1966 was a year where the average house price was $14,200, and a gallon of petrol cost 31 cents.
This 1966 timeline lists events that you may have not known about, such as John Lennon stating the Beatles were more famous than Jesus, the introduction of a hazardous warning on cigarette packs and multiple space launches from both the USSR and US. These 1966 events will be never forgotten – especially England’s football team winning the World Cup, which still remains their only major football trophy.
If you’re interested to see how the events in this historic year were reported at the time, take a look at our collection of 1966 newspapers.
- Walter Disney Dies
- Aberfan Disaster
January 1: A 12 day strike of transit workers shuts down the NYC subway.
January 1: A military coup led by Colonel Jean-Bedel Bokassa is successful and leads to his dictatorship in Central African Republic.
January 1: All cigarette packs in the US have to carry, by law, the words “Caution, cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.”
January 2: In Spain, the first Jewish child is born since the 1492 expulsion.
January 8: The Rubber Soul album by The Beatles, goes number 1 and stays at the top position for 6 weeks.
January 8: Georges Pompidou is re-appointed the French Prime Minister and forms a new government.
January 8: The Who and the Kinks perform on the last ABC TV show, Shindig.
January 10: Pakistan and India both sign the Tashkent Declaration peace accord.
January 11: Due to heavy rain, 550 people die in landslides in mountains behind Rio de Janeiro.
January 12: The transit strike ends in NYC.
January 12: Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th US President, claims that the US should stay in South Vietnam until the communist aggression ends.
January 12: 3 Members of Parliament are attacked in a hotel in Rhodesia.
January 13: Robert C Weaver becomes the first black man selected for presidential cabinet.
January 14: Can’t Help Thinking About Me is the first single released by David Bowie.
January 17: Martin Luther King Jr. opens his campaign in Chicago. His campaign involved moving to a building in the slums of North Lawndale as an educational experience, as well as to show their support and empathy for the poor.
January 19: Indira Gandhi becomes India’s fourth Prime Minister.
January 24: After an Air India Boeing 707 crashes into Mont Blanc, France, 117 passengers are killed.
January 26: In Adelaide, South Australia, the Beaumont Children go missing from Glenelg Beach. They have never been found.
January 29: A snow storm hits the north east of America, killing 165 people.
36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson
February 3: Soviet Luna 9 soft lands on the Moon.
February 5: The BBC opens a relay station on Ascension Island.
February 7: Comedian Chris Rock is born in South Carolina.
February 10: Valley of the Dolls is published by Jacqueline Susann in the US. It has sold over 31 million copies to date.
February 14: The Australian currency is decimalized, and postage stamps using decimal currency are introduced.
February 14: Andrei Sinyavsky and Joey Daniel, both Russian writers, are found guilty for anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda for publishing their satirical writings in other countries.
February 27: Diane Towler and Bernard Ford, from Britain, win the Ice Dance Championships in Davos.
February 27: Richard Petty wins the 8th Daytona 500 after just 198 laps, due to rain.
February 28: In Liverpool, the Cavern Club closes. This was known as one of The Beatles’ most notorious hangouts.
March 2: 215,000 US soldiers are in Vietnam.
March 3: Rock band, Buffalo Springfield, is formed.
March 3: First President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, flees to Guinea.
March 3: A tornado hits Jackson, Mississippi, killing 57 people. It hit 3 minutes after its first sighting.
March 4: John Lennon states that the Beatles “are more popular than Jesus.”
March 5: Udo Jurgens wins the 11th Eurovision Song Contest for Austria, singing ‘Merci, Cherie’.
March 6: Alan Davies, British comedian and actor, is born in Essex.
March 11: In Numata, Japan, a fire at two ski resorts kills 31 people.
March 15: Tom Jones and Barbara Streisand win at the 8th Grammy Awards.
March 16: Gemini 8 is launched with Armstrong and Scott, but it is aborted after 6.5 orbits.
March 17: A missing H-bomb is located in the Mediterranean by a US submarine.
March 23: A meeting of the Catholic and Anglican church marks the first official meeting in 400 years.
March 31: Harold Wilson, leader of the Labour party, wins the British general election.
March 31: USSR launches Luna 10.
April 2: Luna 10 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit the Moon.
April 4: Pirate Radio Scotland becomes Radio Ireland.
April 9: The Anaheim Stadium for California Angels baseball team opens.
April 11: Frank Sinatra records Strangers in the Night – it would later become number 1.
April 13: Airline Pan Am places an order of 25 Boeing 747s, costing $525,000,000.
April 18: Bill Russell becomes the coach for Boston Celtics – the first African American coach in NBA history.
April 25: In Asse, Belgium, 10 children are killed by a drunk driver.
