20 9 th. Decade
Century c 20 1981-1990 AD
Jan 8 US Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher is in
Algiers representing the Carter administration regarding hostages in
Ronald Reagan begins his presidency. He
emphasizes pride in
America and believes it is for the US to teach the
Jan 10 Hoping to take power before the Ronald Reagan takes
office, the rebel force called the FMLN, in El Salvador, begins a
Jan 19 The US and Iran sign an agreement in Algiers. Iran is
to release the 52 Americans hostages held during the past 14 months.
The US is to end trade sanctions and its freeze on Iranian assets.
Jan 20 Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the United
States. In his inaugural address he promises a "healthy, vigorous,
growing economy that provides equal opportunity for all Americans, with
no barriers born of bigotry or discrimination."
Jan 21 President Reagan says that the Soviet Union's leaders
"have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they
recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve unto
themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat ..."
Jan 23 Following international pressure, South Korea's
authoritarian regime commutes the death sentence against pro-democracy
leader Kim Dae Jung to life imprisonment.
Jan 26 A special court suspends the death sentences against
Mao's widow, Jiang Qing, and nine others. They are sentenced to
indefinitely long prison terms. Jiang Qing has complained that
everything she did was approved by Mao. She protests loudly and while
screaming she is removed from the courtroom.
Jan 28 William J. Casey becomes director of CIA.
Jan 31 Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity movement in
Poland, wins Saturdays off for Poland's workers.
Feb 3 Secretary of State Alexander Haig describes Cuba as
intervening in El Salvador.
Feb 14 In El Salvador, the countrywide rising that the FMLN
guerrillas expected with their offensive last month has not
materialized. But they have gained in some areas. They launch attacks
around the capital, San Salvador. The governments of Mexico and France
recognize the FMLN as a "representative political force" in El Salvador
and call for a negotiated settlement of the war.
Feb. 18 President Reagan describes his "program for economic
recovery" to a Joint Session of Congress. He calls for cuts in
spending, a 30 percent cut in taxes over a period of three years, an
increase in defense expenditures, and he promises not to cut Social
Feb 23 In Spain, 200 members of the Civil Guard, with a few
army allies, invade parliament and take the legislators hostage. King
Juan Carlos speaks to the nation on behalf of democracy and the coup
Mar 2 The Reagan administration has been complaining about
weapons going from the Soviet Union to El Salvador through Cuba and
Nicaragua. He wants to prevent a Communist takeover in El Salvador and
is opposed to a negotiated settlement there. His administration is
sending 20 more advisors and $25 million more in military aid to El
Salvador. He tries to allay public fears and says El Salvador is not
going to become another Vietnam.
Mar 6 Preparing to reduce the size and cost of government,
President Reagan announces plans to cut 37,000 federal jobs.
Mar 10 In Britain, the Thatcher regime announces an increase
in taxes. Margaret Thatcher is aiming to balance Britain's budget.
Inflation is running around 16 percent and correcting it is one of her
goals. Unemployment, meanwhile, is approaching 7 percent and rising.
Mar 16 In Nicaragua, supporters of the Sandinista regime
break up a political rally organized by the Nicaraguan Democratic
Mar 21 In Alabama, members of the Ku Klux Klan abducts,
tortures and kills a black 19-year-old, Michael Donald.
Mar 26 In six cities in Kosovo, students of Albanian descent
are rioting. Albanians are a majority if Kosovo and the students want
Kosovo independent of Serbia. The Yugoslav police - Serb dominated -
are suppressing the demonstrations.
Mar 30 President Reagan is shot in the chest by John
Hinckley, Jr. Two police officers and Press Secretary James Brady are
Mar 31 In Syria, Jordan is being described as an "artificial
entity" created by the colonial powers. One of Syria's state-run
newspapers describes Jordan as "the land of Syria, a part of natural
Syria." The Jordanian people are described as "always a part of us, and
they will always remain so."
Apr 1 Syrians also believe they have a right to Lebanon.
Their military was invited there by Lebanon's government in 1976,
during Lebanon's civil war, as peacekeepers and to protect Christians,
and they are still there, now supporting the PLO, headquartered in
Beirut. In eastern Lebanon they are having an artillery exchange with
Sands dies in prison
Fr. Stanley Rother
Diana and Charles
Apr 11 In the predominantly black community of Brixton, in
south London, police are attacked with stones, bricks, iron bars and
"petrol bombs." There is looting and buildings destroyed by fire and
over 100 autos burned. Police injuries are 279. Injuries to others are
counted at 45. Unemployment among Brixton's ethnic minorities is at
25.4 percent. Housing is poor. The crime rate is high and police are
Apr 24 IBM puts its first personal computer on the market,
launching operating systems by Microsoft.
