- 1 Events
- 2 Births
- 3 Deaths
- 4 Nobel Prizes
- January 1 - Saarland joins West Germany
- 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 4 - After 69 years the last issue of Collier's Weekly magazine is published
- January 5 - Russell Endean becomes the first batsman to be dismissed handled the ball in test match cricket
- January 10 - Anthony Eden resigns - Harold Macmillan becomes the prime minister of the United Kingdom
- January 13 - Wham-O Company produces the first Frisbee
- January 16 - The Cavern Club opens in Liverpool
- January 22 - Israel withdraws from the Sinai Peninsula (they captured it from Egypt in a battle on October 29, 1956)
- January 22 - The New York City "Mad Bomber," George P. Metesky, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and is charged with planting more than 30 bombs.
- January 23 - Ku Klux Klan members force truck driver Willie Edwards to jump off a bridge into the Alabama River - he drowns as a result.
- February 4 - France prohibits UN involvement in Algeria
- February 15 - Andrei Gromyko becomes foreign minister of Soviet Union
- March 1 - U Nu becomes Prime Minister of Burma
- March 1 - Arturo Lezama becomes President of the National Council of Government of Uruguay
- March 1 - Sud Aviation forms from a merger between SNCASE (Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Sud Est) and SNCASO (Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Sud Ouest)
- March 6 - United Kingdom colonies Gold Coast and British Togoland become the independent Republic of Ghana
- March 8 - Egypt re-opens the Suez Canal
- March 10 - Floodgates of The Dalles Dam are closed inundating Celilo Falls and ancient indian fisheries along the Columbia River in Oregon.
- March 13 - The FBI arrests Jimmy Hoffa and charges him with bribery
- March 14 - President Sukarno declares martial law in Indonesia
- March 20 - French newspaper L'Express reveals that the French army tortures Algerian prisoners
- March 25 - Treaty of Rome (patto di Roma) establishes the European Economic Community (EEC); see EU
- April 1 - The first new conscripts join the Bundeswehr
- April 5 - First elected government of Kerala. CPI won the elections and E. M. S. Namboodiripad became the first chief minister of united Kerala
- April 9 - Egypt reopens Suez Canal for all shipping
- April 12 - United Kingdom announces that Singapore will gain self rule January 1 1958
- April 12 - Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl, printed in England, is seized by U.S. customs officials on the grounds of obscenity
- May 2 - Vincent Gigante fails to assassinate mafioso Frank Costello
- May 3 - Walter O'Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agrees to move the team from Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles, California.
- May 15 - Stanley Matthews plays his final international game, ending an English record international career of almost 23 years
- May 16 - Paul-Henri Spaak becomes the new secretary-general of NATO.
- June 9 - First ascent of Broad Peak
- June 15 - Eindhoven University of Technology is founded.
- June 21 - John Diefenbaker becomes Canada's thirteenth prime minister.
- June 25 - United Church of Christ formed in Cleveland, Ohio by merger of Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
- June 27 - Hurricane Audrey demolishes Cameron, Louisiana, killing 400 people.
- July - International Geophysical Year begins.
- July 16 - United States Marine Major John Glenn flies an F8U supersonic jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds setting a new transcontinental speed record.
- July 25 - Tunisia becomes a republic.
- July 29 - The International Atomic Energy Agency is established.
- August 4 - Juan Manuel Fangio, driving for Maserati, wins the Formula One German Grand Prix, clinching (with 4 wins that season) his record fifth world drivers championship, including his fourth consecutive championship (also a record); these two records would endure for nearly half a century.
- August 31 - The Federation of Malaya, which does not include Singapore, 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 Malaysia.
- September 4 - American Civil Rights Movement: Little Rock Crisis - Orville Faubus, governor of Arkansas, calls out the National Guard to prevent black students from enrolling in Central High School in Little Rock.
- September 4 - The Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel on what the company proclaims as "E Day."
- September 21 - Olav V becomes King of Norway on the death of Haakon VII.
- October 4 - Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth.
- October 9 - Neil H. McElroy was sworn in as the 6th Secretary of Defense of United States.
- October 10 - US President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, after he was refused service in a Dover, Delaware restaurant.
- October 11 - Radio telescope of Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK, opened.
- October 23 - Morocco begins its invasion of Ifni.
- October 25 - Assassination of a Mafia boss Albert Anastasia in a barber shop in Park Sheraton Hotel.
- October 27 - Celal Bayar re-elected president of Turkey
- November 1 - Michigan's Mackinac Bridge opened.
- November 3 - Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. On board is the first animal to enter space - a dog named Laika (she was kept alive for several days in space with a sophisticated life-support system).
