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1976 ( MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1976th year of the Common Era (CE) and (AD) designations, the 976th year of the Anno Domini 2nd millennium, the 76th year of the 20th century, and the 7th year of the 1970s decade.
January – The
Cray-1, the first commercially developed supercomputer, is released by Seymour Cray's Cray Research.
January 3 – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights entered into force.
January 11 – The 1976 Philadelphia Flyers–Red Army game results in a 4–1 victory for the National Hockey League's Philadelphia Flyers over HC CSKA Moscow of the Soviet Union.
January 12 - Crime author Agatha Christie dies aged 85 in Oxfordshire, UK
January 14 – The Lutz family flees from 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, Long Island, New York, in the United States, 28 days after having moved in on December 18, 1975, leading to the story of The Amityville Horror.
January 15 – Would-be Gerald Ford presidential assassin Sara Jane Moore is sentenced to life in prison.
January 16 – The trial against jailed members of the Red Army Faction begins in Stuttgart, West Germany.
January 19 – Jimmy Carter wins the Iowa Democratic Caucus.
January 21 – The first commercial flight takes off. Concorde
January 29 – Twelve Provisional Irish Republican Army bombs explode in the West End of London.
January 30 – debuts on Live from Lincoln Center PBS.
May 1 – Neville Wran becomes Premier of New South Wales.
LAGEOS (Laser Geodynamics Satellite) is launched. A train crash in
Schiedam, the Netherlands, kills 24 people.
May 6 – An earthquake hits the Friuli area in Italy, killing more than 900 people and making another 100,000 homeless.
May 9 – Ulrike Meinhof of the Red Army Faction is found hanged in an apparent suicide, in her Stuttgart-Stammheim prison cell.
May 21 – The Yuba City bus disaster, the worst bus crash in U.S. history to date, with 28 students and one teacher killed.
May 24 – Washington, D.C. Concorde service begins.
The Judgment of Paris pits French vs. California wines in a blind taste-test in Paris, France. California wines win the contest, surprising the wine world and opening the wine industry to newcomers in several countries.
May 25 – U.S. President Gerald Ford defeats challenger Ronald Reagan in 3 Republican presidential primaries: Kentucky, Tennessee and Oregon.
May 30 – Indianapolis 500-Mile Race: Johnny Rutherford wins the (rain-shortened) shortest race in event history to date, at 102 laps or 255 miles (408 km).
May 31 – Syria intervenes in the Lebanese Civil War in opposition to the Palestine Liberation Organization, whom it had previously supported.
June 1 – The UK and Iceland end the Cod War.
June 5 – The Teton Dam collapses in southeast Idaho in the USA, killing 11 people.
June 6 – The Double Six Crash, a plane crash in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, kills everyone on board, including Sabahan Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens.
June 12 – Alberto Demicheli, a jurist, is inaugurated as a civilian de facto President of Uruguay after Juan María Bordaberry is deposed by the military.
June 13 – Savage thunderstorms roll through the state of Iowa, spawning several tornadoes, including an F-5 tornado that destroys the town of Jordan, Iowa.
June 14 – The trial begins at Oxford Crown Court of Donald Neilson, the killer known as the Black Panther.
June 16 – The Soweto uprising in South Africa begins.
June 17 – The National Basketball Association and the American Basketball Association agree on the ABA–NBA merger.
Hundreds of Western tourists are moved from
Beirut and taken to safety in Syria by the U.S. military, following the murder of the U.S. ambassador. General elections are held in Italy.
Czechoslovakia beats West Germany 5–3 on penalties to win Euro 76, when the game had ended 2–2 after extra time.
June 25 – Strikes start in Poland ( Ursus, Radom, Płock) after communists raise food prices; they end on June 30.
June 26 – The CN Tower is built in Toronto; the tallest free-standing land structure opens to the public.
