A chronology of key events:
1952 The first Miss Universe is held in Long Beach, California, with 30 states and regions. Armi Kuusela (Finland) becomes Miss Universe.
1953 There are 26 countries competing in MU. Morocco’s candidate, Colette Ribes, does not compete in the contest.
1954 The second Miss Universe pageant opens in Long Beach, with 33 states and dependencies, including Honduras, New Zealand and Singapore. Miriam Stevenson (South Carolina) becomes Miss Universe.
1955 Surprisingly Ceylon -Sri Lanka since 1972- is second runner-up for Miss Universe. On the other hand, Cuba sends an entry, Gilda Marin, to the global event in the States.
1956 Welcome to California! There are 30 entries. Finland, which had won the title four years ago, does not participate. Carol Morris (Iowa) is elected MU.
1957 At the invitation of the Miss Universe Organization, Joaquín Alberto Vargas y Chavez, Peru’s painter, flies to California to be one of the international judges. For the first time, Martinique sends a contestant.
1958 There are 36 nations and territories competing. Corine Rottschafer, Holland’s representative, wins Miss Photogenic.
1959 Akiko Kojima (Japan) succeeds Luz Marina Zuloaga (Colombia) as Miss Universe. On the other hand, Miss England becomes Miss Photogenic.
1960 MU Organization decides to move the event from California to Miami Beach (Florida).Burma -present-day Myanmar- wins Miss Congeniality.
1961 There are 46 states and territories competing-from Austria to the American Virgin Islands. Greece’s candidate, Eleftheria Deloutsi, wins Miss Amity.
1962 There are more than 50 republics and dependencies in Miss Universe, including Luxembourg, Haiti and Tahiti. Hawaii’s Macel Wilson, Miss United States, is one of the semi-finalists.
1963 Richard Henry Sellers, also known as Peter Sellers, is one of the judges. Miss Israel, Sherine Ibrahim, wins the Best National Costume in the pageant.
1964 Colombia’s Luz Marina Zuloaga, 1958 Miss Universe, is one of the judges in Miami Beach.Manuela Stramana, Italy’s contestant, becomes Miss Photogenic.
1965 Welcome to Florida! Fifty-seven republics and dependencies send entries to Miss Universe in the U.S. The Kingdom of Thailand, a nation in South East Asia Region, wins Miss Universe!
1966 There are 58 states and regions,including four former British colonies competing as independent nations-Guyana, Trinidad Tobago, Singapore, and Jamaica. Miss Sweden (Margareta Arvidsson) defeats Miss Finland (Satu Charlotta Ostring) in the final.
1967 Venezuela’s Mariela Perez Branguer, MU’s favorite delegate, does not win the title. Bonaire, a Dutch territory in the Caribbean, competes at MU for the first time.
1968 Welcome to Miami! Entries from 65 republics and dependencies competing for the crown of Miss Universe. For the sixth time, Okinawa, an American possession between 1945 and 1972, sends a contestant.
1969 New Zealand wins Miss Photogenic.Argentina’s Norma Nolan, who had been MU 1962, is one of the judges.
1970 There are 64 states and regions. Marisol Malaret (Puerto Rico) Contreras is the new Miss Universe. Miss United States, Debbie Shelton, places second at the global event.
1971 Lebanon’s Georgina Rizk, a model from Beirut, wins the world title, and Miss Philippines, Vida Valentina Fernández, crowns Miss Photogenic. Georgina speaks French, Italian and Arab. On the other hand,Yugoslavia, a Communist nation in SE Europe, does not participate.
1972 MU is held outside of the Continental United States for the first time with Puerto Rico the host country. A panel of international judges elects Kerry Wells, Miss Australia, as MU 1970. The judges are: Mapita Cortes (actress/PR), Earl Wilson (journalist/America), Kiyoshi Hara (businessman/Japan), Jean-Louis Indican (businessman/Belgium), Lynn Redgrave (actress/Britain), Sylvia Hitchcock (MU/Alabama), Arnold Scaasi (designer/United States),Edilson Varela (journalist/Brazil), Line Renaud (singer/France), Kurt Jurgen (actor/Germany), Fred Williamson (actor/USA).
1973 Welcome to Greece, one of the world’s oldest nations. Bob Barker opens the 21 st Miss Universe, with 61 delegates from around the world. Maria del Rocío Martín of Spain wins the Best National Costume.
