1964 History Events: What Happened in 1964

The year 1964 began with a series of riots over the sovereignty of the Panama Canal zone, which culminated in the involvement of the US Army and played a key role in the US decision to hand over management of the Canal to Panama in the 1970s.

The military coup against President Joo Goulart of Brazil, which established a 21-year military dictatorship, was another significant event in South America that year. The United States is going through a difficult period due to the Vietnam War. On May 2, the first student protests against the war happen in both New York City and San Francisco at the same time. Young men protest the war by burning their draught cards in the same month, the first such demonstration.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thus ending racial segregation in the United States, though racial tensions persist. The 1964 Winter Olympics were held in Austria, and on February 25th, Cassius Clay, who would later become Muhammad Ali, won the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World. The British Invasion of America begins in the arts when the Beatles, who had just released their first U.S. single a few weeks before, appear on the Ed Sullivan Show in front of an estimated 73 million viewers. Two more well-known British bands, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks, released their first albums in April and October, respectively.

For his major role in Lilies in the Field, actor Sydney Poitier became the first African-American to receive an Academy Award for Best Actor. In the same year, the film adaptation of My Fair Lady wins eight Academy Awards. Courteney Cox of Friends fame, Italian actress Monica Bellucci, First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, and Prince Edward, Earl of Essex were all born in 1964.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1964.


(January 11, 1964)
Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., the Surgeon General of the United States, issues the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States, stating that smoking may be harmful to one's health and igniting national and international anti-smoking campaigns. photo source:


(January 12, 1964)
Jeff Bezos, the founder of, was born in the United States. He was a crucial figure in the expansion of e-commerce. photo source:

(February 07, 1964)
The musical British Invasion began on this day in 1964, when the Beatles arrived in New York City, and two nights later, as Beatlemania swept the country, their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show drew 73 million viewers.

(February 11, 1964)
Sarah Palin, the first woman to stand on a Republican presidential ticket, was born as John McCain's running mate in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

(March 18, 1964)
Bonnie Blair, a speed skater from Cornwall, New York, is one of the most successful American female skaters in Olympic competition.


(April 13, 1964)
Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field (1963).

(April 26, 1964)
The United Republic of Tanzania was formed when Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged, and Julius Nyerere became its first president.

(May 13, 1964)
Stephen Colbert, an American actor and comedian best known for hosting The Colbert Report, a sarcastic parody of television news shows, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, was born.

(July 31, 1964)
Ranger 7 returns the first close-up views of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen by terrestrial telescopes.


(August 12, 1964)
South Africa has been barred from the Olympic Games as a result of its discriminatory policies. photo source:

(September 13, 1964)
On Sunday, in Waldbühne, 20,000 West Berliners listen to a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. photo source:

(October 10, 1964)
The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be the first to be broadcast live by satellite. photo source:

(October 14, 1964)
Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist preacher and social activist, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to civil rights and social justice. photo source:

(November 03, 1964)
Lyndon B. Johnson is re-elected to a full term as President of the United States, with 61 percent of the vote and 44 states, while residents of Washington, D.C. are given the opportunity to vote in a presidential election for the first time, with the majority of their ballots going to Lyndon Johnson. photo source:


(November 21, 1964)
The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island across New York Harbor, opened to traffic. It was the world's longest bridge span at the time. 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.

Our team at World Amazing Facts is committed to verifying the accuracy of our content. It's possible that we'll get something wrong, or that our knowledge may become obsolete. Please let us know if you see any errors in the information provided.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

1963 History Events: What Happened in 1963

1965 History Events: What Happened in 1965