July 2 – North Vietnam dissolves the Provisional Government of South Vietnam and unites the two countries to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
July 3 – : The Gregg v. Georgia Supreme Court of the United States rules that the death penalty is not inherently cruel or unusual and is a constitutionally acceptable form of punishment overturning the Furman v. Georgia case of 1972.
great heat wave in the United Kingdom, which is currently suffering from drought conditions, reaches its peak.
July 4 – Entebbe Raid: Israeli airborne commandos free 103 hostages being held by Palestinian hijackers of an Air France plane at Uganda's Entebbe Airport; Yonatan Netanyahu and several Ugandan soldiers are killed in the raid.
July 6 – The first class of women is inducted at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
German left-wing women terrorists Monika Berberich, Gabriella Rollnick, Juliane Plambeck and Inge Viett escape from the Lehrter Straße maximum security prison in
David Steel becomes leader of the UK's Liberal Party in the aftermath of the scandal which forced out Jeremy Thorpe.
mercenaries, three British and one American, are shot by firing squad in Angola.
An explosion in Seveso, Italy, causes extended pollution to a large area in the neighborhood of Milano, with many evacuations and a large number of people affected by the toxic cloud.
July 16 – July 20 – Albert Spaggiari and his gang break into the vault of the Societe Generale Bank in Nice, France.
July 18 – Nadia Comăneci earns the first of 7 perfect scores of 10 at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
July 19 – Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal is created.
July 21 – An IRA bomb kills Christopher Ewart-Biggs, British ambassador to the Irish Republic, and Judith Cooke, a Northern Ireland Office private secretary; two others are seriously wounded but survive.
July 26 – In Los Angeles, Ronald Reagan announces his choice of liberal U.S. Senator Richard Schweiker as his vice presidential running mate, in an effort to woo moderate Republican delegates away from President Gerald Ford.
July 28 – The Tangshan earthquake flattens Tangshan, China, killing 242,769 people, and injuring 164,851.
July 29 – In New York City, the " Son of Sam" pulls a gun from a paper bag, killing 1 and seriously wounding another, in the first of a series of attacks that terrorize the city for the next year.
August 2 – A gunman murders Andrea Wilborn and Stan Farr and injures Priscilla Davis and Gus Gavrel, in an incident at Priscilla's mansion in Fort Worth, Texas. T. Cullen Davis, Priscilla's husband and one of the richest men in Texas, is tried and found innocent for Andrea's murder, involvement in a plot to kill several people (including Priscilla and a judge), and a wrongful death lawsuit. Cullen goes broke afterwards.
August 5 – The Great Clock of Westminster (or Big Ben) suffers internal damage and stops running for over 9 months.
August 6 – Former UK Postmaster General John Stonehouse is sentenced to 7 years' jail for fraud, theft and forgery.
August 7 – Viking program: Viking 2 enters into orbit around Mars.
August 8 – As part of the American Basketball Association–National Basketball Association merger, a dispersal draft was conducted to assign teams for the players on the two ABA franchises which had folded.
August 11 – A sniper rampage in Wichita, Kansas on a Holiday Inn results in 3 deaths while 7 others are wounded. 
August 16 – The Ramones make their first "professional" performance at CBGB.
August 18 – At Panmunjom, North Korea, two United States soldiers are killed while trying to chop down part of a tree in the Korean Demilitarized Zone which had obscured their view.
August 19 – U.S. President Gerald Ford edges out challenger Ronald Reagan to win the Republican Party presidential nomination in Kansas City.
August 24 – In Uruguay, the army captures Marcelo Gelman and his pregnant wife. Gelman is later killed and his wife disappears.
August 30 – James Alexander George Smith McCartney is sworn in as the first Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Cigarette and tobacco advertising is banned on Australian television and radio.
Aparicio Méndez, a jurist, is inaugurated as a civilian de facto President of Uruguay in the framework of a dictatorship. The state of emergency, being in force since
1939, is lifted in the Republic of Ireland.
September 3 – Viking program: The Viking 2 spacecraft lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars, taking the first close-up color photos of the planet's surface.
September 13 – is broadcast for the first time on The Muppet Show ITV.
