Jan 1  French Cameroon becomes the independent Cameroon Republic.

Jan 1  In the United States, African- Americans have been hearing a lot of talk about political change for black Africans, and they have been hearing Cold War talk about freedom in the United States, and they are wondering about their freedom.

Jan 5  The government of France seizes copies of four newspapers because of reports on conditions in prison camps in Algeria.

Jan 25  President de Gaulle is supporting autonomy for Algeria.  He has dismissed the military commander in Algeria, Jacques Massu. More than 2,500 defiant European settlers build barricades in the heart of Algiers.

Jan 25  In the wake of scandal in the United States, the National Association of Broadcasters threatens to fine anyone who accepts money for playing on the radio any particular music recording.

Jan 29  In Paris most people have contempt for those who have been demonstrating for continued colonialism in Algeria.

Feb 1  Four well dressed young black men sit-in at a segregated lunch counter at the Woolworth Department Store in Greensboro, North Carolina. They are refused service.

Feb 3   Regarding resistance to President de Gaulle's policy regarding Algeria, France's National Assembly gives de Gaulle power to rule by decree. The vote is 441 to 75.

Feb 6  The sit-in at Woolworth's has been growing and has spread to the nearby Kress department store. With more than a thousand blacks seeking service, news people and observers, downtown Greensboro comes to a virtual standstill.

Feb 6  The Soviet Union agrees to buy  5 million tons of Cuba's sugar in the coming five-years and to supply Cuba with crude oil, petroleum products, wheat, iron, fertilizers and machinery, and it gives Cuba $100 million in credit at 2.5 percent interest.

Feb 11  Twelve Indian soldiers die in border clashes with Chinese. 

Feb 14  General Alfredo Stroessner, the ruler in Paraguay, seeks cash assistance from the United States.  The US has been supplying the Stroessner regime with military equipment and training in counterintelligence and counterinsurgency.

Feb 27  The Soviet Union agrees to give Indonesia an additional $250,000,000 long-term credit.

Mar 2  Having been denied aid by the United States and in a border dispute with Pakistan, Prime Minister Daud has been seeking help from the Soviet Union. Premier Khrushchev of the Soviet Union is welcomed to Kabul in Afghanistan to inspect Soviet aid projects and confer with Daud.

Mar 4  A French ship carrying 76 tons of munitions from Belgium explodes in Havana harbor, killing dozens of workers and soldiers. Castro accuses the CIA of sabotage. The US denies the charge.

Mar 6  The Eisenhower administration announces that 3,500 US soldiers will be sent to Vietnam to support the Diem regime.

Mar 6  In the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland, women acquire the right to vote.

Mar 17  President Eisenhower approves a CIA plan to overthrow Castro, a plan his administration has initiated. The plan involves a budget of $13 million to train and equip "a paramilitary force" to invade Cuba.

Mar 21  In Sharpsville, South Africa, police open fire on unarmed blacks demonstrating against pass laws – which regulate movement within the country. Many are shot in the back. Sixty-nine die and 180 will be reported as wounded. 

Apr 1  The United States launches a weather satellite, Tiros-1.

Apr 4  After much wrangling over scripture, the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) ordains three women theologians as priests.

Apr 9  The Dalai Lama appeals to Asian and African countries to help "rescue" his "poor and unfortunate people."

Apr 13  The US military launches a navigation satellite, Transat l-b.

Apr 26  South Korea's Christian President Syngman Rhee, in a predominately Buddhist nation, is disliked for his authoritarianism. After twelve years of rule, a student-led movement forces him to resign. 

Apr 28  A DC-4 belonging to the CIA, operated Civil Air Transport, saves Rhee from death by lynching.

Apr 30  In the southern half of Vietnam, eighteen well-known Vietnamese ask Ngo Dinh Diem to permit them to function as an opposition political group.

Apr 30  In Paraguay, the Stroessner regime announces that an invasion by armed rebels had been "completely smashed."

May 1  Eisenhower has wanted proof that the US was ahead of the Soviet Union militarily, for restraint on spending for weaponry. A U-2 aircraft, on a mission to photograph missile sites in and around Sverdlovsk and Plesetsk in the Soviet Union, is shot down by a Soviet rocket, and the pilot, Gary Powers, is captured.  

May 6  News of the downed aircraft in the Soviet Union is published in the United States. The Eisenhower administration claims that the plane was a weather craft.

