January 7 – The United States recognizes the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
January 21 – The European Court of Human Rights is established.
February 1 – A referendum in Switzerland turns down female suffrage.
February 19 – The United Kingdom decides to grant Cyprus its independence.
March 2 – Recording sessions for the album Kind of Blue by Miles Davis take place at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City.
March 8 – The Marx Brothers make their last television appearance, in The Incredible Jewel Robbery.
April 9 – NASA announces its selection of seven military pilots to become the first U.S. astronauts (later known as the Mercury Seven).
June 26 – Elizabeth II (Queen of Canada) and United States President Dwight Eisenhower open the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
July 1 – Australia’s longest running children’s TV series, Mr. Squiggle, first airs on ABC Television.
July 4 – With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia.
July 26 – Birth of Kevin Spacey, American actor.
August 14 – Birth of Magic Johnson, American basketball player.
August 21 – Hawaii is admitted as the 50th U.S. state.
September 14 – Luna 2 becomes the first man-made object to crash on the Moon.
September 16 – The Xerox 914, the first plain paper copier, is introduced to the public.
October 21 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) opens to the public.
October 29 – First appearance of Astérix the Gaul.
November 5 – Birth of Bryan Adams, Canadian singer and photographer.