Basque separatist group ETA is due to announce its final dissolution this week, ending Western Europe’s last major armed insurgency, a 50-year campaign which killed more than 850 people in Spain
Here is a timeline of major events since the founding of ETA, whose initials stand for Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Country and Freedom), and its gradual weakening.
1959 – Students in Madrid form ETA during dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who suppressed Basque culture, to fight for an independent state in northern Spain and southern France.
1968 – ETA carries out first known killing, shooting Meliton Manzanas, secret police chief in Basque city of San Sebastian.
1973 – Franco’s prime minister and heir apparent Luis Carrero Blanco is killed when his car drives over explosives planted by ETA in Madrid.
1974 – Explosion at Rolando cafe in Madrid kills 12.
1975 – Spain becomes democracy but ETA continues its violent campaign, altering perceptions of movement as force for resistance against fascism.
1978 – ETA founds political wing Herri Batasuna.
1980 – In its bloodiest year, ETA kills about 100 people.
1983 – Government officials set up illegal death squads known as Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups (GAL).
1985 – ETA car bomb explodes in Madrid. A U.S. tourist is killed and 16 Civil Guards wounded.
1986 – Twelve Civil Guards are killed and 50 wounded in Madrid in July. Juan Manuel Soares is later sentenced to 1,401 years in jail for killings
1987 – Twenty-one shoppers are killed by bomb at Barcelona supermarket in June. ETA apologises. Car bomb outside barracks in Zaragoza kills 11.
1991 – Ten people killed by car bomb outside Civil Guard barracks in Barcelona.
1995 – ETA members attempt to kill Jose Maria Aznar, leader of right-wing Popular Party, with car bomb. He survives and becomes prime minister in March 1996.
1995 – Attempt to asssassinate King Juan Carlos in Mallorca.
1997 – Police foil plot to assassinate King Juan Carlos at Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. One officer dies in shootout, ETA member Eneko Gogeaskoetxea escapes.
1997 – ETA kidnaps and kills Basque Popular Party member and Ermua town councillor Miguel Angel Blanco. Outrage spreads through Spain and 6 million take to streets.
1998 – ETA announces truce which ends in Dec. 1999.
1998 – Former Interior Minister Jose Barrionuevo, his deputy Rafael Vera and a former civil governor, Julian Sancristobal, are jailed for their role in GAL actions. The three were granted a partial pardon and released later that year.
1999 – ETA meets Spanish government in Switzerland. In November, it announces ceasefire for Dec. 3.
2000 – Car bombs in Madrid mark return to violent campaign
2003 – Supreme Court outlaws Batasuna party, which denies links to ETA but refuses to condemn attacks.
2003 – Two bombs in resort towns of Alicante and Benidorm injure more than 10 people. Santander airport is also bombed.
2004 – Suspected leader Mikel Albisu Iriarte, alias “Mikel Antza” is arrested in France. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero appeals to ETA to give up fight.
2005 – Parliament lower house approves resolution authorising government to negotiate disarmament.
2006 – ETA declares permanent ceasefire in March. Zapatero tells parliament he will seek peace talks. In December, car bomb explodes at Madrid airport killing two Ecuadorians. Zapatero breaks off peace process.
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