September 15 – Darryl Sittler scores the winning goal in the 1976 Canada Cup for Canada to win over Czechoslovakia in overtime, to win the first Canada Cup, which stayed in Canada.
September 17 – The space shuttle is rolled out of a Enterprise Palmdale, California hangar.
September 20 – The International Organization of Space Communications (Intersputnik) is founded.
September 20 – September 21 – The semi-legendary 100 Club Punk Festival ignites the careers of several influential punk and post-punk bands, arguably sparking the punk movement's introduction into mainstream culture.
September 24 – Patty Hearst is sentenced to 7 years in prison for her role in a 1974 bank robbery (an executive clemency order from U.S. President Jimmy Carter will set her free after only 22 months).
September 25 – Irish rock band U2 is formed after drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. posts a note seeking members for a band on the notice board of his Dublin school.
September 28 – American singer Stevie Wonder releases his hit album . Songs in the Key of Life
October 4 – The InterCity 125 high-speed train is introduced in the United Kingdom.
October 8 – Thorbjörn Fälldin replaces Olof Palme as Prime Minister of Sweden.
October 10 – Taiwan Governor Hsieh Tung-min is injured by a letter bomb from a pro-independence activist.
October 12 – The People's Republic of China announces that Hua Guofeng is the successor to Mao Zedong, as Chairman of the Communist Party of China.
October 13 – The United States Commission on Civil Rights releases the report, Puerto Ricans in the Continental United States: An Uncertain Future, that documents that Puerto Ricans in the United States have a poverty rate of 33 percent in 1974 (up from 29 percent in 1970), the highest of all major racial-ethnic groups in the country (not including Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory).
October 18 – Ford officially launches volume production of the Fiesta car at its Valencia plant.
October 20 – The Mississippi River ferry MV is struck by a ship while crossing from George Prince Destrehan, Louisiana to Luling, Louisiana, killing 78 passengers and crew.
October 22 – Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, the 5th President of Ireland, resigns after being publicly insulted by the Minister for Defense.
October 25 – Clarence Norris, the last known survivor of the Scottsboro Boys, is pardoned.
October 26 – Transkei gains independence from South Africa.
February 4 – Cam'ron, African-American rapper
February 9 – Charlie Day, American actor
February 10 – Lance Berkman, American baseball player
February 11 – Brice Beckham, American actor
February 14 – Erica Leerhsen, American actress
February 15 – Seattle Slew, American Thoroughbred race horse who won the Triple Crown in 1977 (d. 2002)
February 17 – Svein Berge, Norwegian musician ( Röyksopp)
February 21 – Michael McIntyre, British stand-up comedian
February 24 – Zach Johnson, American golfer
February 25 – Rashida Jones, American actress, writer, model, and musician
February 27 – Yukari Tamura, Japanese voice actress and songwriter
April 3 – Will Mellor, English actor
April 4 – James Roday, American actor, director and screenwriter
April 6 – Candace Cameron Bure, American actress
April 7 – Eric Wareheim, American comedian
April 9 – Kris Radlinski, English rugby league player
April 10 – Jan Werner Danielsen, Norwegian singer (d. 2006)
April 12 – Andrei Lipanov, Russian ice skater
April 14 – Anna DeForge, American basketball player
April 17 – Kim Young-oh, South Korean illustrator
April 19 – Wyatt Cenac, American actor, writer and director
April 21 – Rommel Adducul, Filipino basketball player
April 22 – Michał Żewłakow, Polish footballer
April 23 – Darren Huckerby, English footballer
April 26 – Elisabet Reinsalu, Estonian actress