May 5 Bobby Sands, a member of the Irish Republican Army and
an elected member of the Irish Parliament, dies in a Northern Ireland
prison following his hunger strike and 66 days without food. Prime
Minister Thatcher is not moved. She tells the House of Commons: "Mr.
Sands was a convicted criminal. He chose to take his own life. It was a
choice that his organization did not allow to many of its victims."
May 13 John Paul II is shot and seriously wounded in St.
Peter's Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca, who was inspired
by a distorted interpretation of the siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca
in November 1979.
Jun 30 China's Communist Party describes the former leader,
the late Mao Zedung, as having made contributions that ''far outweigh''
his mistakes but that his mistakes were monumental.
Jul 3-11 Racial unrest appears again in Britain, in
Handsworth, Southall, Toxteth, Moss Side, Leeds, Leicester,
Southampton, Halifax, Bedford, Gloucester, Coventry, Bristol and
Jul 10-21 Israeli aircraft and artillery have been bombarding
Palestinian positions in Lebanon in retaliation for PLO attacks against
Israel. Israeli bombers destroy the PLO headquarters in Beirut. PLO
chief, Yaser Arafat, pledges to fight back against the ''barbarian,
inhumanitarian war'' that he says has been started by Israel.
Jul 28 In rural Guatemala, the Reverend Stanley Rother, a
46-year-old Roman Catholic priest from Oklahoma, is shot to death by a
paramilitary death squad.
Jul 29 Congress passes Reagan's tax bill. Instead of a 30%
tax cut over three years, Reagan accepts 25%. The highest income tax
rate (for the more wealthy) is lowered from 70 percent to 50 percent.
Jul 29 In Lady Diana Spencer, Britain's Prince Charles has
found a wife who meets royal expectations: She has royal or noble
blood, is a Protestant and said to be a virgin. They marry in St.
Paul's Cathedral in London.
Aug 3 In the US 11,500 air traffic controllers strike for
better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. It is
illegal for them to strike, and President Reagan warns that he will
fire those who do not return to work.
Aug 3 The acting archbishop of San Salvador criticizes El
Salvador's ruling junta today for being lax in its investigation of the
murders of four American women last December.
Aug 5 President Reagan begins firing 11,500 air traffic
controllers who are on strike.
Aug 8 In Mexico, Fidel Castro and President Jose Lopez
Portillo of Mexico meet for two days to reaffirm their ties.
Aug 13 President Reagan signs legislation for tax and budget
reductions. He believes that reduced taxes will increase revenues by
stimulating the economy. Inflation is still high, around 10.8 percent,
but a point lower than when Reagan took office.
Aug 19 Since 1973 Libya has claimed the Gulf of Sidra as its
territorial waters, stating that to cross into the gulf might produce a
military response. The US Navy is conducting exercises off the coast of
Libya, recognizing a twelve-mile limit to Libya's territorial waters.
Libya's military believes the US Navy has entered its territory. One of
its planes fires at a US plane. Two Libyan fighter aircraft are shot
Aug 29 Mexico and France recognize El Salvador's FMLN
opposition as a ''representative political force.''
Sep 1 The leader of the FMLN, Guillermo Ungo, says that
neither his guerrillas nor the US-backed Salvadorian Army are capable
of a achieving a military victory in the near future. He proposes a
Sep 13 In El Salvador, government forces capture a guerrilla
base camp where about 400 rebels had been established.
Sep 17 In the US, inflation is still almost 11 percent. Paul A.
Volcker, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, tells Congress that
cuts in spending is the best way to shrink the budget deficit and to
bring down high interest rates. Volcker rejects the suggestion of some
Democrats that taxes should be increased. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average has been flat, around 900.
Sep 18 France abolishes capital punishment.
Sep 20 In the Central America, Belize becomes independent of
Sep 22 El Salvador's President Duarte, announces that his
government has dismissed 600 National Guardsmen and imprisoned 64
others for crimes against Salvadoran civilians.
Oct 3 IRA soldiers imprisoned in Northern Ireland end a
seven-month hunger strike in which 10 of them have died. The IRA has
gained some support in electoral politics in Ireland. Margaret Thatcher
is hated by some IRA members.
