No better song describes the 1960s as Bob Dylan’s “The times they are a-changing”:
“Come gather ’round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’…” While listening to the song about the decade of change, here are 60 interesting facts about the 1960s that you might enjoy…
Democrat John F.
Kennedy won the U.S. Presidential Election after defeating Republican Richard Nixon.
Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Chad, Benin, Mauritania, Senegal, and the Central African Republic gained independence from France. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was created.
United States decided to send 3,500 U.S. troops to Vietnam. TIROS-1, the first weather satellite, was launched by the U.S.
Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in
space. One month later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
Construction on the
Berlin Wall began to separate East and West Berlin. The Bay of
Pigs invasion was an unsuccessful U.S. backed operation to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis had the world on the edge of another World War as the United States and
USSR came close to launching nuclear attacks.
James Meredith became the first African-American student to enrol at the University of
Mississippi. The comic book character of Spider-Man made his debut in the
Amazing Fantasy #15 comic.
The Beatles released their first single, “ Love Me Do,” in the United Kingdom.
The Beatles moved through the late 1960s as favourites of the ‘flower power’ generation. Other teenagers preferred the music of the ‘Mods’ – ska music and
The Who. The audio cassette was invented.
The first geosynchronous communications satellite, Syncom 2 was launched.
Sony marketed the CV-2000, the first home videotape recorder.
Most homes had televisions by the end of the decade.
Coronation Street first aired in 1960.
Atlantic satellite television via the Telstar satellite was made possible in 1962. BBC 2 went on air in 1964 and was the first channel to have
color in 1967.
England won the football World Cup.
Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in Arkansas.
United States President
John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. S. Civil Rights Leader
Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
The United States began to use Zip Codes.
Yugoslavia became a socialist federal republic and President Josip Broz Tito was appointed as “President for
Life.” The BBC broadcast the very first episode of the iconic television show “Doctor Who.”
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into
NASA’s Mariner 4 space probe successfully approached Mars and became the first spacecraft to take images of a planet from deep space. Sidney Poitier won the Academy Award for “Best Actor” becoming the first black actor to win that honour.
The computer coding language BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was introduced.
Motor Company began to produce and sell the Ford Mustang. New
cars of the ’60s included the Capri (1961), Consul Cortina (1963), and Ford Escort (1968), which replaced the Anglia.
In 1966, the first intercity train was used, which could travel much quicker than old steam and
diesel trains. Many trains now run using electricity, which is much quieter and cleaner. The Voting Rights Act was signed into
law by President Lyndon Johnson. Soviet Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov became the first person to perform a spacewalk.
Martin Luther King, Jr. led a peaceful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. The
Vietnam War escalated and opposition to it began to mount as anti-Vietnam protests become more common. Mary Quant designed the mini-skirt in
London that became a fashion craze.
The first episode of the popular television show “Star Trek” aired.
Soviet Union’s Luna 9 unmanned spacecraft landed on the Moon.
Botswana and Lesotho gained independence from England.
Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of
Canada Pension Plan was in fact introduced in Canada. Rolling Stone published its first magazine issue.
The Green Bay Packers and the
Kansas City Chiefs played against each other in the first Super Bowl, with the Packers winning 35 to 10. South African doctor Christiaan Barnard completed the first
heart transplant operation. The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.
Thurgood Marshall was the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court.
Civil Rights leader
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April by James Earl Ray. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Johnson.
President Richard Nixon
The first public demonstration of the computer
mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, email, and hypertext happened in 1968. Arpanet, the research-oriented prototype of the
Internet, was introduced in 1969. Richard Nixon won the United States presidential election.
The first manned
Apollo mission, Apollo 7, was launched by NASA. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to arrive on
the Moon during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. The Woodstock music festival took place in
New York and featured such acts as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and The Who.
ARPANET, the predecessor to
the Internet, relayed its first communication between UCLA and Stanford. The popular children’s television show “Sesame Street” debuted.
United Kingdom abolished the death penalty. Do you have any interesting or fun facts about the 1960s that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!