April 27 – Sally Hawkins, English actress
June 1 – Angela Perez Baraquio, Miss America 2001
June 3 – Jamie McMurray, American race car driver
June 4 – Alexei Navalny, Russian lawyer and political activist
June 8 – Lindsay Davenport, American tennis player
June 9 – Ameesha Patel, Indian actress
June 11 – Gran Naniwa, Japanese professional wrestler
June 14 – Alan Carr, English comedian
June 18 – Blake Shelton, American singer
June 19 – Anar Baghirov, Azerbaijani lawyer
June 20 – Juliano Belletti, Brazilian footballer
June 21 – Antonio Cochran, American football player
June 22 – Mike O'Brien, American actor, writer, and comedian
June 24 – Suhaimi Mat Hassan, Malaysian football referee
August 2 – Sam Worthington, English-born Australian actor
August 4 – David Lewis, Canadian actor
August 5 – Napoleon Beazley, convicted juvenile offender, executed by lethal injection in Texas. (d. 2002)
August 11 – Will Friedle, American actor and voice actor
August 15 – Boudewijn Zenden, Dutch football player
August 16 – Kadri Rämmeld, Estonian actress
August 19 – Michael M. Wartella, American underground cartoonist
August 24 – Yang Yang, Chinese short track skater
August 25 – Alexander Skarsgård, Swedish actor
September 4 – Brian Myrow, American baseball player
September 5 – Carice van Houten, Dutch actress
September 7 – Stevie Case, American video game celebrity
September 8 – Sjeng Schalken, Dutch tennis player
September 10 – Gustavo Kuerten, Brazilian tennis player
September 12 – Maciej Żurawski, Polish footballer
September 13 – Puma Swede, Swedish pornographic actress
September 16 – Tina Barrett, English singer ( S Club 7)
September 17 – Nicole Reinhart, American professional track and road racing cyclist (d. 2000)
September 18 – Ronaldo, Brazilian footballer
September 23 – Rob James-Collier, British actor and model
September 24 – Stephanie McMahon-Levesque, American wrestling promoter
September 27 – Francesco Totti, Italian footballer
September 28 – Fedor Emelianenko, Russian mixed martial arts fighter
September 29 – Andriy Shevchenko, Ukrainian footballer
October 1 – Danielle Bisutti, American actress and singer
October 2 – Anita Kulcsár, Hungarian handball player (d. 2005)
October 11 – Emily Deschanel, American actress
October 14 – Chang Chen, Taiwanese actor
October 15 – Yoon Son-ha, South Korean actress
October 18 – Galder, Norwegian musician
October 20 – Plamen Goranov, Bulgarian photographer, mountain climber and a Varna-based local protest leader (d. 2013)
October 25 – Steve Jones, Northern Irish footballer
October 29 – Stephen Craigan, Northern Irish footballer
October 31 – Piper Perabo, American actress
November 1 – Chad Lindberg, American actor
November 7 – Mark Philippoussis, Australian tennis player
November 8 – Brett Lee, Australian cricket player
November 9 – Josh Kaufman, American singer-songwriter; winner of The Voice season 6
November 11 – Mike Leon Grosch, German singer
November 12 – Mirosław Szymkowiak, Polish footballer
November 16 – Mario Barravecchia, Italian singer
November 17 – Diane Neal, American actress
November 18 – Shagrath, Norwegian black metal musician ( Dimmu Borgir)
November 23 – Tony Renna, American race car driver (d. 2003)
November 27 – Jaleel White, African-American actor
November 28 – Monster, guitarist ( Mayday)
November 30 – Marco Castro, Peruvian-American director and cinematographer
December 4 – Amie Comeaux, American country music singer (d. 1997)
December 6 – Alicia Machado, Venezuelan beauty queen, Miss Universe 1996
December 13 – Radosław Sobolewski, Polish footballer
December 14 – Leland Chapman, American bail bondsman
December 15 – Baichung Bhutia, Indian footballer
December 17 – Takeo Spikes, American football player
December 21 – Mirela Maniani, Greek javelin thrower
December 24 – Ángel Matos, Cuban taekwondo athlete
December 27 – Fernando Pisani, Canadian ice-hockey player
