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1959

Jan 1  With news that Batista had fled, celebrations in Cuba start in the morning and gather momentum. People surge toward downtown Havana. They carry flags and sing their national anthem. Car caravans bedecked with flags, with the horns blowing, inch through the marchers. In the afternoon, crowds begin destroying things in casinos – considered play things of the rich.

Jan 3  Alaska becomes the 49th US state.

Jan 8  Fidel Castro flows into Havana greeted by jubilant crowds. The Eisenhower administration recognizes Castro's new government.

Jan 13  The Castro regime executes former members of Batista's regime charged with war crimes.

Jan 13  Havana's gambling industry receives word that it will be allowed to continue, but with tight strings attached. 

Jan 21  Responding to criticism from outside Cuba, in Havana's Central Park, Castro asks for a show of support for the executions of Batista's "henchmen." The crowd responds with enthusiastic applause that lasts two minutes.

Jan 25  In the United States, the first transcontinental jet service opens – from Los Angeles to New York, with Boeing 707s.

Feb 1  Castro starts the distribution of land in the Sierra Maestra that he promised during his time there.

Feb 1  Voters in Switzerland turn down female suffrage.

Feb 16  Castro becomes Prime Minister.

Feb 17  In Paraguay police battle students inspired by Castro's victory against dictatorship. And worshippers find on their church benches leaflets with a "Prayer for the Tortured."

Feb 18  Women in Nepal vote for the first time.

Mar –  This month, Ho Chi Minh declares a "people's war" to unite all of Vietnam, including a rising in the southern half of Vietnam, to complete what was sought in the war against the French and denied by those who ignored the peace agreement made with the French in 1954.

Mar 4  The Cuban government nationalizes the telephone industry – an affiliate of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation.

Mar 12  China considers Tibet a part of China. In Lhasa, its military orders the Dalai Lama, age 24,  to report to their military camp. Tibetan Buddhists are offended. They believe the Dalai Lama to be one of numerous incarnations of Avolokitesvara, the Lord Who Looks Down. An estimated 5,000 Tibetan women march through the streets with banners reading "Tibet for Tibetans." At the Indian Consulate-General they present an appeal.

Mar 17 The Chinese fire two mortar shells at the Dalai Lama's palace. Six hours later, in the darkness of night, the Dalai Lama leaves his palace wearing a soldier's uniform, with a gun over his shoulder, and begins his trek out of Tibet.

Mar 18  Crowds take to the streets and violence erupts in Lhasa.

Mar 19  Castro's regime has been allowing some of Batista's functionaries to go into exile, but the number of those executed for war crimes reaches 483. The revolution's newspaper, Revolutcion, in a front page editorial, calls for an end to the executions.

Mar 31  The Dalai Lama enters India.

Apr 3  Prime Minister Nehru of India announces that his government has granted asylum to the Dalai Lama.

Apr 8  In Cuba a military court sentences Heriberto Bertematy Rodriquez to death by firing squad for trafficking in narcotics – the sale of marijuana.

Apr 15  US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles has cancer. He resigns while on this day Fidel Castro arrives for a goodwill tour, invited by American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Apr 16  Eisenhower does not want to meet Castro and goes golfing. Castro meets with the new Secretary of State, Christian A. Herter.

Apr 21  During their meeting, Nixon asks Castro about communism. Later Nixon complains that Castro is "either incredibly naive about communism or under communist discipline." His guess, he says, is the former.

May 6  Iceland gunboats shoot at British fishing boats.

May 17  Back in Cuba, Castro signs the Agrarian Reform Act, which expropriates farm lands larger than 1,000 acres and bans land ownership by foreigners. Two hundred thousand peasants receive titles to land.

May 24  British Empire Day becomes Commonwealth Day.

May 24  John Foster Dulles dies.

Jun 1  In the US, the Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations, begun in 1947, is expanded. The list now includes the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Alabama People's Educational Association, American Committee for European Worker's Relief, American Committee for protection of Foreign Born, American Committee for the Settlement of Jews in Birobidzhan, Committee to Defend the Rights and Freedom of Pittsburgh's Political Prisoners, Committee for the Negro in the Arts, Committee for World Youth Friendship and Cultural Exchange, Committee to Defend Marie Richardson, Committee to Uphold the Bill of Rights, Michigan Council for Peace, and others. (See Wikipedia)

Jun 3  Singapore, heretofore ruled by Britain, becomes a self-governing state within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Jun 16 The evangelist Billy Graham is in Moscow, but not to preach. He finds "moral purity" among the people of Moscow as well as a "great spiritual hunger" for God.

