The House of the Americas



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 principles.

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 nation’s 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.



2000 Organization of American States. All Rights Reserved.
Headquarters: 17th St. & Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006,

USA, tel. (202) 458-3000