Previous: 1900 to 1950 Back to Main Index Combined: 1950 to 2000 Colour Key Back to First: -15bn to -1000

1951 ANZUS Pact signed by Australia, New Zealand and USA
1951 American post-war occupation of Japan ends
1952 George VI dies - Elizabeth II takes British throne
1952 Bolivian Revolution
1952 Death of Eva Perón ("Evita") in Argentina
1952 Huge collectivization push in rural China
1952 Samuel Beckett develops Theatre of the Absurd - "Waiting for Godot"
1952 Dwight Eisenhower becomes US President
1953 New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary first to reach summit of Everest
1953 Death of Sergey Prokofiev (composer)
1953 Death of Josef Stalin - Nikita Khruschev becomes Premiere
1953 Crick and Watson demonstrate double-helix structure of DNA
1953 Soviets successfully test hydrogen bomb
1953 Mau Mau Rebellion breaks out in Kenya
1953 Korean War ends after involving China, US and several other countries
1954 End of First Indochina War - Vietnam partitioned
1954 Laos and Cambodia recognized as independent
1954 Rock'n'Roll music becomes popular - Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, etc
1954 Anti-Communist McCarthyism censured in US
1955 Coup deposes dictator Juan Perón in Argentina
1955 Warsaw Pact signed by USSR, Poland, Romania, Hungary,
Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Albania
1955 Death of Albert Einstein, German-born physicist
1956 Suez Crisis - Britain and France invade Egypt
1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser becomes President of Egyptian Republic
1956 Hungarian revolt brutally suppressed by Soviets
1956 "My Fair Lady" popular musical
1957 Sir Harold MacMillan becomes British Prime Minister
1957 Death of Jean Sibelius (Swedish composer)
1957 Russian Sputnik sattelite launched
1957 European Economic Comunity (EEC) established
1957 Ghana first African colony to gain independence from Britain
1957 India claims state of Kashmir
1958 Dalai Lama flees Tibet from Chinese persecution
1958 Charles de Gaulle given extensive powers in France
1958 Ayub Khan becomes military leader of Pakistan
1958 Oral contraceptive pill becomes available
1958 Great Chinese Famine of 1958-61 kills an estimated 36 million
1959 Terrorist organization ETA founded to fight for Basque independence
1959 Fidel Castro establishes communist dictatorship in Cuba
1959 Communist North Vietnam starts war against Capitalist South
1960 Construction of Aswan High Dam in Egypt begins
1960 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) established
1960 DH Lawrence's 1928 book "Lady Chatterley's Lover" legally published in the UK
1960 Congo gains independence from Belgium
1961 Cuban Missile Crisis after US-backed anti-Castro Bay of Pigs invasion fails
1961 Berlin Wall built between East and West Germany
1961 Russian Yuri Gagarin becomes first man in space
1961 South Africa declares republic and leaves British Commonwealth
1961 Portugal loses its territories in Goa, India
1961 Death of Ernest Hemingway (writer)
1962 Georges Pompidou takes over after vote against Charles de Gaulle
1962 Yemenese Civil War
1962 Sino-Indian Border Conflict between China and India
1962 Death of Marilyn Monroe (actress)
1962 Rachael Carson's book "Silent Spring" launches environmental movement
1963 The Beatles rise to popularity
1963 US President John F Kennedy shot
1964 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) formed
1964 Nelson Mandela jailed for campaigning against apartheid in South Africa
1964 Kenya becomes republic under Jomo Kenyatta
1964 Indian Prime Minister Jahawarlal Nehru dies
1964 Military dictatorship established in Brazil
1964 Civil Rights Act passed in US
1964 US becomes involved in Vietnam War
1965 White government declares independence in Southern Rhodesia
1965 Ferdinand Marcos becomes President of Philippines
1966 Cultural Revolution begins in China
1967 Sir Francis Chichester first to sail around world single-handed
1967 Che Guevara, Cuban revolutionary leader, killed in Bolivia
1967 First Arab-Israeli (6-Day) War
1967 General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trade (GATT) formulated
1967 Nigerian Civil War - Biafra famine
1967 General Suharto of Indonesia wrests power from President Sukarno
1967 First human heart transplant performed in South Africa
1967 "Flower Power" at its height in California
1968 C Day Lewis becomes British Poet Laureate
1968 Albania withdraws from Warsaw Pact for ideological reasons
1968 Prague Spring uprising in Czechoslovakia crushed by Soviets
1968 Pierre Trudeau becomes Prime Minister of Canada
1968 Black rights campaigner Martin Luther King assassinated
1969 British supersonic aircraft Concorde makes maiden flight
1969 Border disputes between China and Russia
1969 Provisional IRA, terrorist offshoot of IRA, formed
1969 Catholic vs Protestant "Troubles" resume in Ireland
1969 Willi Brandt becomes German Chanceller
1969 Moammar al-Qaddafi (Gadafi) leads military coup in Libya
1969 Neil Armstrong becomes first man to walk on Moon
