Major Events

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Major Events of 1979

1979 (Roman Numerals: MCMLXXIX) was the 79th year of the 20th century. 1979 was not a leap year, and the first day of the year was a Monday.

On this page, we have listed some of the major historical, news and sporting events that took place in 1979.
News Events of 1979

Shah overthrown in Iranian revolution.

Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile, and eventually becomes the country's Supreme Leader.

Ayatollah Khomeini

US embassy in Iran seized by "students", and embassy staff held hostage.

Saddam Hussein becomes President of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein

Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first woman Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher

Three Mile Island nuclear accident - a partial meltdown of a reactor occurs in the worst civilian nuclear accident in US history, at Midtown, a suburb of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

USSR and USA sign the SALT II treaty, limiting nuclear arms.

Soviets forces invade Afghanistan.

Voyager I discovers faint ring system around Jupiter.

Visicalc, first spreadsheet software introduced.

Former US space station, Skylab, re-enters the Earth's atmosphere and debris is scattered in the Indian Ocean and Western Australia.


Ugandan dictator, Idi Admin, deposed.

Debut of the Garfield comic strip.

Sony introduces the Walkman.

Sandinista rebels enter Managua, winning the civil war in Nicaragua.

Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe.

First European Ariane rocket is launched.

Compu-Serve offers the first consumer internet email service.

Sino-Vietnamese War. China invades the northern part of Vietnam.

Philips publicly demonstrates the Compact Disc for the first time.

Compact Disc

Chrysler Corporation requests $1.5 billion from the US government to avoid bankruptcy.

The Entertainment Sports and Programming Network (ESPN) debuts.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines independent from UK.

Sports in 1979
  • American Football:

    1979 Super Bowl (Super Bowl XIII):

    • Winning Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

    • Losing Team: Dallas Cowboys

  • Baseball:

    1979 World Series

    • Winning Team: Pittsburgh Pirates

    • Losing Team: Baltimore Orioles

  • Boxing:

    • Muhammad Ali announces his retirement from boxing (although he will later, briefly, return).

      Muhammad Ali

  • Cricket:

    1979 Cricket World Cup:

    • Host Nation for World Cup Finals: England

    • Winners: West Indies

    • Runners-Up: England

  • Soccer:

    1979 European Cup:

    • Winners: Nottingham Forest

    • Runners-Up: Malmö FF

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