December 1961 in History

Events in History

  • Dec 1 The independent Republic of West Papua is proclaimed in modern-day Western New Guinea.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 2 Fidel Castro declares he's a Marxist & will lead Cuba to Communism

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro
  • Dec 2 Wind Bell, journal of San Francisco Zen Center, begins publishing
  • Dec 3 George Blanda of Houston Oilers kicks 55-yard field goal
  • Dec 3 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 4 Museum of Modern Art hangs Matisse's Le Bateau upside down for 47 days

Impressionist Painter Henri Matisse
Impressionist Painter
Henri Matisse
  • Dec 4 Tanganyika becomes 104th member of UN
  • Dec 4 The female contraceptive 'pill' becomes available on the National Health Service in Britain
  • Dec 8 Antwerp Belgium diocese forms
  • Dec 8 South Africa v NZ, Durban debuts for Eddie Barlow & Peter Pollock
  • Dec 9 Tanganyika gains independence from Britain, takes name Tanzania
  • Dec 10 Houston Oiler Billy Cannon gains record 373 yards against Titans
  • Dec 10 US performs nuclear test at Carlsbad New Mexico (underground)
  • Dec 10 USSR & Albania break diplomatic relations

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

Dec 10 Robert Hofstadter and Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer win the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleon

  • Dec 11 "Please, Mr. Postman" by Marvelettes released

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 11 JFK provides US military helicopters & crews to South Vietnam

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • Dec 12 Amateur radio satellite Oscar 1 launched with military Discoverer 36

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 12 Martin Luther King Jr. & 700 demonstrators are arrested in Albany, Georgia

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 13 Gideon Hausner in Jerusalem demands death penalty for Adolf Eichmann

SS officer Adolf Eichmann
SS officer
Adolf Eichmann
  • Dec 14 Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" is 1st country song to get a gold record
  • Dec 15 Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death for war crimes in Israel
  • Dec 15 Equal access rule, political parties get TV broadcasting time
  • Dec 15 JFK visits Puerto Rico
  • Dec 15 L J Suenens appointed archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels
  • Dec 17 India seizes Goa & 2 other Portuguese colonies
  • Dec 17 Niteroi Circus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil catches fire; 323 die after disgruntled employee sets fire to the tent
  • Dec 18 India annexes Portuguese colonies of Goa, Damao & Diu

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 19 Indonesian President Sukarno proclaims general mobilization

1st President of Indonesia Sukarno
1st President of Indonesia
  • Dec 21 US President Kennedy & British PM MacMillan meet in Bermuda

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 21 Gangster Joe Gallo is sentenced to 7 to 14 years in state prison for extortion

Gangster Joe Gallo
Joe Gallo
  • Dec 22 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 23 Train accident in Italy, 70 die
  • Dec 23 Fidel Castro announces Cuba will release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food & medical supplies
  • Dec 27 Belgium & Congo resume diplomatic relations

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 28 Tennessee Williams' "Night of the Iguana" premieres in NYC

Playwright Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams
  • Dec 31 Beach Boys play their debut gig under that name
  • Dec 31 Failed coup by Syrian group in Lebanon
  • Dec 31 Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than $12 billion

Birthdays in History

  • Dec 1 Armin Meiwes, German cannibal
  • Dec 8 Ann Coulter, American author, political commentator, and attorney
  • Dec 10 Mark McKoy, Canadian track star (world record 50m indoor)
  • Dec 11 Marco Pierre White, English chef and restaurateur
  • Dec 15 Reginald Hudlin, director (House Party)
  • Dec 15 Karin Resetarits, Austrian journalist
  • Dec 18 Thomas Strittmatter, writer
  • Dec 22 Yuri Ivanovich Malinchenko, Russian cosmonaut (1st person to marry in space), born in Khrushchev, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
  • Dec 22 Andrew Fastow, US convicted criminal and businessman (former CFO of Enron), born in Washington, D.C., United States
  • Dec 24 Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Republic
  • Dec 24 Mary Barra, American CEO of General Motors (1st woman to head a global automotive company), born in Waterford, Michigan
  • Dec 25 Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian senator
  • Dec 29 Robert Louis Tewdwr Moss, journalist/travel writer
  • Dec 30 Douglas Coupland, Canadian author
  • Dec 30 Bill English, New Zealand politician, Prime Minister (2016-), born in Lumsden

Weddings in History

  • Dec 10 Dr Ruth marries Fred Westheimer

Deaths in History

  • Dec 6 Frantz Fanon, West Indian psychiatrist and philosopher (The Wretched of the Earth), dies of leukemia at 36
  • Dec 12 Daiun Sogaku Harada, Zen founder of Sanbo Kyodan lineage, dies at 91

Person of interestGrandma Moses

Dec 13 Grandma Moses [Anna M], US painter, dies at 101

Primitive Painter Grandma Moses
Primitive Painter
Grandma Moses
  • Dec 17 Marion Perkins, sculptor (Man of Sorrow), dies at 53

Person of interestMoss Hart

Dec 20 Moss Hart, American dramatist (You can't take it with you), dies at 57

Playwright Moss Hart
Moss Hart
  • Dec 20 Earle Page, eleventh Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1880)
  • Dec 23 Kurt Meyer, German SS officer (b. 1910)
  • Dec 25 Rheinhold Rudenberg, inventor of electron microscope, dies
  • Dec 25 Otto Loewi, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1873)
  • Dec 25 Owen Brewster, U.S. Senator from Maine (b. 1888)
  • Dec 28 Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, 1st lady (1915-21), dies at 89