1961 events in history

Jan 3 A core explosion and meltdown at the SL-1, a government-run reactor near Idaho Falls, Idaho, kills three workers
Jan 3 In Finland's worst civilian aviation accident an Aero Flight 311 crashes near Kvevlax, resulting in the deaths of all 25 people aboard
Jan 3 The United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba over the latter's nationalization of American assets
Jan 8 In France a referendum supports Charles de Gaulle's policies in Algeria
Jan 17 Former Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba is murdered in circumstances suggesting the support and complicity of the governments of Belgium and the United States
Jan 17 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warns against the accumulation of power by the "military–industrial complex" as well as the dangers of massive spending, especially deficit spending
Jan 21 435 workers are buried alive when a mine in Coalbrook, Free State collapses
Jan 23 The Portuguese luxury cruise ship Santa Maria is hijacked by opponents of the Estado Novo regime with the intention of waging war until dictator António de Oliveira Salazar is overthrown
Jan 24 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash: A bomber carrying two H-bombs breaks up in mid-air over North Carolina. The uranium core of one weapon remains lost
Jan 25 In Washington, D.C. John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential television news conference
Jan 26 John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell to be his physician. This is the first time a woman holds the appointment of Physician to the President
Jan 27 Soviet submarine S-80 sinks with all hands lost
Jan 31 Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2 – Ham the Chimp travels into outer space
Feb 3 A protest by agricultural workers in Baixa de Cassanje, Portuguese Angola, turns into a revolt, opening the Angolan War of Independence, the first of the Portuguese Colonial Wars
Feb 3 The United States Air Forces begins Operation Looking Glass, and over the next 30 years, a "Doomsday Plane" is always in the air, with the capability of taking direct control of the United States' bombers and missiles in the event of the destruction of the SAC's command post
Feb 12 Soviet Union launches Venera 1 towards Venus
Feb 13 An allegedly 500,000-year-old rock is discovered near Olancha, California, US, that appears to anachronistically encase a spark plug
Feb 14 Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at the University of California
Feb 15 Sabena Flight 548 crashes in Belgium, killing 73, including the entire United States figure skating team, several coaches and family members
Feb 16 The DuSable Museum of African American History is chartered
Feb 16 Explorer program: Explorer 9 (S-56a) is launched
Feb 27 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation is inaugurated
Mar 1 American President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps
Mar 1 Uganda becomes self-governing and holds its first elections
Mar 9 Sputnik 9 successfully launches, carrying a human dummy nicknamed Ivan Ivanovich, and demonstrating that Soviet Union was ready to begin human spaceflight
Mar 12 First Winter Ascent of the Eiger north face
Mar 15 South Africa withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations
Mar 29 The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C., to vote in presidential elections
Mar 30 The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is signed in New York City
Apr 3 The Leadbeater's Possum is rediscovered in Australia after 72 years
Apr 8 A large explosion on board the MV Dara in the Persian Gulf kills 238
Apr 9 The Pacific Electric Railway in Los Angeles, once the largest electric railway in the world, ends operations
Apr 11 The trial of Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem
Apr 12 The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, in Vostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1)
Apr 17 Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of Cuban exiles financed and trained by the CIA lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro
Apr 18 The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a cornerstone of modern international relations, is adopted
Apr 18 CONCP is founded in Casablanca as a united front of African movements opposing Portuguese colonial rule
Apr 20 Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed Cuban exiles against Cuba
Apr 23 Algiers putsch by French generals
Apr 25 Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit
Apr 27 Sierra Leone is granted its independence from the United Kingdom, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister
Apr 30 K-19, the first Soviet nuclear submarine equipped with nuclear missiles, is commissioned
May 1 The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaims Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections
May 4 American civil rights movement: The "Freedom Riders" begin a bus trip through the South
May 5 The Mercury program: Mercury-Redstone 3 – Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space, on a sub-orbital flight
May 9 FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow gives his Wasteland Speech
May 14 American civil rights movement: The Freedom Riders bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama, and the civil rights protesters are beaten by an angry mob
May 16 Park Chung-hee leads a coup d'état to overthrow the Second Republic of South Korea
May 19 At Silchar Railway Station, Assam, 11 Bengalis die when police open fire on protesters demanding state recognition of Bengali language in the Bengali Language Movement
May 19 Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (the probe had lost contact with Earth a month earlier and did not send back any data)