Jul 17  China abolishes serfdom in Tibet, removing 90 percent of the population from the authority of the 5 percent who owned Tibet's farmland, pastures, forests, mountains and rivers as well as most livestock.

Jul 18  Khrushchev has recently abrogated the treaty with China by which the Soviet Union was to provide China with military technology. Today he publicly denounces China's communes, attributing their creation to people "who do not properly understand what communism is or how it is to be built."

Jul 23  In a conference with colleagues, Mao Zedong describes his backyard steel-making campaign as a "catastrophe." Meanwhile peasants are abandoning commune mess halls and devoting more time to private family plots.

Jul 24  In Moscow, Vice President Nixon boasts of advanced comforts available to US citizens – the famous kitchen debate. Khrushchev is annoyed. He proposes a toast "to the elimination of all military bases on foreign lands." Nixon says, "I am for peace. We will drink to talking – as long as we are talking we are not fighting."

Jul 27 Singer Billie Holliday dies of liver failure at age 44.

Aug 1  Vice President Nixon speaks on Soviet television. He criticizes communism and warns against any attempt to spread Communist ideology beyond the borders of the Soviet Union.

Aug 7  China is having border disputes with India. The Chinese claim Askai Chin, a convenient location for a road. Also, approximately 200 Chinese troops intrude into disputed territory east of Bhutan.

Aug 21  Hawaii becomes the 50th US state.

Aug 25  East of Bhutan, Chinese troops capture an Indian outpost and ten Indian soldiers.

Sep 6  Cardinal Spellman sees danger in Khrushchev's visit to the United States. He calls on the Roman Catholics in his New York Archdiocese to participate in an hour of prayer "for our beloved country."

Sep 11 Congress passes a bill authorizing food stamps – free food for the poor.

Sep 14  Congress passes the Landrum-Griffin Act, which bars convicted felons and members of the Communist Party from holding an office in a labor union.

Sep 15  Khrushchev begins a 13-day visit in the United States. He and his wife are met coming off the Soviet airplane by President Eisenhower. Khrushchev says that he has arrived "with open heart and good intentions. The Soviet people want to live in friendship with the American people."  Elsewhere, out-of- sight, are demonstrators with signs that describe Khrushchev as the "butcher of Budapest."

Sep 17  Peng Duhuai, who has called the Great Leap Forward a disaster, has been described as "anti-party" and is replaced as Defense Minister by Lin Piao.

Sep 21  Khrushchev is delighted by applause from people in San Francisco. He breaks away from security to shake hands.

Sep 23  Students at Iowa State College cheer Khrushchev. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey says that the United States must not be lulled by Khrushchev's visit into accepting a "live and let live" agreement with the Communists.

Sep 25  Khrushchev begins his visit to Camp David for relaxed talks with Eisenhower. Khrushchev enjoys chatting with Eisenhower's grandchildren. The "Spirit of Camp David" is born. A Paris summit meeting is planned. 

Sep 26  Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, president of the ruling Congress party, criticize India's Communists for resorting to violence.

Oct 3  Relations are strained between Nasser's Egypt and China, the Egypt Foreign Ministry officials accusing the Chinese of deliberately delaying cables they have sent to their embassy in Beijing.

Oct 7  In Baghdad, a group of Baath party gunmen try to assassinate but only wound Iraq's ruler, General Abd al-Karim Qasim (Kassem). One of the gunmen, 22-year-old Saddam Hussein, is forced into hiding.

Oct 10  Pan American Airways begins offering regular jet-powered commercial flights around the world.

Oct 11 Chiang Kai-shek predicts an uprising that will produce victory for him in China in 1960.  

Oct 21  People hostile to Castro drop leaflets on Havana from a small airplane. They are accused also of dropping bombs. Two Cubans are said to have been killed and 45 wounded.

Oct 23  India announces that Chinese troops have attacked an Indian force in Kashmir.

Dec 1  Twelve countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union, sign a treaty that makes Antarctica a scientific preserve and bans military activity – the first arms control agreement since the beginning of the Cold War.

Dec 9-14  Eisenhower visits India and addresses India's parliaments, saying "We who are free, and who prize our freedom above all other gifts of God and nature, must know each other better; trust each other more; support each other."

Dec 14  Archbishop Makarios is overwhelmingly elected president of what will soon be an independent Cyprus. There are fireworks and horn-honking. The vice-president elect is Dr. Kutchuk, a Turkish Cypriot, who is delighted and speaks of Makarios deserving his success.

to 1958 | to 1960

Copyright © 2006-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.