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1979 ( MCMLXXIX) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1979th year of the Common Era (CE) and (AD) designations, the 979th year of the Anno Domini 2nd millennium, the 79th year of the 20th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1970s decade.
January 4 - The State of Ohio agrees to pay $675,000 to families of the dead and injured in the Kent State shootings.
January 7 - The People's Army of Vietnam and Vietnamese-backed Cambodian insurgents announce the fall of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the collapse of the Pol Pot regime. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge retreat west to an area along the Thai border, ending large-scale fighting in the Cambodian-Vietnamese War.
January 8 - Whiddy Island Disaster: The French tanker Betelgeuse explodes at the Gulf Oil terminal at Bantry, Ireland; 50 are killed.
January 9 - The is held at the Music for UNICEF Concert United Nations General Assembly to raise money for UNICEF and promote the Year of the Child. It is broadcast the following day in the United States and around the world. Hosted by the Bee Gees, other performers include Donna Summer, ABBA, Rod Stewart and Earth, Wind & Fire. A soundtrack album is later released.
January 16 - Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi flees Iran with his family, relocating to Egypt after a year of turmoil.
January 19 - Former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell is released on parole after 19 months at a federal prison in Alabama.
January 21 - The Pittsburgh Steelers stake their claim as the NFL team of the 1970s by beating the Dallas Cowboys 35-31 at Miami's Orange Bowl in Super Bowl XIII.
January 22 - Uganda-Tanzania War: Battle of Mutukula: The Tanzanian military captures the Ugandan border town of Mutukula after a short battle.
January 25 - Pope John Paul II arrives in Mexico City for his first visit to Mexico, mainly for 1979's Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) or Conference of Puebla.
January 26 - debuts on The Dukes of Hazzard CBS. January 29 - Cleveland Elementary School shooting (San Diego): Brenda Ann Spencer opens fire at a school in San Diego, California, killing two faculty members and wounding eight students and a police officer. Her justification for the action, "I don't like Mondays", inspires the Boomtown Rats to make a song of the same name.
March 2 - Uganda-Tanzania War: Battle of Tororo: Ugandan rebels attack and capture the town of Tororo.
spaceprobe photos reveal Voyager 1 Jupiter's rings. Uganda-Tanzania War: Battle of Tororo: The Ugandan military retakes Tororo from rebels.
March 5 - makes its closest approach to Voyager 1 Jupiter at 277,000 kilometres (172,000 mi).
March 7 - The largest Magnetar ( Soft gamma repeater) event is recorded.
March 8 - Philips demonstrates the compact disc publicly for the first time.
March 10 - Uganda-Tanzania War: Battle of Lukaya: The Ugandan military, a Libyan expeditionary force and allied Palestine Liberation Organisation militants begin a counter-offensive against Tanzanian troops in south-central Uganda. The Ugandan-led alliance retakes Lukaya after a short clash with the Tanzanian military.
March 11 - Uganda-Tanzania War: Battle of Lukaya: The Tanzanian military counter-attacks at Lukaya, completely defeating the Ugandan-led alliance. This defeat permanently cripples the Ugandan military.
March 13 - Maurice Bishop leads a successful coup in Grenada. His government will be crushed by American intervention in 1983.
March 14 - In China, a Hawker Siddeley Trident crashes into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200.
March 16 - End of major hostilities in the Sino-Vietnamese War.
March 17 - The Penmanshiel Tunnel in the UK collapses, killing two workers.
March 19 - C-SPAN, an American television channel focusing on government and public affairs, is launched.
March 18 - Ten miners die in a methane gas explosion at Golborne Colliery near Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. 
March 22 - The NHL votes to approve its merger with the WHA, effective in the fall.
March 25 - The first fully functional Space Shuttle orbiter, , is delivered to the Columbia Kennedy Space Center, to be prepared for its first launch.
March 29 - Sultan Yahya Petra of Kelantan, the 6th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Head of State) of Malaysia, dies in office. He is replaced by Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang.
March 30 - Airey Neave, World War II veteran and Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman, is killed, presumably by an Irish National Liberation Army bomb in the British House of Commons car park. March 31
Iran's government becomes an Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, overthrowing the Shah officially. The Pinwheel Network changes its name to Nickelodeon and begins airing on various Warner Cable systems beginning in Buffalo, New York, expanding its audience reach.
April 1- 18 - Police lock Andreas Mihavecz in a holding cell in Bregenz, Austria and forget about him, leaving him there without food or drink.
April 2 - Sverdlovsk anthrax leak: A Soviet biowarfare laboratory at Sverdlovsk accidentally releases airborne anthrax spores, killing 66 plus an unknown amount of livestock. It is a violation of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972.
