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Of World Interest

The estimated population of the World is 2.889 billion people.



February 4 - France prohibits U.N. involvement in Algeria.

France commits 400,000 troops to Algeria against a force of 15,000 FLN rebels. Despite rounding up many of the FLN rebels France never achieved victory.


February 23 – The founding congress of the Senegalese Popular Bloc opens in Dakar.


March 6 - United Kingdom colonies Gold Coast and British Togoland become the independent nation of Ghana.


February 18 - Dedan Kimathi, a Kenyan rebel leader is executed by the British colonial government.


October 23 – Morocco begins its invasion of Ifni.



October 31 – Toyota begins exporting vehicles to the U.S., beginning with the Toyota Crown and the Toyota Land Cruiser



February 4 - France prohibits UN involvement in Algeria.


October 27 – Celal Bayar is re-elected president of Turkey.

United Kingdom

January 10 - Harold Macmillan becomes the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

February 16 - The "Toddlers' Truce", a controversial television closedown between 6.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m., is abolished in the United Kingdom.

September 3 – The Wolfenden Report on homosexuality is published in the United Kingdom.

October 10 - A fire at the Windscale power station in the UK releases radioactive material into the surrounding environment, including Iodine-131.

December 4 – The Lewisham train disaster in the UK leaves 92 dead.


November 15 - Yugoslavia announces the end of an economic boycott of Franco's Spain (although it does not reinstitute diplomatic relations).

Middle East


January 22 - Israel withdraws from the Sinai Peninsula (captured from Egypt on October 29, 1956).

As a result of damage and sunken ships from the previous year (1956), the Suez Canal was closed until April 1957, when it had been cleared with United Nations (UN) assistance. A UN force (UNEF) was established to maintain the neutrality of the canal and the Sinai Peninsula.

Middle East


February 2 – President Iskander Mirza of Pakistan lays the foundation-stone of the Guddu Barrage across the river Indus near Sukkur.

North America


June 21 – John Diefenbaker becomes Canada's 13th prime minister.

December 10 – Canadian diplomat Lester B. Pearson receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his peackeeping efforts in the United Nations.


July 28 – A strong earthquake shakes Mexico City and Mexican port city Acapulco.

United States

January 6 – Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the 3rd and final time. He is only shown from the waist up, even during the gospel segment, singing "Peace In The Valley". Ed Sullivan describes Elvis thus: "This is a real decent, fine boy. We've never had a pleasanter experience on our show with a big name than we've had with you. You're thoroughly all right."

February 17 – A fire at a home for the elderly in Warrenton, Missouri kills 72 people.

October 25 – Mafia boss Albert Anastasia is assassinated in a barber shop, at the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City, US.

November 1 – The Mackinac Bridge, the world's longest suspension bridge between anchorages at the time, opens in the US to connect Michigan's two peninsulas.

November 6 – Jailhouse Rock opens nationally and Elvis Presley continues to gain more notoriety.

November 7 – Cold War: In the United States, the Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters.

November 14 – Apalachin Meeting: American Mafia leaders meet in Apalachin, New York at the house of Joseph Barbara; the meeting is broken up by a curious patrolman.

November 16 - Serial killer Edward Gein murders his last victim, Bernice Worden of Plainfield, Wisconsin, US.

U.S. Industry

January 2 - San Francisco and Los Angeles stock exchanges merge to form Pacific Coast Stock Exchange.

January 3 - Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.

January 13 - Wham-O Company produces the first Frisbee.

April – IBM sells the first compiler for the FORTRAN scientific programming language.

July 29 – The International Atomic Energy Agency is established.

September 4 - The Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel on what the company proclaims as "E Day".

Max Mathews wrote the program that enabled an IBM 704 mainframe computer to play a composition lasting 17 seconds – an achievement recognized as the first digital synthesis of music on a computer

September 4 - Publish date of a landmark paper by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess of the Scripps Institute that upturned conventional wisdom, demonstrating that far more CO2 would remain in the atmosphere than previously assumed, potentially accelerating the impact of global climate change.

November 13 - Gordon Gould invents the laser.

December 20 – The Boeing 707 airliner flies for the first time.

U.S. Politics

January 20 - Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated for second term as President of the United States.

March 7 - The United States Congress approves the Eisenhower Doctrine. The Eisenhower Doctrine required Congress to yield its traditional war-making power to the president. The doctrine stated that the United States would use armed forces upon request in response to imminent or actual aggression to the United States. Furthermore, countries that took stances opposed to Communism would be given aid in various forms.

August 21 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces a 2-year suspension of nuclear testing.

September 4 - American Civil Rights Movement – Little Rock Crisis: Governor Orville Faubus of Arkansas calls out the US National Guard, to prevent African-American students from enrolling in Central High School in Little Rock.

September 24 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends federal troops to Arkansas to provide safe passage into Central High School for the Little Rock Nine.

