What Happened in 1959

Significant Events

  • Jan 4 Luna 1 (Mechta) becomes 1st craft to leave Earth's gravity
  • Feb 16 Fidel Castro becomes the 16th Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing Fulgencio Batista
  • Mar 30 Dalai Lama flees China and is granted political asylum in India
  • Aug 21 Hawaii becomes the 50th US state
  • Aug 26 British Motor Corporation introduced the Morris Mini-Minor, designed by Alec Issigonis it was only 10 ft long but seated 4 passengers
  • Sep 12 Luna 2 launched by USSR; 1st spacecraft to impact on the Moon
More Historical Events

1959 in Film & TV

1959 in Music

  • Feb 3 "The Day the Music Died" plane crash kills musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J. P. Richardson and pilot near Clear Lake Iowa.
  • May 4 First Grammy Awards: Perry Como & Ella Fitzgerald win
  • Jul 31 Cliff Richard and the Shadows have their 1st British No. 1 single with "Living' Doll" (biggest British single of 1959)
  • Nov 16 "Sound of Music" musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II first opens at Lunt Fontanne Theater, NYC, for 1443 performances

Did You Know?

Far side of Moon seen for the 1st time, courtesy of USSR's Luna 3 space probe

On October 7, 1959


World Leaders in 1959

Famous People in 1959

Would You Believe?

Governor of Louisiana Earl K. Long is committed to a state mental hospital; he responds by having the hospital's director fired and replaced with a crony who proceeds to proclaim him perfectly sane

On June 18, 1959

Famous Weddings

  • Jan 26 President of Cuba Raúl Castro (27) weds revolutionary Vilma Espín (28) in Santiago de Cuba
  • Apr 1 American sci-fi writer "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Philip K Dick marries 3rd wife Anne Williams Rubinstein
  • Apr 10 Japan's Crown Prince Akihito marries commoner Michiko Shoda
  • May 8 Actress Raquel Welch (18) weds high school sweetheart James Welch
  • May 12 Actress Elizabeth Taylor's (27) marries for the 4th time to entertainer Eddie Fisher (30)

Famous Divorces

  • Jul 2 MLB baseball player Ernie Banks (28) divorces Mollye Louise after 6 years of marriage
More Weddings & Divorces