1979 events in history

Jan 1 Formal diplomatic relations are established between China and the United States
Jan 7 Third Indochina War – Cambodian–Vietnamese War: Phnom Penh falls to the advancing Vietnamese troops, driving out Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge
Jan 8 The tanker Betelgeuse explodes in Bantry Bay, Ireland
Jan 16 The last Iranian Shah flees Iran with his family for good and relocates to Egypt
Jan 25 Pope John Paul II starts his first official papal visits outside Italy to the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Mexico
Jan 28 CBS News Sunday Morning debuts with original host and cocreator Charles Kuralt
Jan 28 Pope John Paul II starts his first pastoral visit to Mexico
Jan 30 A Varig 707-323C freighter, flown by the same commander as Flight 820, disappears over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo
Feb 1 The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile
Feb 1 Convicted bank robber Patty Hearst is released from prison after her sentence is commuted by President Jimmy Carter
Feb 7 Pluto moves inside Neptune's orbit for the first time since either was discovered
Feb 11 The Iranian Revolution establishes an Islamic theocracy under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Feb 13 An intense windstorm strikes western Washington and sinks a 1/2-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge
Feb 14 In Kabul, Setami Milli militants kidnap the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs who is later killed during a gunfight between his kidnappers and police
Feb 15 Don Dunstan resigns as Premier of South Australia, ending a decade of sweeping social liberalisation
Feb 17 The Sino-Vietnamese War begins
Feb 18 Snow falls in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for the only time in recorded history
Feb 22 Independence of Saint Lucia from the United Kingdom
Mar 5 Soviet probes Venera 11, Venera 12 and the American solar satellite Helios II all are hit by "off the scale" gamma rays leading to the discovery of soft gamma repeaters
Mar 5 America's Voyager 1 spacecraft has its closest approach to Jupiter, 172,000 miles
Mar 8 Philips demonstrates the Compact Disc publicly for the first time
Mar 13 The New Jewel Movement, headed by Maurice Bishop, ousts Prime Minister Eric Gairy in a nearly bloodless coup d'etat in Grenada
Mar 14 In China, a Hawker Siddeley Trident crashes into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200
Mar 16 Sino-Vietnamese War: The People's Liberation Army crosses the border back into China, ends the war
Mar 17 The Penmanshiel Tunnel collapses during engineering works, killing two workers
Mar 19 The United States House of Representatives begins broadcasting its day-to-day business via the cable television network C-SPAN
Mar 25 The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, is delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center to be prepared for its first launch
Mar 26 Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter sign the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C
Mar 28 The British House of Commons passes a vote of no confidence against James Callaghan's government, precipitating a general election
Mar 28 A coolant leak at the Three Mile Island's Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania leads to the core overheating and a partial meltdown
Mar 30 Airey Neave, a British Member of Parliament, is killed by a car bomb as he exits the Palace of Westminster. The Irish National Liberation Army claims responsibility
Mar 31 The last British soldier leaves the Maltese Islands. Malta declares its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien)
Apr 1 Iran becomes an Islamic republic by a 99% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah
Apr 4 Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan is executed
Apr 10 Red River Valley tornado outbreak: A tornado lands in Wichita Falls, Texas killing 42 people
Apr 11 Ugandan dictator Idi Amin is deposed
May 3 After the general election, Margaret Thatcher forms her first government as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
May 4 Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
May 9 Iranian Jewish businessman Habib Elghanian is executed by firing squad in Tehran, prompting the mass exodus of the once 100,000 member strong Jewish community of Iran
May 10 The Federated States of Micronesia become self-governing
May 21 White Night riots in San Francisco following the manslaughter conviction of Dan White for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk
May 25 American Airlines Flight 191: In Chicago, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 crashes during takeoff at O'Hare International Airport killing all 271 on board and two people on the ground
May 25 Etan Patz, who is six years old, disappears from the street just two blocks away from his home in New York City, prompting an international search for the child, and causing the U.S. President Ronald Reagan to designate May 25 as National Missing Children's Day (in 1983)
May 28 Konstantinos Karamanlis signs the full treaty of the accession of Greece with the European Economic Community
Jun 1 The first black-led government of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 90 years takes power
Jun 2 Pope John Paul II starts his first official visit to his native Poland, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country
Jun 3 A blowout at the Ixtoc I oil well in the southern Gulf of Mexico causes at least 3,000,000 barrels (480,000 m3) of oil to be spilled into the waters, the second-worst accidental oil spill ever recorded
Jun 4 Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings takes power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo is overthrown
Jun 9 The Ghost Train fire at Luna Park Sydney (Australia) kills seven
Jun 12 Bryan Allen wins the second Kremer prize for a man powered flight across the English Channel in the Gossamer Albatross