Oct 5 In Nicaragua, the Sandinista government complains about
editorials inLa Prensa and threatens to close the newspaper again.
Oct 6 President Sadat is viewing
a military parade, celebrating the anniversary of his offensive in 1973
against Israel - still a source of glory for him inside Egypt. Lately,
Sadat has been trying to appeal to militant Muslims, while cracking
down on secular leftists, but he is still reviled for having recognized
Israel. Sadat has no force in front of him for protection. A group
called Islamic Jihad, disguised as soldiers, breaks from the parade,
rushes to the reviewing stand, firing their weapons at Sadat and kill
him. His main offense in their eyes is his trying to Westernize Egypt,
thereby destroying its Islamic foundations.
Nov 8 In office a little more than three weeks, Hosni Mabarak
speaks to parliament and the Egyptian people he says: "Our eventual
goal is to create an equal society, not a society of privileges and
class distinctions. Social justice is the first rule for peace and
stability in society."
Nov 18 While visiting President Reagan at the White House,
the President of Venezuela, Luis Herrera Campins, cautions against
military action against Nicaragua and says he is opposed to any outside
intervention in Central America.
Nov 20 In the US the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
appeals again for an end to all US military assistance to El Salvador
and urges the Reagan Administration to maintain economic aid to
Dec 4 Conflict in Guatemala is described by some as civil
war. Religious leaders claim that in Guatemala nearly 11,000 people
have been slain this year.
Dec 13 The Communist regime in Poland, led by Prime Minister
Wojciech Jaruzelski, knows that it is unpopular. To maintain control,
Jaruzelski declares martial law. Solidarity is banned, its leaders to
be arrested. Government censorship is imposed. People working in the
media and in educational institutions are to be subject to attitudinal
tests. More than 2,000 people will lose their jobs. Coal mines are
placed under military control and military courts will be established.
The six-day work week returns.
Dec 29 President Reagan curtails Soviet trade in reprisal for
the creation of martial law in Poland.
Dec 30 Italy's Communist Party, concerned about maintaining
what support it has in Italy, distances itself from the Soviet Union, a
spokesperson saying that "martial law in Poland means that the Soviet
revolution has ceased to be a vital force in the world."
Assad crushes the
Jan 1 Another military coup in Ghana. Exuberant soldiers loot
homes and shops.
Jan 7 Ghana's new military regime, led by Jerry Rawlings,
announces the creation of tribunals for "revolutionary justice"
regarding "crimes against the people."
Jan 12 The Rawlings regime announces the return of diplomatic
relations between Ghana and Libya. Libya's leader, Gaddafi, has sent a
message of solidarity with Ghana's "revolution."
Jan 26 Unemployment in Britain increases by 129,918 to
3,070,621 -- a post-war record.
Feb 2 In Hama, a Syrian city of 350,000, Muslim Brotherhood
insurgents have taken power, driving out Baathist authorities and
declaring the city liberated. With tanks and air power, Syria's
Baathist president, Hafez al Assad, crushes the Brotherhood. Estimates
of those killed in the city will range from 10,000 to 40,000. In 1982
Hama has a population of around 270,000. In 2011 its population will be
699,000 and largely hostile to the rule of the son of Hafez. For the
Assad regime the massacre buys thirty years of rule.
Feb 25 The European Court of Human Rights rules that teachers
who beat children against the wishes of the parents are in breach of
the Human Rights Convention.
Mar 10 The United States describes Libya as supporting terrorism and
subversion and places an embargo on Libyan oil imports.
Mar 13 Massacre and rape of Mayans is occur ab out 100
kilometers northwest of Guatemala City. A civil war is taking place and
the Mayans are being described by anti-Communists as subversives and by
soldiers as "garbage" and "trash". (NewsHour, 8 May 2013)
Mar 13 Colonel Gaddafi describes President Reagan as a
"destructive person" and a "terrorist."
Mar 22 In Nicaragua the Sandinista government has been
criticized for forcibly removing some 10,000 Miskito Indians from land
along the Honduran border. It claims that the evictions were necessary
because of incursions into northern Nicaragua by armed exiles.
Mar 23 In Guatemala, General Efraín Ríos Montt, takes power
in a coup. He was critical of Catholic priests who had questioned the
mistreatment of the Catholic Mayans, and had described the priests were
leftist agents. The
Apr 2 The military junta in Argentina lands troops in
British-ruled Falkland Islands, which Argentines call the Malvinas and
Apr 3 Prime Minister Thatcher announces the despatch of a naval task
force to the Falklands.
