1979 History Events: What Happened in 1979

As the world’s population grew to almost 4.4 billion people, Jimmy Carter’s steady hand steered the United States. Michael and Jennifer were the most popular names among new parents. Among the sea of Mikes and Jens were Jennifer Love Hewitt, Heath Ledger, Kate Hudson, Kevin Hart, and Pink, to name a few. While we acquired those vocalists and thespians in 1979, we also lost Conrad Hilton, the creator of Hilton Hotels; Cyrus Eaton, the Canadian-American steel magnate; John Wayne, the American actor; and Nur Mohammed Taraki, the President of Afghanistan.

It was Douglas Adams’ initial printing of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that put him at the top of library demand lists. Popular and famous films such as Alien, The Warriors, and The Amityville Horror flooded the theatres. Continue reading to learn how 1979 affected the globe. The first human killed by a robot, the first gay and lesbian civil rights march on Washington, the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, the first alien volcano discovered, and the first recorded case of a comet hitting the sun all happened in 1979.

Meanwhile, innovations like fleece, rollerblades, and the Walkman were brought to reality by the world’s inventors. While the United States and China established diplomatic relations, the People’s Republic of China and Vietnam’s relationship deteriorated with the start of the Sino-Vietnam war. Meanwhile, in the United States, the government has given its approval to the creation of a Department of Education. This year also celebrated the 100-millionth visitor to the world’s happiest location (Walt Disney World).

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1979.


(February 17, 1979)
After the Vietnam War, Vietnam boosted its connections with the Soviet Union rather than China, and China invaded its southern neighbour on this day in 1979, following a series of anti-Chinese, pro-Soviet actions by Vietnam.


(March 05, 1979)
Voyager 1, a NASA space mission, sailed by Io, Jupiter's innermost satellite, and discovered nine active volcanoes on its surface.

(March 26, 1979)
On this day in 1979, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat signed the historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, which was based on the Camp David Accords, which were mediated by US President Jimmy Carter in September 1978.

(March 28, 1979)
An automatic valve at the Three Mile Island nuclear power facility outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was accidentally closed at 4:00 a.m., resulting in radioactive leakage.

(April 11, 1979)
As Tanzanian-led forces approached Kampala, Ugandan President Idi Amin, dubbed "Butcher of Uganda" for his brutality, fled the nation.


(May 03, 1979)
Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party was elected British Prime Minister on this day in 1979, being the first woman in Europe to do so; she eventually became the longest-serving British Prime Minister since 1827.

(July 12, 1979)
Kiribati attains its independence from the United Kingdom.

(September 01, 1979)
The first spacecraft to visit Saturn was the American probe Pioneer 11, which passed the planet at a distance of 21,000 kilometres (13,000 mi). photo source:

(September 16, 1979)
The crew of eight managed to escape from East Germany on a homemade hot air balloon.


(October 17, 1979)
Mother Teresa, the founder of a Roman Catholic order of women committed to the underprivileged, notably the destitute of India, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this day in 1979. photo source:

(October 26, 1979)
President Park Chung Hee of South Korea was assassinated on this day in 1979 by Kim Jae Kyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, who was sentenced to death for his activities. photo source:

(October 27, 1979)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea located within the Lesser Antilles, gained independence. photo source:

(December 09, 1979)
The illness was officially declared eradicated 10 years after the World Health Organization initiated a global immunisation programme against smallpox. 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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