Digital History

1970-2000 Timeline, Digital History ID 2946


U.S. population: 203,211,926.

April 30: American troops begin an incursion into Cambodia.

May 4: National Guard troops kill four students at Kent State University in Ohio during protests against the Cambodia invasion.

May 14: Two black students at Jackson State University in Mississippi are killed by police firing on a dormitory.


June 13: The New York Times prints the first installment of the Pentagon Papers, a classified history of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The U.S. Justice Department sued to suppress publication of the documents on grounds of national security.

June 30: The 26th Amendment gives 18 year olds the right to vote.

September 3: The Plumbers, a secret investigative unit set up by the Nixon White House, burglarizes the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsburg, in order to find discredit the man who released the Pentagon Papers.

September 9: Inmates take over New York State's Attica Prison. On September 13, state troopers, sheriff's deputies, and prison guards stormed the penitentiary; 31 prisoners and nine guards being held hostage died.

October 25: President Nixon announces he will visit China.


May 15: Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace is shot in Laurel, Md.

June 17: Five burglars are caught installing eavesdropping equipment in the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.

September 5: At the Olympic Games in Munich, eight armed Palestinian guerrillas storm the Israeli athletes dormitory, killing one Israeli athlete and taking nine hostages. During a shoot-out, the nine Israeli hostages were killed and five of the eight Palestinians.

December 18: The Christmas Bombing. President Nixon orders the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, apparently in order to obtain the acquiescence to a peace agreement by President Thieu of South Vietnam.


January 28: The United States and North Vietnam sign a treaty ending direct American intervention in Vietnam.

February 27: The American Indian movement occupies a trading post and church in Wounded Knee, S.D., the site of the 1890 massacre of the Sioux, to draw attention to the grievances of Native Americans.

March 19: Watergate burglary defendant James McCord informs the judge in the case that perjury had been committed in the trial and that Administration officials had pressured defendants to maintain silence and plead guilty.

March 21: President Nixon orders the payment of $75,000 in hush money to defendant E. Howard Hunt. The next day, Nixon told an aide, "I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the 5th Amendment, cover-up or anything else, if it'll save itsave the plan...."

May 17: A Senate committee opens hearings on the Watergate Affair.

July 16: A former White House aide reveals to Senate Watergate investigators that President Nixon maintained a secret tape-recording system in the White House.

Sept. 11: Chilean President Salvador Allende is killed in a military coup. A junta led by Gen. Augusto Pinoche takes over.

October 10: Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns and pleads no contest to a charge of tax evasion. Agnew had received kickbacks and bribes over a ten-year period while serving as governor and county executive in Maryland. House Republic leader Gerald Ford replaced Agnew as Vice President.

October 17: Arab countries impose an oil embargo against the U.S. to raise oil prices and retaliate for U.S. support for Israel.

October 20: The Saturday Night Massacre. President Nixon orders his Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Rechildson refuses and resigns. Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus also refuses and is fire.


February: Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn is expelled from the Soviet Union

July 24: A unanimous Supreme Court orders President Nixon to release 64 tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor, ruling that he may not withhold evidence from a criminal case.

July 27: The House Judiciary Committee votes 27-11 to recommend President Nixon's impeachment.

August 8: Richard Nixon becomes the first president to resign his office. Gerald Ford becomes the 38th president, declaring "Our long national nightmare is over."

September 8: President Ford pardons Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed as president. The pardon contributes to Ford's defeat in the 1976 presidential election.


Portugal grants independence to Angola and Mozambique.

April 30: The Vietnam War ends when North Vietnamese troops occupy Saigon and rename it Ho Chi Minh City.

May 12: Cambodia seizes a U.S. merchant ship, the Mayaguez and its 39-member crew in the Gulf of Siam. U.S. troops recover the ship and crew, but suffer 38 dead.


January 17: The United States ends a ten year moratorium on capital punishment, when Utah executed convicted murderer Gary Gilmore.

June: Spain holds its first free elections since the Spanish Civil War ended 41 years before.

November 19: Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt becomes the first Arab leader to visit Israel since the nation's founding in 1948.