Apr 5 Britain's government in Falklands surrenders.
Apr 25 Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai
peninsula in keeping with the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979.
May 2 A British nuclear submarine sinks an Argentine Navy
cruiser, killing 323 sailors.
May 4 An Argentine missile hits a British light cruiser,
May 24 Iranian troops retake the border town of Khorramshahr,
40 kilometers southeast of Basra, capturing 19,000 Iraqi soldiers. They
execute 2,000 of their prisoners in retaliation for the rape of Iranian
women at the beginning of the war.
May 29 British paratroopers defeat a larger force of
Argentine troops in the first land battle of the Falklands.
May 30 Spain becomes the 16th member of NATO.
Jun 3 In London, Israel's ambassador to Britain is shot and
critically wounded by the Palestinian terrorist organization led by Abu
Jun 4 Palestinians have been launching attacks against
Israelis from southern Lebanon, including rocket and artillery attacks
across the border into northern Israel. Israel bombs
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) ammunition depots and training
bases. The PLO retaliates by shelling Israeli settlements.
Jun 6 Israel invades southern Lebanon, an operation the
Israelis call "Operation Peace for Galilee."
Jun 9 Israeli forces have engaged Syrian forces and forced
them to withdraw to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Israeli troops are on the
perimeter of the city of Beirut. They send airplanes against trapped
PLO there, and they begin patrolling all roads in and out of the city.
Jun 11 The Sandinista regime says that they have killed 21
''counterrevolutionaries'' in recent days near the Honduran border.
Those fighting the Sandinista regime from Honduras have been described
as former National Guard soldiers who fled Nicaragua when the
Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza regime.
Jun 13 Inflation has dropped to 7 percent, but the nation is
in a recession and unemployment is rising. President Reagan's budget
director, David A. Stockman, tells the U. S. Chamber of Commerce that
the nation should stick with President Reagan's policies if it is to
''end the curse of inflation once and for all, even if it means
short-run economic and fiscal difficulties.''
Soon to be built: Argentina's
Malvinas War Memorial
Jun 14 In the Falklands, at Stanley, the commander of Argentina's
forces, General Mario Menéndez, surrenders to British Major General
Jun 15-16 In Argentina, policemen disperse crowds angered by
the surrender to the British.
Jun 16 Returning to her residence at 10 Downing Street, Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher is cheered by a crowed behind police
barricades. They sing ''Rule, Britannia'' and ''She's a Jolly Good
Jun 18 In Argentina, junta leader General Leopoldo Galtieri,
who started the Falklands War, resigns.
Jun 18 In the US, the Census Bureau reports that the number
of families headed by one parent has doubled since 1970, caused
primarily by divorce.
Jun 19 Total dead in the Falklands War: 649 for Argentina, 258 for
Jun 19 Argentina defeats Hungary in football (soccer) 4 to 1.
Some Argentine players weep with joy.
Jun 21 The Princess of Wales, Diana, gives birth to her first
Jun 25 Governor Rex Hunt returns to his position as
Commissioner of the Falklands.
Jul 18 Guatemala's President Montt is reported by the New
York Times as announcing to the people of Guatemala, "If you are with
us, we'll feed you; if not, we'll kill you."
Jul 20 The Provisional IRA detonates 2 bombs in central
London, killing 8 soldiers, wounding 47 others and killing 7 horses.
Jul 23 The International Whaling Commission chooses to end commercial
whaling by 1985-1986.
Arafat, to Greece
President-elect Bashir Gemayel
Palestinians at Shatila refugee camp
Jul 24 United States envoy Philip Habib brokers a shaky cease
fire, but incidents continue.
Aug 12 Mexico announces its inability to pay its foreign
debt. A debt crisis is launched throughout Latin America.
Aug 20 An agreement has been reached whereby 800 French, 800
US and 400 Italian "peacekeeper" troops will be in Lebanon for thirty
days or less, helping the Lebanese army provide a safe evacuation of
Yasser Arafat's PLO combat forces to Damascus.
Aug 21 French forces land in Lebanon.
Aug 23 In Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel of Christian Phalangist
political party is elected President. He promises to be the president
of all the people and is scheduled to take office on September 23.
Aug 25 The US Marines arrive in Lebanon.
