Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s - 1960s - 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Years: 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 - 1961 - 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966
1961 was the last year where it didn't make a difference if you read the year up side down until 6119[?].
- January 3 - President Dwight Eisenhower announced that the United States had severed diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba.
- January 3 - An atomic reactor exploded at National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls[?], Idaho, killing 3 military technicians.
- January 7 - Following a four-day conference conference in Casablanca, five African chiefs of state announced plans for a NATO-type African organization to insure common defense. The Charter of Casablanca[?] involved were Morocco, the United Arab Republic, Ghana, Guinea, and Mali.[?]
- January 12 - President Dwight Eisenhower gave his final State of the Union Address to Congress.
- January 20 - John F. Kennedy becomes President of the United States
- January 25 - In Washington, DC John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential news conference[?]. In it, he announces that the Soviet Union had freed the two surviving crewmen of a USAF RB-47[?] reconnaissance plan shot down by Soviet flyers over the Barents Sea July 1, 1960. (see RB-47H shot down[?])
- January 25 - Acting to halt 'leftist excesses,' a junta comprised of two army officers and 4 civilians took over the rule of El Salvador, ousting another junta that had ruled for three months.
- January 26 - John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell[?] to be his physician. This is the first time a woman held this appointment.
- January 30 - President John F. Kennedy delivered his first State of the Union Address.
- January 31 - Ham, a 37 pound male chimpanzee, was rocketed into space in a test of the Project Mercury capsule designed to carry U.S. astronauts[?] into space.
- February 5 - The Sunday Telegraph[?] publishes its first issue.
- February 11 - Trial of Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem
- February 14 - Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized (Berkeley, California).
- February 15 - A Boeing 707 crashes in Belgium killing 73, including the entire United States figure skating team and several coaches.
- March 1 - President of the United States John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
- March 3 - Hassan II[?] becomes King of Morocco
- March 8 - Max Conrad[?] circumnavigates the earth in eight days, 18 hours and 49 minutes setting a new world record.
- March 15 - South Africa withdraws from the British Commonwealth
- March 29 - The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, allowing residents of Washington, DC to vote in presidential elections.
- April 12 - Yuri Gagarin is the first man in space
- April 17 - Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba begins, ending in failure April 19
- April 25 - Robert Noyce is granted the first patent for an integrated circuit.
- April 27 - Sierra Leone is granted its independence from the United Kingdom.
- May 14 - American civil rights movement: A Freedom Riders[?] bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama and the civil rights protestors are beaten by an angry mob.
- May 19 - Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first manmade object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (however the probe had lost contact with earth a month earlier and did not send back any data).
- May 21 - American civil rights movement: Alabama Governor John Patterson[?] declares martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots break out.
- May 24 - American civil rights movement: Freedom Riders[?] are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for "disturbing the peace" after disembarking from their bus.
- May 25 - Apollo program: President Kennedy announces before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a "man on the moon" before the end of the decade.
- May 28 - Peter Benenson's article "The Forgotten Prisoners" is published in several internationally read newspapers. This will later be thought of as the founding of the human rights organization Amnesty International
- August 13 - Construction of the Berlin Wall begins. Movement between East Berlin and West Berlin remains restricted for the next 28 years, until November 9, 1989
- December 31 - The Marshall Plan expires after having distributed more than $12 billion in foreign aid[?] to rebuild Europe.
Art, Culture & Fashion
- January 5 - Suzy Amis[?], actress
- January 13 - Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actress
- January 21 - Blaise Cendrars, writer
- January 26 - Wayne Gretzky, Ice hockey player
- February 10 - George Stephanopoulos[?], political consultant, commentator
- February 11 - Mary Docter[?], American speed skater
- February 11 - Becky LeBeau[?], vocalist
- February 11 - Carey Lowell[?], actress
- February 13 - Henry Rollins, musician
- February 21 - Davey Allison[?], automobile racer (+ 1993)
- March 4 - Ray Mancini, boxer
- March 14 - Kirby Puckett, baseball player
- March 15 - Fabio[?], model
- April 3 - Eddie Murphy, actor and comedian
- April 6 - Gene Eugene, actor, lead singer of Adam Again
- April 26 - Joan Chen[?], actress
- May 6 - George Clooney, actor
- May 13 - Dennis Rodman[?], basketball player, actor
- May 14 - Tim Roth[?], actor
- May 17 - Enya, singer, songwriter
- May 29 - Melissa Etheridge, rock musician
- July 1 - Diana, English princess
- September 2 - Carlos Valderrama, footballer
- December 30 - Douglas Coupland, author
- January 4 - Erwin Schrödinger, physicist
- January 10 - Dashiell Hammett, writer
- January 17 - Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- January 21 - Blaise Cendrars, writer
- February 11 - Eduard R Verkade[?], Dutch actor/director
- February 11 - Patrice Lumumba, 1st premier of Congo (Kinshasa)[?]?
- February 26 - King Mohammed V of Morocco
- March 3 - Paul Wittgenstein, pianist
- May 13 - Gary Cooper, actor
- June 1 - Melvin Jones, founder of Lions Clubs International
- June 30 - Lee DeForest - inventor
- October 11 - Chico Marx, member of the Marx Brothers