A chronology of key events:
1952 The first Miss Universe will be 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 competition.
1954 The second Miss Universe party game 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 number two during Miss Universe. On the other hand, Cuba sends a post, Gilda Marin, to the global event in the States.
1956 Welcome to California! There are 30 entries. Finland, which won the title four years ago, does not participate. Carol Morris (Iowa) is elected to 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, the representative of the Netherlands, 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 – Representative Day Myanmar – wins Miss Congeniality.
1961 There are 46 states and territories competing – from Austria to the US 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, Miss Universe of 1958, is one of Miami Beach’s judges. Manuela Stramana, Italy’s competition, becomes Miss Photogenic.
1965 Welcome to Florida! Twenty-five republics and dependents send records to Miss Universe in the U.S. The Kingdom of Thailand, a Southeast Asian nation, 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 dependents competing for the crown at Miss Universe. For the sixth time, Okinawa, a U.S. possessor 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, ranks second at the global event.
1971 Lebanon’s Georgina Rizk, a model from Beirut, wins the World Cup, and Miss Philippines Vida Valentina Fernández crowns Miss Photogenic. Georgina speaks French, Italian and Arabic. On the other hand, Yugoslavia, a communist nation in SE Europe, does not participate.
1972 MU will be held outside the continental United States for the first time with the host country of Puerto Rico. A panel of international judges will select Kerry Wells, Miss Australia, as MU 1970. The judges are: Mapita Cortes (actor / PR), Earl Wilson (journalist / America), Kiyoshi Hara (businessman / Japan), Jean-Louis Indican (businessman / Belgium), Lynn Redgrave (actress / UK), 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 21st Miss Universe with 61 delegates from around the world. Maria del Rocío Martín from Spain wins the best national costume.
1974 Manila, Philippines. The government announces the closing of the Folk Arts Theater, venue for the 1974 Miss Universe.
1975 Miss Universe is held in El Salvador, considered perhaps the most successful of modern times. Micronesia, a US territory in Oceania, debuts internationally.
1976 World-renowned filmmaker Roman Polanski arrives in Hong Kong to be one of the international judges. Liberia – the second black republic in modern history – is competing at MU for the first time.
1977 Eight nations and dependencies in MU in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, are by far the most countries that have ever participated. New Miss Universe countries / regions: 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 MUO, Julio Iglesias flies to Perth (Australia) to be one of the international judges. Venezuela’s Maritza Sayalero, of Spanish origin, wins the title. Belize, a former British addict in Central America, qualifies for the semi-finals.
1980 MUO is holding its 28th global event in Seoul, Korea. Semifinalists 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 very much like “Madonna” – is Ecuador’s first contestant to win the Miss Universe semifinals 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 Swiss Lolita Morena, Miss World 1982’s favorite candidate, is the third runner-up for MU 1983. Abbey Scattrel Janneth of Gambia becomes Miss Congeniality.
1984 81 Republics and Territories of Miami, Florida. However, four countries do not compete – the Bahamas, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Transkei. For the second time, Guatemala, Julieta Urrutia, qualifies for the competition.
1985 Miss El Salvador, Julia Haydee Mora, is one of the favorites to win the MU title in Miami, Florida. However, ES, a war-ravaged 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 the first fighter for Miss Universe. Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) qualifies for the semi-finals.
1987 Miss Universe will be 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 and Miss Texas, Michelle Royer, are number two. Exactly Colombia -Miss Photogenic- and Uruguay-1. the place for Miss South America ’87 – not qualified 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 Arctic territory, is sending a delegate. Miss USA and Miss Texas, Courtney Ann Gibbs, is one of the semi-finalists.
1989 Miss United States and Miss Texas, Gretchen Polhemus, is third number two 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 semifinals at 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 in the 21st century, Yugoslavia-Serbia qualifies for the competition. 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, the first lady of the United States (1961-1963). For the first time, the Kingdom of Swaziland is sending a national delegate.
1994 India becomes dominant power in MU. Semi-finalists in 1994 are: India (winner), Venezuela, Greece, Switzerland, USA, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia, Philippines and Colombia. Zimbabwe – a name derived from the stone ruins of the southern part of the nation – is making its international debut. Namibia -ex South West Africa – is the favorite to host Miss Universe from 1995.
nineteen seventy-five 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 (semifinalist)) and Zambia.
nittenhalvsex Las Vegas, Nevada.Aruba runner-up for Miss Universe.Miss Philippines, Aileen Leng Marfori Damiles, wins Miss Photogenic. Japan and Gibraltar, a British territory in the Iberian Peninsula, are not competing.
1997 Semi-finalists in 1997 are: India, Venezuela, PR, TT, USA / Hawaii (winner), Italy, Sweden, Curacao, Panama and Estonia. Croatia – on 25 June 1991 it declared independence from Yugoslavia – debuts internationally.
1998 Twenty-one states and regions of Honolulu (Hawaii), including Angola, Guam and the Northern Marians. Miss Slovak 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, the birthplace of Aphrodite, hosts the Millennium Miss Universe party game. Cyprus host 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, eight states and territories do not compete – Barbados, Great Britain, Cook, Denmark, Guam, Hong Kong, Mozambique and the People’s Republic of China.
2002 Albania – a former Maoist state in SE Europe – debuts! 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 final. 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 hails from Kumamoto, is the fourth runner-up for MU. Antigua & Barbuda, a small island state by the Caribbean, wins Miss Congeniality at 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) awards Jennifer Hawkins of Australia, Miss Universe 2004.
2005 Entries from 82 republics and dependents compete in Thailand, including four former Soviet republics competing as independent states — Latvia (semifinalist), Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine.
2006 Venezuelan-born Francy’s 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 she was a 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 the Czech Republic. For the first time, Tanzania, Flaviana Matata, qualifies for the competition 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.