In a year where multiple countries gained independence from France, Britain and Belgium, 1960 was an important year to remember.
The world’s population was just over 3 billion at the turn of the century, less than half of the current world population in 2019.
To really find out what happened in 1960, our in-depth 1960 timeline is below, and if you’re interested in the way that these 1960 events were reported at the time, check out our selection of 1960 newspapers.
This 1960 timeline lists all the important events that may have been forgotten over the past 50 years. These big events of 1960 should be remembered, especially the shoe-banging incident…
Our timeline of 1960 will remind you of the beginning of the swinging sixties, and some people’s favorite decade.
January 1: The Bank of France issues the new franc. The new franc is worth 100 times the value of existing francs.
January 1: Cameroon gains independence from France.
January 1: A photograph of a South African boy wearing a torn vest is published in the Daily Herald. At the time, it was illegal to employ a ‘native’ under 18 in the mines due to the Native Labor Regulation Act.
January 2: John F Kennedy announces his candidacy for US President.
January 9: In Egypt, the building of the Aswan dam begins.
January 14: Elvis Presley in promoted to Sergeant in the US Army.
January 18: Both the US and Japan sign a revised defense treaty.
January 28: The first photograph bounced on the Moon from Washington, D.C.
January 30: The African National Party is founded in Chad.
February 1: In Greensboro, North Carolina, 4 students stage the first civil rights sit-in at a Woolworth’s.
February 3: Harold Macmillan, British Prime Minister, makes his famous “Wind of Change” speech in Africa, against the apartheid regime. This angers South African politicians.
February 8: Queen Elizabeth II announces her and her family will be known as the House of Windsor, and her descendants will take the name Mountbatten-Windsor.
February 14: The new President of Pakistan is announced as Marshall Ayub Khan.
February 18: The 8th Winter Olympic Games open in Squaw Valley, California. British West Indies, Republic of China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Morocco and Singapore all won their first medals in their Olympic history.
February 26: Soviet First Secretary, Nikita Khrushchev, announces support for Indonesia. This meant that the Soviet Union supplied Sukarno, and Indonesia, with large amounts of modern weaponry. By 1962, Indonesia became the biggest non-communist recipient of Soviet military aid.
February 28: The 8th Winter Olympic Games close in California.
February 29: The first Playboy Club opens in Chicago.
February 29: An earthquake in Morocco kills 12,000-15,000 – a third of the population.
March 5: Elvis Presley finishes with the US Army after 2 years of service.
March 6: President Sukarno disbands Indonesia’s parliament.
March 10: Elizabeth Taylor wins Best Actress at the 17th Golden Globes.
March 11: Pioneer 5 launched into orbit between Earth and Venus.
March 14: A train crash in Bakersfield Calif, killing 14 people.
March 22: The first patent for lasers was granted to Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes.
March 25: “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by DH Lawrence is ruled not obscene in NYC.
March 26: After an attack on President Kassem, Iraq executes 30 people.
March 28: Pope John appoints cardinals for Japan, Africa and the Philippines for the first time.
March 28: In Glasgow, Scotland, a scotch whisky factory explodes, burying 20 firefighters.
April 1: A French atom bomb explodes over the Sahara, for the second time.
April 1: A census estimates the resident population of the United States to be 179,245,000.
April 2: Cuba buys oil from USSR.
April 3: In RCA Studios, Nashville, Tennessee, Elvis Presley records “It’s Now or Never”, “Fever” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight”.
April 4: Senegal declares independence from France.
April 8: A Civil Rights Bill is passed by the US Senate with measures against discriminatory voting practices.
April 8: Germany and Netherlands sign an accord concerning war casualties.
April 14: The first underwater launch of a Polaris missile occurs.
April 21: Brazil’s capital city becomes Brasilia. From 1763, it was previously Rio de Janerio and from 1549-1763, it was Salvador.
April 24: 500 are killed due to a heavy earthquake in South Persia.
