1958 History Events: What Happened in 1958

In terms of technology and culture, 1958 was a watershed moment. Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite, fell out of orbit on January, signalling the start of the year. As one spacecraft descended, another rose. Explorer 1 was successfully launched into Earth’s orbit by the United States in January. It was the United States’ first successful satellite launch. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created in the United States in 1958. NASA would go on to lead the world in space exploration, culminating in the Apollo missions, which put humans on the Moon for the first time. The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, was the first vessel to reach the North Pole while submerged, another great technological achievement.

There were also a number of significant cultural events this year. The Beatles (then known as the Quarrymen) held their first recording session on July 12th. They covered Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day” and Paul McCartney and George Harrison’s “In Spite of All the Danger.” As significant as the Beatles’ first recording session was, it has been surpassed by another cultural phenomena.

Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn, Jr., of Texas, won the inaugural quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the age of twenty-three, amid the shadow of the Cold War. Van Cliburn performed so well that he received a standing ovation from the Soviet audience that lasted several minutes, and he returned to the United States as a hero, with a major piano competition named after him. Every four years, the Van Cliburn International Competition is conducted in Fort Worth, Texas. Van Cliburn spent the rest of his life as an ambassador of goodwill between the Soviet and American peoples, providing a ray of optimism in an otherwise tense period of history.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1958.


(January 26, 1958)
Ellen DeGeneres, an American comedian and television host noted for her distinctive observational humour, was born.


(January 28, 1958)
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father created the Danish business LEGO, applied for a Danish patent (which was later obtained) for a toy building block that quickly became a worldwide hit.

(January 31, 1958)
Explorer 1 was the United States' first artificial space satellite, signifying the country's entry into the space race.

(February 23, 1958)
Five-time Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio is kidnapped by rebels who are part of the Cuban Revolution, just a day before the Cuban Grand Prix starts. he was freed the next day.

Happy Birthday! (August 16, 1958)
Madonna, American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and director. photo source:


(August 18, 1958)
Brojen Das of Bangladesh swims the English Channel in a competition, becoming the first Bengali and Asian to accomplish it. He finished first out of 39 competitors.

Happy Birthday! (August 29, 1958)
Michael Jackson, American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, and actor. photo source:

(September 22, 1958)
Andrea Bocelli, the famous Italian opera tenor, was born, and was known for blending opera with pop music. photo source:

(October 02, 1958)
Guinea Independence Day.


(October 11, 1958)
NASA launches Pioneer 1, its first space probe, but it is unable to maintain a stable position in the solar system after launch. photo source:

(October 26, 1958)
Pan American World Airways took delivery of America's first jet aeroplane, the Boeing 707. Pan American Airways flew the Boeing 707 on the first voyage from New York City to Paris. photo source:

(November 10, 1958)
The Hope diamond, one of the world's largest blue diamonds, was given to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and has since become one of the institution's most popular attractions. photo source:

(November 28, 1958)
The first successful flight of the SM-65 Atlas, the United States' first operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and the first member of the Atlas rocket family. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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1957 History Events: What Happened in 1957

1959 History Events: What Happened in 1959