1972 is a leap year starting on Saturday (click link for calendar).
1969 1970 1971 - 1972 - 1973 1974 1975
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1940s 1950s 1960s - 1970s - 1980s 1990s 2000s
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
- January 2 - the Pierre Hotel Heist - Six men rob the safety deposit boxes of the Pierre Hotel in New York City. Loot is at least $4 million
- January 5 - President of the United States Richard Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program.
- January 4 - Kurt Waldheim becomes the Secretary General of the United Nations.
- January 7 - Iberian Airlines passenger planes crashes into 800' peak on island of Ibiza - 104 dead
- January 9 – Howard Hughes speaks by telephone to denounce Clifford Irving's supposed biography about him
- January 9 - RMS Queen Elizabeth is destroyed by fire (Hong Kong harbor).
- January 9 - Rose Heilbron becomes the first woman judge in the United Kingdom (Old Bailey, London).
- January 11 – East Pakistan becomes independent with the name Bangladesh
- January 14 - King Frederick IX of Denmark dies - his daughter Queen Margaret II of Denmark ascends to the throne at January 16.
- January 16 - Pruitt-Igoe housing complex is destroyed.
- January 22 – Denmark, Ireland, Norway and United Kingdom join the EEC
- January 23-24 – Entire Istanbul under house arrest for 24 hours
- January 24 - Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi discovered in Guam. He had spent 28 years in the jungle.
- January 25 - Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to US Congress, announces her candidacy for US president
- January 26 - Yugoslavian air stewardress Vesna Vulovic is the only survivor when her plane crashes in Czechoslovakia.
- January 28 – In French television Richard Chanfray claims he is Count of St Germain
- January 30 - Bloody Sunday - the British Army kills 13 unarmed Roman Catholic civil rights marchers in Northern Ireland.
- January 30 - Pakistan withdraws from the British Commonwealth.
- January 31 King Mahendra of Nepal dies, becoming the second king to die that month, and is succeeded by his son, Birendra.
- February 1 - First scientific hand-held calculator (HP-35) introduced (price $395).
- February 2 - Bomb explodes in British Yacht Club in West Berlin. Only casualty is Irwin Beelitz, German boat builder. Movement 2 June announces it is in support of Irish Republican Army
- February 2 - Anti-British riots throughout the Republic of Ireland take place. The British Embassy in Dublin is burned to the ground as are several British owned offices and shops.
- February 3 - Sapporo Winter Olympics begin.
- February 4 - Mariner 9 sends pictures from Mars.
- February 5 - US airlines begin mandatory inspection of passengers and baggage
- February 5 - Bob Douglas becomes the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
- February 9 - British government declares a state of emergency over a miners' strike
- February 15 – President of Ecuador Velasco Ibara deposed for the fourth time
- February 15 - Phonorecords granted U.S. Federal copyright protection for the first time
- February 17 - Sales of the Volkswagen Beetle model exceed those of Ford Model-T (15 million).
- February 18 - The California Supreme Court invalidates the state's death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death row inmates to life in prison.
- February 21 - February 27 - President Richard M. Nixon makes an unprecedented eight-day visit to the People's Republic of China and meets with Mao Zedong.
- February 21 - The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 lands on the Moon.
- February 22 - IRA bomb in Aldershot - 7 dead
- February 23 - Angela Davis released from jail
- February 23 - Lufthansa plane hijacked to Aden. Passengers are released after ransom of 16 million D-marks is agreed.
- February 24 - North Vietnamese negotiators walk out of the peace talks in Paris to protest US air raids
- February 25 - Terrorism: Germany gives $5 million to an Arab terrorist as ransom for the passengers and crew of a hijacked jumbo jet.
- February 26 – A coal sludge spill kills 125 in Buffalo Creek
- February 26 - Luna 20 comes back to Earth with a cargo of moon rocks
- March 1 - Thai province of Yasothon created after being split off from the Ubon Ratchathani province
- March 1 – British 14-year-old schoolboy Timothy Davey is sentenced in Turkey for "conspiring to sell cannabis"
- March 1 - Club of Rome publishes report "Boundaries on the Growth"
- March 2 - Launch of Pioneer 10 spacecraft.