April 27: President of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, resigns.
April 27: Togo (French Togo formerly) declares independence from the French administration.
May 1: India’s Gujarat and Maharashtra states are made from Bombay.
May 1: Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down by Russia over Sverdlovsk.
May 3: The Anne Frank House opens in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
May 6: Dwight Eisenhower, 34th US President, signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960.
May 6: Students attack the Dutch embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.
May 7: Leonid Brezhnev takes over from Kliment Voroshilov as President of the USSR.
May 7: USSR announces that Francis Gary Powers has confessed to being a CIA spy.
May 10: John F. Kennedy wins a primary in West Virginia. He would go on to become president of the United States in 1961.
May 11: Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann is captured by Israeli soldiers in Buenos Aires. He is later tried under the Piracy laws, in which pirates may and shall be punished wherever apprehended.
May 12: On a Frank Sinatra special, Elvis Presley makes an appearance.
May 13: The first launch of a Delta satellite launching vehicle failed.
May 15: In the US, tax took 25% of earnings.
May 16: The “Big 4” summit in Paris fails as the USSR levels spy charges against US.
May 19: A rest day for the self-employed is required by the Belgian parliament.
May 21: The first African American to sing the lead at Teatro alla Scala in Milan is Leontyne Price.
May 24: In The Netherlands, the millionth telephone is installed.
June 6: 11 Pondos are killed by South African police at Ngquza Hill. 58 were injured and 23 people were arrested.
June 8: The Argentine government demands the release of Adolf Eichmann.
June 9: In China, Typhoon Mary kills at least 1,600.
June 11: 30 are killed in Pakistan when a house packed with wedding guests collapses.
June 13: The Head of Cambodia becomes Prince Norodom Sihanoek.
June 15: Angel Cordero wins his first horse race. He will go on to win over 7,000.
June 15: Argentina complains to the UN about the illegal transfer of Adolf Eichmann to Israel.
June 16: “Psycho” directed by Alfred Hitchcock opens in New York City
June 16: President Eisenhower cancels a trip to Japan.
June 17: Ted Williams, of the Boston Red Sox team, celebrates his 500th home run.
June 18: The New York Giants hire their new manager, Tom Sheehan. Sheehan becomes the oldest debuting manager at age 66.
June 20: Senegal and Federation of Mali become independent from France.
June 21: Armin Hary makes a 100m world record, completing it in 10 seconds.
June 23: In the US, the first contraceptive pill is made available to buy.
June 25: Madagascar becomes independent from France.
June 25: Somaliland becomes independent from Britain, granted by the British government.
June 30: The US stops the importation of sugar from Cuba.
June 30: Zaira, formerly Belgian Congo, declares independence from Belgium.
July 1: Somalia, or Somali Democratic Republic, is formed out of British and Italian territories.
July 1: Ghana becomes a republic.
July 1: No passports are needed inside Benelux. The three neighboring countries that make up the Benelux are Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
July 1: Australian Neale Fraser wins his only Wimbledon singles title, beating fellow Australian Rod Laver.
July 4: America’s new 50-star flag is revealed to include Hawaii.
July 5: Mongolia creates its constitution.
July 7: A US aircraft is shot down by the USSR over the Barents sea.
July 11: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is published by J B Lippincott & Co.
July 12: USSR’s Sputnik 5 launched with 2 dogs.
July 15: Chubby Checker releases his version of the dance, The Twist, in the US.
July 17: Gastone Nencini, from Italy, wins the 47th Tour de France.
July 18: Premier Kishi of Japan resigns.
July 20: USSR recovers two dogs from Sputnik 5. They are the first living organisms to return from space.
July 21: Sirimavo Bandaranaike becomes the world’s first head of state elected in modern times. She was elected as Prime Minister of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka.
July 22: Cuba nationalizes all US-owned sugar factories.
