1974 1975 1976 - 1977 - 1978 1979 1980
1940s 1950s 1960s - 1970s - 1980s 1990s 2000s
Events of 1977
- January 10 – Mount Nyiragongo erupts in eastern Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
- January 15 – Kälvesta air disaster: A Swedish airliner crashes into a residential area of Stockholm, killing all 22 on board.
- January 17 – Gary Gilmore is executed by firing squad in Utah (the first execution after the reintroduction of the death penalty in the U.S.).
- January 18 – Scientists identify a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of the mysterious Legionnaires' disease.
- January 18 – Australia's worst railway disaster at Granville, near Sydney, leaves 83 people dead.
- January 18 – SFR Yugoslavia Prime minister, Džemal Bijedić, his wife and 6 others are killed in a plane crash in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- January 19 – U.S. President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri D'Aquino (aka "Tokyo Rose").
- January 20 – Jimmy Carter succeeds Gerald Ford as the 39th President of the United States.
- January 21 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardons Vietnam War draft evaders.
- January 24 – The Massacre of Atocha occurs during the Spanish transition to democracy.
- January 31 – The Centre Georges Pompidou is officially opened by French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
- February 7 – The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 24 (Viktor Gorbatko, Yuri Glazkov) to dock with the Salyut 5 space station.
- February 18 – The space shuttle Enterprise test vehicle goes on its maiden "flight" while sitting on top of a Boeing 747, at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
- March 4 – The 1977 Bucharest Earthquake kills 1,500.
- March 9 – Approximately a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims take over 3 buildings in Washington, D.C., killing 1 person and taking more than 130 hostages. The hostage situation ends 2 days later.
- March 27 – Tenerife disaster: A collision between KLM and PanAm Boeing 747s at Tenerife, Canary Islands, kills 583 (the worst single aviation accident on record).
- April 7 – German Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback and his driver are shot by 2 Red Army Faction members while waiting at a red light near his home in Karlsruhe. The "Ulrike Meinhof Commando" later claims responsibility.
- April 22 – Optical fiber is first used to carry live telephone traffic.
- April 27 – The Guatemala City air disaster kills 28 people.
- April 28 – A Stuttgart court sentences Red Army Faction members Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe to life imprisonment.
- May 1 – The Taksim Square massacre in Istanbul results in 34 deaths, hundreds of injuries.
- May 14 – The 1977 IAS Cargo Boeing 707 airplane crash in Lusaka, Zambia kills all 6 on board.
- May 14 – In Milan, Italy, during a far-left demonstration, a hooded person shoots at the police, killing a policeman, Antonio Custra. The scene is photographed and the picture  of the hooded man shooting in the middle of the street appears in many magazines around the world.
- May 17 – The Likud Party, led by Menachem Begin, wins the elections in Israel.
- May 23 – Scientists report using bacteria in a lab to make insulin.
- May 23 – Moluccan terrorists take over a school in Bovensmilde, northern Netherlands (105 hostages), and a passenger train on the Bovensmilde-Assen route nearby (90 hostages) at the same time. On June 11, Dutch Royal Marines storm the train; 6 terrorists and 2 hostages are killed.
- May 27 – The 1977 Aeroflot Ilyushin 62 airplane crash in Cuba kills 69 people.
- May 28 – The Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky is engulfed in fire, killing 165 inside.
- June 5 – A coup takes place in the Seychelles.
- June 10 – James Earl Ray escapes from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Petros, Tennessee (he is recaptured on June 13).
- June 15 – Spain has its first democratic elections, after 41 years under the Franco regime.
- July 5 – General Mohammed Zia ul-Haq overthrows Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.
- July 13 – The New York City blackout of 1977 lasts for 25 hours, resulting in looting and other disorder.
- July 19 to July 20 – Flooding in Johnstown, PA, caused by massive rainfall, kills over 75 people and causes billions in damage.
- July 22 – The purged Chinese Communist leader Deng Xiaoping is restored to power 9 months after the "Gang of Four" was expelled from power in a coup d'état.
- July 28 – The first oil through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System reaches Valdez, Alaska.
- July 30 – Left-wing German terrorists Susanne Albrecht, Brigitte Mohnhaupt and a third person assassinate Jürgen Ponto, chairman of the Dresdner Bank in Oberursel, West Germany.
- August 4 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs legislation creating the United States Department of Energy.
- August 9 – The military-controlled government of Uruguay announces that it will return the nation to civilian rule through general elections in 1981 for a President and Congress.
- August 10 – David Berkowitz is captured in Yonkers, New York, after over a year of murders in New York City as the Son Of Sam.
- August 12 – The NASA Space Shuttle, named Enterprise, makes its first test free-flight from the back of a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA).
- August 15 – The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, receives a radio signal from deep space; the event is named the "WOW!" signal for a notation made by a volunteer on the project.
- August 16- Elvis Presley dies at age 42 at his Memphis home.
- August 20 – Voyager program: The United States launches the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
- September 5 – Voyager program: Voyager 1 is launched after a brief delay.
- September 5 – German Autumn: Employers Association President Hanns-Martin Schleyer is kidnapped in Cologne, West Germany. The kidnappers kill 3 escorting police officers and his chauffeur. They demand the release of Red Army Faction (RAF) prisoners.
- September 6 – Steve Biko suffers a massive head injury in police custody in South Africa, later dying.
- September 7 – Treaties between Panama and the United States on the status of the Panama Canal are signed. The U.S. agrees to transfer control of the canal to Panama at the end of the 20th century.
- September 10 – Hamida Djandoubi's is the last guillotine execution in France.
- September 19 – Under pressure from the Carter Administration, President Anastasio Somoza Debayle lifts the state of siege in Nicaragua.
- September 21 – A nuclear non-proliferation pact is signed by 15 countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union.
- October 26 – The last natural smallpox case is discovered in Merca district, Somalia. The WHO and the CDC consider this date the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination and, by extension, of modern science.
- November 1 – 2060 Chiron, first of the outer solar system asteroids known as Centaurs, is discovered by Charlie Kowal.
- November 2 – The worst storm in Athens' modern history causes havoc across the Greek capital and kills 38 people.
- November 6 – The Kelly Barnes Dam, located above Toccoa Falls Bible College near Toccoa, Georgia fails, killing 39.
- November 8 – Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos discovers the tomb of Philip II of Macedon at Vergina.
- November 8 – San Francisco elects City Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official of any large city in the U.S.
- November 9 – Gen. Hugo Banzer, president of the military government of Bolivia, announces that the constitutional democracy will be restored in 1978 instead of 1980 as previously provided.
- November 19 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel when he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, seeking a permanent peace settlement.
- November 19 – TAP Portugal Flight 425 crashes at Madeira Airport, Funchal, Portugal, killing 131 and leaving 33 survivors.
- December 1 – The Lockheed's top-secret stealth aircraft project, designated Have Blue, precursor to the U.S. F-117A Nighthawk, makes its first flight.
- December 4 – Jean-Bédel Bokassa, president of the Central African Republic, crowns himself Emperor.
- December 4 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 is hijacked and crashes in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, Malaysia, killing all 100 passengers and crew on board.
- December 13 – A DC-3 charter plane carrying the University of Evansville basketball team to Nashville, Tenn., crashes in rain and dense fog about 90 seconds after takeoff from Evansville Dress Regional Airport. Twenty-nine people die in the crash, including 14 members of the team and head coach Bob Watson.