- March 2 – Jean-Bedel Bokassa becomes the president of Central African Republic
- March 3 - Sculpted figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee, and Stonewall Jackson completed at Stone Mountain, Georgia
- March 4 – Libya and Soviet Union sign a cooperation treaty
- March 5 - Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis leaves the Greek Communist Party
- March 8 - The Goodyear blimp flies for the first time.
- March 13 - The United Kingdom and People's Republic of China elevate diplomatic exchanges to the ambassadorial level after 22 years
- March 13 - Clifford Irving admits to a New York court that he had fabricated Howard Hughes "autobiography"
- March 19 - India and Bangladesh sign a friendship treaty.
- March 24 - In a bid for peace, Britain takes over direct rule of Northern Ireland.
- March 26 – 19 climbers of Mount Fuji die in an avalanche
- March 30 - Vietnam War: The Eastertide Offensive begins after North Vietnamese forces cross into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of South Vietnam.
- April 7 – US Mafioso Joe Gallo shot in Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy
- April 10 - USA and Soviet Union join some 70 nations in signing an agreement to ban biological warfare
- April 10 - A 7.0 Richter scale earthquake kills 1/5 of the population of Iranian province of Fars
- April 16 - Apollo 16 launched.
- April 18 - Roland Corporation founded in Osaka.
- April 22 - Sylvia Cook and John Fairfax have rowed across the Pacific
- April 27 - Constructive Vote of No Confidence against German Chancellor Willy Brandt fails under obscure circumstances.
- April 29 - The fourth anniversary of the Broadway musical Hair is celebrated with a free concert at a Central Park bandshell, followed by dinner at the Four Seasons. There, thirteen Black Panther protesters and the show's co-author, Jim Rado, are arrested for disturbing the peace and marijuana use.
- May 5 – Alitalia DC-8 crashes west of Palermo, Sicily – 115 dead
- May 9 - Three out of six bombs explode in Springer newspaper building in Hamburg, West Germany - 17 dead.
- May 13 – Fire in a nightclub atop the Sennichi department store in Osaka, Japan – 115 dead
- May 15 - Governor George Wallace of Alabama is shot by Arthur H. Bremer at a Laurel, Md., political rally.
- May 17 - The closing notice is posted for the Broadway musical Hair.
- May 18 - Four troopers of both SAS and SBS are parachuted onto the HMS Queen Elizabeth II, 1000 miles off Britain in the Atlantic, after a bomb threat and demand for ransom. It turns out to be bogus
- May 19 - Three out of six bombs explode in the Springer Press building in Hamburg, Germany - 17 injured. Red Army Faction takes the responsibility
- May 21 - In Rome, Laszlo Toth attacks Michelangelo's Pieta-statue with a hammer.
- May 22 - Ceylon becomes republic of Sri Lanka.
- May 22 - Ceylon becomes Republic of Sri Lanka under prime minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike when its new constitution is ratified
- May 24 - RAF bomb explodes in a Campbell Barracks of the US Army Supreme European Command in Heidelberg. Two US soldiers dead
- May 26 - Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev sign SALT I treaty in Moscow.
- May 26 - Willandra National Park is established in Australia.
- May 30 - The Angry Brigade goes on trial
- May 30 – 3 members of Japanese Red Army kill 24 and injure 100 in Lod Airport, Israel
- June - Iraq nationalizes the Iraq Petroleum Company
- June 2 - Andreas Baader, Jan-Carl Raspe, Holger Meins and some other members of Red Army Faction are arrested in Frankfurt am Main after a shootout.
- June 3 – Sally Priesand becomes the first female US rabbi
- June 4 - Angela Davis found not guilty of murder.
- June 14 - June 23 - Hurricane Agnes kills 117 in US east coast.