May 7 The Eisenhower administration claims that one of its planes equipped for intelligence had "probably" flown over Soviet territory.

May 8  Embarrassment, concern and dismay are common reactions in Western Europe to the shooting down of a United States information-gathering plane in the Soviet Union.

May 8 Cuba and the Soviet Union establish formal diplomatic relations.

May 11 The funding that Margaret Sanger, now 80, needed to create her birth control pill had been provided back in 1953 by a friend, the wealthy widow Katherine McCormick. Today, the US government agency, the FDA, approves a pregnancy prevention pill. The Catholic Church and a few in the US Congress disapprove. 

May 14  Because of US flights over Russia, Khrushchev's leadership is being questioned inside the Soviet Union. He arrives in Paris for the "Big Four" summit meeting and is being chaperoned by his defense minister, Marshal Malinovksy. Khrushchev is later to say that from the time that the U-2 was shot down he "was never in full control. "

May 15  President Eisenhower arrives in Paris and is greeted warmly. He urges an end to "bickering."

May 16  Khrushchev demands an apology from Eisenhower for the U-2 intrusion into the Soviet Union. The apology is not forthcoming and the summit talks collapse. Khrushchev cancels the Soviet Union's invitation to Eisenhower to visit the Soviet Union. 

May 16  In Paraguay, police beatings and arrests of students disrupt the celebration of the 150th anniversary of independence.

May 23  Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion of Israel announces that Germany's wartime official responsible for transporting Jews, Adolf Eichmann, has been taken from Argentina and is in an Israeli prison. 

May 27  In Turkey the military overthrows the government of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, who had been growing oppressive and was seen as threatening the tradition established by Ataturk.

Jun 7  US oil companies in Cuba refuse to refine Soviet oil.

Jun 10  Eisenhower's press secretary, James Haggerty, is rescued from irate students at Tokyo's Haneda airport. A scheduled visit to Japan by Eisenhower is cancelled.

Jun 15  At Japan's most prestigious university, Tokyo University, 580,000 students demonstrate against the Security Treaty between Japan and the United States. The treaty does not allow Japan control over how the US military bases are to be used. Japan's police arrest 182 students.  589 are injured. One student is killed.

Jun 18  In South Vietnam, guerrillas kill one of Diem's provincial governors.

Jun 20  The Mali Federation, which includes Senegal, gains independence within the French Community.

Jun 20  In Algeria, the National Liberation Front agrees to peace talks in Paris – while the fighting goes on. 

Jun 26  British Somaliland acquires independence.

Jun 20-25  Khrushchev and China's Peng Zhen clash at a Party Congress in Romania. Khrushchev calls Mao Zedong a nationalist, an adventurist and a deviationist. The Chinese call Khrushchev a revisionist.

Jun 30   An independent Republic of the Congo, centered at Leopoldville, emerges from Belgian colonialism. Joseph Kasa-Vubu is President. Patrice Lumumba is Prime Minister.  Lumumba annoys the Belgians with a scathing description of their history in the Congo.

Jul 1  Newly independent Somaliland unites with the Italian Somaliland, creating the Somali Republic.

Jul 1  A Soviet MIG aircraft shoots down a six-man US RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft over Soviet Union waters in the Barents Sea north of Murmansk. Two US Air Force officers survive and are imprisoned in Moscow's Lubyanka prison.

Jul 5  Cuba nationalizes oil refineries owned by US companies after they refuse to process Soviet oil.

Jul 6  Eisenhower cancels the allowance of 700,000 tons of sugar imports from Cubu that remain for 1960.

Jul 8  The Soviet Union announces that it will purchase the 700,000 tons of Cuban sugar.

Jul 9  Khrushchev threatens to use rockets to protect Cuba from US aggression.

Jul 11  The Belgian mining company, Union Miniere, and its investment partner, Societe Generale, have been concerned about the Congo's prime minister, Lumumba. With their help and 6,000 Belgian troops, Moise Tshombe, businessman and politician, declares his province independent – Katanga province, rich in cobalt, copper, tin, radium, uranium and diamonds.

Jul 14  Belgium's government announces that it suspects that the turmoil in its former colony, the Congo, is the result of a Communist plot. 

Jul 14  Jane Goodall, with her mother, is on her way to Gombe Stream National Park. Later this year she will discover champanzees using tools, challenging the belief that only humans used tools.

