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Organization of American States: History at a Glance

OAS emblem

1826 Simón Bolívar convened the Congress of Panama with the idea of creating an association of states in the hemisphere.

1890 The First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., established the International Union of American Republics and its secretariat, the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics.

1910 The International Union of American Republics became the Pan American Union.

April 30, 1948 21 American nations met in Bogotá, Colombia, to adopt the Charter of the Organization of American States, as well as the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Alberto Lleras Camargo became the first Secretary General of the OAS.

1959 The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was created.

1961 The Charter of Punta del Este was signed, launching the Alliance for Progress.

1969 The American Convention on Human Rights was signed.

1970 The General Assembly was established as the highest decision-making body of the OAS.

1978 The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was established.

1986 The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) was created.

1991 Resolution 1080, which set up procedures to react to threats to democracy in the hemisphere, was adopted.

1994 The First Summit of the Americas, which reaffirmed the OAS role strengthening democracy and established new priorities for the Organization, was held.

1996 The Inter-American Council for Integral Development was established.

1997 The Protocol of Washington, giving the OAS the right to suspend a member state whose democratically elected government is overthrown by force, was ratified.

1998 The Second Summit of the Americas created what is now called the OAS Summits of the Americas Department.

September 11, 2001 An Inter-American Democratic Charter was adopted in Lima, Peru.

2002 The Inter-American Convention against Terrorism opened for signature at OAS General Assembly in Barbados.

2004 The Special Summit of the Americas focused on growth with equity, social development and governance.

2005 The Fourth Summit of the Americas was held.

Secretaries General of the OAS

Alberto Lleras Camargo (Colombia) 1948-1954
Carlos Dávila (Chile) 1954-1955
José A. Mora (Uruguay) 1956-1968
Galo Plaza (Ecuador) 1968-1975
Alejandro Orfila (Argentina) 1975-1984
João Clemente Baena Soares (Brazil) 1984-1994
César Gaviria (Colombia) 1994-2004
Miguel Angel Rodríguez (Costa Rica) September-October 2004
Luigi R. Einaudi (United States), Acting Secretary General, October 2004-May 2005
José Miguel Insulza (Chile), May 26, 2005-

Simón Bolívar

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This page was last updated on 09/29/2017.