1966 History Events: What Happened in 1966

In terms of scientific and cultural developments, 1966 was a watershed year. Many “firsts” were made this year as the Soviet Union and the United States competed for dominance in space. The Luna 9 was the first unmanned, controlled, rocket-assisted Moon landing in history. The United States reacted by achieving the first space docking with NASA’s Gemini 8. Luna 10, the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon, was launched by the Soviets.

This year, the first episode of Star Trek broadcast on NBC for the first time in television history. “The Man Trap” was the title of the first episode. The Frost Report launched the careers of three well-known entertainers in the United Kingdom. This show launched the careers of John Cleese, Ronnie Barker, and Ronnie Corbett. The animated Christmas classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, narrated by Boris Karloff, premiered on CBS in 1966.

Other cultural icons were emerging alongside the enormous professions and franchises that were being developed. This was the year that Disneyland’s It’s a Small World opened, Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas debuted, and the World Trade Center in New York City began construction.

Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs was released this year, marking a significant literary advance. The popularity of this work catapulted the career of one of the twentieth century’s most important writers. Thompson is most recognised for creating a whole new genre of literature called Gonzo Journalism.

Some icons were on their way up, while others were on their way down. The Beatles’ US tour came to an end at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. This would be their final live show as a travelling band. The year 1966 also marked the death of Walt Disney. He was still assisting with Disney productions at the time, and The Jungle Book was in the works. As a result, The Jungle Book is the final animated film in which Walt Disney was involved.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1966.


(January 10, 1966)
The Tashkent Declaration was a signed peace deal between India and Pakistan that ended the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War.


(January 12, 1966)
Batman, a live-action television series starring Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as Robin, premiered on ABC and became a great sensation. photo source:

(January 29, 1966)
Romário was a Brazilian football (soccer) player who was one of the sport's most prolific goal scorers. He was born in Rio de Janeiro.

(January 31, 1966)
Luna 9, the first spacecraft to land softly on the Moon, was launched by the Soviet Union.

(February 07, 1966)
Chris Rock, an American comedian best known for his stand-up routines and films, was born.


(May 16, 1966)
Pet Sounds, a melancholy pastiche of songs reflecting the pangs of unrequited love and other coming-of-age experiences, was released by the American rock group the Beach Boys.

(July 18, 1966)
Gemini 10 is launched from Cape Kennedy for a 70-hour mission that involves docking with an Agena target vehicle in orbit.

(July 24, 1966)
Brian Schubert and Michael Pelkey perform the first BASE jump from El Capitan. Both of them had shattered bones. El Cap has now prohibited BASE jumping.

(July 30, 1966)
After extra time, England beats West Germany to win the 1966 FIFA World Cup at Wembley Stadium. photo source:

(September 30, 1966)
Botswana Independence Day.


(October 04, 1966)
Lesotho Independence Day.

(October 21, 1966)
In Aberfan, Wales, the Aberfan Disaster buried a junior high school, killing 148 people, the majority of whom were children. The school was buried by a 700-foot-high landslide of mud and waste sludge caused by the nearby Merthyr Vale Colliery, which towered over the local school before collapsing. photo source:

(November 11, 1966)
The Gemini 12 spacecraft was launched, marking the end of the Gemini series and the first to make an automatically controlled descent into Earth's atmosphere. photo source:

(November 30, 1966)
Barbados, a Caribbean island nation roughly 100 miles (160 kilometres) east of the Windward Islands, obtained internal autonomy in 1961 and full independence from Britain on this day in 1966. photo source:

(December 26, 1966)
The first Kwanzaa celebrations began in the United States, and the holiday lasted until January 1; Maulana Karenga developed the yearly festival, which honours African family and social ideals. photo source:


(December 27, 1966)
In Aquismón, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, the Cave of Swallows, the world's largest known cave shaft, is discovered. 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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1965 History Events: What Happened in 1965

1967 History Events: What Happened in 1967