1976 1977 1978 - 1979 - 1980 1981 1982
| Decades: |
1940s 1950s 1960s - 1970s - 1980s 1990s 2000s
| Centuries: |
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
- January 1 - Sino-American relations: United States and the People's Republic of China establish diplomatic relations
- January 4 - State of Ohio agrees to pay $675,000 to families of dead and injured in Kent State University shootings.
- January 7 - Vietnam and Vietnam-backed Cambodian insurgents announce the fall of Phnom Penh, Cambodian capital, and the collapse of the Pol Pot regime. Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge retreat to Thailand
- January 8 - The French tanker Betelgeuse explodes at the Gulf Oil terminal at Bantry in Ireland - 50 dead
- January 16 - The Shah of Iran flees Iran with his family and relocate to Egypt after a year of turmoil.
- January 19 - Former US Attorney General John N. Mitchell released on parole after 19 months at a federal prison in Alabama
- January 29 � Brenda Ann Spencer begins to shoot out her window across the street to Cleveland rlementary school in San Diego, California. Kills two teachers and wounds 8 students
- February 1 - Convicted bank robber Patty Hearst is released from prison after her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter
- February 1 - Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran from France
- February 1 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is welcomed back into Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile.
- February 3 - Khomeini creates the Council of the Islamic Revolution
- February 7 - Supporters of Khomeini take over the Iranian law enforcement, courts and government administration
- February 10-11 - Iranian army mutinies and joins the Islamic Revolution
- February 11 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seizes power in Iran.
- February 14 - In Kabul, Muslim extremists kidnap the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs who is later killed during a gunfight between his kidnappers and police
- February 17 - The People's Republic of China invades northern Vietnam, launching he Sino-Vietnamese War.
- February 22 - Independence of Saint Lucia from the United Kingdom.
- March 5 - Voyager I passes Jupiter
- March 13 - In Grenada, Maurice Bishop leads a successful coup
- March 14 - In China, a Hawker-Siddeley Trident crashes into a factory near Beijing killing at least 200
- March 25 - The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, was delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center to be prepared for its first launch
- March 26 - In a ceremony at the White House, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel sign a peace treaty
- March 28 - Nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island, Pensylvania, releases radiation
- March 28 - In the United Kingdom, Jim Callaghan's government loses a motion of confidence by one vote, forcing a general election
- March 29 - Sultan Yahya Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Petra, 6th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia dies in office. He is replaced by Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Mustain Billah ibni Almarhum Sultan Sir Abu Bakar Riayatuddin Al-Muadzam Shah, Sultan of Pahang.
- March 30 - Airey Neave, World War Two veteran and Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman, is killed by INLA bomb in British House of Commons car park
- March 31 - The Royal Navy withdraws from Malta
- April 1 - Iran's government becomes Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, overthrowing the Shah officially
- April 6 - President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan is executed
- April 10 - A tornado hits in Wichita Falls, Texas killing 42 people. It was the most notable tornado of twenty-six that hit that day.
- April 11 - Ugandan dictator Idi Amin overthrown; Tanzania takes Kampala
- April 23 - Fighting in London between the Anti-Nazi League and the Metropolitan Police's Special Patrol Group results in the death of protestor Blair Peach
- May 4 - Conservatives win the British general election; Margaret Thatcher becomes the new prime minister.
- May 10 - The Federated States of Micronesia becomes self-governing.
- May 25 - American Airlines flight 191: In Chicago, Illinois, a DC-10 crashes during takeoff at O'Hare International Airport killing 271 on board on two people on the ground.
- June 1 - The first black-led government of Rhodesia in 90 years takes power, ousting Ian Smith
- June 2 - Pope John Paul II visits his native Poland, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country
- June 3 - Oil spill beneath the drilling rig Ixtoc I in the Gulf of Mexico
- June 4 - Joe Clark becomes Canada's sixteenth, and youngest, prime minister.
- June 12 - Bryan Allen flies the Gossamer Albatross, man powered, across the English Channel.
- June 18 - Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II agreement in Vienna.
