1979 Newspaper Headlines
If you’re curious about this year in particular, then 1979 newspaper articles are a great way to gain a deeper insight into the events that took place, within the context that they were happening. Important 1979 headlines include the collapse of the horrific Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, the assassination of Lord Mountbatten by the IRA, and the eradication of the Smallpox virus. An authentic 1979 newspaper is a wonderful way to celebrate the highs and lows of this year in history.
January 1, 1979
The United States and the People’s Republic of China establish full diplomatic relations.
February 18, 1979
The Sahara Desert experiences snow for thirty minutes.
February 26, 1979
A total solar eclipse occurs in North America.
March 29, 1979
America’s most serious nuclear power plant accident occurs at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania.
April 22, 1979
The Albert Einstein Memorial is unveiled at The National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C.
May 25, 1979
John Spenklelink is executed in Florida, in the first use of the electric chair in America after the death penalty was reintroduced in 1976.
May 25, 1979
Etan Patz disappears in New York City at the age of 6, with the incident sparking the missing children’s movement.
McDonald’s first introduces the Happy Meal.
June 2, 1979
Pope John Paul II visits his native Poland, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country.
June 11, 1979
John Wayne, American actor (b. 1907) dies from stomach cancer.
June 18, 1979
President Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II agreement in Vienna.
July 8, 1979
Los Angeles passes its gay and lesbian civil rights bill.
July 16, 1979
Iraqi President Hasan al-Bakr resigns and Vice President Saddam Hussein replaces him.
August 10, 1979
Michael Jackson releases his first breakthrough album Off The Wall. The album sells 7 million copies in the United States alone, making it a 7x platinum album.
September 1, 1979
The U.S. ‘Pioneer 11’ becomes the first spacecraft to visit Saturn, when it passes the planet at a distance of 21,000 km.
September 23, 1979
The largest anti-nuclear demonstration to date is held in New York City, when almost 200,000 people attend.
October 14, 1979
A major gay rights march in the United States takes place in Washington D.C., involving many tens of thousands of people.
October 15, 1979
The 6.4 Imperial Valley earthquake affected Southern California and northern Baja California with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), causing 91 injuries and $30 million in damage.
November 4, 1979
3,000 Iranian radicals, mostly students, invade the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take ninety hostages; 53 of whom are American. The radicals demand that the United States send the former Shah of Iran back to stand trial.
November 7, 1979
Senator Ted Kennedy announces that he will challenge President Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination.
November 14, 1979
President Jimmy Carter issues Executive Order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States and U.S. banks in response to the hostage crisis.
December 6, 1979
The world premiere for Star Trek: The Motion Picture is held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
December 9, 1979
The eradication of the smallpox virus is certified. Smallpox is therefore the first human disease to be driven to extinction.
December 24, 1979
The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.
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