Learn more about 1959
- This article is about the year. For the song by The Sisters of Mercy, see the album Floodland.
|Centuries:||19th century · 20th century · 21st century|
|Decades:||1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s|
|Years:||1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962|
|1959 by topic:|
| Architecture - Art - Film - Literature |
Music (Country, UK) - Television - Home video
|Science and technology|
| Archaeology - Aviation |
Meteorology - Rail transport - Radio - Science
| Australia - Canada - France - Germany - India |
Ireland - Malaysia - Mexico - New Zealand - Pakistan
Singapore - South Africa - UK - Wales - Zimbabwe
|Awards - Sport - Law - State leaders - Sovereign states - Religious leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births - Deaths|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Establishments - Disestablishments|
- January 1 - Cultivars of plants named after this date must be named in a modern language, not in Latin.
- January 1 - Cuba: Fulgencio Batista flees Havana when forces of Fidel Castro advance.
- January 2 - CBS Radio cuts four soap operas: Backstage Wife, Our Gal Sunday, Road of Life, and This is Nora Drake.
- January 2 - Castro's troops approach Havana.
- January 3 - Island of Addu in the Maldives declares independence.
- January 3 - Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state.
- January 4 - In Cuba rebel troops lead by Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos enter Havana.
- January 4 - In Léopoldville 42 people are killed during clashes between the police and participants of a meeting of the Abako party.
- January 6 - Fidel Castro arrives in Havana.
- January 7 - The United States recognizes the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
- January 8 - Charles De Gaulle inaugurated as the first president of French Fifth Republic.
- January 13 - Cuban communists execute 71 supporters of Fulgencio Batista.
- January 22 - Knox Mine Disaster - water breaches River Slope mine in Port Griffith, Pennsylvania - 12 miners dead.
- February 1 - A referendum in Switzerland turns down female suffrage.
- February 3 - The chartered plane transporting musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper goes down in an Iowa snowstorm, killing all four occupants on board. The tragedy is later termed "The Day the Music Died", popularized in Don McLean's song, "American Pie."
- February 6 - At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile is accomplished.
- February 16 - Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba.
- February 16 - Blizzard causes a massive power outage in Newfoundland.
- February 17 - USA launches Vanguard II weather satellite.
- February 18 - Jesus Sosa Blanco, murderer of 108 people, executed in Cuba.
- February 18 - Women in Nepal vote for the first time.
- February 19 - The United Kingdom grants Cyprus its independence.
- February 22 - Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.
- February 26 - Author Walter Mene throws acid on Rubens painting in Munich.
- March 1 - USS Tuscaloosa, USS New Orleans, USS Tennessee and USS West Virginia struck from the Naval Vessel Register.
- March 1 - Archbishop Makarios returns to Cyprus from exile.
- March 8 - Last television appearance of The Marx Brothers, in The Incredible Jewel Robbery.
- March 9 - The Barbie doll debuts.
- March 11 - Een beetje by Teddy Scholten (music by Dick Schallies, text by Willy van Hemert) wins Eurovision Song Contest 1959 for Netherlands.
- March 12 - Production of the first solid gold "Glaussen Pennies".
- March 17 - Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, flees Tibet and travels to India.
- March 18 - American President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs bill allowing for Hawaiian statehood.
- March 19 - Two other islands join Addu in the United Suvadive Republic (abolished September 1963), in the Maldives Islands.
- March 31 - Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida is dedicated and opens its gates.
- March 31 - Dalai Lama leaves Tibet.
- April 9 - NASA announces its selection of seven military pilots to become the first US astronauts (see Mercury Seven).
- April 9 - Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the most influential American architect of the 20th century dies from an abdominal obstruction.
- April 10 - Japanese prince Akihoto married Shōda Michiko.
- April 25 - The St. Lawrence Seaway linking the North American Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean officially opens to shipping.
- May - First Ten Tors event held in Dartmoor.
- late May / early June - import tariffs lifted in the United Kingdom.
- May 24 - British Empire Day becomes Commonwealth Day.
- June 3 - Singapore becomes a self governing crown colony of Britain with Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister.
- June 5 - A new government of the State of Singapore is sworn in by Sir William Goode. Two former Ministers were re-elected to the Legislative Assembly.
- June 8 - The USS Barbero and United States Postal Service attempt the delivery of mail via Missile Mail.
- June 9 - The USS George Washington is launched as the first submarine to carry ballistic missiles.
