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<< 1972 CE | 1971-1980 CE | 1974 CE >>

§Of World Interest

April 3 - The first cell phone call was made.

June 30 – A very long total solar eclipse occurs. During the entire 2nd millennium, only 7 total solar eclipses exceeded 7 minutes of totality.

October 17 – The Arab Oil Embargo against several countries which support Israel triggers the 1973 energy crisis.



September 24 - Declared its independence from Portugal.


January 1 - The SRC adopted a Latin script as the standard script to be used throughout Somalia beginning January 1st.

§Western Sahara

May 10 – The Polisario Front, a Sahrawi movement dedicated to the independence of Western Sahara, is formed.



August 8 – South Korean politician Kim Dae-Jung is kidnapped in Tokyo by the KCIA.


January 1 – The United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark enter the European Economic Community, which later becomes the European Union.


January 17 - Forty RAF prisoners begin 4 ½ week hungerstrike against isolation.

March - Squat struggle heats up, with five thousand people participating in violent struggles.

April - “Committee Against Torture,” an organization supported by a wide spectrum of the West German intelligentsia, is founded for the express purpose of focusing public attention on the struggle of the RAF prisoners against the destructive prison conditions in Stammheim.

April 17 – The German counter-terrorist force GSG 9 is officially formed.

April 30 - Counter-terroriam apparatus substantially enlarged.

May 8 - Eighty RAF prisoners begin 7 week hungerstrike for association and free access to political information. The State attempts to kill Baader by withdrawing water for eight days.

May 11 - Committee Against Torture holds a public event at which Heinz Brandt, a member of the board of IG Metall, described the isolation conditions that the prisoners were subjected to as much worse, more dangerous, and more destructive than the conditions he had suffered in four years in a Nazi concentration camp. Dutch psychologist Dr. Sjef Teuns described isolation and sensory deprivation as programmed torture. Sociologist Dr. Christian Sigrist described the West German torture system as part of the worldwide counter-strategy against anti-imperialist combatants.

July 13 - Federal Court Judge Knoblich rules that the state could proceed with x-rays and a scintigraphy (neuro-surgery) on Ulrike Meinhof, even against her will, and with the use of constraining devices or anesthesia if necessary. This is based on the Federal Prosecutor Peter Zeis' idea that her revolutionary politics may be the result of some kind of neurological deformity. It was only massive public protest, including the protest of many doctors, which prevented the government from proceeding with its plan.

September 18 – The two German Republics, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), are admitted to the United Nations.

November 16 - In retaliation for September 11th Chilean coup, which brough General Augusto Pinochet to power, Revolutionary Cells (RZ) attack ITT in West Berlin.

November 17 - In retaliation for Chilean coup, RZ attacks ITT in Nurenberg.

§Great Britain

February 16 – The Court of Appeal of England and Wales rules that the Sunday Times can publish articles on Thalidomide and Distillers Company, despite ongoing legal actions by parents (the decision is overturned in July by the House of Lords).

March 1 – Dick Taverne, who had resigned from the Parliament of the United Kingdom on leaving the Labour Party, is re-elected as a 'Democratic Labour' candidate.

March 8 – Provisional Irish Republican Army bombs explode in Whitehall and the Old Bailey in England.

March 17 – Queen Elizabeth II opens the modern London Bridge.

March 20 – A British government White Paper on Northern Ireland proposes the re-establishment of an Assembly elected by proportional representation, with a possible All-Ireland council.

March 21 – The Lofthouse Colliery disaster occurs in Great Britain.

April 11 – The British House of Commons voted against restoring capital punishment by a margin of 142 votes.

April 12 – The Labour Party wins control of the Greater London Council.

May 1 – An estimated 1,600,000 workers in the United Kingdom stop work in support of a Trade Union Congress "day of national protest and stoppage" against the Government's anti-inflation policy.

May 22 – Lord Lambton resigns from the British government over a 'call girl' scandal.

May 24 – Earl Jellicoe, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords in Britain, resign over a separate prostitution scandal.

August 2 - Isle of Man - A fire spread through the Summerland leisure centre in Douglas on the Isle of Man on the night of 2 August 1973. 50 people were killed and 80 seriously injured.


June 1 – The Greek military junta abolishes the monarchy and proclaims a republic.

August 5 – Black September members open fire at the Athens airport; 3 are killed, 55 injured.

September 3 – The British Trade Union Congress expels 20 members for registering under the Industrial Relations Act 1971.