1974 Manila, Philippines. The government announces the termination of Folk Arts Theater,venue of Miss Universe 1974.
1975 Miss Universe is held in El Salvador, regarded as perhaps the most successful of the modern era. Micronesia, an American territory in Oceania, makes its international debut.
1976 World-famous filmmaker Roman Polanski arrives in Hong Kong to be one of the international judges. Liberia -the second black republic in the modern history- competes at MU for the first time.
1977 Eighty nations and dependencies in MU in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, by far the most countries ever to participate. New countries/regions in Miss Universe: Saint Lucia (Caribbean), French Guiana (South America) and Saint Kitts (Caribbean).
1978 Miss Universe in Acapulco, Mexico. According to El Sol (Mexico’s newspaper), there are 12 favorites: Dorik Jellinek (Israel), Guillermina Ruiz (Spain), Alva Margarita (Mexico), Olga Zumaran (Peru), Maribel Fernández (Costa Rica), Iris Yvette Mazorra (El Salvador), Elizabeth Ann Jones (Wales), Solange Castro (Curacao), Judy Andersen (Hawaii), Margaret Gardinier (South Africa) and Lesotho (Joan Libuseng Khoali).
1979 At the invitation of the MUO, Julio Iglesias flies to Perth (Australia) to be one of the international judges. Venezuela’s Maritza Sayalero, who has Spanish origin, wins the title. Belize, a former UK dependency in Central America, qualifies for the semi-finals.
1980 The MUO holds its 28 th global event in Seoul, Korea. Semi-finalists in 1980 are Scotland, Sweden, PR, NZ (MU’s favorite), Panama, SK, Canada, Tahiti, Colombia, USA (winner), Philippines, and Iceland.
1981 Lucia Isabel Vinueza -she looks a lot like “Madonna”- is Ecuador’s first contestant to make the semi-finals in Miss Universe in New York City, USA. She is an American-educated woman.
1982 Cuzco, Peru. In the summer,Irene Saez, Miss Universe 1981, accompanied by Gladys Silva, Miss Peru 1981, travels to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world.
1983 Switzerland’s Lolita Morena, Miss World 1982 ‘s favorite candidate, is third runner-up for MU 1983. Abbey Scattrel Janneth of Gambia becomes Miss Congeniality.
1984 Eighty-one republics and territories in Miami, Florida. However, four countries don´t compete- the Bahamas, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Transkei. For the second time, Guatemala, Julieta Urrutia, qualifies for the contest.
1985 Miss El Salvador, Julia Haydee Mora, is one of the favorites to win the MU title in Miami, Florida. However, ES, a war-torn country in Central America, does not qualify for the first round. Meanwhile, Miss USA & Miss Texas, Laura Herring-Martinez, is one of the 10 semi-finalists. Laura, who was born in Mexico, studied in Switzerland. Unlike America and ES, Dominica, an English-speaking island in the Caribbean, competes at MU for the first time.
1986 Welcome to Panama! Miss United States & Miss Texas, Christy Fichtner,is first runner-up for Miss Universe. Zaire (present-day the Democratic Republic of the Congo) qualifies for the semi-finals.
1987 Miss Universe is held at the Singapore World Trade Center.Semi-finalists in 1987 are Italy, PR, Philippines, Venezuela, Peru, America, Singapore, Sweden, Turks Caicos, and Chile (winner). Miss United States & Miss Texas, Michelle Royer, is second runner-up. Curiously Colombia -Miss Photogenic- and Uruguay -1 st runner-up to Miss South America’87- don`t qualify for the second round.
1988 Thailand’s Portip Nakhirunkanok, who studied at Pasadena City College, wins Miss Universe. For the second time, Greenland, a Danish territory in the Arctic, sends a delegate. Miss USA & Miss Texas, Courtney Ann Gibbs, is one of the semi-finalists.
1989 Miss United States & Miss Texas, Gretchen Polhemus, is third runner-up for MU. Sharon Simons, Miss Turks & Caicos, becomes Miss Congeniality at the 37th Miss Universe in Cancun, Mexico.
1990 Miss Thailand, Passaroporn Chaimongkol, wins Miss Photogenic , but she does not qualify for the semi-finals at the MU in Los Angeles, California.
1991 Romania´s Nadia Comaneci, one of the world’s greatest athletes of all time, is one of the judges in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the third time, Yugoslavia -Serbia in the 21 st century- qualifies for the contest.Bulgaria makes its international debut
1992 Welcome to Bangkok, Thailand. Semi-finalists in 1992 are Australia, Sweden, India, Netherlands, NZ, USA, Colombia, Namibia (winner), Venezuela, and Belgium.
