1959 History Events: What Happened in 1959

The United States was presided over by Dwight D. Eisenhower in the year 1959, which was on the edge of the 1960s. The world’s leaders presided over a population of around 3 billion people. Michael was the most preferred name for young males. If you had a girl, on the other hand, you were significantly more likely to name her Mary. Lawrence Taylor, the world’s finest linebacker; Flavor Flav, the musician and celebrity; Stephen Harper, the former Prime Minister of Canada; English actor Hugh Laurie; and comic Weird Al Yankovic were among many who shared their excitement. While Dr. House was added, Cecil DeMille, Buddy Holly, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Lou Costello were lost.

A Separate Peace by Knowles, Star Ship Troopers by Heinlein, and Naked Lunch by Burroughs were the most popular book club picks. Ben-Hur, Some Like it Hot, and Sleeping Beauty all enjoyed a surge in popularity in theatres around the world. Continue reading to learn how this year paved the way for the American flag, the modern workweek, and a worldview that will never be the same. During these twelve months, the first Barbie doll was sold, the first weather satellite was launched, the first episode of The Twilight Zone aired, and the first coloured picture of Earth as seen from space was created. Furthermore, the world’s inventors offered us our first glance at the pacemaker and the microchip.

Fidel Castro’s army pushed ex-dictator Batista out of Cuba, ushering in a new era of government. With the inauguration of Charles de Gaulle, France saw the start of the 5th republic. While Cyprus was granted independence, Singapore’s first prime minister was sworn in. In 1959, a giant step toward world peace was taken. Despite being angered by the fact that he was refused admission to Disneyland, Russian President Nikita Khruschev agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States. Meanwhile, the number of US states increased from 48 to 50 with the admission of Hawaii and Alaska. Finally, establishing long-term working patterns, West Germany became the first country to implement a five-day work week.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1959.


(January 01, 1959)
After his administration was overthrown by rebel troops led by Fidel Castro, dictator Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba. photo source:


(January 02, 1959)
The Soviet Union launches Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the Moon's vicinity and orbit the Sun. photo source:

(January 03, 1959)
Alaska became the 49th state of the United States. photo source:

(February 03, 1959)
Buddy Holly, an American rock 'n' roll singer, died in a plane crash when he was 22 years old.

(February 16, 1959)
Fidel Castro became President of Cuba on this day in 1959, after overthrowing dictator General Fulgencio Batista's soldiers and transforming the island country into the Western Hemisphere's first communist state.


(February 22, 1959)
Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500, which was held by NASCAR.

(March 09, 1959)
Mattel, Inc. produced Barbie, a toy doll that became an international hit despite criticism.

(May 04, 1959)
The first Grammy Awards were given out, with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Kingston Trio among the winners.

(June 09, 1959)

The USS George Washington makes her maiden voyage. It is the first submarine to carry a nuclear-powered ballistic missile.

Happy Birthday! (August 14, 1959)
Magic Johnson, American basketball player and coach. photo source:

(September 12, 1959)
The Soviet Union launched Luna 2, which was the first human-made object to make contact with another celestial body and the first spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon. photo source:

(September 16, 1959) The Xerox 914, the first successful photocopier, is demonstrated on live television from New York City. photo source:

(September 26, 1959)
Typhoon Vera, the most powerful typhoon ever to hit Japan, makes landfall, killing 4,580 people and displacing over 1.6 million more. photo source:

(October 07, 1959)
The Luna 3 spacecraft transmits the very first images of the far side of the Moon.


(October 26, 1959)
The first photos of the far side of the moon are seen on Earth when the Lunik III, a Soviet satellite, transmits radio signals back to Earth. photo source:

(November 18, 1959)
The global premiere of the American drama film Ben-Hur, perhaps the best of Hollywood's biblical epics; it went on to win an astounding 11 Academy Awards. photo source:

(December 01, 1959)
Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty, declaring the continent a demilitarised zone to be safeguarded for scientific research. 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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1958 History Events: What Happened in 1958

1960 History Events: What Happened in 1960