17 March 1969

Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.

Golda Meir was an Israeli stateswoman and politician who played a significant role in the establishment and early history of the State of Israel. She was born Golda Mabovitch on May 3, 1898, in Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire), and her family immigrated to the United States in 1906, settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In her early years, Meir became involved in Zionist activism, eventually moving to British Mandate Palestine (now Israel) in 1921. She joined the Labor Zionist movement and became deeply involved in political and social work. Meir quickly rose through the ranks of the Labor Zionist leadership and held various positions within the Zionist movement.

During Israel’s formative years, Meir held several key government positions, including Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. She was known for her dedication to socialist principles and her pragmatic approach to politics. Meir played a crucial role in negotiating arms deals and diplomatic agreements, particularly during her tenure as Foreign Minister.

One of Meir’s most notable achievements was becoming the fourth Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, a position she held until 1974. She was the first and, to date, only woman to hold the office in Israel. As Prime Minister, Meir faced numerous challenges, including the Yom Kippur War in 1973, during which Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria. Her leadership during this crisis earned her both praise and criticism.

Meir’s tenure as Prime Minister was marked by a commitment to Israeli security and the promotion of Zionism. However, her government faced criticism for its handling of various domestic and foreign policy issues, including the handling of Palestinian nationalism.

After resigning as Prime Minister in 1974, Meir remained active in Israeli politics until her death on December 8, 1978. She left behind a legacy as one of Israel’s founding leaders, a trailblazer for women in politics, and a symbol of resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Her autobiography, “My Life,” provides further insight into her remarkable life and career.

20 November 1969

Occupation of Alcatraz: Native American activists seize control of Alcatraz Island until being ousted by the U.S. Government on June 11, 1971.

The Occupation of Alcatraz in 1971 was a significant event in Native American activism and the broader civil rights movement. On November 20, 1969, a group of Native American activists, calling themselves the Indians of All Tribes (IOAT), occupied the abandoned Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, which was the site of the notorious Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.

The activists, led by individuals such as Richard Oakes, LaNada Means, and John Trudell, claimed that the occupation was a symbolic act to reclaim land that was rightfully theirs under the terms of the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868), which stated that surplus federal land would be returned to Native tribes. The Alcatraz Island had been declared surplus federal property in 1964.

The occupiers argued that the federal government should honor the treaty and turn the island into a center for Native American studies, cultural preservation, and community development. They believed that the unused federal land could be repurposed for the betterment of Native American communities.

The occupation garnered widespread attention and support, both from Native Americans across the country and from various activists sympathetic to their cause. The activists faced numerous challenges, including harsh weather conditions, lack of sanitation facilities, and legal actions taken by the federal government to remove them from the island.

Over time, the occupation brought attention to the broader issues faced by Native American communities, such as land rights, cultural preservation, and socioeconomic challenges. Although the occupation of Alcatraz ultimately ended in June 1971, it is often considered a pivotal moment in Native American activism, paving the way for future protests and movements advocating for indigenous rights and recognition.

19 November 1969

Association football player Pelé scores his 1,000th goal.

Pelé, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is a retired Brazilian football (soccer) player widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He was born on October 23, 1940, in Três Corações, Brazil.

Pelé began his professional career at a young age, joining the Santos Football Club in Brazil in 1956. His remarkable skills and goal-scoring ability quickly gained attention, and he became a key player for both Santos and the Brazilian national team.

One of Pelé’s most notable achievements came in 1958 when, at the age of 17, he played a crucial role in leading Brazil to victory in the FIFA World Cup held in Sweden. Pelé scored a hat-trick in the semifinal against France and two more goals in the final against Sweden, helping Brazil win their first World Cup title. He remains the youngest player ever to score in a World Cup final.

Pelé went on to win two more World Cups with Brazil in 1962 and 1970. In the 1962 World Cup held in Chile, he suffered an injury in the second match and could not continue playing, but Brazil still went on to win the tournament. In the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Pelé was a key figure in Brazil’s success, scoring four goals in total and helping his team secure their third World Cup title.

Throughout his career, Pelé scored over 1,000 professional goals and achieved numerous records. He played for Santos until 1974 when he joined the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League (NASL), contributing to the growth of football in the United States. Pelé retired from professional football in 1977.

Beyond his on-field success, Pelé has become a global ambassador for football and has been involved in various charitable and humanitarian efforts. His impact on the sport and his legacy as one of the greatest football players ever continue to be celebrated worldwide.

17 November 1969

Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, Finland to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were a series of negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War with the aim of curbing the arms race between the two superpowers. The talks primarily focused on limiting the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons. There were two rounds of SALT negotiations: SALT I and SALT II.

SALT I (1969-1972):
The SALT I negotiations began in 1969, following a period of increased tension and nuclear arms buildup between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The talks resulted in two key agreements: the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
The ABM Treaty aimed to limit the number of anti-ballistic missile systems each country could deploy, with the goal of preventing a strategic imbalance that might undermine the principle of mutually assured destruction (MAD).
The Interim Agreement established certain limits on the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) that each side could deploy.

SALT II (1972-1979):
SALT II negotiations began in the mid-1970s, building on the foundation laid by SALT I. The talks aimed to set more comprehensive limits on various types of nuclear weapons.
However, SALT II was never ratified by the U.S. Senate due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. In response to the Soviet action, the United States suspended its participation in the SALT II negotiations.
Despite the lack of formal ratification, both the United States and the Soviet Union voluntarily adhered to the terms of the SALT II agreement until 1986.

The SALT agreements represented efforts by both superpowers to manage the nuclear arms race and reduce the risk of a catastrophic conflict. While they did not eliminate the nuclear arsenals of either country, they contributed to stability by placing limits on certain types of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. The SALT process marked a significant step in the broader effort to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

24 July 1969

Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

The Apollo 11 mission was a historic spaceflight conducted by NASA, the United States’ space agency. It was the first manned mission to land on the Moon and is considered one of the greatest achievements in human space exploration. The mission was named after the Greek god Apollo, who was associated with the Sun and light, as well as with knowledge and the arts.

17 March 1969

Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.

Golda Meir was an Israeli politician who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. Born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1898, she immigrated to the United States with her family when she was a child, and later moved to Palestine in 1921.

In Palestine, Meir became involved in the labor movement and eventually rose to prominence as a leader of the Zionist movement. She served in a variety of roles in the Israeli government, including as Minister of Labor and Foreign Minister, before being elected as Prime Minister in 1969.

During her time in office, Meir faced a number of challenges, including the 1973 Yom Kippur War and a global economic recession. She was known for her strong leadership and her commitment to Israel’s security, and was widely respected both in Israel and internationally.

Meir resigned as Prime Minister in 1974, citing health reasons. She passed away in 1978 at the age of 80.