- June 15 - Ulrike Meinhof and [[Gerhard M�ller]] of Red Army Faction are arrested in a teacher's apartment in Langenhagen, West Germany.
- June 17 - Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee
- June 17 - Return of Okinawa from United States' control to Japan
- June 17 - Chilean president Salvador Allende forms a new government
- June 23 - Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon and White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about using the Central Intelligence Agency to obstruct the Federal Bureau of Investigation's investigation into the Watergate break-ins.
- June 25 – Juan Peron elected president of Argentina
- June 28 - US president Nixon announces that no new draftees will be sent to Vietnam
- June 29 - Supreme Court of the United States rules that the death penalty is unconstitutional.
- July 1 - The Broadway production of the musical Hair closes after 1,752 performances.
- July 4 – The first Rainbow Gathering held in Colorado
- July 8 – US sells grain to Soviet Union for $750 million
- July 10 – Stampede of elephants kills 24 in the Chandka Forest in India
- July 18 – Anwar Sadat expels 20.000 soviet advisors from Egypt
- July 23 - The United States launches Landsat 1, first Earth-resources satellite
- July 23 – Landsat-1 satellite launched
- July 25 – US Health officials admit that blacks were used as guinea pigs in a syphilis experiment
- July 29 – National dock strike begins in Britain
- August 4 - Arthur Bremer jailed for 63 years for shooting George Wallace
- August 4 - Idi Amin declares that Uganda will expel 50.000 Asians with British passports to Britain within three months.
- August 11-12 – Last US ground troops withdrawn from Vietnam
- August 16 - The Royal Moroccan Air Force mistakenly fires upon, but fails to bring down, Hassan II of Morocco's plane while he was traveling back to Rabat
- August 28 - Prince William of Gloucester dies in an air crash
- September 1 - Bobby Fischer defeats Boris Spassky in [[Reykjav�k]] Chess match and becomes the first American chess champion (see Match of the Century).
- September 5-6 - Munich Massacre: Eleven Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympic Games in Munich are killed after eight members of an Arab terrorist group Black September invade Olympic Village; five guerillas and one policeman are also killed in a failed hostage rescue
- September 14 - West Germany and Poland renew diplomatic relations.
- September 17 - Uganda announces that there are Tanzanian troops in its territory.
- September 19 - Parcel bomb sent to Israeli Embassy in London kills one diplomat.
- September 21 - Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire country under martial law.
- September 27 - Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China.
- September 29 - Sino-Japanese relations: Japan normalized diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China after breaking official ties with the Republic of China.
- October 2 - Denmark joins EEC. Faroe Islands stay out.
- October 5 - United Reformed Church founded out of Congregational and Presbyterian Churches.
- October 6 – Train crash in Saltillo, Mexico – 208 dead
- October 12 - En route to her station in the Gulf of Tonkin, a racial brawl involving more than 100 sailors breaks out aboard the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. Nearly 50 sailors are injured.
- October 13 - Fairchild passenger plane transporting a rugby team crashes in Andes. They are found alive December 20 but they have had to resort to cannibalism to survive.
- October 16 - A plane US congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana and three other men vanishes in Alaska
- October 17 - Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visits Yugoslavia.
- October 25 – First female FBI agents hired
- October 29 - The Black September group hijacks a Lufthansa Boeing 727 over Turkey and demands the release of three of their comrades still held for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games
- October 30 - US President Richard Nixon approves legislation to increase Social Security spending by US$5.3 billion
- November 5 - Group of Amerindians occupies the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- November 7 - U.S. presidential election, 1972: Republican incumbent Richard Nixon defeats Democratic Senator George McGovern (the election had the lowest voter turnout since 1948 with only 55 percent of the electorate voting).
- November 11 - Vietnam War: Vietnamization - The United States Army turns over the massive Long Binh military base to South Vietnam
- November 14 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 1,000 (1,003.16) for the first time
- November 17 - Juan Peron returns to Argentina
- November 22 - Vietnam War: The United States loses its first B-52 Stratofortress of the war
- November 30 - Vietnam War: White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler tells the press that there will be no more public announcements concerning American troop withdrawals from Vietnam due to the fact that troop levels are now down to 27,000.
