coronado searches Oklahoma and Kansas for cities of gold described by Cabeza de Vaca; finds only poor villages and lunatic proto-militiamen. His Indian scouts give him bad directions.
1650 A poor frontier colony, New Mexico becomes a haven for Jews, Arabs, genisaros, gypsies, Gnostics, transvestites, performance artists and other infidels. New Spaniards refer to this bohemian milieu as "la olla podrida."
1725 Missions are being established way before the first Anglo Texans were even imaginary sperms.
1821 Mexico wins its independence from Spain -- kind of.
1836 Tejanos (Texas Mexicans) lose control of their region to Anglo settlers, in spite of the fact that some of them fought at the Alamo for an independent Texas Republic. Texas becomes an independent republic, and has remained one since.
1846 War with Mexico initiates the first U.S. military campaign throughout the Southwest. The excesses of the gringos are well documented by Chicano historians like Rudy Acuña. Californios wage a guerrilla war against the gringos; after seven months they sign a treaty allowing the United States to occupy the territory.
1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo cedes half of Mexico's territory to the US; former Mexican citizens in the area suffer from sweeping loss of human rights. They suddenly wake up one day in a new country and haven't slept properly since.
1870 The Texas Rangers raid Mexican villages, lynching Mexicans and putting them in cages -- the "extreme sport" of the time. The History Channel forgets to document it.
1892 Martí organizes Cuban independence movement from New York.
1898 Spanish American War turns Cuba and Puerto Rico into US possessions.
1902 Cuba granted independence by the US.
1910 Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata kick some serious ass.
1912 First US Marine incursion in Nicaragua -- dozens of others will follow. Cuban mulatto baseball great Adolfo Luque begins 23 year career in US big leagues.
1917 Puerto Rican residents acquire US citizenship and begin first wave of immigration into Nuyo Rico; deportation of Mexican Americans begins with striking massacre of striking copper miners.
1929 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) formed in US.
1935 New Mexico elects Dennis Chavez the first Latino in the US senate. ¡Orale!
1940 Machito forms the Afro-Cubans in New York. Young ultra-lounge Latino hipster Juan Garcia Esquivel arrives in Las Vegas; his orchestra will influence all of US popular music.
1941 World War Two brings thousands of naive Mexicans into US armed forces with the promise of citizenship.
1943 "Zoot Suit riots" begun by US military personnel in Los Angeles; the Navy on leave from Europe comes back ready to kick some "meskin" ass.
1954 Operation Wetback begins "forced removal of one million brown people from US to Mexico" (including US Latino citizens), even as "bracero" program continues.
1955 Cuban revolution begins.
1958 Mambo king Perez Prado reigns in Mexico City. Gabachos will discover him 48 years later as part of a retro-lounge trend.
1959 Castro takes power in Cuba; first wave of what is known as "the great gusano evasion" to the US begins.
1961 Pressured by the US, Castro embraces Russian communism; US military and Miami Cuban exiles join up to stage Bay of Pigs invasion. Les sale mal.
1965 Cesar Chavez founds UFW in California and begins grape boycott.
1968 MALDEF and "La Raza" party founded. Cheech and Chong become known for their "mota" humor. The Mexican army massacres students at La Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Mexico City.
1971 Family Unification Program brings 330,000 more Cubans to US. Santana rocks the US. Oscar "Brown Buffalo" Zeta Acosta dissapears mysteriously.
1972 Chicano mural art movement in full swing. Rock & Roll goes "mainstream."
1973 Roberto Clemente elected to Baseball Hall of Fame. ¿Y qué!?
1975 Cesar Chavez and UFW achieve passage of California Agricultural Labor Relations Act; first "Nuyorican Poets" anthology published in New York.
1979 Political turmoil in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador increases US population from those countries. Chicano barrios are flooded with Central American refugees, redefining Chicanismo for good.
1980 Castro scores big time, allowing 120,000 "marielitos" to flee to US. Amongst them are ex-prisoners, locos, chavos y chavas del talón, and dissidents. Little Havana loses its provincial tranquility.
1985 Earthquake in Mexico City. 200,000 dead. Immigration to US increases; rock en español movement begins.
1987 Frida Kahlo canonized by Galeria de La Raza, San Francisco. Two thousand Gringa cult followers gather in Dolores Park to pay homage to the ethno-feminist saint.
1989 Eddie Olmos finally makes it in Hollywood; the Berlin Wall collapses; the US/Mexico metallic border wall project begins.
1993 Horny Tejano Henry Cisneros named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
1994 Nafta comes into effect. The Zapatista uprising erupts in Chiapas.
1996 New (Anti) Immigration Act criminalizes Latinos and multiplies obstacles for Latin Americans to migrate to the US.
1997 Selena murdered at the hands of deranged fan club president, becoming an "instant saint."
1998 Hurricane Mitch destroys Honduras and Nicaragua; Taco Bell Chihuahua becomes "the most popular Mexican in US history;" Clinton busted lying to the Grand Jury about a coitus interruptus with ugly intern named Monica Leñwinski -- a daughter of Salvadoran immigrant father and Gringa mother. American dignity hits rock bottom. All Latinos applaud.
1999 Prototype cyborg Ricky Martin becomes Numero Uno Latino entertainer in the US pop music industry.
2000 The PRI, Mexico's ruling party, finally collapses; replaced by coalition government sponsored by Fox Entertainment Inc. After winning infamous Florida Demolition Derby, George W. Bush becomes president of the US, despite his minute IQ and bad Spanglish.
2001 The much-touted "New Economy" collapses, así nomás. A fringe fundamentalist Muslim "cell" stages unthinkable attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Bush declares war on Afghanistan. Hundreds of Arab-looking Latinos are rounded up in US airports.
2015 "Gran Vato" becomes first Chicano president of US. Spanglish becomes Official Language.
2030 Latino population of the US reaches 120 million. Anglos become nomadic minorities and are forced to learn Spanish to obtain menial jobs in the food, construction, and porn industries.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña (a.k.a. Dr. Guillermo Comes-Penis, PPHD) is a performance artist and frequent contributor to National Public Radio. Information for this chronology compiled con la ayuda de Beth Hass, Carolina Ponce de León, Elaine Katzenberger, and Roberto Sifuentes.