1973 was an interesting year. I wasn’t alive when humanity experienced this year (because I was only born in 1977) but that doesn’t change the fact that this year had it fair share of notable events. Today I will be delving into some of them.
Here are 23 Notable Events That Happened in 1973
1. The United States ended its involvement in Vietnam
This happened after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973. The accords were signed by the USA, North Vietnam and South Vietnam. On the 29th of March 1973. the last US combat troops left South Vietnam.
2. Oil got a lot more expensive
On the 17th of October of this year, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced that they will restrict flow of crude oil to countries supporting Israel (in the Yum Kippur War). This caused the price of oil to increase by 200%.
3. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court reached a decision in the case of Roe v. Wade
This case involved a woman named Jane Roe who challenged a law in Texas that made abortion mostly illegal. The Court ruled in favor of Jane Roe, stating that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or not. However, they acknowledged that the government has an interest in protecting potential life and divided pregnancy into three stages.
In the first trimester, the decision to have an abortion is solely up to the woman and her doctor, while in the second trimester, the government can regulate abortion to protect the mother’s health. This decision made it more difficult for states to ban or restrict abortion, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy, but also allowed the government to establish some regulations for later stages of pregnancy.
Subsequent cases, such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, modified and clarified some aspects of the Roe decision, upholding its core principles while allowing greater state regulation.
In June 2022 this ruling was overturned in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The ruling in this case returned the power to individual states to regulate any aspect of abortion not protected by federal law.
4. A bunch of TV shows ended in 1973
The Western TV show Bonanza concluded after 14 seasons, the popular sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies ended after 9 seasons, The Brady Bunch ended after 5 seasons and The Partridge Family ended after 4 seasons, in this year,
5. A bunch of TV shows first aired in 1973
This year saw the debuts of the science fiction action show The Six Million Dollar Man, the crime/detective show Kojak, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and the soap opera The Young and the Restless.
6. Some kick-ass movies were released in this year
The Sting, William Friedkin’s Horror Classic The Exorcist, Paper Moon, Papillon, The Day Of The Jackal, Serpico, Terrence Malick’s Badlands, George Lucas’ American Graffiti, Martin Scorcese’s Mean Streets, Soylent Green, and Michael Chricton’s Westworld were among the films that were released in 1973. The Exorcist was the biggest movie of the year. The film grossed $112.3 million on a budget of $12 million.
7. This year saw the release of some great albums
Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Bruce Springsteen’s second album (The Wild Innocent & The E Street Shuffle), Black Sabbath‘s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Burnin’, Genesis‘ fifth studio album Selling England by the Pound, Lou Reed’s Berlin, The Who‘s Quadrophenia, ZZ Top‘s Tres Hombres, Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power, Roxy Music‘s For Your Pleasure, Grand Funk Railroad‘s We’re An American Band, James Brown’s The Payback, The Rolling Stones‘ Goats Head Soup, Billy Joel’s Piano Man, The Allman Brothers Band‘s Brothers and Sisters, Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s debut album Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd, Paul McCartney and Wings‘ Band On the Run, Sly and the Family Stone‘s Fresh, Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions and Led Zeppelin‘s first album of all original music Houses of the Holy was released in 1973.
8. Marlon Brando boycotted the Oscars
The actor did this to protest the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry and the US government. At that time, Brando was nominated for the Best Actor award for his role in The Godfather (1972), but he chose not to attend the ceremony. Instead, he sent Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather to represent him. The film won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay though.
9. A lot of interesting things happened in Music
There was actually a vinyl shortage (thanks to the oil crisis). KISS played their first show in New York, AC/DC played their first show on New Year’s Eve, Rob Halford joined Judas Priest and David Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust,
10. The Watergate scandal in the United States reached a pivotal point in this year
Investigations into the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters revealed a web of political corruption, leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August 1974.