- December 2 - Gough Whitlam becomes the first Labour Party Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years. He is famously sworn in on the election night and his first action using executive power is to withdraw all Australian personnel from the Vietnam War.
- December 7 – Jean McConville disappears in Belfast
- December 7 - Apollo 17 launched
- December 7 - Imelda Marcos is stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant; her bodyguards shoot him
- December 15 – The Commonwealth of Australia ordains equal pay to women
- December 21 - Germanies recognize each other
- December 22 – 6.25 Richter scale earthquake in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua – over 12.000 dead. President Somoza is later accused of pocketing millions of dollars worth of foreign aid
- December 28 - The bones of Martin Bormann identified in Berlin.
- December 29 - An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-1011 crashes into the Everglades killing 99 of 163 onboard.
- Prime minister of Sweden, Olof Palme compares the American bombings of North Vietnam to Nazi massacres. The US breaks diplomatic contact with Sweden
- The last major epidemic of smallpox in Europe breaks out in Yugoslavia.
- The United Kingdom begin to train Special Air Service for anti-terrorist duties.
- Steve Jobs graduates from Homestead High School and enrolls in Reed College in Portland, Oregon but drops out after one semester.
- Kim Il Sung becomes president of North Korea.
- Japanese begin building a railway tunnel between Honshu and Hokkaido.
- Stephen Hawking is confined to a wheelchair.
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms becomes independent from IRS.
- The "tea house" Mellow Yellow opens on the Amstel River in Amsterdam, pioneering the legal sale of marijuana in the Netherlands.
- The Aboriginal Tent Embassy founded on the lawn of Parliament House in Canberra
- First women admitted to Dartmouth College
- Colombian looters find Ciudad Perdida but keep it a secret until government reveals it 1975
- Frank Serpico exposes corruption in New York City police
- Vietnam War veteran Richard McCoy hijacks a United Airlines jet and extorts $500.000 – captured later
- Yellow River dries up for the first time in known history
- Somalian language gets a written form
- Assassination of Zanzibar's leader sheik Abeid Karume
- Tamil United Front, pro-Tamil organization, founded
- Worship of Norse gods officially approved in Iceland
- Women allowed to compete in Boston Marathon
- The Second Cod War between UK and Iceland
- First use of the term Hadean
Year in topic
- 1972 in film
- 1972 in literature
- 1972 in music
- 1972 in sports
- 1972 in television
- James Herriot - All Creatures Great and Small
- January 30 - Tim Jones, Gonzo Journalist
- February 11 - Dennis Iliohan, Dutch football player.