1969 US involvement in Vietnam War peaks
1970 Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path") Maoist guerrilla group founded in Peru
1971 Death of Igor Stravinsky (composer)
1971 Revolution in Ethiopia overthrows Haile Selassie
1971 United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar become independent from Britain
1971 Indira Ghandi becomes Prime Minister of India
1971 Indo-Pakistan War - Bangladesh declared independent republic
1971 Rapprochement between US and China - Richard Nixon's visit
1971 Hugo Banzer leads military coup in Bolivia and becomes dictator
1972 "Bloody Sunday" massacre in Ireland
1972 British impose direct rule on Northern Ireland
1972 Francis Ford Coppola's movie "The Godfather" released
1972 Treaty recognizes East and West Germany as sovereign states
1972 "Detente" - Strategic Ams Pact between Russia and the West
1972 European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA)
1972 President Idi Amin expels Asians from Uganda
1972 Ceylon becomes independent Republic of Sri Lanka
1973 Britain joins European Economic Community
1973 General Augusto Pinochet ousts democratic Allende government in Chile
1973 Second Arab-Israeli (Yom Kippur) War
1973 Saudi Arabia leads huge oil price increases - world economy slows
1973 Carl XVI Gustaf becomes King of Sweden
1973 Death of Pablo Picasso (Spanish artist)
1973 US launches Pioneer II to explore outer planets
1973 Henry Kissinger becomes US Secretary of State
1974 Alexander Solzhenitsyn deported to the West
1974 Turkey intervenes in Cyprus
1974 PLO under Yasser Arafat recognized as representing Palestine
1974 Portugal overthrows dictatorship - António de Spinola President
1974 Portugal grants independence to Mozambique, Angola and other colonies
1974 South Africa voted out of UN for apartheid policies
1974 India explodes first nuclear device
1974 Watergate Scandal - Richard Nixon quits as President
1975 Birmingham Pub Bombings by IRA
1975 Christian vs Muslim war in Lebanon
1975 King Faisal of Saudi Arabia assassinated
1975 Juan Carlos becomes King of Spain after Franco's death
1975 Civil war breaks out in Angola
1975 US pulls out of Vietnam War
1975 Communists finally triumph in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
1976 Punk (rebel music cult) develops - Sex Pistols, Clash, etc
1976 Death of Sir Benjamin Britten (composer)
1976 Mao Tse-Tung dies - Gang of Four arrested
1976 Giulio Andreotti leads minority government in Italy
1976 Baader-Meinhof Gang (leftist terrorists) active in Germany
1976 Free elections re-established in Spain
1976 Military coup in Argentina and start of state-sponsored "Dirty War" (until 1983)
1977 Israel under Menachem Begin starts West Bank settlements
1977 Activist Steve Biko dies in custody in South Africa
1977 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto executed after coup in Pakistan
1978 Aldo Moro assassinated by leftist Red Brigade terrorists
1978 ETA (Basque seperatist group) active in Spain
1978 Radical reorganization of Cambodia by cruel Pol-Pot regime
1978 Muhammed Zia Ul-Haq becomes hard-line Muslim President of Pakistan
1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes British Prime Minister
1979 Military coup in Bolivia
1979 Somoza regime in Nicaragua ousted by leftist Sandinistas
1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
1979 Iranian Revolution - Ayatollah Khomeini proclaims Islamic Republic
1979 Camp David Agreement brokers peace between Israel and Egypt
1979 Idi Amin forced out of Uganda
1979 "Boat People" start to flee Communist regime in Vietnam
1979 President Park Chung Hee of South Korea assassinated
1979 Three Mile Island nuclear reactor incident in US
1980 Robert Mugabe leads first black government in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
1980 John Lennon (singer) shot
1980 Social Democratic Party formed
1980 Deng Xiao-Ping becomes Chairman of China
1980 Relations between East and West Germany deteriorate
1980 Military coup in Turkey under Kenan Evren
1980 Iran-Iraq War begins
1980 Gdansk Shipyard Strike in Poland - Lech Walesa forms Solidarity
1980 Tito dies - Yugoslavia's six states begin to argue
1980 Iranian Hostage Crisis - hostages held in US Embassy in Tehran
1980 Eruption of Mount St Helens (60 killed)
1980 Ronald Reagan becomes US President
1981 Black youths riot in British cities
1981 IRA prisoners go on hunger strike - 10 die
1981 François Mitterrand becomes first Socialist President of France
1981 Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spenser
1981 President Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt assassinated by Muslim fundamentalists
1981 Greece votes in Socialist Andreas Papandreou
1981 AIDS becomes major health threat throughout world
1982 Britain regain Falklands Islands (Malvinas) after Argentinian occupation
1982 Israel invades Lebanon - Israel-Lebanon War
1982 Martial law in Poland ended by Solidarity action
1983 Bettino Craxi leads Italian coalition government
