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Spain - Timeline

A chronology of key events:

1936-39 - Spanish Civil War: more than 350,000 Spaniards killed.

1939 - General Franco leads Nationalists to victory. Republicans are executed, jailed or exiled.

General Franco
General Franco's dictatorship spanned nearly four decades

1946-50 - Franco regime ostracised by United Nations; many countries cut off diplomatic relations.

1955 - Spain admitted to UN.

1959 - Eta is founded with the aim of creating an independent homeland in Spain's Basque region. The full name of the organisation - Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna - means Basque Fatherland and Freedom.

1961 - Eta's violent campaign begins with an attempt to derail a train transporting politicians.

1968 - West African colony of Spanish Guinea is granted independence as Equatorial Guinea.

1973 December - Basque nationalists assassinate Prime Minister Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco in Madrid in retaliation for the government's execution of Basque militants.

Move to democracy

1975 20 November - Franco dies. Succeeded as head of state by King Juan Carlos. With Juan Carlos on the throne, Spain makes transition from dictatorship to democracy.

King Juan Carlos I
King Juan Carlos supported moves toward democracy
Born in Rome, 1938
Grandson of Alfonso XIII, who left Spain in 1931

1977 June - First democratic elections in four decades.

1978 - New constitution confirms Spain as a parliamentary monarchy. Eta's political wing, Herri Batasuna, is founded.

1980 - 118 people are killed in Eta's bloodiest year so far.

1981 February - Failed military coup.

1982 - Coup plot by right-wing extremists discovered.

Socialist government wins sizeable majority.

Spain joins Nato.

1986 - Spain joins the EEC.

1992 - Summer Olympic Games held in Barcelona. Seville hosts Expo 92. Celebrations mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage to America.

Aznar years

1995 - Leader of opposition Popular Party Jose Maria Aznar survives a car bomb blast.

Paco Pena flamenco dance company
Flamenco music and dance, said to have Andalusian roots
Rhythmic hand clapping accompanies guitar music, song
Song subjects range from death to romance and humour
Flamenco reached a wider audience in 19th century "singing cafes"

1996 March - Jose Maria Aznar becomes PM following a stability deal with moderate Catalan and Basque nationalists who hold the balance of power, after a general election in which his conservative Popular Party emerges as the winner but fails to win an outright majority.

1997 July - Eta, demanding that Basque prisoners be transferred closer to home, kidnaps and kills Basque councillor Miguel Angel Blanco. Killing sparks national outrage and brings an estimated 6 million Spaniards onto the streets.

1997 December - 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna jailed for seven years for collaborating with Eta - the first time any members of the party have been jailed as a result of Eta links.

1998 April - Crops destroyed and wildlife wiped out when an iron pyrite mine reservoir belonging to a Canadian-Swedish company bursts its banks causing toxic waste spillage. Waterways feeding Europe's largest wildlife reserve, the Donana national park, are severely contaminated.

1998 September - Eta announces its first indefinite ceasefire since its campaign of violence began. It calls the ceasefire off in November, claiming lack of a response from the government.

Basque separatist mural, Spanish Basque Country town, 2004
Eta's campaign for a sovereign Basque state has cost many lives

2000 - Madrid car bombs mark return to violence.

Aznar's Popular Party (PP) wins landslide in general elections.

2001 Parliament grants political recognition to Republican guerrillas - known as the maquis - who continued resisting the nationalist dictator, General Francisco Franco, after the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939.

2002 January - Peseta replaced by Euro.

2002 June - Eta suspected of being behind bomb blasts in several tourist resorts as EU summit held in Seville.

Benidorm skyline
Tourism transformed Spain's economy and coastline

2002 July - Morocco sends troops to counter alleged illegal activities on disputed rocky outcrop of Perejil off Moroccan coast. Spain sends forces to eject them and gunboats to guard its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Spain pulls troops out after Spanish, Moroccan foreign ministers agree to restore status quo, leaving Perejil unoccupied.

