World History 1959-1960

1959 EFTA Founded Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal established the "European Free Trade Association" as a counterpart to the Common Market.
1959 Singapore Independent Singapore became an independent state on June 3, 1959.
1959 Uprising in Tibet Fighting broke out between Communist Chinese troops and the local population, who were rebelling against Communist rule. The Communists put down the rebellion, dissolved the Tibetan local government and forced the Dalai Lama into exile.
1959 Degaulle Agrees to Vote on Algerian Independence French casualties continued to mount in Algeria. France's position that Algeria was part of their country was under attack throuhout the world. Thus, French President DeGaulle bowed to what seemed the inevitable and agreed to a referendum in Algeria on independence.
1959 St. Lawrence Seaway The St. Lawrence Seaway was opened on June 26. The Seaway, which was a joint Canadian-American project, allowed ships to travel to the Great Lakes, thereby opening American and Canadian lake ports to sea transportation.
1959 Alaska Admitted to the Union On January 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state admitted to the Union.
1959 Hawaii Admitted to the Union On August 21, Hawaii, the "Aloha State," joined the Union.
1959 Kitchen Debate During a visit to the Soviet Union by US Vice President Nixon, he and Soviet Premier Khrushchev engaged in a so called "kitchen debate" on the merits of Communism and Capitalism. The debate took place at the opening of the American National Exposition in Moscow.
1959 Castro Seizes Power in Cuba On January 1st, Fidel Castro marched into Havana after Cuban dictator Batista had fled. Castro, who had led the successful revolution against Batista, was widely welcomed-- even by the U.S. Castro soon signed a friendship treaty with the Soviet Union. He also confiscated large agrarian holdings. As far as the United States was concerned, these two actions transformed Castro from a freedom fighter into a Communist.
1959 X- 15 Makes First Flight The "X-15 Rocket" Aircraft made its first flight from a B-52 Bomber in 1959. The plane set many speed records, obtaining a top speed of Mach 6. The X-15 was used to test many concepts later used in the space program.

1960

1960 Failed Summit in Paris The summit at Paris took place in the shadow of the Russian downing of an American U-2 fighter over the Soviet Union. The Soviets, led by Khrushchev, used the summit as a means of scoring a propoganda victory over the US. The summit, thus, accomplished nothing but to raise the level of rhetoric on both sides.
1960 Sino Soviets Split An ideological split developed between the communist Chinese and the communist government of the Soviet Union. The ideological roots of the dispute lay in the more pragramatic approach to world affairs that Premier Khrushchev was taking. In addition, the long-simmering border disputes between the parties began to effect their relations.
1960 Syngman Rhee Resigns Syngman Rhee was re-elected for a fourth term as President of South Korea in March 1960. Demonstrations broke out protesting that the elections had been rigged. On April 19, police fired on demonstrators, killing 127 people. On April 27, Rhee resigned.
1960 Niger, Mauritania, Mali, French Congo, Chad, and Madagascar all became Independent.
1960 Nigeria becomes Independent On October 1, Nigeria became independent. Its first governor general was Nnamdi Azikiwe. A, year later Northern Cameroon voted for union with Nigeria.
1960 Belgian Congo Independent On June 30, an independent Republic of the Congo was created, with Joseph Kasavubu as President and Patrice Lumumba as Premier. A civil war broke out when Moise Tshombe declared the Kantaga Province independent. The Congo government appealed to the U.N. for aid, and troops were dispatched. Kasavubu tried dismissing Lumumba, who had asked for assistance from the Soviet bloc. When Lumumba refused to be relieved, Col. Joseph Mobutu, commander of the Congo military, took over the government. Lumumba was captured and killed. The secession in Kantaga finally came to an end in 1964, when government forces took Albertville.
1960 U-2 Downed A U-2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, was shot down by the Soviet Union. The downing resulted in the complete failure of the four-part summit meeting held in Paris on May 17, when President Eisenhower refused Khruschev's demand for an apology for past aggression against the USSR.
1960 Polaris Missile Fired The United States Navy test-fired a Polaris Missile from a submarine. The successful firing of the Polaris allowed the United States to base a substantial portion of its nuclear deterrent forces on submarines, where they were safe from a successful first strike by Soviet forces.
1960 USS Enterprise Launched The USS Enterprise was the first aircraft carrier to be powered by nuclear reactors. The nuclear reactors freed the Enterprise from the need for refueling.
1960 Planes Collide On December 16, two airliners collided over the skies of Brooklyn, NY. The two planes involved were a United DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation. There was only one survivor. The DC-8 was scheduled to land at Idlewild, while the Super Constellation was going to land at La Guardia. This crash, and a previous crash over the Grand Canyon, spurred the government to overhaul the national air traffic control system.