July 27: US Vice-president, Richard Nixon, is nominated for the presidential candidate at the Republican convention in Chicago, Illinois. Nixon would later become the 37th President of the United States in 1969.
August 1: Aretha Franklin’s first recording session takes place in New York.
August 1: Benin gains independence from France.
August 3: Niger gains independence from France.
August 3: Lee Petty and his two sons, Richard and Maurice, race against each other for the first and only time in Birmingham, Alabama. Lee wins, with Richard coming second and Lee coming third.
August 6: Chubby Checker performs his dance The Twist on The Dick Clark Show. This starts a worldwide dance craze.
August 7: Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) gains independence from France.
August 7: Students stage kneel-in demonstrations in Atlanta churches. The kneel-ins were not held to protest unjust laws, but to test white churches’ tolerance and resilience to integrated worship.
August 8: 53 of the 76 charges against African’s detained after the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa are dropped.
August 12: Ralph Boston sets the long jump record at 8.21m.
August 13: Both Central African Republic and Chad proclaim independence from France.
August 16: Great Britain grants independence to Cyprus.
August 17: Francis Gar Powers’ U-2 spy trial starts in Moscow.
August 17: Indonesia drops diplomatic relations with the Netherlands.
August 18: The Beatles perform their first public performance at the Indra club in Hamburg, Germany.
August 19: Sputnik 5 carries 2 dogs, 2 rats, 40 mice and fruit flies into orbit. These are the first animals to return alive from orbit.
August 24: 60 people are killed when a bus plunges off a bridge into the Turvo River, Brazil.
August 25: The AFL (Australian Football League) starts placing players’ names on the back of their shirts.
August 30: East Germany imposes a partial blockage on West Berlin.
September 4: Hurricane Donna kills 148 people in the Caribbean and the US over the course of 8 days.
September 8: German Democratic Republic limits access of East Berlin for residents of West Berlin.
September 10: Yugoslavia wins against Denmark 3-1 in the final of the men’s football at the Rome Olympics. Yugoslavia wins the Gold medal.
September 12: 35th US President, John F. Kennedy, says that he doesn’t speak for the Roman Catholic Church, and vise versa.
September 15: Maurice Richard announces his retirement after 18 years. He finishes with 544 goals, a National Hockey League record.
September 19: LIFE magazine celebrates Grandma Moses’ 100th birthday by placing her on the cover.
September 19: Chubby Checker’s song ‘The Twist’ reaches #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
September 26: Fidel Castro, Cuban President, delivers a 4 hour and 29 minute speech at the United Nations.
September 27: Europe’s first ‘moving pavement’, now known as a travelator debuts at Bank station on the London Underground.
September 30: The Flintstones, the first animated sitcom, premieres on ABC in the US.
October 1: Nigeria becomes the 99th member of the United Nations.
October 1: Nigeria gains independence from Britain. It is celebrated as a National Day in Nigeria.
October 3: The newly elected president of Brazil is Janio Quadros.
October 7: The second debate between JFK and Richard Nixon takes place.
October 10: Around 4,000 die due to a cyclone that hits the coast of Gulf of Bengal.
October 12: JFK and Nixon’s third presidential debate takes place.
October 13: Khrushchev, Soviet leader, bangs his shoe on his desk at the UN General Assembly session, an event discussed in more detail at the end of this timeline of 1960.
October 18: News Chronicle and Daily Mail merge, and London Evening Star merges with Evening News.
October 19: Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested at an Atlanta sit-in.
October 20: Providence, Rhode Island gets the first fully mechanized post office.
October 25: Cuba nationalizes all remaining US businesses.
October 31: Another cyclone hits the coast of Gulf of Bengal, about 10,000 people die.
November 2: Penguin Books is cleared of obscenity for publishing DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
November 3: Ivory Coast creates and adopts a constitution.
November 4: Mary and Louis Leakey discover the first Homo habilis jaw fragments in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
November 8: John F. Kennedy is elected the 35th US President, beating the incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon.