- February 15 - Jaromir Jagr, ice hockey star
- February 16 - Jerome Bettis, American football player
- February 17 - Philippe Candeloro, figure skater
- February 17 - Billie Joe Armstrong, musician ("Green Day")
- February 29 - Antonio Sabato Jr., actor
- March 6 - Shaquille O'Neal, basketball player
- March 10 - Eugene_Roshal, author of WinRAR and FAR Manager
- March 10 - Matt Kenseth, race car driver, 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion
- March 15 - Mark Hoppus, musician ("Blink 182")
- March 17 - Mia Hamm, soccer player
- March 22 - Shawn Bradley, basketball player
- March 22 - Elvis Stojko, figure skater
- March 23 - [[Judith Godr�che]], actress
- April 4 - Stefan Wolpe, composer
- April 4 - Adam Clayton Powell Jr., American politician
- April 11 - Jason Varitek, baseball player
- April 17 - Jennifer Garner, actress
- April 17 - Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lankan cricketer
- April 24 - Chipper Jones, baseball player
- May 2 - The Rock, WWE professional wrestler turned actor
- May 20 - Busta Rhymes, rap music singer
- May 21 - The Notorious B.I.G., musician (d. 1997)
- May 30 - Manny Ramirez, baseball player
- June 4 - Derian Hatcher, NHL hockey player
- June 15 - Andy Pettitte, baseball pitcher
- June 23 - [[Zin�dine Zidane]], French football star
- June 25 - Carlos Delgado, baseball player
- June 29 - Samantha Smith, U.S. activist (d. 1985)
- July 2 - Wayne Brady, actor, comedian
- July 9 - Jennifer Keene, figure skater
- July 24 - Lance Reventlow, playboy, entrepreneur, F1 driver
- July 28 - Elizabeth Berkley, actress (Saved by the Bell, Showgirls)
- August 6 - Geri Halliwell, musician Spice Girls
- August 11 - Jonathon Prandi, American male model and actor
- August 15 - Ben Affleck, actor
- August 23 - Dave Chappelle, actor, comedian
- August 30 - Cameron Diaz, actress (There's Something About Mary, Any Given Sunday, Shrek)
- August 30 - Pavel Nedved, Czech football star
- September 2 - Sergei Zholtok, professional ice hockey player
- September 10 - Ghada Shouaa, Syrian heptathlete
- September 22 - Bob Sapp, American boxer, kickboxer
- September 30 - Ari Behn, Norwegian author
- October 5 - Grant Hill, basketball player
- October 17 - Eminem, rapper, actor
- October 17 - Wyclef Jean, rapper
- November 4 - Luis Figo, Portuguese football star
- November 10 - Shawn Green, baseball player
- December 10 - Brian Molko, Placebo singer
- December 19 - Alyssa Milano, actress
- December 19 - Warren Sapp, football player
- December 29 - Jason Kreis, American soccer player
- December 29 - Jude Law, actor
- January 1 - Maurice Chevalier, French entertainer, surgical complications
- January 8 - Kenneth Patchen, poet and painter
- January 14 - King Frederick IX of Denmark
- January 26 - Mahalia Jackson, gospel music singer
- February 11 - Jan Wils, architect
- February 20 - Walter Winchell, journalist
- March 24 - Cristobal Balenciaga, couturier
- March 27 - Sharkey Bonano, jazz musician (b. 1904)
- March 27 - M. C. Escher, Dutch graphic artist
- March 29 - Lord J. Arthur Rank, movie theater owner
- April 4 - Stefan Wolpe, composer
- April 8 - Andrea Feldman, actor
- May 2 - J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director
- May 13 - Dan Blocker, actor
- May 22 - Margaret Rutherford, actress
- May 28 - Edward VIII, king in 1936 (b. 1894)
- July 7 - King Talal, King of Jordan
- July 19 - Hezekiah M. Washburn, missionary (b. 1884)
- July 21 - Ralph Craig, American athlete
- August 14 - Oscar Levant, pianist and actor
- August 28 - His Royal Highness Prince William of Gloucester in an aircrash
- October 1 - Louis Leakey, British paleontologist
- October 24 - Jackie Robinson (Baseball Hall of Famer)
- October 26 - Igor Sikorsky, aviation engineer
- November 1 - Ezra Pound, poet
- November 14 - Martin Dies, Jr., American politician (b. 1900)
- November 25 - Henri Coanda, aerodynamics pioneer
- November 28 - Havergal Brian, composer
- November 28 - Sibylla, princess of Sweden
- December 3 - Bill Johnson, jazz musician (b. 1872)
- December 24 - Gisela Richter, art historian
- December 26 - Harry S. Truman, US president, heart failure.
- December 31 - Roberto Clemente (baseball Hall of Famer)
- Physics - John Bardeen, Leon Neil Cooper, John Robert Schrieffer
- Chemistry - Christian B. Anfinsen, Stanford Moore, William H. Stein
- Medicine - Gerald M. Edelman, Rodney R. Porter
- Literature - Heinrich B�ll
- Peace - Not awarded.
- Economics - John Hicks, Kenneth Arrowaf:1972
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