2002 November - North-west coastline suffers ecological disaster after oil tanker Prestige breaks up and sinks about 130 miles out to sea.

2003 March - Indefinite ban imposed on Basque separatist Batasuna party.

Madrid attacks

2004 March - 191 people killed in explosions on packed rush-hour trains in Madrid in near-simultaneous pre-election attacks. An Islamic group with links to al-Qaeda is later blamed.

Gaudi's Park Guell, Barcelona
Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi shattered traditional concepts

With Spain still in mourning, the Socialists under Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero defy earlier opinion polls and win a general election.

2004 April - Mr Zapatero is sworn in as prime minister; he orders Spanish troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. The last troops leave in May.

2005 February - Car bomb explodes in Madrid, injuring about 40 people. Eta is believed to be behind the attack.

Voters approve the EU constitution in a referendum.

2005 May - Government offers peace talks with Eta if the group disarms.

2005 June - Parliament defies Roman Catholic Church by legalising gay marriage and granting homosexual couples same adoption and inheritance rights as heterosexual ones.

Boat carrying African immigrants tied to rescue ship in Tenerife, September 2006
Canary Islands: A staging point for thousands of African migrants

2005 September-October - At least 11 die and many more are injured in a series of mass attempts by African migrants to enter the enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta from Morocco in a bid to reach Spain. Spain reviews decision to deport those who do get through back to Morocco after expressions of international concern.

2006 January - Lt Gen Jose Mena Aguado sacked as head of army ground forces after suggesting that the military might take action in Catalonia if the region gains too much autonomy.

Eta ceasefire

2006 March - Eta declares a ceasefire. In June, Prime Minister Zapatero says the government will hold peace talks with the group.

2006 June - Voters in Catalonia back proposals to give the region greater autonomy as well as the status of a nation within Spain.

2006 December - Prime Minister Zapatero suspends moves to seek dialogue with Eta after a car bomb attack at a Madrid airport.

2007 June - Eta calls off ceasefire.

2007 October - Several people are found guilty and given jail sentences for the Madrid train bombings in 2004.

2007 November - Parliament passes a bill formally denouncing Franco's rule and ordering the removal of all Franco-era statues and symbols from streets and buildings.

2008 March - Parliamentary elections. The ruling Socialist Workers' Party wins re-election with an increased margin, but falls short of an absolute majority.

Economic crisis

2009 January - Spanish economy enters recession for first time since 1993.

2009 March - Unemployment soars to 17.4%, with over 4 million people jobless.

2009 May - The parliament of the Basque region votes in the first non-Nationalist regional government in more than 30 years, under Socialist leadership, following elections in March.

2009 July - Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos visits Gibraltar - the first visit by a Spanish minister in 300 years.

2010 February - Thousands of workers demonstrate against government spending cuts and plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 67 - the first mass labour protests since the governing Socialist Workers' Party came to power in 2004.

2010 May - Unemployment rate climbs to over 20% for first time in nearly 13 years. Parliament approves 15bn-euro (£13bn) austerity package.

New Eta ceasefire

2010 September - Eta declares new ceasefire. Spanish government dismisses the move, saying there can be no political settlement until Eta renounces violence for good and disarms.

2011 September - Parliament approves constitutional amendment setting legally binding cap on public sector borrowing.

2011 November - Opposition conservative Popular Party wins resounding victory in parliamentary election.

2011 December - New conservative government headed by Mariano Rajoy takes up office. Announces new round of austerity measures to slash public spending by 16.5bn euros ($21.5bn) and nearly halve the public deficit from about 8% of GDP in 2012.

2012 January - Unemployment total passes the 5 million mark. This represents a jobless rate of 22.8% - the highest in the eurozone. Almost half of all 16-24 year-olds are out of work.

2012 February - Spain's most famous judge, Baltasar Garzon, is found guilty of authorising illegal recordings of lawyers' conversations. Political left alleges a vendetta against a champion of human rights and justice.

2012 April - Spain slips back into recession as economy contracts by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2012.



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March 2006: Eta declares ceasefire





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