November 10: An uncensored version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover goes on sale in the UK after a jury finds Penguin Books not guilty in an obscenity trial.
November 11: A coup against South Vietnam’s president fails.
November 13: A fire in a cinema kills 152 children, in Amude, Spain.
November 14: 110 people are killed when two passenger trains collide at high speed in Czechoslovakia.
November 14: A riot occurs in a school in New Orleans due to school integration.
November 18: Copyright office receives, and issues its 10 millionth registration.
November 27: Gordie Howe becomes the first Hockey player to score 1,000 points.
December 1: Paul McCartney and Pete Best are arrested and deported from Hamburg for accusation of attempted arson. Pete Best was the original drummer of The Beatles, until Ringo Starr joined in 1962.
December 5: Ghana drops its diplomatic relations with Belgium.
December 9: The first broadcast of Coronation Street on ITV is shown.
December 10: Willard Libby wins the Nobel prize in Chemistry. Libby developed carbon-14 dating,a process which revolutionized archaeology and paleontology.
December 13: Italy beats the US in the Davis Cup. This marks the first time in 24 years that the US were not in the finals.
December 19: Frank Sinatra has his first session with Reprise Records.
December 27: France performs nuclear test.
Both the US and Japan sign a revised defense treaty. It was first signed in 1951 which officially ended World War Two. The revised treaty grants the US the right to base military forces in Japan in exchange for the promise that America will defend the nation if it’s attacked. In certain circumstances, this treaty would come into effect if Japan was cyber attacked.
By keeping the troops in Japan, it has helped the US maintain security and stability which has been essential to the economic and trade growth of Japan, which benefits US exporters.
The US gains approximately $1.8 billion per year* from Japan, as they subsidize the costs of maintaining the troops. Experts say that it’s cheaper for the US to keep the troops in Japan than bringing them home.
*Information correct as of 2019.
The coup was led by Lieutenant Colonel Vuong Van Dong and Colonel Nguyen Chanh Thi of the Airborne Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The coup occurred in response to the President’s autocratic rule and the negative political influence of his brother and sister-in-law. They did not like the politicization of the military where the family members of Ngo were promoted ahead of competent officers.
The coup took the Ngo off guard, but it was executed poorly. The events after the attempted coup lead to the deaths of more than 400 people.
This event was one of the first and most violent demonstrations against apartheid in South Africa. Police open fired on a crowd of black people, killing or wounding up to 250.
The demonstration was to abolish South Africa’s pass laws. The participants were told to surrender their passes and invite police to arrest them. According to police, 20,000 people gathered near a police station in Sharpeville, 30km from Johannesburg. The people were alleged to begin stoning police officers and their vehicles, so the officers opened fire with submachine guns. Around 69 people were killed, with more than 180 wounded. A state of emergency was declared in South Africa and as a result the Pan-African Congress and African National Congress were outlawed. Following the collapse of apartheid, South African president Nelson Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site in which he signed the country’s new constitution.
This incident occurred during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, held in New York City. During the meeting, the head of Filipino delegation Lorenzo Sumulong referred to the “the peoples of Eastern Europe and elsewhere which have been deprived of the free exercise of their civil and political rights and which have been swallowed up, so to speak, by the Soviet Union.” After hearing this, Khrushchev quickly rose and pretended to brush Sumulong aside and proceeded to brand him a “jerk, a stooge, and a lackey”. According to reports, Khrushchev then pounded his first on his desk after Sumulong continued to speak and picked up his shoe and banged it on the desk.
In 2003, William Taubman, an American scholar, reported that he had interviewed eyewitnesses who said that he presented the shoe but never banged it.
Apart from one fake photo, there are no photos or videos records found. However, Taubman later accepted that this incident happened in his biography.
This 1960 timeline has listed all the important events that may have been forgotten over the past 50 years. These big events of 1960 will be remembered, especially the shoe-banging incident…