- November 7 - Cold War: In the United States, the Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters.
- November 13 - Flooding in the Po River valley of Italy leads to the flooding also in Venice
- November 14 - Apalachin Meeting - The leaders of the American Mafia meet at a convention in Apalachin, New York at the house of Joseph Barbara. It is broken up by a curious patrolman.
- November 15 - Plane crash in the Isle of Wight leaves 43 dead.
- November 16 - Serial killer Edward Gein murders his last victim, Bernice Worden of Plainfield, Wisconsin.
- November 30 - Grenade attack against Indonesian president Sukarno in Cikini School in Jakarta. Six children killed, Sukarno survives unscathed.
- December 1 - In Indonesia, Sukarno announces nationalization of 246 Dutch businesses
- December 4 - Lewisham train disaster in Britain leaves 92 dead
- December 5 - All 326,000 Dutch nationals are expelled from Indonesia.
- December 6 - First US attempt to launch a satellite fails, the satelite blowing up on the launchpad.
- Consumers' Association founded (UK)
- Project Orion begins, a U.S. program to build a spacecraft powered by nuclear explosions.
- Civil Rights Commission established under the Civil Rights Act of 1957
- IBM makes FORTRAN scientific programming language available to customers. It becomes the most widely used computer language for technical work.
- Citroën stops production of its Traction Avant motor car (production started in 1934).
- The Piña Colada was invented by Ramon Marrero, a bartender at Puerto Rico's Caribe Hilton. 
- January 6 - Nancy Lopez, American golfer
- January 7 - Nicholson Baker, American novelist
- January 7 - Katie Couric, American television host
- January 7 - Julian Solis, Puerto Rican boxer
- January 11 - Robert Earl Keen, American musician and singer
- January 15 - Mario Van Peebles, Mexican actor and director
- January 19 - Katey Sagal, American actress, singer, and writer
- January 22 - Mike Bossy, Canadian hockey player
- January 23 - Princess Caroline of Monaco
- January 30 - Payne Stewart, American golfer (d. 1999)
- February 4 - Don Davis, American composer
- February 6 - Kathy Najimy, American actress and comedian
- February 6 - Robert Townsend, American comedian, actor, director, and producer
- February 8 - Cindy Wilson, American singer (The B-52's)
- February 9 - John Axon GC, English railwayman
- February 16 - LeVar Burton, American actor
- February 16 - James Ingram, American singer
- February 18 - Vanna White, American game show presenter
- February 19 - Falco, Austrian musician (d. 1998)
- February 27 - Viktor Markin, Russian athlete
- March 5 - Ray Suarez, American journalist
- March 10 - Osama bin Laden, Saudi-born Islamic extremist
- March 12 - Steve Harris, English bassist (Iron Maiden)
- March 20 - Spike Lee, American film director and actor
- March 29 - Christophe Lambert, American-born actor
- March 30 - Paul Reiser, American actor
- March 31 - Marc McClure, American actor
- April 4 - Aki Kaurismäki, Finnish film director
- April 4 - Nobuyoshi Kuwano, Japanese television performer and musician (Rats & Star)
- April 5 - Ivan Corea, Sri Lankan autism campaigner
- April 8 - Henry Cluney, Irish musician
- April 9 - Seve Ballesteros, Spanish golfer
- April 29 - Daniel Day-Lewis, Anglo-Irish actor
- May 10 - Sid Vicious, English bassist (Sex Pistols) (d. 1979)
- May 22 - Gary Sweet, Australian actor
- May 26 - Margaret Colin, American actress
- May 27 - Siouxsie Sioux, English singer (Siouxsie and the Banshees)
- May 28 - Kirk Gibson, baseball player
- May 29 - Jeb Hensarling, American politician
- June 2 - King Lizzard, American entertainer
- June 3 - Horst-Ulrich Hänel, German field hockey player
- June 8 - Scott Adams, American cartoonist
- June 11 - Jamaaladeen Tacuma, American musician
- June 12 - Javed Miandad, Pakistani cricketer
- June 19 - Anna Lindh, Swedish politician (d. 2003)
- July 13 - Cameron Crowe, American writer and film director
- June 13 - Frances McDormand, American actress
- July 23 - Theo van Gogh, Dutch film director (d. 2004)
- July 26 - Nana Visitor, American actress
- July 29 - Nelli Kim, Russian gymnast
- August 6 - Jim McGreevey, Governor of New Jersey
- August 7 - Mark Bagley, American comic book artist
- August 9 - Melanie Griffith, American actress
- August 11 - Richie Ramone, American drummer (The Ramones)
- August 18 - Carole Bouquet, French actress
