Everything started when the
liberator Simon Bolivar convened the Congress of Panama with the idea of creating an
association of states in the hemisphere.
In 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 the forerunner of the OAS.
In 1910, this organization became
the Pan American Union.
In 1948, at the Ninth International
American Conference, participants signed the OAS Charter and the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man, the first international expression of human rights
The transition from the Pan
American Union to the OAS was smooth. The Director General of the former, Alberto Lleras
Camargo, became the first Secretary General of the OAS.
April 30, 1948 21 countries
of the hemisphere met in Bogota, Colombia, to adopt the Charter of the Organization of
American States (OAS), which affirmed their commitment to common goals and respect for
each nations sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the nations of
the Caribbean, as well as Canada.
The principles that embody the OAS
grew out of a history of regional cooperation dating back to the 19th century.