1983 Helmut Kohl becomes German Chancellor
1983 End of Israel-Lebanon War
1983 Norway's Gro Harlen Brundtland establishes WCED
1983 Socialist government headed by Mário Soares in Portugal
1983 Coloureds and Asians allowed vote in South Africa
1983 Philippino opposition leader Benigno Aquino assassinated
1984 Death of Sir John Betjeman (poet)
1984 Miners' Strike in Britain
1984 Drought and famine in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan
1984 Indira Ghandi assassinated by Sikhs - violence erupts in India
1984 Bhopal industrial disaster in Madhya Pradesh (4,000 - 25,000 killed)
1985 Brazil returns to democratic civilian rule
1985 Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia claims 25,000 lives
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes Russian Premiere - "Glasnost" and "Perestroika"
1985 Enver Hoxha dies - Albania gradually relaxes foreign relations
1985 Pro-Solidarity Father Jerzy Popieluzsko assassinated in Poland
1985 Tamil separatist resurgence in Sri Lanka
1986 Jacques Chirac becomes Prime Minister
1986 Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, contaminating most of Europe
1986 Marcos flees country and Corazon Aquino takes power in Philippines
1987 Russia and West sign first of several treaties to reduce nuclear arms
1987 Iran-Contra Affair - arms for aid scandal
1987 Intifada - Palestinian opposition to Israeli occupation of Gaza and West Bank
1988 End of Iran-Iraq War
1988 US and Canada sign free trade agreement
1989 Pro-democracy protest in Tianenmen Square, Beijing, brutally crushed
1989 Akihito succedes his father Hirohito as Emperor of Japan
1989 Russians pull out of costly war in Afghanistan
1989 European Monetary System (EMS) establishes move towards single currency
1989 Death of Salvador Dalí (Spanish artist)
1989 Exxon Valdez oil-spill in Alaska
1989 Overthrow of communist rule in Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Bulgaria
1989 Non-violent Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia
1989 Violent overthrow of Ceausescu's communist regime in Romania
1989 Berlin Wall demolished
1990 Margaret Thatcher resigns - John Major takes over as British PM
1990 Alberto Fujimori elected President in Peru
1990 East and West Germany unite as Federal Republic of Germany
1990 Neslon Mandela released - end of apartheid in South Africa
1990 Hubble Space Telescope launched
1991 USSR breaks up into constituent countries - end of Soviet era
1991 Official dissolution of Warsaw Pact
1991 Persian Gulf War starts after Iraq invades Kuwait
1991 Ethiopian Civil War ends - Eritrea becomes independent
1991 Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi killed by Tamil suicide bomber
1992 Civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina starts
1993 Bill Clinton elected US President
1993 New York World Trade Center bombing
1993 Salvatore Riina, reputed Mafia leader, arrested
1993 European Union (EU) formed by former EEC members
1993 Violent constitutional crisis in Russia after Boris Yeltsin dissolves legislature
1994 Jean Chrétien becomes Canadian Prime Minister
1994 Rwandan genocide of ethnic Tutsis by Hutus
1994 "Chunnel", rail tunnel between England and France, inaugurated
1994 IRA announce unconditional cease-fire - lasts until 1996
1994 Construction starts on China's Three Gorges Dam
1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) established
1994 Nelson Mandela becomes first black President of South Africa
1994 Sovereignty of Quebec narrowly defeated in referendum
1995 The Great Hanshin earthquake hits Kobe, Japan, killing over 6,000
1995 World Trade Organization (WTO) established to replace GATT
1995 End of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina
1995 Russian war in Chechnya (ends in 1996)
1996 Prince Charles divorces Princess Diana
1996 Israel elects Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister
1997 Tony Blair becomes British Prime Minister
1997 Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule
1997 US spacecraft begins exploration of Mars
1997 Princess Diana killed in Paris car accident
1997 Asian financial crisis
1997 Catholic nun Mother Teresa dies after nearly 50 years work in India
1998 Male impotence drug Viagra licensed for use in USA
1998 Good Friday Accord (Belfast Agreement) signed by Ireland and Britain
1998 Indonesian dictator Suharto steps down after 32 years in power
1998 German chancellor Helmut Kohl defeated by Gerhard Schröder
1999 Bill Clinton acquitted in impeachment trial
1999 Euro launched on international currency markets
1999 King Hussein of Jordan dies after ruling for 46 years
1999 Columbine High School murders
1999 Nelson Mandela retires as president of South Africa - succeeded by Thabo Mbeki
1999 Military coup led by Gen. Pervez Musharraf overthrows Pakistani government
1999 China launches first spacecraft
1999 Vladimir Putin becomes acting Russian President after Yeltsin resigns

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