- August 18 - Denis Leary, American comedian and actor
- August 24 - Stephen Fry, English comedian, author, and actor
- August 27 - Bernhard Langer, German golfer
- August 28 - Daniel Stern, American actor
- September 1 - Gloria Estefan, Cuban-born singer
- September 12 - Rachel Ward, English actress
- October 14 - Kenny Neal, American guitarist
- October 21 - Wolfgang Ketterle, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
- October 26 - Bob Golic, American football player
- October 27 - Jeff East, American actor
- November 6 - Klaus Kleinfeld, German business executive
- November 7 - Christopher Knight, American actor
- November 15 - Kevin Eubanks, American jazz guitarist
- November 24 - Denise Crosby, American actress
- November 30 - Colin Mochrie, Scottish-born comedian
- December 8 - Phil Collen, English singer and guitarist (Def Leppard)
- December 9 - Donny Osmond, American singer
- December 10 - Michael Clarke Duncan, American actor
- December 13 - Steve Buscemi, American actor
- December 13 - Morris Day, American musician (The Time (Band))
- December 13 - Jean-Marie Messier, French businessman
- December 20 - Billy Bragg, English singer
- December 20 - Joyce Hyser, American actress
- December 21 - Tom Henke, baseball player
- December 21 - Ray Romano, American actor and comedian
- December 30 - Matt Lauer, American newscaster
- January 10 - Gabriela Mistral, Chilean writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1889)
- January 14 - Humphrey Bogart, American actor (b. 1899)
- January 16 - Arturo Toscanini, Italian conductor (b. 1867)
- February 8 - Walther Bothe, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1891)
- February 8 - John von Neumann, Hungarian-born mathematician (b. 1903)
- February 9 - Miklós Horthy, Hungarian admiral and regent (b. 1868)
- February 10 - Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (b. 1867)
- February 18 - Henry Norris Russell, American astronomer (b. 1877)
- February 25 - George "Bugs" Moran, American gangster (b. 1893)
- March 11 - Admiral Richard E. Byrd, American explorer (b. 1888)
- March 16 - Constantin Brancusi, Romanian sculptor (b. 1876)
- March 17 - Ramon Magsaysay, President of the Philippines (b. 1907)
- March 25 - Max Ophüls, German film director and writer (b. 1902)
- March 29 - Joyce Cary, Irish author (b. 1888)
- May 2 - Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator (b. 1908)
- May 9 - Ezio Pinza, Italian bass (b. 1892)
- May 14 - Marie Vassilieff, Russian artist (b. 1884)
- May 16 - Eliot Ness, American Federal Bureau of Investigation agent (b. 1903)
- May 31 - Leopold Staff, Polish poet (b. 1878)
- June 17 - Dorothy Richardson, English feminist writer (b. 1873)
- June 21 - Johannes Stark, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
- June 26 - Alfred Döblin, German writer (b. 1878)
- June 27 - Malcolm Lowry, English novelist (b. 1909)
- July 4 - Judy Tyler, American actress (b. 1933)
- July 24 - Sacha Guitry, Russian-born French playright, actor, and director (b. 1885)
- July 28 - Edith Abbott, American social worker, educator, and author (b. 1876)
- August 5 - Heinrich Otto Wieland, German chemist, Nobel Prize larueate (b. 1877)
- August 7 - Oliver Hardy, American actor (b. 1892)
- August 16 - Irving Langmuir, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1881)
- August 19 - David Bomberg, English painter (b. 1890)
- September 1 - Dennis Brain, English French horn player (b. 1921)
- September 20 - Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer (b. 1865)
- September 21 - Haakon VII of Norway (b. 1872)
- September 22 - Toyoda Soemu, Japanese admiral (b. 1885)
- October 25 - Edward Plunkett, Baron Dunsany, Irish author (b. 1878)
- October 29 - Louis B. Mayer, American film producer (b. 1885)
- November 4 - Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith (b. 1897)
- November 4 - Laika, Russian Samoyed dog, first to orbit the earth
- November 24 - Diego Rivera, Mexican painter (b. 1886)
- November 29 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Austrian composer (b. 1897)
- November 30 - Beniamino Gigli, Italian tenor (b. 1890)
- December 21 - Eric Coates, English composer (b. 1886)
- Physics - Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee
- Chemistry- Lord Alexander R. Todd
- Medicine - Daniel Bovet
- Literature - Albert Camus
- Peace - Lester Bowles Pearson
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