July 15 The United Nations begins a mission in the Congo, following a request for help from Lumumba's government. Its purpose: to prevent foreign intervention and preserve the Congo's territory. The mission begins with 10,000 troops and is to last four years.

Jul 20  The Congo government appeals to the Soviet Union or any other country of the African-Asian bloc to send troops to the Congo if the United Nations Security Council fails to take effective action in expelling Belgian troops. 

Jul 23  Iran recognizes Israel.

Jul 20 Ceylon has the world's first female head of government, Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the widow of the previous prime minister, Solomon Bandaranaike, who was assassinated by a Buddhist monk.

Jul 27  The Arab League is unhappy with Iran. Nasser shuts down his embassy in Iran.

Jul 27  Lumumba asks the US for men and money with which to keep alive his 27-day-old republic.

Jul 29  The United States promises aid for the Congo but declares that it will not help Lumumba keep Katanga Province from seceding.

Jul 31  Britain's twelve-year war against Communist guerrillas in Malaya is declared over, defeated by a Commonwealth force of 35,000. The revolt's leader, Chin Peng, a Malayan Chinese, is in exile in Thailand with remnants of his army.

Aug 1  The four blacks refused service at the Woolworth Department Store return and are served.

Aug 3  Jungle combat in eastern Paraguay has resulted in dead bodies floating down the Parana River.

Aug 5  The Republic of Upper Volta leaves the French-African Community, declaring itself fully independent, with the new name of Burkina Faso.

Aug 9  Singapore leaves the Commonwealth of Nations, becoming fully independent.

Aug 11  Chad acquires independence from France.

Aug 13  The Central African Republic acquires independence from France.

Aug 13  Parliamentary government begins in South Korea.

Aug 15  The Congo whose capital is Brazzaville (not to be confused with the Congo that acquired independence from Belgium) acquires independence from France. Its formal title will be Republic of the Congo and will also be known as Little Congo.

Aug 16  Cyprus acquires independence from Britain, except for the British retaining authority over two military bases.

Aug 17  Gabon acquires independence from France.

Aug 24  Senator John F. Kennedy, the Democratic Party's candidate for President, describes Vice President Nixon's foreign policy leadership as "weakness, retreat and defeat."

Sep 5  President Kasa-Vubu dismisses Prime Minister Lumumba, who questions the legality of the move and moves to dismiss Kasa-Vubu.

Sep 7  President Eisenhower states that the Soviet Union would create a serious state of affairs if it insisted on supplying the Congo, in other words Prime Minister Lumumba, with planes and equipment for military use.

Sep 14  Colonel Joseph Mobutu, supported by President Kasa-Vubu, takes power in a military coup.  Lumumba is put under house arrest. 

Sep 17  All US-owned banks in Cuba are nationalized. 

Sep 20  Seventeen states join the United Nations: Cyprus, Madagascar and eleven African states. These are: Benin, Burkino Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the two Congo states, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Niger, Somalia, and Togo.

Sep 26  Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Nixon participate in the first televised presidential debate. They attract an audience of an unprecedented size: over sixty percent of the adult population. 

Sep 26  Speaking at the UN, Castro complains that the US is demanding immediate payment in dollars as compensation for lands that the Cuban government has confiscated. He states: "We were not 100 percent Communist yet. We were just becoming slightly pink. We did not confiscate land; we simply proposed to pay for it in twenty years, and in the only way in which we could pay for it: in bonds, which would mature in twenty years at 4 1/2 per cent, or amortized yearly."

Sep 28  As war continues in Algeria, France's government prohibits 140 French intellectuals, including writers, actors and teachers, from appearing on state-run radio or television or in state-run theaters.

Sep 28  Mali and Senegal join the United Nations. 

Sep 30  CIA officials have decided to recruit Mafia figures to kill Castro, knowing that the Mafia is unhappy with Castro for having closed down their profitable operations in Cuba. The CIA officials believe that if necessary they can successfully deny any association with the Mafia. 

Sep 30  The State Department advises all US travelers to stay away from Cuba "unless there are compelling reasons" for going there.

Oct 1  Nigeria acquires independence from Britain. Nigeria's government is a coalition of conservative parties, Muslims and Christians. 

Oct 6  Candidate Kennedy derides Eisenhower and Nixon for "neglect and indifference" in allowing Cuba to slip "behind the Iron Curtain."