April 2 - In Japan, the channel of TV Asahi premieres Doraemon
April 4 - Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is executed by hanging for the murder of a political opponent.
April 6 - Student protests break out in Nepal.
April 7 - In Japan, Yoshiyuki Tomino directed , the first series of the metaseries of the same name. Mobile Suit Gundam
April 10 - A tornado hits Wichita Falls, Texas, killing 42 people (the most notable of 26 tornadoes that day).
April 11 - Uganda-Tanzania War: Fall of Kampala: Tanzanian troops take Kampala, the capital of Uganda; Idi Amin flees.
April 13 - The La Soufrière volcano erupts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
April 15 - 1979 Montenegro earthquake: A major earthquake 6.9 strikes Montenegro (then part of Yugoslavia) and parts of Albania, causing extensive damage to coastal areas and taking 136 lives; the old town of Budva is devastated.
April 17 - Schoolchildren in the Central African Republic are arrested (and around 100 killed) for protesting against compulsory school uniforms. An African judicial commission later determines that Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa "almost certainly" took part in the massacre.
April 22 - The Albert Einstein Memorial is unveiled at The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. April 23 - Fighting breaks out in London between the Anti-Nazi League and the Metropolitan Police's Special Patrol Group; protester Blair Peach receives fatal injuries during the incident, now officially attributed to the SPG.
August 3 - Dictator Francisco Macías Nguema of Equatorial Guinea is overthrown in a bloody coup d'état led by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
August 4 - Opening game of the played between American Football Bundesliga Frankfurter Löwen and Düsseldorf Panther, first-ever league game of American football in Germany. 
August 5 - The Polisario Front signs a peace treaty with Mauritania. Mauritania withdraws from the Western Sahara territory it had occupied, and cedes it to the SADR.
August 8 - Two American commercial divers, Richard Walker and Victor Guiel, die of hypothermia after their diving bell becomes stranded at a depth of over 160 metres (520 ft) in the East Shetland Basin. The legal repercussions of the accident will lead to important safety changes in the diving industry.  
August 9 - Raymond Washington, co-founder of the Crips, today one of the largest, most notorious gangs in the United States, is killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles; the killers have not yet been identified.
August 10 - Michael Jackson releases his breakthrough album . It sells 7 million copies in the United States alone, making it a 7× platinum album. Off the Wall
August 14 - A freak storm during the Fastnet Race results in the deaths of 15 sailors.
August 17 - The controversial religious satirical film premieres in the United States. Monty Python's Life of Brian
August 27 - Lord Mountbatten of Burma and two others are killed immediately in a bombing by Provisional Irish Republican Army assassins. Mountbatten was a British admiral, statesman and an uncle of The Duke of Edinburgh. On the same day, the Warrenpoint ambush occurs, killing 18 British soldiers. Doreen Knatchbull, Baroness Brabourne would die in a hospital the following day (August 28) from her injuries in the Mountbatten bombing. August 29 - A national referendum is held in which Somali voters approve a new liberal constitution, promulgated by President Siad Barre to placate the United States.
October 1 - Nigeria terminates military rule, and the Second Nigerian Republic is established.
October 1- 7 - Pope John Paul II visits the United States, starting in Boston.
October 1 - The MTR, the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong, opens.
October 2 - Pope John Paul II arrives in New York City for his first papal tour where he addresses the U.N. General Assembly against all forms of concentration camps and torture.
October 6 - Federal Reserve System changes from an interest rate target policy to a money supply target policy.
October 7 - Pope John Paul II ends his first U.S. papal visit in Washington, D.C. with his first-ever visit to the White House.
October 9 - Peter Brock wins the Bathurst 1000 by a record six laps, with a lap record on the last lap.
October 14 - National March for gay rights takes place in Washington, D.C., involving tens of thousands of people.
October 15 - Black Monday events, in which members of a political group sack a newspaper office, unfold in Malta.
October 16 - A tsunami in Nice, France kills 23 people.
October 19 - 13 U.S. Marines die in a fire at Camp Fuji, Japan as a result of Typhoon Tip. 
October 20 - The first McDonald's in Singapore opens at Liat Towers in Orchard Road.  
October 26 - Park Chung-hee, the President of South Korea, is assassinated by KCIA director Kim Jae-gyu.
October 27 - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gains independence from the UK. October 31 - Western Airlines Flight 2605 crashes upon landing at Mexico City International Airport, killing 72 occupants plus one on the ground; 16 people on board survive.