September: President Jimmy Carter mediates Egyptian-Israeli peace settlement

October 16: Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) is the first non Italian pope elected in 456 years

December: Iranian revolution begins


January 1: United States formally recognizes China

January 16: The Shah of Iran leaves his country and goes into exile, ending his 37 year rule

February 1: The Ayatollah Khomeini returns from a 15 year exile and takes power in Iran

March 26: Egypt and Israel sign a peace agreement

March 28: America’s worst nuclear accident takes place at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

July 19: Somoza regime in Nicaragua is overthrown; Sandinistas take power November 4: Iranian militants seize American hostages December 27: Soviet Union invades Afghanistan


November 4: Ronald Reagan is elected fortieth president


IBM releases its first personal computer

January 20: American hostages are released from Iran

March 30: President Reagan is shot in assassination attempt

May 13: Pope John Paul II is shot at and nearly killed in St. Peter’s Square in Rome

July 29: Regan tax cuts are approved

June 5: Doctors diagnose the first cases of AIDS

August 5: President Ronald Reagan decertifies the air traffic controllers union

September 25: Sandra Day O’Connor is sworn in as the first female Supreme Court justice


Congress deregulates banking industry and lifts controls on airfares

January 1: CNN, the cable news network, is launched

March 19: Argentine forces land on the Falkland islands, touching off the Falklands War with Britain

November 13: Vietnam Veterans Memorial, designed by Maya Lin, opens in Washington, D.C.

November 29: The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan Equal Rights Amendment fails to achieve ratification

December: Congress enacts the Boland Amendment, which bars the use of Federal money to overthrow the Nicaraguan Government


January 1: The word Internet is first used

March 23: Regan proposes “Star Wars” missile defense system

September 1: Korean Air Flight KAL-007, a commercial airliner, is shot down by a Soviet jet fighter, killing 269

October 25: United States topples Communist government on the Caribbean island of Grenada


January 1: AT&T, the telephone utility, breaks up into 22 independent units

November 6: Ronald Reagan is reelected

Congress orders an end to all covert aid to Nicaraguan contras


July: United States begins secret arms-for-hostages negotiations with Iran

March 11: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union


January 28: Space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after takeoff, killing all aboard

April 26: A Soviet reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine explodes

November 25: Reagan administration announces that profits from Iranian arms sales were diverted to Nicaraguan contras


June 12: President Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall

October 19: Stock market plunges 508 points in a single session, the worst decline in Wall Street history

November 18: A Congressional report states that US President Ronald Wilson Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides in the Iran-Contra Affair


Al-Qaeda founded by Osama bin Laden

November 8: George Bush is elected forty-first president

December 21: Libyan agents blow up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259


February 15: Soviet forces complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan

March 24: The Exxon Valdez spills 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound

May 30: Pro-democracy demonstrators erect a 33-foot "Goddess of Democracy" statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China

June 4: Pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square are crushed September-December: Communist regimes collapse in Eastern Europe

October 18: The regime of Erich Honenecker, Communist leader of East Germany, falls

November 10: Berliners begin to tear down the Berlin Wall

December 20: The United States invades Panama and ousts strongman General Manuel Noriega


February 26: The Sandinistas are defeated in elections in Nicaragua

August 2: Iraqi troops invade and occupy Kuwait

October 3: Germany is reunited


January-February: U.S., Western, and Arab forces eject Iraq from Kuwait by force

February 26: Tim Berners-Lee introduces the first web browser

March 3: Los Angeles police are videotaped beating motorist Rodney King during an arrest

August 18: Soviet hardliners place President Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest. The coup’s failure results in a shift in power to the Soviet Republics

December 31: Soviet Union is dissolved; Cold War ends


January 15: Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence; a civil war will begin as Yugoslavia breaks up

April 29: Riots erupt in Los Angeles following acquittal of police officers in the beating of motorist Rodney King

November 3: Democrat Bill Clinton is elected forty-second president


Congress passes North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), eliminating trade barriers between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

February 26: Terrorists bomb World Trade Center in New York City, killing 6

October 3, 4: 18 Marines, members of a UN peace-keeping force, are killed in Somalia

November 1: The Maastricht Treaty creates the European Union

December 7: Toni Morrison receives the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African American to do so


Congress defeats President Bill Clinton's health care plan

January 1: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect

April 7: Massacres of Tutsis begin in Rwanda

May 10: Nelson Mandela is sworn in as president of post-apartheid South Africa

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City is bombed, killing 169 people

November 8: Republicans win control of both the House and Senate in the 1994 mid-term elections


April 19: Bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City kills 168 people

October 4: Football star 0. J. Simpson is found not guilty of murder in deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman

November 4: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli opponent of the peace process


July 5: Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell

November 5: Bill Clinton is reelected president


August 7: Bombings at U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar el Islam, Tanzania kill 224 people

November 5: The journal Nature reports that genetic testing indicates that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings’s son Eston Hemings Jefferson

December 19: The House of Representatives approves two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice in the Monica Lewinsky affair


World population reaches six billion

February 12: President Clinton is acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial

March 24: NATO launches a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia

April 20: In Littleton, Colorado, two high school students murder 12 students and one teacher before committing suicide

December 31: The United States transfers control of Panama Canal to Panama

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