The first eruption of Santa María in recorded history occurred in October 1902. The eruption began on 24 October, and the largest explosions occurred over the following two days, ejecting an estimated 8 cubic kilometres (1.9 cu mi) of magma. Estimates are that 6,000 people died as a result of the eruption.
On December 10, 1953, before leaving for Guatemala, Guevara sent an update to his Aunt Beatriz from San José, Costa Rica. In the letter Guevara speaks of traversing the dominion of the United Fruit Company, a journey which convinced him that the Company's capitalist system was a terrible one.
During 1986 and 1987, the "Esquipulas Process" was established, in which the Central American heads of state agreed on economic cooperation and a framework for peaceful conflict resolution. The "Esquipulas II Accord" emerged from this and was signed in Guatemala City by the five presidents on 7 August 1987.