December 31 – In the United Kingdom, due to coal shortages caused by industrial action, the Three-Day Week electricity consumption reduction measure comes into force.


February 28 – The Republic of Ireland general election is held.

March 8 – In the 'Border Poll', voters in Northern Ireland vote to remain part of the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists are encouraged to boycott the referendum.

April 28 – Six Irishmen, including Joe Cahill, are arrested by the Irish Naval Service off County Waterford, on board a coaster carrying 5 tons of weapons destined for the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

June 25 – Erskine Hamilton Childers is elected the 4th President of Ireland.

June 28 – Elections are held for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which will lead to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time.

July 31 – Militant protesters led by Ian Paisley disrupt the first sitting of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


June 10 – The grandson of J. Paul Getty is kidnapped in Rome


December 20 - Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco is assasinated. Carrero Blanco was assassinated in Madrid by four Basque members of ETA, who carried out a bombing while he returned from Mass in a Dodge 3700. Since Carrero Blanco could have become the most powerful figure in Spain upon Franco's passing, his death was perhaps instrumental in the transition toward a democratic government in that country.

In his first speech to the Cortes on 12 February 1974, Carrero Blanco's successor, the new prime minister Carlos Arias Navarro, promised liberalizing reforms including the right to form political associations. Though he was denounced by hardliners within the regime, the transition had begun.


The ban on the Jesuit religious order, established in 1848 was lifted on 20 May 1973, when 54.9% of voters accepted a referendum modifying the Constitution.

§Middle East


February 21 – Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 (Boeing 727) is shot down by Israeli fighter aircraft over the Sinai Desert, after the passenger plane is suspected of being an enemy military plane. Only 5 (1 crew member and 4 passengers) of 113 survive.

October 6 – Yom Kippur War: The fourth and largest Arab-Israeli conflict begins, as Egyptian and Syrian forces attack Israeli forces in the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights on Yom Kippur.

October 26 – The Yom Kippur War ends.


April 10 – Israeli commandos raid Beirut, assassinating 3 leaders of the Palestinian Resistance Movement. The Lebanese army's inaction brings the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Saib Salam, a Sunni Muslim.

§North America


July 10 – The Bahamas gains full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.


March 10 – Sir Richard Sharples, Governor of Bermuda, is assassinated in Government House.


February 6 – Toronto: Construction on the CN Tower begins.

§United States

January 15 – Vietnam War: Citing progress in peace negotiations, U.S. President Richard Nixon announces the suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam.

January 22 – Former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson dies at his Stonewall, Texas ranch, leaving no former U.S. President living until the resignation of Richard M. Nixon in 1974.

January 23 – U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.

January 27 – U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ends with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.

February 11 – Vietnam War: The first American prisoners of war are released from Vietnam.

February 12 – Ohio becomes the first U.S. state to post distance in metric on signs (see Metric system in the United States).

February 13 – The United States Dollar is devalued by 10%.

February 27 – The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

March 17 – Many of the few remaining United States soldiers begin to leave Vietnam. One reunion of a former POW with his family is immortalized in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph Burst of Joy.

March 29 – The last United States soldier leaves Vietnam.

April 4 – The World Trade Center officially opens in New York City with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

May 3 – The 110-story Sears Tower in Chicago is finished, becoming the world's tallest building at 1,454 feet. The staggering amount of materials needed to construct the building included 76,000 tons of steel, 2 million cubic feet of concrete, 16,000 tinted windows, 1,500 miles of electrical wiring and 80 miles of elevator cable.

May 8 – A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and American Indian Movement activists who were occupying the Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, ends with the surrender of the militants.

June 22 – W. Mark Felt ("Deep Throat") retires from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

June 24 - Massacre of gay people at the Up Stairs Lounge in New Orleans. A fire, which a police and fire investigation eventually deemed arson, killed 32 people during a Sunday beer blast after a church service had been held in the space. Until the Orlando Florida massacre in 2016 CE this was the largest massacre of gay people in history.

July 1 – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration is founded.

July 2 – The United States Congress passes the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) mandating Special Education federally.

August 8 – The death of Dean Corll leads to the discovery of the Houston Mass Murders: 27 boys were killed by 3 men.

September 28 – ITT is bombed in New York City by leftist terrorists protesting the restoration of the Chilean Constitution ordered by the Chilean judicial and legislative branches against the Allende administration.

