In the year 1962...
- The Cuban Missile Crisis threatens the world with nuclear holocaust for 13 days in October.
- Rachel Carson's book on the effects of DDT on birds, Silent Spring, is published for the first time and helps launch the modern Environmentalism movement.
- The Space Race is in full swing as American President John F. Kennedy declares the US will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Meanwhile John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth, making three circuts in 4 hours, 55 minutes aboard Friendship 7, and AT&T's Telstar becomes the world's first-ever communications satellite.
- Decolonization continues across the World. The bloody Algerian War between France and Algerian freedom fighters finally comes to an end, with Algeria gaining its independence with the signing of peace accords at Évian. In India, the Indian army liberates Goa from the Portuguese, encountering no resistance. Meanwhile, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago gain independence through peaceful means.
- The Sino-Indian War briefly errupts between India and China over a disputed border 14,000 feet high in the Himalaya.
- The US trade embargo on Cuba begins.
- American student activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) issues its manifesto, the "Port Huron Statement." Penned by Tom Hayden, this call to action on behalf of the disadvantaged and the oppressed launches the American student protests of the 1960s.
- Ringo Starr joins The Beatles, replacing Pete Best, and the group releases its first UK single, Love Me Do. The B-side is P.S. I Love You.
- Escorted by Federal marshals, James Meredith becomes the first black student to register at the University of Mississippi.
- In Engel v. Vitale, the US Supreme Court rules against mandatory prayer in public schools.
- In the so-called "Night of the Long Knives," British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan purges one-third of his Cabinet.
- Pope John XXIII convenes the Second Vatican Council.
- The Boston Strangler begins his two year long killing spree that will ultimately claim the lives of 13 women.
- Convicted felons Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin become the only prisoners ever to escape from Alcatraz Prison, but they are never seen again and are presumed to have died in the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay.
- The "Century 21 Exposition" World's Fair bequeaths the Space Needle to Seattle, Washington.
- Johnny Carson takes over as host of The Tonight Show, beginning a 30-year run.
- The American discount department store chains KMart, Walmart, and Target are all founded this year.
- Columbian mystic Samael Aun Weor declares the dawning of the New Age of Aquarius.
- Martin K. Speckter invents the interrobang punctuation mark.
These people were born in 1962:
These people died in 1962:
These films appeared in 1962:
These books were first published in 1962:
1961 - 1962 - 1963