October 10 - U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, after he is refused service in a Dover, Delaware restaurant.

November 25 - Dwight D. Eisenhower has a stroke

U.S. Religion

June 25 - The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC United Church of Christ. These two denominations, which were themselves the result of earlier unions, had their roots in Congregational, Evangelical, and Reformed denominations.


February 15 - Andrei Gromyko becomes foreign minister of Soviet Union.

September 29 – Kyshtym disaster occurs at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Russia.

On October 4th, the Soviet Union launched the satellite, Sputnik I. The launch of the world's first artificial satellite marked the beginning of the Space Age.



September 21 - Olav V becomes King of Norway on the death of his father Haakon VII.

South America


March 1 - Arturo Lezama becomes President of the National Council of Government of Uruguay.

Southeast Asia


March 1 - U Nu becomes Prime Minister of Burma.


August 31 – The Federation of Malaya gains independence from the United Kingdom. Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad, Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan becomes the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaya.


October 21 - The U.S. military sustains its first combat fatality in Vietnam, Army Capt. Hank Cramer of the 1st Special Forces Group.

South Pacific


December 1 – In Indonesia, Sukarno announces the nationalization of 246 Dutch businesses.

December 5 – All 326,000 Dutch nationals are expelled from Indonesia.

New Zealand

February 18 - The last person to be executed in New Zealand, Walter James Bolton, is hanged at Mount Eden Prison for poisoning his wife.

Vanuatu - Island of Tanna

The Jon Frum (Cargo Cult) movement was officially founded on February 15, 1957, to celebrate the release of cult leaders who had been imprisoned by the Anglo-French authorities. The origins of the cult date back to the 1930s, when Britain and France jointly ran what was then the colony of New Hebrides. The group made a significant break from society in 1941.

In 1957, a leader of the John Frum movement, Nakomaha, created the "Tanna Army", a non-violent, ritualistic organisation which organised military-style parades, their faces painted in ritual colors, and wearing white t-shirts with the letters "T-A USA" (Tanna Army USA). This parade still takes place every year on February 15.

Tanna is a small island of Vanuatu, 25 miles long and 12 miles wide. Tanna is populated almost entirely by Melanesians and they follow a more traditional lifestyle than many other islands. Some of the villages are known as kastom villages, where modern inventions are restricted, the inhabitants wear penis sheaths (Bislama: namba) and grass skirts, and the children do not go to public schools. According to anthropologist Joël Bonnemaison, who has studied the Tannese extensively, their resistance to change is due to their traditional worldview and how they "perceive, internalise, and account for the dual concepts of space and time."

Tanna's inhabitants bridled at colonial rule and the missionaries who badgered them to embrace Christianity, stop drinking the narcotic kava and abandon other customary ways, known in Bislama, Vanuatu's pidgin English, as "kastom".

Village elders tell of how a mysterious outsider came to them in a series of apparitions, telling them to go back to their traditional way of life.

The idea of a messiah-like savior was given a huge boost during World War II, when hundreds of Tannese men were recruited by the Americans to help build roads, airstrips and military bases. They were immensely impressed by the huge amounts of "cargo" - tanks, ships, weapons, medicine and food - brought by the US military.

At the 50 year celebration in 2007 chief Isaac Wan, 67, the leader of the cargo cult said:

"There's a friendship between Tanna people and America from the war. When they came here looking for people to help them build airstrips and carry their supplies, we gave them a thousand men."

The shadowy spirit figure they believed in gradually assumed a name and a nationality - Jon Frum is believed to be a contraction of John From America, a reference perhaps to a soldier, usually depicted as being black, who showed them particular generosity. His spirit is believed to reside in Mt. Yasur, an active volcano. A fifth of the 25,000 people on Tanna are cult believers, with the rest either traditional animists or church-goers.


October 4 - Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth.

November 3 – Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2, with the first animal in space (a dog named Laika) on board. Laika, a stray, originally named Kudryavka (Russian: Кудрявка Little Curly), underwent training with two other dogs, and was eventually chosen as the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on November 3, 1957. Laika likely died within hours after launch from overheating, possibly due to a failure of the central R-7 sustainer to separate from the payload. The true cause and time of her death was not made public until 2002; instead, it was widely reported that she died when her oxygen ran out, or (as the Soviets initially insisted) she was euthanized prior to oxygen depletion. Nonetheless, the experiment proved that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure weightlessness, paving the way for human spaceflight and providing scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments.

December 6 – First U.S. attempt to launch a satellite fails, the rocket blowing up on the launch pad. After a series of countdown delays, at 11:44, the Vanguard rocket lifted from the launch pad. A few seconds later, someone in the control room shouted: "Look out! Oh God, no!" as the rocket rose four feet in the air and crashed back to the ground in a ball of flame. The nose cone was thrown clear – the Vanguard satellite still beeping.


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