- June 20 - a national guard soldier in Nicaragua kills ABC TV news correspondent Bill Stewart and his interpreter Juan Espinosa. Other members of the news crew capture the killing on tape
- July 2 - The Susan B. Anthony one-dollar coin is introduced in the US.
- July 12- A "Disco Demolition Night" publicity stunt goes awry at Comiskey Park forcing the Chicago White Sox to forfeit their game against the Detroit Tigers.
- July 16 - Iraqi President Hasan al-Bakr resigns and Vice President Saddam Hussein replaces him
- July 17 - Nicaraguan president General Anastasio Somoza Debayle resigns and flees to Miami; Sandinistas form a new government on July 19.
- July 19 - The Marxist Sandinistas take control of Nicaragua
- July 19 - Maria Pintassilgo becomes prime minister of Portugal
- July 24 - Soviet Union exchanges Gerald Brook for spies Peter and Helen Kroger with United Kingdom
- July 31 - 400 Iranian pilgrims are killed after clashes with Saudi security forces in Mecca
- August 5 � Polisario signs a peace treaty with Mauritania
- August 9 - The first British nudist beach is established in Brighton
- August 27 - Lord Mountbatten killed by the I.R.A..
- September 1 - The American Pioneer 11 becomes the first spacecraft to visit Saturn when it passes the planet at a distance of 21,000 km
- September 7 - The Chrysler Corporation asks the United States government for $1 billion to avoid bankruptcy.
- September 7 - ESPN starts broadcasting.
- September 16 - Three families flee from East Germany by balloon
- September 20 � French paratroopers help David Dacko to overthrow Bokassa
- October 14 - The first gay rights march in the United States takes place in Washington, DC, involving many tens of thousands of people.
- October 16 - 23 people die in Nice, France, when the coastal town is hit by a tsunami
- October 21 - 259 Muslim radicals occupy Kaaba and the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Saudi-Arabian army goes in to expel them
- October 26 - South Korean president Park Chunghee killed by KCIA head Kim Jaekyu.
- October 27 - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gains independence.
- November 1 - Iran hostage crisis: Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urged his people to demonstrate on November 4 and to expand attacks on United States and Israeli interest (on November 4 militants seized the US embassy in Tehran and took 63 Americans hostage).
- November 2 � French police shoots gangster Jacques Mesrine in Paris
- November 3 - In Greensboro, North Carolina, five members of the Communist Workers Party are shot to death and seven are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis during a "Death to the Klan" rally
- November 4 - Iran hostage crisis begins: 3000 Iranian radicals, mostly students, invade the United States embassy in Tehran and take 90 hostages (63 of whom are American). They demand that the United States send the former shah back to Iran to stand trial.
- November 5 - The radio news program Morning Edition premieres on National Public Radio.
- November 12 - Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all oil imports into the United States from Iran
- November 14 - Iran hostage crisis: US President Jimmy Carter issues Executive Order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States and US banks in response to the hostage crisis
- November 16 - Bucharest Metro Line 1 is opened, in Bucharest, Romania (from Timpuri Noi to Semanatoarea stations, 8.63 km)
- November 17 - Iran hostage crisis: Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran.
- November 21 - The United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan is attacked by a mob and set afire, killing four. (see: Foreign relations of Pakistan)
- November 23 - In Dublin, Ireland, Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon is sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten
- November 28 - In Antarctica, a DC-10 carrying Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashes into Mount Erebus on a sightseeing trip, killing all 257 people on board
- December 5 - Jack Lynch resigns as Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland. His replacement is Charles Haughey.
- December 24 - Soviet Union invades Afghanistan
- December 27 - The Soviet Union seizes control of Afghanistan and Babrak Karmal replaces overthrown and executed President Hafizullah Amin.
- The World Health Organization declares the world free of naturally occurring smallpox.
- VisiCalc becomes the first spreadsheet program.