November 25 - Albert DeSalvo, known as The Boston Strangler, was stabbed to death in Walpole state prison. He was 42 years old. His body was exhumed in 2013 to match DNA with an unsolved murder. DeSalvo confessed to being the "Boston Strangler," but was never prosecuted for the crimes under a deal negotiated with Attorney General Edward Brooke and DeSalvo’s attorney, F. Lee Bailey.

§U.S. Entertainment

January 14 – Elvis Presley's concert in Hawaii. The first worldwide telecast by an entertainer watched by more people than watched the Apollo moon landings.

March 17 – Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, one of rock's landmark albums, is released.

July 28 – The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, a massive rock festival featuring The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band and The Band, attracts over 600,000 music fans.


January 1 – CBS sells the New York Yankees for $10 million to a 12-person syndicate led by George Steinbrenner (3.2 million dollars more than CBS bought the Yankees for).

January 31 – Pan American and Trans World Airlines cancelled their options to buy 13 Concorde airliners.

Development began on the network communications protocol later to be called TCP/IP. The development group was headed by Vinton Cerf from Stanford and Bob Kahn from DARPA. The goal of the new protocol was to allow diverse computer networks to interconnect and communicate with each other.

April 2 – The LexisNexis computerized legal research service begins.

April 3 – The first handheld cellular phone call is made by Martin Cooper in New York City.

April 17 – Federal Express officially begins operations, with the launch of 14 small aircraft from Memphis International Airport. On that night, Federal Express delivers 186 packages to 25 U.S. cities from Rochester, New York, to Miami, Florida.

June 4 – A patent for the ATM is granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

§U.S. Law

January 22 - Decided: Roe v. Wade This landmark decision established that women have a basic right to have an abortion Through various cases, the Supreme Court developed the idea that the Constitution protects a person's to privacy, particularly when it comes to matters involving children and procreation.

Congressional hearings were held on the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments that led to a total overhaul of the Health, Education and Welfare rules concerning work with human subjects. A class-action lawsuit resulted in an out-of-court settlement of $10 million, with the U.S. government promising lifetime medical benefits and burial services to all study subjects still living. This program later expanded to include wives, widows and children.

December 28 – The Endangered Species Act is passed in the United States.

§U.S. Politics

January 20 – U.S. President Richard Nixon is inaugurated for his second term.

February 22 – Sino-American relations: Following President Richard Nixon's visit to mainland China, the United States and the People's Republic of China agree to establish liaison offices.

March 23 – Watergate scandal (United States): In a letter to Judge John Sirica, Watergate burglar James W. McCord Jr. admits that he and other defendants have been pressured to remain silent about the case. He names former Attorney General John Mitchell as 'overall boss' of the operation.

April 30 – Watergate Scandal: President Richard Nixon announces that top White House aides H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and others have resigned.

May 17 – Watergate scandal: Televised hearings begin in the United States Senate.

June 16 – U.S. President Richard Nixon begins several talks with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

June 25 – Watergate scandal: Former White House counsel John Dean begins his testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee.

July 16 – Watergate Scandal: Former White House aide Alexander Butterfield informs the United States Senate Watergate Committee that President Richard Nixon had secretly recorded potentially incriminating conversations.

September 22 – Henry Kissinger, United States National Security Advisor, starts his term as United States Secretary of State.

October 10 – Spiro T. Agnew resigns as Vice President of the United States and then, in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, pleads no contest to charges of income tax evasion on $29,500 he received in 1967, while he was governor of Maryland. He is fined $10,000 and put on 3 years' probation.

October 20 – The Saturday Night Massacre: U.S. President Richard Nixon orders Attorney General Elliot Richardson to dismiss Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Richardson refuses and resigns, along with Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Solicitor General Robert Bork, third in line at the Department of Justice, then fires Cox. The event raises calls for Nixon's impeachment.

November 1: Watergate scandal: Acting Attorney General Robert Bork appoints Leon Jaworski as the new Watergate Special Prosecutor.

November 16 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act into law, authorizing the construction of the Alaska Pipeline.

November 17 – Watergate scandal: In Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon tells 400 Associated Press managing editors "I am not a crook."

November 21 – U.S. President Richard Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, reveals the existence of an 18½-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

November 27 – The United States Senate votes 92-3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States.

December 6 – The United States House of Representatives votes 387-35 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States; he is sworn in the same day.

§U.S. Religion

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church with "fraud and deceit" in the issuance of $6.5 million in unsecured church bonds. Falwell admitted that the SEC was "technically" correct, but a biography of Falwell written by his staff claimed that his church won the suit and was cleared of the charges. This is a lie and the church's finances were actually put in the hands of five local businessmen to settle matters.