April 27: Dmitri Shostakovich completes his second Cello Concert.
April 30: The Church of Satan is founded by Anton LaVey in San Francisco, California.
American singer and actor Frank Sinatra
May 1: Empire Pool in Wembley marks the last British concert by the Beatles.
May 1: Radio RSA in South Africa beings shortwave transmitting.
May 4: The Soviet government agrees to let Fiat build a factory in the USSR.
May 6: The Canadian Minister of Finance announces a $20 Centennial gold coin.
May 6: Myra Hindley and Ian Brady are both sentenced to life imprisonment for the Moors Murders.
May 6: Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones is released in the US.
May 8: Frank Robinson hits out the only HR of Baltimore’s Memorial Park.
May 10: -3°C is recorded as the lowest temperature in Cleveland in May.
May 13: Educational funding is denied to 12 school districts in the South of American because of violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
May 15: Essex vs Somerset in County Cricket marks the first day of Sunday play.
May 16: The Beach Boys release Pet Sounds.
May 25: Peru and Argentina football fans fight in Lima, killing 248 people.
May 26: Guyana declares independence from the UK.
June 1: The White House Conference on Civil Rights is attended by 2,400 people.
June 1: Joaquin Balaguer is elected the President of Dominican Republic.
June 4: Over 6 days, Hurricane Alma kills 51 people in Honduras.
June 10: Paperback Writer by The Beatles is released in the UK.
June 10: Janis Joplin’s first live concert was held in the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.
June 11: French and German media report the death of Roger Daltry, lead singer of The Who – he is still alive today.
June 14: 60 construction workers are injured after Dutch police beat them.
June 20: Sheila Scott completes the first round the world solo flight by a woman.
June 22: South African Bishop Alphaeus Hamilton Zulu is refused a passport by the South African government and therefore was not able to attend an international church conference.
June 26: Kanton Bazel leads the fight for female suffrage in Switzerland.
June 30: The Beatles arrive in Tokyo for a concert tour.
June 30: Deputy director of the CIA, Richard Helms is promoted to 8th director of CIA.
June 30: Mike Tyson, American boxer, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
American singer-songwriter Janis Joplin
July 1: Manuel Santana wins against Dennis Ralston to win the Wimbledon Men Singles Title.
July 1: Medicare in the US takes effect.
July 1: The first color television transmission takes place from Toronto for Canada.
July 4: The Beatles are attacked in the Philippines are accidentally insulting First Lady Imelda Marcos.
July 4: Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act.
July 6: Malawi becomes a republic, with Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda becoming their first president.
July 9: Jack Nicklaus becomes the 4th person in history to win all 4 Golf majors.
July 14: Lucien Aimar of France wins the 53rd Tour de France.
July 14: 8 nurses are raped and killed by Richard Speck in a Chicago dormitory.
July 16: A total of 936 people are banned from South Africa. The individuals are banned under various reasons and laws, mainly the Suppression of Communism and Riotous Assembly Acts.
July 17: Jim Ryun sets the new record for running a mile. He ran it in 3 minutes and 51 seconds.
July 19: Frank Sinatra marries Mia Farrow in Las Vegas. Farrow is 29 years Sinatra’s junior.
July 23: In Liverpool, the Cavern Club reopens.
July 25: Brian Jones performs with the Rolling Stones for the last time.
July 29: Bob Dylan is hurt in a motorbike accident in New York.
July 30: England beat West Germany 4-2 to win the World Cup, the first and only time England have won.
July 31: People in Alabama burn Beatles’ products in response to John Lennon’s anti-Jesus remark.
August 1: At the University of Texas, Charles Whitman kills 16 and wounds another 31 people.
August 5: Martin Luther King Jr is stoned during a Chicago march.
August 5: The Beatles release their Revolver album.
August 6: Salazarbrug over Tag opens – marking the opening of the longest suspension bridge in Europe.
August 8: Chris Eubank, English boxer, is born in Dulwich, London.
August 10: Lunar Orbiter is launched by NASA to the Moon to photograph its surface.
August 10: A meteor is seen in daylight from Utah to Canada. This is the only known case of a meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere and leaving it again.
August 11: Last Beatles tour of the US begins.
August 14: American actress, Halle Berry is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
August 27: A race riot breaks out in Waukegan, Illinois.
August 29: In Candlestick Park, San Francisco is The Beatles’ last public concert.
September 2: Salma Hayek, an Mexican American actress, is born in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.
September 5: Jerry Lewis’ first Muscular Dystrophy Labour Day raises $1 million.
September 6: Feminist and birth control pioneer, Margaret Sanger, dies at aged 86.
September 8: Star Trek premieres.