French police shoot gangster
Jacques Mesrine in Paris. Assata Shakur (née Joanne Chesimard), a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, escapes from a New York prison to Cuba, where she remains under political asylum.
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: 500 Iranian radicals, mostly students, invade the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take 90 hostages (53 of whom are American). They demand that the United States send the former Shah of Iran back to stand trial.
November 6 - At Montevideo, Uruguay, the International Olympic Committee adopts a resolution, whereby Taiwan Olympic and sports teams will participate with the name Chinese Taipei in future Olympic Games and international sports tournaments and championships.
November 7 - U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy announces that he will challenge President Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination.
Carl Bridgewater murder trial ends in England with all four men found guilty. James Robinson, 45, and 25-year-old Vincent Hickey are sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended 25-year minimum for murder. 18-year-old Michael Hickey is also found guilty of murder and sentenced to indefinite detention. Patrick Molloy, 53, is found guilty on a lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in prison.  Nuclear false alarm: the NORAD computers and the Alternate National Military Command Center in Fort Ritchie, Maryland, detect an apparent massive Soviet nuclear strike. After reviewing the raw data from satellites and checking the early-warning radars, the alert is cancelled. 
November 10 - 1979 Mississauga train derailment: A 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals from Windsor, Ontario, Canada derails in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada just west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, causing a massive explosion and the largest peacetime evacuation in Canadian history and one of the largest in North American history.
November 14 - Iran hostage crisis: U.S. President Jimmy Carter issues Executive Order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States and U.S. banks in response to the hostage crisis.
November 15 - British art historian and former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures Anthony Blunt's role as the "fourth man" of the ' Cambridge Five' double agents for the Soviet NKVD during World War II is revealed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom; she gives further details on November 21.  
November 16 - Bucharest Metro Line One is opened, in Bucharest, Romania (from Timpuri Noi to Semanatoarea stations, 8.63 kilometres (5.36 mi)).
November 17 - Iran hostage crisis: Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and African American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
November 20 - Grand Mosque seizure: A group of 200 Juhayman al-Otaybi militants occupy Mecca's Masjid al-Haram, the holiest place in Islam. They are driven out by French commandos (allowed into the city under these special circumstances despite their being non-Muslims) after bloody fighting that leaves 250 people dead and 600 wounded.
November 21 - After false radio reports from the Ayatollah Khomeini that the Americans had occupied the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan is attacked by a mob and set afire, killing 4, and disturbing Pakistan-United States relations.
November 23 - In Dublin, Ireland, Provisional Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon is sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten of Burma.
November 25 - Last cargo of phosphate shipped from Banaba Island.
November 28 - Air New Zealand Flight 901: an Air New Zealand DC-10 crashes into Mount Erebus in Antarctica on a sightseeing trip, killing all 257 people on board. November 30 - , a The Wall rock opera and concept album by Pink Floyd, is first released.
February 6 - David Dolní?ek, Czech ice hockey player
February 11 - Brandy Norwood, African-American singer and actress
February 14 - Jocelyn Quivrin, French actor (d. 2009)
February 15 - Gordon Shedden, Scottish race car driver
February 17 - Conrad Ricamora, American actor and singer
February 18 - Tyrone D. Burton, American actor
February 20 - Song Chong-gug, South Korean footballer
Maria Annus, Estonian actress
Tituss Burgess, American actor and singer
Carly Colón, Puerto Rican professional wrestler
Christopher Hayes, American journalist
Jennifer Love Hewitt, American actress and singer Jordan Peele, American actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer
February 22 - Patrick Merrill, Canadian lacrosse player
February 23 - Maryke Hendrikse, Canadian voice actress
February 25 - László Bodnár, Hungarian footballer
March 6 - Érik Bédard, Canadian pitcher
March 10 - Danny Pudi, American actor and comedian
March 12 - Pete Doherty, British singer and guitarist ( The Libertines, Babyshambles)
March 13 - Johan Santana, Venezuelan baseball player
March 16 - Adriana Fonseca, Mexican actress and dancer. 