- June 14 - A three-front revolutionary invasion by air and sea takes place in the Dominican Republic consisting of exiles aided by Fidel Castro whose purpose was to overthrow dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Within a few days all but four are captured and executed. Trujillo is killed less than two years later by men partly inspired by the deaths of the 1959 martyrs.
- June 23 - Sean Lemass becomes the third Taoiseach of Ireland.
- June 23 - Convicted Manhattan Project spy Klaus Fuchs is released after only nine years in prison and allowed to emigrate to Dresden, East Germany (where he resumed a scientific career).
- June 26 - Queen Elizabeth II and US Dwight Eisenhower open Saint Lawrence Seaway.
- July - The medical research group studying Minamata disease comes to the conclusion that mercury is the cause. 
- July 2 - Royal wedding in Belgium: Prince Albert marries the Italian princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria.
- July 4 - With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- July 7 - 14:28 UT Venus occulted the star Regulus. The rare event which will next occur on October 1, 2044 was used for determining the diameter of Venus and the structure of Venus' atmosphere.
- July 8 - Charles Ovnand and Dale R. Buis become the first Americans killed in action in Vietnam
- July 15 - Steel industry strike in USA.
- July 24 - At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, US vice-president Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev have a "kitchen debate."
- August 4 - Martial law declared in Laos.
- August 7 - Explorer program: The United States launches Explorer 6 from the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- August 8 - Flood in Taiwan leaves 2,000 dead.
- August 14 - Explorer VI sends the first picture of Earth from space.
- August 15 - Cyprus gains independence.
- August 21 - Hawaii is admitted as the 50th U.S. state.
- August 24 - Cyprus joins United Nations.
- September 13 - Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon as the first man-made object.
- September 25 - Ceylon's prime minister SWRD Bandaranaike assassinated.
- October 2 - Rod Serling's classic anthology series The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS.
- October 7 - Russian probe Luna 3 sends back first photos of the far side of Earth's Moon.
- October 12 - At the national congress of APRA in Peru a group of leftist radicals are expelled from the party. They will later form APRA Rebelde.
- October 12 - Large scale diamond robbery in London.
- October 13 - USA launches Explorer VII.
- October 21 - Mau Mau leader Dedan Kimathi is arrested in Nyeri, Kenya.
- October 21 - In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opens to the public. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
- October 31 - Riots in the Belgian Congo.
- October 31 - Lee Harvey Oswald announces in Moscow he won't ever return to U.S.
- November 2 - The first section of the M1 motorway was opened between the present junctions 5 and 18.
- November 8 - Leeds City Tramways closes down
- November 15 - The Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas were brutally murdered.
- December 1 - Cold War: Antarctic Treaty signed - 12 countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union, sign a landmark treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on that continent (this was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War).
- December 2 - Malpasset dam in southern France collapses and water flows over the town of Frejus - 412 dead.
- December 13 - MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939 film) is telecast for only the second time, but it gains an even larger viewing audience than the first telecast, spurring CBS to make it an annual tradition on television.
- December 14 - Makarios selected first president of Cyprus.
 Unknown date
- The neutrino is first experimentally detected, by Cowan and Reines.
- TAT-2 cable goes into operation(February 13).
- Pantyhose is invented.
- Workers World Party is founded by Sam Marcy.
- The first skull of Australopithecus is discovered by Louis Leakey and his wife Mary Leakey in the Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
- Serengeti becomes a nature preserve.
- The first known human with HIV dies in Congo. PMID 9468138
- "Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry opens on Broadway in New York.
- The current (as of 2006) design of the Japanese 10 yen coin was put into circulation.