February 13 - The National Council of U.S. Catholic Bishops announced that anyone undergoing or performing an abortion would be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

September 4 - The Assemblies of God opened its first theological graduate school in Springfield, Missouri. This was the second Pentecostal school of theology in the United States, with the first opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma by Oral Roberts.



July 17 – King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan is deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan while in Italy undergoing eye surgery.

§Soviet Union

May 27 – By virtue of the non-retroactivity of Soviet copyright laws, all works published before this date are public domain. This applies worldwide

June 24 – Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev addresses the American people on television, the first to do so.

June 26 – At Plesetsk Cosmodrome, 9 persons are killed in the explosion of a Cosmos 3-M rocket.



January 21 – The Communist League is founded in Denmark.


January 23 – Eldfell on the Icelandic island of Heimaey erupts.


August 23 – The Norrmalmstorg robbery occurs, famous for the origin of the term Stockholm syndrome.

September 15 – Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden dies. His grandson, Carl XVI Gustav, becomes king.

§South America


June 20 – The Ezeiza massacre occurs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Snipers shoot on left-wing Peronists, killing at least 13 and injuring more than 300.


June 29 - Colonel Roberto Souper surrounded the presidential palace, La Moneda, with his tank regiment but failed to depose the government. That failed coup d’état – known as the Tanquetazo ("tank putsch") – organised by the nationalist Patria y Libertad paramilitary group, was followed by a general strike at the end of July that included the copper miners of El Teniente

The Chilean Chamber of Deputies, in its Resolution of August 22nd, declared that its current leader, President Salvador Allende had violated the Constitution. On September 11th, General Augusto Pinochet (1915 - 2006), came to power in Chile through a military-backed coup d'etat. A military junta was established immediately following the coup, made up of General Pinochet representing the Army, Admiral Jose Toribio Merino representing the Navy, General Gustavo Leigh representing the Air Force, and General Cesar Mendoza representing the Carabineros (uniformed police).

President Allende died before being captured. The exact circumstances of his death are still disputed. An autopsy in 1990 found that Allende's wounds were consistent with the suicide account.

September 11 – Chile's democratically-elected government is overthrown in a military coup after serious instability. President Salvador Allende commits suicide using the AK-47 given to him by Cuba's Fidel Castro, during the coup in the presidential palace. General Augusto Pinochet subsequently heads a U.S.-backed military junta that governs Chile for the next 16 years.

After the military's seizure of power, Pinochet destroyed the insurgency linked to the defeated Popular Unity (PU) government. In October 1973, at least 70 people were killed by the Caravan of Death. Almost immediately, the junta banned all the leftist parties that had constituted Allende's UP coalition. Much of the regime's violence was directed toward those it viewed as communist and socialist militants, all in favor of armed conflict. It is not known exactly how many people were killed by government and military forces during the 17 years that he was in power, but the Rettig Commission listed 2,095 deaths, with the vast majority of victims coming from the opposition to Pinochet at the hands of the state security apparatus. Thousands of Chileans were expelled from and fled the country to escape the regime.

"Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society. Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!"

President Salvador Allende's farewell speech, 11 September 1973

§Southeast Asia


The Khmer rouge plant mines on the Chroy Chang War Bridge twice.

August 15 – The U.S. bombing of Cambodia ends, officially halting 12 years of combat activity in Southeast Asia.


October 14 – Students revolt in Bangkok, Thailand.

§South Pacific

July 20 – France resumes nuclear bomb tests in Mururoa Atoll, over the protests of Australia and New Zealand.


October 20 – The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction work.


January 17 – Ferdinand Marcos becomes President for Life of the Philippines.


March 7 – Comet Kohoutek is discovered.

April 6 – Pioneer 11 is launched on a mission to study the solar system.

May 14 – Skylab, the United States' first space station, is launched.

May 25 – Skylab 2 (Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, Joseph Kerwin) is launched on a mission to repair damage to the recently launched Skylab space station.

July 25 – The Soviet Mars 5 space probe is launched.

July 28 – Skylab 3 (Owen Garriott, Jack Lousma, Alan Bean) is launched, to conduct various medical and scientific experiments aboard Skylab.

September 27 – Soviet space program: Soyuz 12, the third manned flight since 1971, is launched.

December 3 – Pioneer program: Pioneer 10 sends back the first close-up images of Jupiter.


  • Cold War
  • Rhodesian Bush War
  • The Troubles, a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland


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