March 17 - Samoa Joe, American professional wrestler
March 21 - Jimenez Lai, American architect
March 28 - Shakib Khan, Bangladeshi film actor, producer, singer, film organiser and media personalities 
March 29 - Estela Giménez, Spanish gymnast
March 31 - Tanya Tate, English porn actress
May 2 - Jason Chimera, Canadian ice hockey player
May 5 - Vincent Kartheiser, American actor
May 8 - Wendy Armoko, Indonesian singer, actor, presenter and comedian
May 12 - Adrian Serioux, Canadian soccer player
May 14 - Urijah Faber, WEC Featherweight Champion
May 20 - Andrew Scheer, Canadian politician
May 21 - Sonja Vectomov, Czech-Finnish electronic musician and composer
May 23 - Rasual Butler, American basketball player (d. 2018)
May 25 - Jonny Wilkinson, English rugby union player 
May 27 - Michael Buonauro, American comic creator
May 28 - Jesse Bradford, American actor
May 29 - Brian Kendrick, American wrestler May 30
June 6 - Shanda Sharer, American murder victim (d. 1992)
June 9 - Émilie Loit, French tennis player
June 10 - Lee Brice, American country music singer-songwriter
June 11 - Preslaysa Edwards, American actress
June 15 - Yulia Nestsiarenka, Belarusian athlete
June 16 - Ari Hest, American singer-songwriter
June 17 - Young Maylay, American actor, record producer and rapper
Rick Gonzalez, American actor
Ed Kavalee, Australian comedian, actor, radio and television host
Faisal Shahzad, Pakistani-American bomber
Matisyahu, Jewish-American reggae vocalist, beatboxer and alternative rock musician
Nelson Lucas, Seychellois sprinter
Christopher Jacot, Canadian actor Andy Burrows, English songwriter and musician
September 1 - Neg Dupree, British comedian
September 3 - Júlio César, Brazilian football goalkeeper
September 4 - Maxim Afinogenov, Russian ice hockey player
September 6 - Ned Collette, Australian singer and musician
September 7 - Nathan Hindmarsh, Australian rugby league player
September 10 - Mustis, Norwegian pianist
September 13 - Ivan Miljkovi?, Serbian volleyball player
September 19 - Noémie Lenoir, French supermodel
September 20 - David Long, New Zealand musician
September 22 - MyAnna Buring, Swedish-English actress
September 23 - Lote Tuqiri, Fijian-Australian rugby player
October 2 - Brianna Brown, American actress
October 5 - Gao Yuanyuan, Chinese actress
October 8 - Kristanna Loken, American actress and model
Csézy, Hungarian singer
Vernon Fox, American football player
Alex Greenwald, American singer-songwriter, producer and actor ( Phantom Planet and JJAMZ)
Todd Kelly, Australian race car driver
Chris O'Dowd, Irish actor and comedian
DJ Rashad, Chicago-based electronic musician, producer and DJ (d. 2014)
Hendrik Odendaal, South African swimmer
Brandon Routh, American actor Gonzalo Sorondo, Uruguayan footballer
October 14 - Stacy Keibler, American actress and model
October 15 - Jaci Velasquez, American Christian singer
October 16 - Erin Brown, American actress
October 17 - Kimi Räikkönen, Finnish 2007 Formula 1 world champion
October 18 - Ne-Yo, African-American singer and songwriter
October 19 - Marc Elliott, British actor
October 25 - Sarah Thompson, American actress
October 26 - Jonathan Chase, American actor
October 30 - Yukie Nakama, Japanese actress
December 8 - Ingrid Michaelson, American indie pop singer-songwriter
December 10 - Keiko Nemoto, Japanese voice actress
December 11 - Rider Strong, American actor, director, voice actor, producer and screenwriter
December 12 - Emin Agalarov, Azerbaijani-Russian singer-songwriter and businessman
December 17 - Jaimee Foxworth, American actress and model
December 20 - Flávio, Angolan footballer
December 22 - Petra Majdi?, Slovene cross-country skier
December 25 - Ferman Akgül, vocalist of Turkish nu-metal band maNga
May 1 - Morteza Motahhari, Iranian cleric & politician (b. 1919)
May 2 - Giulio Natta, Italian chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1903)
May 6 - Milton Ager, American songwriter (b. 1893)
May 8 - Talcott Parsons, American sociologist (b. 1902)
May 13 - Predrag ?aji?, Bosnian Serb and Yugoslav footballer (b. 1922)
May 14 - Jean Rhys, Dominican novelist (b. 1890)
May 16 - A. Philip Randolph, African-American civil rights activist (b. 1889)
May 27 - Ahmed Ould Bouceif, Mauritanian military officer, 2nd Prime Minister of Mauritania (b. 1934) May 29 - Mary Pickford, Canadian-American actress and producer (b. 1892)
June 5 - Heinz Erhardt, German comedian, musician, entertainer, actor and poet (b. 1909)
June 6 - Jack Haley, American actor (b. 1898)
June 8 - Reinhard Gehlen, German general, 20 July Plotter (b. 1902)