- Darby O'Gill and the Little People, a film based on H.T. Kavanagh's short stories was released around the world by Walt Disney
 Unknown date
- January 1 - Azali Assoumani, President of the Comoros
- January 6 - Kathy Sledge, American singer
- January 9 - Rigoberta Menchú, Guatemalan writer, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
- January 10 - Simon Sunatori, Canadian inventor
- January 16 - Sade, Nigerian-born singer
- January 17 - Susanna Hoffs, American singer (The Bangles)
- January 24 - Nastassja Kinski, German actress
- January 27 - Keith Olbermann, American news correspondent and sportscaster
- January 28 - Frank Darabont, American filmmaker
- January 31 - Kelly Moore, American race car driver
- February 3 - Laurence Tolhurst, cofounder and former drummer/keyboardist of The Cure
- February 4 - Lawrence Taylor, American football player
- February 10 - Dennis Gentry, American football player
- February 14 - Renee Fleming, American soprano
- February 16 - John McEnroe, American tennis player
- February 22 - Kyle MacLachlan, American actor
- February 23 - Richard Dodds, British field hockey player
- February 26 - Rolando Blackman, Panamanian basketball player
- March 1 - Célia Takada, Brazilian journalist
- March 6 - Tom Arnold, American actor and comedian
- March 8 - Aidan Quinn, American actor
- March 9 - Rodney A. Grant, American actor
- March 9 - Giovanni di Lorenzo, German-Italian journalist and talk show host
- March 10 - Mike Wallace, American race car driver
- March 15 - Harold Baines, baseball player
- March 16 - Flavor Flav, American rapper
- March 16 - Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway
- March 17 - Danny Ainge, American basketball player, coach, and baseball player
- March 18 - Luc Besson, French film producer, writer, and director
- March 20 - Steve Borden, American wrestler
- March 20 - Steve McFadden, British actor
- March 21 - Nobuo Uematsu, Japanese composer
- March 22 - Matthew Modine, American actor
- March 29 - Barry Blanchard, Canadian mountaineer
- March 29 - Perry Farrell, American musician
- April 3 - David Hyde Pierce, American actor
- April 10 - Brian Setzer, American guitarist (Stray Cats)
- April 11 - Ana María Polo, Cuban-born judge and television personality
- April 16 - Alison Ramsay, Scottish field hockey player
- April 21 - Robert Smith, British musician (The Cure)
- April 22 - Catherine Mary Stewart, Canadian actress
- April 22 - Ryan Stiles, American actor
- April 27 - Sheena Easton, Scottish singer
- April 29 - Louis Colaianni, American author
- April 30 - Stephen Harper, Canadian politician
- May 3 - Uma Bharati, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
- May 3 - Ben Elton, British comedian and writer
- May 5 - Ian McCulloch, English singer (Echo & the Bunnymen)
- May 5 - Steve Stevens, American guitarist
- May 14 - Patrick Bruel, French singer
- May 15 - Andrew Eldritch, British musician (The Sisters of Mercy)
- May 20 - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, American singer (d. 1997)
- May 20 - Bronson Pinchot, American actor
- May 22 - Steven Morrissey, British singer
- May 24 - Pelle Lindbergh, Swedish-born hockey player (d. 1985)
- May 29 - Adrian Paul, British actor
- June 11- Hugh Laurie, British actor and comedian
- June 12 - John Linnell, American musician (They Might Be Giants)
- June 22 - Wayne Federman, American comedian, actor, and author
- June 26 - Mark McKinney, Canadian actor and comedian
- June 27 - Clint Boon, British musician (Inspiral Carpets)
- June 30 - Vincent D'Onofrio, American actor
- July 3 - Julie Burchill, British journalist
- July 6 - Richard Dacoury, French basketball player
- July 7 - Ben Linder, American engineer (d. 1987)
- July 9 - Kevin Nash, American professional wrestler
- July 10 - Janet Julian, American actress
- July 11 - Richie Sambora, American musician
- July 11 - Suzanne Vega, American singer
- July 13 - Richard Leman, British field hockey player
- July 16 - Gary Anderson, American football player
- July 26 - Rick Bragg, American writer
- July 26 - Kevin Spacey, American actor
- July 27 - Hugh Green, American football player
- July 28 - David A. Bayliss, American
- July 29 - Sanjay Dutt, Indian actor
- July 29 - Ruud Janssen, Dutch artist
- August 1 - Joe Elliott, British singer (Def Leppard)
- August 2 - Apollonia Kotero, American actress and singer
- August 3 - Koichi Tanaka, Japanese scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- August 10 - Rosanna Arquette, American actress
- August 14 - Magic Johnson, American basketball player
- August 17 - Jonathan Franzen, American author
- August 21 - Jim McMahon, American football player
- August 27 - Juan Fernando Cobo, Colombian artist
- August 29 - Rebecca De Mornay, American actress
- August 29 - Stephen Wolfram, British scientist
- August 30 - Mark 'Jacko' Jackson, Australian footballer and actor
- September 4 - Kevin Harrington, Australian actor
- September 8 - Daler Nazarov, Tajik composer, singer, and actor
- September 14 - Morten Harket, Norwegian singer (a-ha)