December 28 – Joe Manganiello, American actor
December 29 – Marla Ruzicka, American activist-turned-aid worker (d. 2005)
January 14 – Abdul Razak Hussein, Malaysian politician, 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia (b. 1922)
January 15 – Gengo Hyakutake, Japanese admiral (b. 1882)
January 19 – Hidetsugu Yagi, Japanese electrical engineer (b. 1886)
January 21 – John Gould Moyer, American naval officer, 31st Governor of American Samoa (b. 1893)
January 22 – Hermann Jónasson, Icelandic politician, 7th Prime Minister of Iceland (b. 1896)
January 23 – Paul Robeson, American actor, singer, writer and activist (b. 1898)
January 26 – Gabriele Allegra, Italian Roman Catholic priest and blessed (b. 1907)
January 27 – Kaneko Daiei, Japanese Buddhist philosopher of the early 20th century (b. 1881)
January 31 – Ernesto Miranda, American defendant in the court case (b. Miranda v. Arizona 1941)
April 2 – Ruby Miller, American actress (b. 1889)
April 4 – Harry Nyquist, American information theory pioneer (b. 1889)
April 5 – Howard Hughes, American aviation pioneer, film director and eccentric (b. 1905)
April 12 - Miriam Cooper, American actress (b. 1891)
April 13 – Sabri al-Asali, Syrian politician, 3-time Prime Minister of Syria (b. 1903)
April 14 - Mariano Ospina Pérez, Colombian politician, 17th President of Colombia (b. 1891)
April 16 - Nina Murdoch, Australian writer and journalist (b. 1890)
April 18 – Henrik Dam, Danish biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1895)
April 22 – Michael Hole, American jockey (b. 1941)
July 2 – Frances Howard, American actress (b. 1903)
July 5 – Harold F. Loomis, American botanist and myriapodologist (b. 1896)
July 14 – Joachim Peiper, German military leader (b. 1915)
July 15 – Paul Gallico, American novelist, short story and sports writer (b. 1897)
July 16 – Carmelo Soria, Spanish diplomat (assassinated by the Chilean DINA) (b. 1921)
July 17 – Arthur Hornblow, Jr., American film producer (b. 1893)
July 18 – Charles Howson, English professional footballer (b. 1896)
July 19 – Gene Roth, American film actor (b. 1903)
July 22 – Sir Mortimer Wheeler, British archaeologist (b. 1890)
July 24 – Afro Basaldella, Italian painter (b. 1912)
July 28 – Lucie Mannheim, German singer and actress (b. 1899)
July 29 – Mickey Cohen, American gangster (b. 1913)
November 1 – Oscar Beregi, Hungarian actor (b. 1918)
November 6 – David Marine, American pathologist (b. 1888)
November 7 – Grace Stone Coates, American wrote short stories, novels, poetry and news articles (b. 1881)
November 9 – Armas Taipale, Finnish Olympic athlete (b. 1890)
November 10 – Syd Coventry, Australian footballer (b. 1899)
November 11 – Alexander Calder, American sculptor (b. 1898)
November 18 – Man Ray, American artist (b. 1890)
November 19 – Wayne Millner, American football player ( Washington Redskins) and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (b. 1913)
November 20 – Trofim Lysenko, Soviet biologist and agronomist of Ukrainian origin (b. 1898)
November 21 – Walter Stuart Diehl, American naval officer and aeronautical engineer (b. 1893)
November 28 – Rosalind Russell, American actress (b. 1907)
December 2 – Danny Murtaugh, American baseball player and manager (b. 1917)
December 6 – João Goulart, Brazilian politician, 24th President of Brazil (b. 1918)
December 7 – Frank Forest, American operatic tenor and actor (b. 1896)
December 9 – Mohamed El-Tabii, Egyptian political writer, journalist and a pioneer (b. 1896)
December 15 – Gregoire Kayibanda, Rwandan politician, 2nd President of Rwanda (b. 1924)
December 20 – Richard J. Daley, American politician, Mayor of Chicago (b. 1902)
December 29 – Albert Salomon, German surgeon at the Royal Surgical University Clinic in Berlin (b. 1883)
December 31 – Teohari Georgescu, Romanian politician (b. 1908)