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1961 Historical Event(s)
- January 31, 1961 – Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2 – Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.
- February 15, 1961 – New Year’s Day in Chinese calendar. Start of the year of the Metal Ox in Chinese astrology.
- March 1, 1961 – President of the United States John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
- April 12, 1961 – The Russian (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).
- April 17, 1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban exiles lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.
- May 4, 1961 – American civil rights movement: The “Freedom Riders” begin a bus trip through the South.
- May 24, 1961 – Cyprus joins the Council of Europe.
- October 17, 1961 – Scores of Algerian protesters (some claim up to 400) are massacred by the Paris police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Prefecture of Police.
- October 30, 1961 – Nuclear testing: The Soviet Union detonates the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 50 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise.
- October 31, 1961 – In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin’s body is removed from Lenin’s Tomb.
Who Were Born On 1961?
- May 10, 1961 – Danny Carey, American drummer (Tool, Pigmy Love Circus)
- August 2, 1961 – Graham Dye, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (Scarlet Party, The Alan Parsons Project)
- August 7, 1961 – Brian Conley, English comedian
- August 19, 1961 – Jonathan Coe, British author
- August 22, 1961 – Debbi Peterson, American musician (The Bangles)
- August 29, 1961 – Rodney McCray, American basketball player
- September 29, 1961 – Julia Gillard, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia
- November 4, 1961 – Les Sampou, American musician
- November 16, 1961 – Corinne Hermès, French singer