- September 17 - Charles Lawson, Irish actor
- September 18 - Ian Arkwright, English footballer
- September 21 - Dave Coulier, American actor
- September 29 - Benjamin Sehene, Rwandan writer
- October 3 - Fred Couples, American golfer
- October 3 - Greg Proops, American comedian
- October 3 - Jack Wagner, American actor
- October 7 - Lourdes Flores, Peruvian politician
- October 7 - Simon Cowell, English music producer and television talent show judge
- October 9 - Michael Pare, American actor
- October 10 - Kirsty MacColl, British singer and songwriter (d.2000)
- October 15 - Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
- October 15 - Emeril Lagasse, American chef and restaurant owner
- October 17 - Ron Drummond, American writer, editor, and music historian
- October 21 - Ken Watanabe, Japanese actor
- October 23 - "Weird Al" Yankovic, American singer and parodist
- October 25 - Nancy Cartwright, American voice actress
- October 26 - Evo Morales, President of Bolivia
- October 26 - Brian Bovell, British actor
- October 27 - Rick Carlisle, American basketball coach
- October 31 - Neal Stephenson, American writer
- November 5 - Bryan Adams, Canadian Singer and Photographer
- November 10 - Linda Cohn, American sports reporter
- November 14 - Paul McGann, British actor
- November 18 - Jimmy Quinn, Irish footballer and football manager
- November 23 - Dominique Dunne, American actress (d. 1982)
- November 25 - Charles Kennedy, British politician
- November 28 - Judd Nelson, American actor
- November 30 - Lorraine Kelly, British presenter and journalist
- December 13 - Nadia Russ, Ukrainian-born artist
- December 14 - Dana Childs, American radio personality and basketball coach
- December 20 - Sandra Cisneros, Mexican-born author
- December 21 - Florence Griffith Joyner, American athlete (d. 1998)
- December 27 - Gerina Dunwich, American author
- December 31 - Val Kilmer, American actor
- January 21 - Cecil B. DeMille, American film director (b. 1881)
- January 22 - Mike Hawthorn, English race car driver (b. 1929)
- February 3 - Killed in a private plane crash:
- February 3 - Vincent Astor, American philanthropist (b. 1891)
- February 4 - Una O'Connor, Irish actress (b. 1880)
- February 11 - Marshall Teague, American race car driver (b. 1922)
- February 14 - Baby Dodds, American jazz musician (b. 1898)
- February 15 - Owen Willans Richardson, British physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1879)
- February 28 - Maxwell Anderson, American screenwriter (b. 1888)
- March 3 - Lou Costello, American actor and comedian (b. 1906)
- March 4 - Maxey Long, American athlete (b. 1878)
- March 26 - Raymond Chandler, American-born novelist (b. 1888)
- March 29 - Barthélemy Boganda, first President of the Central African Republic (b. 1910)
- April 9 - Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect (b. 1867)
- May 5 - Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Argentine politician, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1878)
- May 14 - Sidney Bechet, American musician (b. 1897)
- May 16 - Elisha Scott, Irish footballer (b. 1894)
- May 24 - John Foster Dulles, United States Secretary of State (b. 1888)
- June 9 - Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1876)
- June 16 - George Reeves, American actor (b. 1914)
- June 23 - Boris Vian, French writer, poet, singer, and musician (b. 1920)
- July 11 - Charlie Parker, English cricketer (b. 1882)
- July 15 - Ernest Bloch, Swiss composer (b. 1880)
- July 17 - Billie Holiday, American singer (b. 1915)
- August 5 - Edgar Guest, English poet (b. 1881)
- August 6 - Preston Sturges, American film director and writer (b. 1898)
- August 15 - Blind Willie McTell, American singer (b. 1901)
- August 16 - Wanda Landowska, Polish harpsichordist (b. 1879)
- August 19 - Jacob Epstein, American-born sculptor (b. 1880)
- August 28 - Bohuslav Martinů, Czech composer (b. 1890)
- September 7 - Maurice Duplessis, premier of Québec (b. 1890)
- October 6 - Bernard Berenson, American art historian (b. 1865)
- October 7 - Mario Lanza, American tenor (b. 1921)
- October 14 - Errol Flynn, Australian actor (b. 1909)
- October 16 - George C. Marshall, United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1880)
- October 18 - Boughera El Ouafi, Algerian athlete (b. 1898)
- October 22 - Joseph Cahill, Australian politician (b. 1891)
- November 15 - Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, Scottish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1869)
- November 17 - Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer (b. 1887)
- November 21 - Max Baer, American boxer and actor (b. 1909)
- December 22 - Gilda Gray, Polish-born dancer and actress (b. 1901)
 Nobel prizes
- Physics - Emilio Gino Segrè, Owen Chamberlain
- Chemistry - Jaroslav Heyrovský
- Physiology or Medicine - Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg
- Literature - Salvatore Quasimodo
- Peace - Philip John Noel-Baker
 External links
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