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1976: Carter beats Ford, Bicentennial, Viking on Mars

By Patrick Mondout

A devastating earthquake in China, the Bicentennial celebrations in the U.S., the death of Mao in China, the Viking missions to Mars, and Jimmy Carter winning the presidency were the major stories of 1976.

Major Stories

January 18: The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in Super Bowl X.

January 21: The supersonic transport Concorde enters commercial service.

January 30: Former Texas congressman George Bush is named the new Director of the CIA by President Ford.

February 4: A devastating earthquake in Guatemala kills more than 25,000 and leaves a quarter of the population homeless.

April 5: James Callaghan becomes prime minister of Britain.

July 2: North and South Vietnam are officially reunited with Hanoi as the capital.

July 4: Year-long Bicentennial celebrations in the United States reach a height on the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

July 20: Viking I lands on Mars and begins sending back the first pictures from the surface of another planet.

July 28: An 8.2 earthquake, the worst of the century, shatters 20 square miles around Tangshan, China, leaving over 650,000 dead.

August 1: The Summer Olympics in Montreal end leaving the city more than $1B in debt.

August 18: A clash in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea leaves two American soldiers dead.

September 9: Mao Zedong of China dies.


"My name is Jimmy Carter and I'm running for President." With those simple words, Georgian peanut farmer Jimmy Carter launched his unlikely and successful bid for the presidency.

Courtesy of NARA/Carter Library

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