Oct. 6  Cuba by now has neighborhood watch groups watching for anti-Castro activities, including sabotage and violence. In eastern Cuba a dozen or so men land and head for the mountains. They are caught and shot.

Oct. 7  Nigeria joins the United Nations.

Oct 12  At the United Nations, Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a table, protesting discussion of the Soviet Union's relations with East European states.  For some in the Soviet Union it is an embarrassment. 

Oct 14  The Urban Reform Act in Cuba goes into effect, commanding that rents be cut in half.

Oct 19  The Eisenhower administration places a partial trade embargo on Cuba.

Oct 20  Candidate Kennedy calls for US aid to those in exile and inside Cuba who are seeking to overthrow Castro's regime. He calls them "fighters for freedom."

Oct. 22  Candidate Nixon accuses Kennedy of having made "a shockingly reckless proposal" regarding Cuba that might lead to World War III.

Oct 24  The Cuban government seizes remaining property owned by US citizens.

Oct 26  The military ruler of El Salvador, José Maria Lemus Lopez, a member of the Party of Democratic Unification, is overthrown in a bloodless coup. Three army officers and three civilian professional men takeover the Government of El Salvador.

Nov 8  Candidate Kennedy barely wins an election victory over Vice President Nixon.

Nov 11  In Saigon, Lieutenant Colonel Vuong Van Dong, who fought with the French colonial forces against the Viet Minh, leads a coup against President Diem. The coup fails. A crackdown will follow with over 50,000 arrests. Thousands who fear arrest will flee to North Vietnam. The North will send many of them back to South Vietnam as part of his People's Liberation Armed Forces.

Nov 9  Suspicions exist that voter fraud in Illinois and Texas has robbed Nixon of the election. Nixon does not want to appear to be a sore loser and concedes shortly after midnight.

Nov 10  Eisenhower has been disgusted by Kennedy's talk of a "missile gap." He knows that there is no such "missile gap," but Nixon obeyed security regulations and did not argue that fact.  According to historian David McCullough, Kennedy's victory is Eisenhower's biggest political disappointment and he has told his son: ''All I've been trying to do for eight years has gone down the drain.'' 

Nov 12  The Republican Party begins bids for election result recounts in eleven states.

Nov 13  Sammy Davis Jr. marries Swedish actress May Britt. Interracial marriage remains illegal in 31 of the 50 states.

Nov 13  An armed rebellion against the government of Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes erupts in Guatemala.

Nov 17  The Fuentes regime has been friendly with the United States, including allowing his country to be used as a training camp for an anti-Castro force.  The CIA has sent bombers against the insurgency, and it is crushed. Fuentes remains in power.

Nov 18  Mauritania becomes independent of France.

Dec 1  According to semi-official figures published in France, in five years of fighting in Algeria, France to date has lost 2,998 lives and 7,287 injured from attacks by Algerian rebels.

Dec 1  Mubuto of the Congo severs relations with Nasser's United Arab Republic. Nasser seizes Belgian assets in Egypt.  Patrice Lumumba has escaped from house arrest in Leopoldville and, while running to Stanleyville, which is controlled by his supporters, he is captured by troops loyal to Mobuto.

Dec 2  Lumumba is repeatedly beaten by soldiers. 

Dec 2  Cubans have been arriving in Florida at a rate of 1,000 per week. President Eisenhower authorizes $1,000,000 for their relief and resettlement.

Dec 4  Citing events in the Congo, Ghana servers ties with Belgium.

Dec 5  Eighty-one Communist parties side with Khrushchev's position of peaceful coexistence with the capitalist West – a rebuff of the Chinese Communist Party's view that war is inevitable. The 81 parties proclaim that Communism can succeed by peaceful means.

Dec 10  Charles de Gualle is visiting Algeria in an effort to persuade European colonists there to accept his plan for Algerian self-determination.

Dec 11  In Algeria, de Gualle walks alone into a crowd of cheering Muslims.

Dec 12  European colonists are rioting in Algeria's larger cities. More than a hundred people are killed.

Dec 16  In a snowstorm, two passenger airliners collide over New York City. One of the airliners crashes into a Brooklyn apartment building and into the Piller of Fire Church.

Dec 25  Queen Elizabeth II starts recording her Christmas Messages. She appeals for increased mutual understanding among the peoples of the Commonwealth.

to 1959 | to 1961

Copyright © 1998-2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.