- Guardian Angels civilian patrol group forms in New York City
- Sprengel Museum opens in Hanover, Germany
Year in topic
- 1979 in film
- 1979 in literature
- 1979 in music
- 1979 in sports
- 1979 in television
- January 16 - Aaliyah, singer (d. 2001)
- January 21 - Brian O'Driscoll, Irish rugby star
- January 24 - Tatyana Ali, actress
- February 9 - Mena Suvari, actress
- February 11 - Brandy Norwood, singer
- February 21 - Jennifer Love Hewitt, actress, singer
- March 30 - Norah Jones, musician
- April 4 - Heath Ledger, actor
- April 10 - Rachel Corrie, American activist, member of the International Solidarity Movement (d. 2003)
- April 18 - Michael Bradley, NBA basketball player
- April 19 - Kate Hudson, actress (Almost Famous, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days)
- April 19 - Antoaneta Stefanova, chess star
- May 24 - Tracy McGrady, NBA star
- May 25 - Jonny Wilkinson, English rugby star
- June 13 - [[Nila H�kedal]], Norwegian beach volleyball player
- July 3 - Ludivine Sagnier, model and actress
- July 10 - Shane West, actor
- September 28 - Bam Margera, skater, troublemaker
- October 17 - [[Kimi R�ikk�nen]], Finnish Formula One racing driver
- November 6 - Lamar Odom, basketball player
- January 3 - Conrad Hilton, hotelier
- January 5 - Charles Mingus, American jazz musician
- January 12- Benyamin Shalom, Son of the south
- January 13 - Donny Hathaway, musician
- January 26 - Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, Vice President of the United States
- February 2 - Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols
- February 7 - Josef Mengele, Nazi war criminal
- February 12 - Jean Renoir, Film Director
- February 23 - W.A.C. Bennett, British Columbia politician
- February 28 - "The famous Mr. Ed", the talking horse, dies.
- March 1 - Mustafa Barzani, Leader of Kurdish Democratic Party
- March 19 - Richard Beckinsale, British actor
- March 28 - Emmett Kelly, clown
- March 29 - Sultan Yahya Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Petra, Sultan of Kelantan and 6th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
- March 30 - Airey Neave MP, British politician, assassinated by INLA terrorists
- April 4 - Ali Bhutto, President and Prime Minister of Pakistan
- April 10 - Nino Rota, composer
- April 23 - Blair Peach, Anti-Nazi League campaigner, killed by police during protest
- April 24th - Clayton Robert Berg, director
- May 11 – Barbara Hutton, America's "Poor Little Rich Girl"
- May 29 - Mary Pickford, actress, studio founder
- June 11 - John Wayne, actor
- June 17 - Duffy Lewis, Major League Baseball player (b. 1888)
- July 3 - Louis Durey, composer, member of Les Six
- July 12 - Minnie Riperton, R&B singer
- July 16 - Alfred Deller, singer, early modern countertenor
- July 29 - Bill Todman, game show producer
- August 2 - Thurman Munson, baseball player
- August 27 - Earl Mountbatten of Burma, 79, British World War II hero, and three others are killed by a blast on a fishing boat off the Irish coast; two I.R.A. members are accused on August 30.
- September - Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III, Sultan of Terengganu and former 4th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
- September 8 - Jean Seberg, actress
- September 10 - Agostinho Neto, Angolan nationalist
- October 6 - Elizabeth Bishop, poet
- October 10 - Christopher Evans, British psychologist and computer scientist
- October 13 - Rebecca Clarke, composer and violist
- November 1 - Krisztina Poropszki, EU Champipnship 2nd place, Kick-boxer
- November 29 - Zeppo Marx, actor, comedian (b. 1901)
- December 7 - Prince Chahryar Shafik, nephew of the Shah of Iran, murdered in Paris, France.
- December 23 - Peggy Guggenheim, art collector
- December 27 - Hafizullah Amin, president of Afghanistan
- Physics - Sheldon Lee Glashow, Abdus Salam, Steven Weinberg
- Chemistry - Herbert C. Brown, Georg Wittig
- Medicine - Allan M. Cormack, Godfrey N. Hounsfield
- Literature - Odysseas Elytis
- Peace - Mother Teresa
- Economics - Theodore Schultz, Arthur Lewisaf:1979
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