June 13 - Darla Hood, American actress (b. 1931)
June 22 - Louis Chiron, Monacan Grand Prix driver (b. 1899)
June 25 - Dave Fleischer, American animator (b. 1894)
June 26 - Akwasi Afrifa, Ghanaian soldier and politician, Head of state (1969-1970) (b. 1936) June 29 - Lowell George, American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer (b. 1945)
July 2 - Carlyle Smith Beals, Canadian astronomer (b. 1899)
July 3 - Louis Durey, French composer (b. 1888)
July 4 - Theodora Kroeber, American writer and anthropologist (b. 1897)
July 10 - Arthur Fiedler, American conductor ( ) (b. Boston Pops 1894)
July 12 - Minnie Riperton, American rhythm and blues singer ( ) (b. Lovin' You 1947)
July 13 - Corinne Griffith, American actress and author (b. 1894)
July 16 - Alfred Deller, English countertenor (b. 1912)
July 17 - Edward Akufo-Addo, Ghanese politician and lawyer, 5th President of Ghana (b. 1906)
July 20 - Sir Herbert Butterfield, English philosopher and historian (b. 1900)
July 22 - Sándor Kocsis, Hungarian footballer (b. 1929)
July 28 - George Seaton, American screenwriter and director (b. 1911) July 29 - Herbert Marcuse, German-American philosopher, sociologist and political theorist (b. 1898)
August 3 - Bertil Ohlin, Swedish economist and Liberal politician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (b. 1899)
August 6 - Feodor Lynen, German biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1911)
August 9 - Walter O'Malley, American baseball executive (b. 1903)
August 12 - Ernst Chain, German-born British biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
August 16 - John Diefenbaker, 13th Prime Minister of Canada (b. 1895)
August 17 - Vivian Vance, American actress and singer (b. 1909)
August 20 - Christian Dotremont, Belgian painter and writer (b. 1922)
August 21 - Stuart Heisler, American film and television director (b. 1896)
August 22 - James T. Farrell, American novelist (b. 1904)
August 25 - Stan Kenton, American jazz pianist (b. 1911)
August 26 - Alvin Karpis, American criminal (b. 1907)
August 27 - Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, British Viceroy of India (assassinated) (b. 1900)
August 30 (body found on September 8) - Jean Seberg, American actress (b. 1938) August 31 - Sally Rand, American dancer (b. 1904)
October 1 - Dorothy Arzner, American film director (b. 1897)
October 6 - Elizabeth Bishop, American poet (b. 1911)
October 15 - Jacob L. Devers, American army general (b. 1887)
October 16 - Johan Borgen, Norwegian author (b. 1903)
October 18 - Virgilio Piñera, Cuban author, playwright and poet (b. 1912)
October 22 - Nadia Boulanger, French composer and composition teacher (b. 1887)
October 23 - Antonio Caggiano, Argentine cardinal (b. 1889)
October 26 - Park Chung-hee, Korean politician, 3rd President of the Republic of Korea ( South Korea) (assassinated) (b. 1917)
October 27 - Charles Coughlin, Canadian-American priest (b. 1891) October 30
December 3 - Dhyan Chand, Indian hockey player (b. 1905)
December 5 - Sonia Delaunay, Russian-born French artist (b. 1885)
December 7 - Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, British-born American astronomer and astrophysicist (b. 1900)
December 9 - Fulton J. Sheen, American Roman Catholic bishop and venerable (b. 1895)
December 10 - Ann Dvorak, American actress (b. 1911)
December 13 - Jon Hall, American actor (b. 1915)
December 15 - Ethel Lackie, American Olympic swimmer (b. 1907)
December 16 - Vagif Mustafazadeh, Azerbaijani jazz musician (b. 1940)
December 21 - Ermindo Onega, Argentine footballer (b. 1940)
December 22 - Darryl F. Zanuck, American film producer (b. 1902)
December 24 - Rudi Dutschke, German radical student leader (b. 1940)
December 26 - Helmut Hasse, German mathematician (b. 1898)
December 27 - Hafizullah Amin, 4th President of Afghanistan (b. 1929)
December 28 - Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly, 43rd President of the Dominican Republic (b. 1904) December 30 - Richard Rodgers, American composer (b. 1902)
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Further reading Caryl, Christian,
Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century (2013), 1979 as worldwide turning point; excerpt and text search Facts on File.
Facts on File Yearbook: 1979 (1980) weekly factual report on events worldwide. Hodson, H.V.
Annual Register of World Events 1979 (1980), in-depth coverage of major countries Paxton, John, ed. Statesman's Yearbook 1978-1979 (1980), statistical details on all countries