September 8: Queen Elizabeth II officially opens The Severn Bridge.
September 9: Adam Sandler is born in Brooklyn, New York.
September 11: The Rolling Stones perform on the Ed Sullivan Show.
September 21: NYC experiences 5 inches of rainfall.
September 21: Jimi Hendrix changes his name from Jimmy, to Jimi.
September 22: 413 fans show up at the Yankee Stadium for a game.
September 22: Surveyor 2 crashes on the moon.
September 29: Chevrolet introduces the Camaro, originally named the Panther.
October 1: Thomson purchases The Times.
October 5: A copy of Ben Enwonwu’s sculpture, “The Awakening” is presented to the United Nations by Nigerian government.
October 6: At Detroit’s Fermi 1 nuclear reactor, a partial meltdown occurs.
October 9: David Cameron is born in London. He would become Prime Minister in 2010.
October 10: “Good Vibrations” is released by The Beach Boys.
October 11: American actor, Luke Perry, is born in Mansfield, Ohio. He passed away due to a stroke in 2019.
October 13: 173 US aircrafts bomb North Vietnam.
October 14: 175 US aircrafts bomb North Vietnam.
October 20: Jewish writers Schmuel Yosef Agnon and Nelly Sachs are jointly awards the Nobel Prize for Literature.
October 21: In Aberfan, South Wales, 116 children and 28 adults are killed as a coal waste heap slid and engulfed a school. Queen Elizabeth II visited after 8 days, which sources say is one of her biggest regrets as monarch.
October 22: The USSR launch Luna 12 to orbit around the Moon.
October 27: South Africa is deprived of Namibia by the United Nations.
A US Marine pictured with a kitten in Vietnam, 1966
November 1: Jeremy Hunt, British politician, is born in London, England.
November 2: The Cuban Adjustment Act is enforced. This allows 123,000 Cubans to apply for permanent residence in the US.
November 2: Friends actor, David Schwimmer, is born in Queens, New York.
November 4: In Italy, the flooding of the Arno River causes countless pieces of art works to be destroyed, and kills 113 people.
November 8: Edward W. Brooke becomes the first African American to be popularly elected to the US Senate.
November 8: Gordon Ramsay is born in Johnstone, Scotland.
November 8: Ronald Reagan is elected to be the Governor of California.
November 9: John Lennon and Yoko Ono meet at an art exhibition in London.
November 12: Buzz Aldrin takes the first ‘space selfie’. The photo includes himself performing extravehicular activity during the Gemini programme.
November 15: Gemini XII returns to Earth, with Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin.
November 18: In the US, Roman Catholic bishops end the rule against eating meat on Fridays.
November 27: Uruguay adopts constitution.
December 1: Georg Kiesinger is elected as West German chancellor.
December 4: Nemo, a Military Working Dog, saves the life of his handler, Airman Robert A. Throneburg during the Vietnam War. He survives a gunshot wound to this nose.
December 6: In Belgium, the polio vaccination becomes obligatory.
December 8: Both the US and USSR sign a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in outer space.
December 8: Irish singer-songwriter, Sinead O’Connor is born.
December 10: Robert S. Mulliken is awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
December 15: Walt Disney dies of lung cancer at the age of 65.
December 18: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas airs on CBS for the first time.
December 20: Nuclear Planning Group forms in Brussels.
December 24: Luna 13, a Soviet spacecraft, lands on the Moon.
December 28: In Everett, Massachusetts, 13 people die in a train crash.
Walter Disney Dies
At the age of 65, the founder of The Walt Disney Company, died of lung cancer. Walt Disney was responsible for the creation of Mickey Mouse and the introduction of the Disney Classics, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as his first feature length animation. He had surgery for his cancer just a month before he passed away, and a private funeral was held the day after his death.
While Disney was cremated and interred in California, rumors circulated shortly after his death that his body had been frozen, in order to suspend him in case medical technology in the future would be able to revive him. These rumors claimed Disney’s body had been buried in this frozen state deep beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland, California. However, even Disney’s daughter has denied these rumors.
One of the major events in 1966 is the Aberfan Disaster. At 9:15am on October 21 1966, a colliery spoil tip collapsed, crashing into a Welsh village. Due to a period of heavy rain, it led to a build up of water within the tip which caused it to suddenly slide down, killing 116 children and 28 adults. It engulfed the local junior school, which was the cause of 109 children’s deaths. The National Coal Board was responsible for the tip and therefore the blame was placed on them for the disaster, with nine employees named.
No survivors were found after 11am, after some successful retrieval of children.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Aberfan on October 29 to pay their respects to those who had lost their lives. Sources say that the delayed response to visit Aberfan is one of the Queen’s biggest regrets as monarch.