11. The Sydney Opera House completed in Australia
The iconic opera house’s doors opened on the 20th of October 1973. The distinctive architectural masterpiece has since become one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
12. The Yom Kippur War happened in October of this year
On October 6, 1973, the conflict started. Yom Kippur, a Jewish holy day, saw a surprise invasion by Egypt and Syria on Israel. The conflict came to a conclusion on October 25, 1973. A number of cease-fires and discussions (led mostly by the United States and the Soviet Union) led to the end of the war.
Larger peace talks between Israel, Egypt, and other Arab countries followed the war. As a result of these discussions, Egypt and Israel eventually signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, restoring their diplomatic ties and settling a number of unresolved concerns.
13. A bank was robbed in Stockholm…
The incident that became known as the Norrmalmstorg Robbery was a hostage situation involving a bank that is best remembered for coining the phrase “Stockholm syndrome.” It took place in August 1973 at Norrmalmstorg Square in the Swedish capital and was Sweden’s first criminal incident to be shown live on television.
14. There’s was a bomb explosion in Milan…
At the city’s Piazza Fontana, a terrorist explosion took place on December 12, 1973. Numerous individuals were hurt and 16 people died in the explosion. This incident, which heightened political tensions and contributed to the decade of political violence known as the “Years of Lead,” marked a pivotal moment in Italian history.
15. Juanita Nielsen disappeared in Sydney
The Australian activist and newspaper journalist vanished in July 1973 for an unexplained reason. She was renowned for her opposition to a real estate development plan and her work to protect local historical structures. Her disappearance is still a mystery.
16. The “Serpentine murders” occurred in London’s Hyde Park
John Kilbride and Lesley Ann Downey, two small children, were kidnapped in August 1973 and later killed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, who came to be known as the “Moors murderers.” The shocking spate of murders sparked a manhunt across the country and stunned the British public.
17. It was a hectic year in South Africa
In January 1973, workers at the Coronation Brick and Tile factory in Durban initiated a strike that quickly spread to other industries, leading to a massive strike involving close to 100,000 mainly African workers by March of this year.
In March 1973, Steve Biko (a prominent anti-apartheid activist and leader of the Black Consciousness Movement) was banned by the Apartheid government. South Africa was impacted by the Oil embargo (because of its racial policies).
18. The Bahamas gained independence from the United Kingdom
On July 10, 1973, the Union Jack flag was lowered, and the new flag of the Bahamas was raised, symbolizing the country’s independence. The Bahamas adopted a new constitution that outlined its system of government, with a parliamentary democracy headed by a prime minister. Sir Lynden Pindling was the island nation’s first prime minister.
19. Some notable people died
1973 saw the deaths of renowned Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee and esteemed South African-born writer J.R.R. Tolkien (who wrote The Lord Of The Rings & The Hobbit),
20. Some notable people were born
Lena Headey (Cersei in Game of Thrones), Kate Beckinsale (Selene in the Underworld movies), Juliette Lewis (famous for her role in Natural Born Killers), Adrien Brody (known for his role in The Pianist), Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott in the Scream movies), Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious movies), Jim Parsons (Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory), Seth MacFarlane (the creator of Family Guy), Sharlto Copley (Wikus van der Merwe in District 9), Neil Patrick Harris (Barney in How I Met Your Mother), Shannon Elizabeth (Nadia in the American Pie movies), Shaun Pollock (the former South African Cricket captain) and Mark Shuttleworth (the South African entrepreneur and space tourist) were all born in 1973.
21. The World Trade Center opened in New York City
Back then, the twin 110 storey building was the highest building in the world. Sadly this building was destroyed in the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001.
22. The world’s mobile phone call was made
The call was made in downtown Manhattan, New York City by Motorola employee Martin Cooper. He called Bell Labs’ headquarters in New Jersey.
23. The Bosphorus Bridge opened in Instanbul
The bridge connects the continents of Asia and Europe and the two sides of the Turkish capital across the Dardanelles. It was the first crossing since a pontoon bridge was constructed by the Persian Emperor Xerxes in 460 BCE.
Well, there you have it, 23 Notable Events that happened in 1973. If I’ve left out something important, feel free to comment below.
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