1961 is a common year starting on a Sunday.
January 31 - South Korean Prime Minister Shin Sang-soo leaves the Democratic Party and becomes an independent.
April 12 - Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union becomes the first person to fly into space.
April 27 - Sierra Leone gains independence from Britain.
April 30 - President Yoon Bo-seon left the Democratic Party and became an independent, entering the Republic of Korea's non-government party system.
May 16 - The 5·16 coup took place in South Korea and military government was instituted.
June 3 - The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, signs the Nuclear Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union.
July 11 - China-China Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Aid is signed.
August 6 - The Soviet Union successfully launches the 2nd manned spacecraft.
August 10 - The Republic of Korea and Cameroon establish diplomatic ties.
August 10 - Korea Standard Time is moved forward by 30 minutes based on 135 degrees East longitude.
August 12 - President Park Jeong-hee of the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction, Republic of Korea, promised to transfer the civil government in the summer of 1963.
August 13 - The Berlin Wall is erected between the east and west sections of Berlin, a German city divided by the Cold War.
August 31 - Soviet Union declares resumption of nuclear tests.
September 1 - Non-Allied Powers Summit held in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia.
September 15 - The United States conducts an underground nuclear test.
September 16 - The US conducts its second underground nuclear test in Nevada.
September 18 – UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld dies in a plane crash in Zambia while en route to Africa to resolve the conflict in Congo.
September 27 - Sierra Leone joins the United Nations.
September 28 - A military coup occurs in Damascus, Syria, and Syria withdraws from the Arab Republic.
October 27 - Mauritania, Mongolia join the United Nations.
October 30 - The Soviet Union conducts a nuclear test, dropping the Tsar Bomba on the Novaya Zemlya Islands.
November 6 - The United Nations approves a ban on nuclear tests.
November 13th - Korean National Airlines closes business
August 1 - Established Small and Medium Business Bank.
August 5 - The Military Aid Agency is established.
August 15 - Korea, Agricultural Cooperatives are established.
August 16 - The Korea Entrepreneurs Association (predecessor to the National Federation of Entrepreneurs) was founded with Lee Byung-cheol as the president.
September 30 - The Korea Federation of Trade Unions is formed.
October 13 - The Korea Journalism Ethics Committee, an autonomous deliberation body with Korean journalists, was established.
October 31 - The European Organization for Economic Cooperation (OEEC) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) were expanded and reorganized.
December 24 - Started trial broadcasting of Seoul TV station.
December 31st - Seoul TV station opened the TV broadcast KBS-TV (now KBS 1TV), and started broadcasting from 6 am to 10 pm for 4 hours.
January 1 – Won-cheol Won, South Korean military officer (d.
January 2 – Todd Haynes, American film director (b.
January 4 – Oh Se-hoon, South Korean politician (b.
January 6 – Park Jung-hoon, South Korean producer (b.
January 10 – Choi Soon-ho, a South Korean football player and current football manager.
January 12 – Kim Seung-gi, South Korean singer and composer (b.
Korean actor Park Young-rok.
American actress Julia Ruydrippers.
January 19 – Shin Kyung-sik, South Korean baseball player and current baseball coach.
January 22 – Yang Geum-seok, South Korean actor (b.
January 24 – Nastassja Kinsky, German actress (b.
January 27 – Roy Figan, American actor (b.
February 3 – Jang Hyang-suk, South Korean social activist and politician (b.
Moon Ji-hyeon, South Korean voice actress.
Lee Jung-hee, a South Korean singer.
American film director Alexander Payne.
American politician and journalist George Steppernopalus.
Choi Hwa-jung is a South Korean actress.
Cha Hwa-yeon is a South Korean actress.
Korean actor Kim Eung-soo.
February 18 – Hironobu Kageyama, Japanese singer-songwriter (b.
February 19 – Park Soon-chun, South Korean actor (b.
Korean actress Lee Hyo-jung.
Geum Bo-ra is a South Korean actress.
February 24 – Kim Han, South Korean comedian (b.