1993 Brazil’s representative, Leila Cristine Schuster, is compared to Jacqueline Onassis-Kennedy, who was First Lady of the United States (1961-1963). For the first time, the Kingdom of Swaziland sends a national delegate.
1994 India becomes dominant power in MU. Semi-finalists in 1994 are: India (winner), Venezuela, Greece, Switzerland, USA, Italy, Sweden, Slovak, Philippines, and Colombia. Zimbabwe -a name taken from the stone ruins in the southern part of the nation- makes its international debut. Namibia -ex South-West Africa- is the favorite to host the 1995 Miss Universe.
1995 Welcome to Windhoek, Namibia (Africa).The highest number of countries in MU history: 82 republics and territories, including 8 African nations-Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria (Miss Amity), Seychelles, South Africa (semi-finalist) and Zambia.
1996 Las Vegas, Nevada.Aruba is runner-up for Miss Universe.Miss Philippines, Aileen Leng Marfori Damiles, wins Miss Photogenic. Japan and Gibraltar, a British territory on the Iberian Peninsula, don`t compete.
1997 Semi-finalists in 1997 are: India, Venezuela, PR, TT, USA/Hawaii (winner), Italy, Sweden, Curacao, Panama & Estonia. Croatia -on June 25, 1991, it declared independence from Yugoslavia- makes its international debut.
1998 Eighty-one states and regions in Honolulu (Hawaii), including Angola, Guam, and the Northern Marianas.Miss Slovak Republic, Vladimira Hrenovcilova, becomes Miss Photogenic.
1999 America’s boxer Evander Holyfield, 4-time heavyweight champion, arrives in Trinidad Tobago. He is elected as one of the judges…
2000 Cyprus, birthplace of Aphrodite, hosts the Millennium Miss Universe pageant. Delegate from host-country Cyprus, Christi Groutidou, does not qualify for the semi-finals. Chile’s actor,Christian de la Fuente, is one of the judges. On the other hand, Hong Kong -the former British colony controlled by China since 1997-competes at MU.
2001 Welcome to Puerto Rico! For unknown reasons, 8 states and territories don’t compete-Barbados, Britain, Cook, Denmark, Guam, Hong Kong, Mozambique, and the People`s Republic of China.
2002 Albania -a former Maoist state in SE Europe- makes its international debut! Venezuelan-born Natasha Vanessa Borger, Germany’s representative, is one of the 10 semi-finalists. Miss Russia, Oxana Federova, defeats Miss Panama, Justine Pasek, in the finals. On September 24, 2002, Miss Panama succeeds Federova as MU. Justine is a Ukrainian-born Panamanian fashion model.
2003 Japan’s representative, Miyako Miyazaki, who is from Kumamoto,is fourth runner-up for MU. Antigua & Barbuda, a small island-state on the Caribbean Sea, wins Miss Congeniality at the Miss Universe in Panama City, Panama.
2004 Semi-finalists in 2004 are: PR, Norway, Trinidad Tobago, Ecuador, India, Australia, Angola, Jamaica, Colombia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Chile, America, Paraguay, and Mexico. Amelia Vega (MU 2003) crowns Jennifer Hawkins from Australia, Miss Universe 2004.
2005 Entries from 82 republics and dependencies compete in Thailand, including four former Soviet republics competing as independent states-Latvia (semi-finalist), Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine.
2006 Venezuelan-born Francys Mayela Barraza Sudnicka, Miss Poland, one of the favorites, does not qualify for the semi-finals.She speaks five foreign languages-Spanish, German, Polish, Russian, and English.For many years she had worked as a fashion model in Europe. In 2003, she participated in Miss Venezuela, where was semi-finalist.
2007 Semi-finalists in 2007 are: Venezuela, Thailand, Denmark, Nicaragua, Angola, Slovenia, America, Brazil, India, Mexico, Japan (winner), Ukraine, Tanzania, South Korea, and Czech Republic.For the first time, Tanzania, Flaviana Matata, qualifies for the contest in the United Mexican States.
2008 Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam. There are 80 countries and regions, including five former Yugoslav republics-Kosovo (semi-finalist), Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. Dayana Mendoza Moncada becomes the fifth Venezuelan woman to be crowned Miss Universe.