January 1959 in History

Events in History

  • Jan 1 Chad becomes autonomous republic in French Community

Event of Interest

Jan 1 Cuban Dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba for the Dominican Republic

  • Jan 1 Rohan Kanhai completes 256 v India at Calcutta

Lunar 1 (Mechta)

Jan 2 USSR launches the Luna 1 spacecraft (Mechta), the 1st to leave Earth's gravity, reach the vicinity of the Moon and to be placed in heliocentric orbit

  • Jan 3 Alaska admitted as 49th US state
  • Jan 4 USSR's Luna 1 (Mechta) becomes the 1st spacecraft to leave Earth's gravity
  • Jan 5 "Bozo the Clown" live children's show premieres on TV

Event of Interest

Jan 7 American gangster Meyer Lansky flees Cuba for the Bahamas due to the Cuban Revolution and rise of Fidel Castro

Event of Interest

Jan 7 US recognizes Fidel Castro's Cuban government

Event of Interest

Jan 8 Charles de Gaulle inaugurated as president of France's 5th Republic

  • Jan 9 Dam across Tera River in Northwestern Spain collapses after heavy winter rains, killing 135
  • Jan 9 Pat O'Connor beats Dick Hutton in St Louis, to become NWA champ
  • Jan 11 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to Theodore Roethke
  • Jan 12 Rediscovery of the Caves of Nerja in Malaga, Spain
  • Jan 13 French President Charles de Gaulle grants amnesty to 130 Algerians sentenced to death
  • Jan 13 King Boudouin promises Belgian Congo independence
  • Jan 22 USAF concludes that less than 1% of UFOs are unknown objects
  • Jan 25 1st transcontinental commercial jet flight (American) (LA to NY for $301)

Event of Interest

Jan 25 Pope John XXIII proclaims 2nd Vatican council

  • Jan 26 Italy government of Fanfani resigns
  • Jan 29 Smog pollution with readings higher than the 1952 'Great Smog of London' hits London, with many suffering chest and lung-related illnesses
  • Jan 30 Australia 1-200 1st day 4th Test v England, Adelaide Oval
  • Jan 30 Danish ocean liner MS Hans Hedtoft sinks on maiden voyage after striking an iceberg off the coast of Greenland;, 95 die

Birthdays in History

  • Jan 1 Abdul Ahad Mohmand, Afghanistan, cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-6)
  • Jan 1 Azali Assoumani, Comorian president (2016 - present), born in Mitsoudjé, Comoros
  • Jan 4 Yoshitomo Nara, Japanese pop artist
  • Jan 9 Rigoberta Menchú, K'iche' political activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1992), born in Chimel, Guatemala
  • Jan 10 Chris Van Hollen, American politician (Senator-D-Maryland 2017-, Rep-D-Maryland 2003-17), born in Karachi, Pakistan
  • Jan 12 Lasana M. Sekou, Caribbean poet & author (The Salt Reaper), born in Aruba
  • Jan 15 Pavle Kozjek, Slovenian climber, born in Setnica, Slovenia (d. 2008)
  • Jan 16 Juanita Bynum, American televangelist, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jan 20 Bernard Tyson, American healthcare advocate & 1st African American CEO of Kaiser Permanente, born in San Francisco Bay Area, California
  • Jan 20 Joel Rifkin, American serial killer believed to have killed up to 17 victims between 1989 and 1993 in NYC and Long Island, born in New York
  • Jan 27 Göran Hägglund, Swedish politician
  • Jan 27 Keith Olbermann, American news presenter
  • Jan 28 Randi Rhodes, Nova M Radio personality

Weddings in History

Raúl Castro

Jan 26 President of Cuba Raúl Castro (27) weds revolutionary Vilma Espín (28) in Santiago de Cuba

Deaths in History

  • Jan 11 Mohammed Zakaria Ghonein, discoverer of 6,000 yr old pyramid, dies
  • Jan 12 Edvard Eriksen, Danish-Icelandic sculptor, dies at 82
  • Jan 14 G. D. H. Cole, English political theorist and socialist, dies at 69
  • Jan 28 Yosef Sprinzak, Israeli politician, first Speaker of the Knesset (1949-59) and leading Zionist, dies at 73