Aug 30 From Beirut, Arafat and his 14,000 combatants take a
cruise ship to Greece. Around 2000 Syrian troops are also evacuated
from Beirut. From Greece the PLO will go to Cyprus and then be
dispersed to Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, North and South Yemen, Tunisia
and Greece. The new PLO headquarters will be in Tunisia.
Sep 10 The US Marines in Lebanon return to their ships.
Sep 14 Lebanon's president-elect Bachir Gemayel is
assassinated, killed with 25 others by a bomb. Confessing to the crime
will be Habib Tanious Shartouni, a Christian Maronite member of the
Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which advocates a Greater Syria.
Sep 18 Israeli commander Ariel Sharon allows Lebanese
Christian militiamen to search for terrorists in the Sabra and Chatila
Palestinian refugee camps in West Beirut. The camps are surrounded by
the Israeli army. Between 700 and 3,500 Palestinians are estimated to
have been massacred.
Sep 22 President Reagan orders Marines back into Lebanon to
support the Lebanese armed forces.
Sep 23 Amin Gemayel, Bachir's brother, is elected president
Sep 25 In Israel, 400,000 marchers demand the resignation of
Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Sep 29 US Marines return ashore for peacekeeping duties in
Oct 15 The Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act is
signed into law by President Reagan. He calls it "historic reform." The
law contributes to the elimination of New Deal restrictions on mortgage
lending - restrictions that, in particular, limited the ability of
families to buy homes without putting a significant amount of money
down. A new era of borrowing by citizens is in the making. The
economist Paul Krugman is to describe the law as encouraging risk
taking and as allowing the Savings and Loan industry, whose deposits
are federally insured, "a license to gamble with taxpayers’ money, at
best, or simply to loot it, at worst." (NYT, June 1, 2009)
Oct 17 In El Salvador, some military officials believe that
guerrilla factions are acting with greater coordination than they have
in recent months.
Oct 29 In Spain elections bring a return of socialists to
power for the first time since 1937. Joy erupts in the streets of
Madrid. It is the old Socialist Workers' Party, the PSOE (Partido
Socialista Obrero Español), which has followed a softening trend. It is
moderate and reformist more than it is Marxist - like other Social
Oct 30 The US Ambassador to El Salvador, Deane R. Hinton,
warns that aid to El Salvador could be halted unless El Salvador's
government does something about ''thugs'' accused of murdering
thousands of civilians.
Nov 2 According to Newsweek magazine, Reagan administration
officials say that the US is supporting clandestine military operations
against Nicaragua intended to harass but not to overthrow the
Nov 10 The Soviet Union's Leonid Brezhnev dies at the age of
Nov 12 In the Soviet Union, former KGB chief Yuri Andropov is
selected to become the General Secretary of the Communist Party,
succeeding the late Leonid Brezhnev.
Dec 4 President Reagan is in Guatemala City. He declares
"President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and
commitment. ... I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all
Guatemalans and to promote social justice."
Dec 4 The People's Republic of China adopts its current
constitution. It will be described in Wikipedia as reflecting "Deng
Xiaoping's determination to lay a lasting institutional foundation for
domestic stability and modernization."
Dec 31 In the United States, unemployment is described as
10.8 percent, a new high for recent years. But inflation has dropped
another point since mid-year, to around 6 percent. The Dow Jones
Industrial Average has risen from the 800s in recent months to 1046.
The DJIA has been moving sideways for more than a decade. (It was just
below 1000 in January 1966.) A new rally is on the way as people begin
to put their money back in stocks.
Jan 5 In the US, to combat inflation Paul Volcker of the
Federal Reserve Board is holding interest rates high, at 13 percent.
Jan 7 President Reagan signs into law the first increase in
federal gasoline taxes in 23 years, intended for rehabilitation and
improvement of highways, bridges and mass transit systems.
Jan 24 Oil prices are stable at $34 a gallon. World oil
supplies are up and demand has not been rising. OPEC oil ministers
agree to cut production to keep prices of oil up.
Jan 24 In Italy, 25 members of the Red Brigade are sentenced
to life imprisonment for the murder of Aldo Moro.
Feb 7 Iran invades Iraq, continuing a war that began in 1980.
Mar 8 In a speech to the National Association of
Evangelicals, President Reagan warns against ignoring "the aggressive
impulses of an evil empire," the Soviet Union.
Mar 23 President Reagan proposes technology to intercept
Mar 24 Senator Kennedy labels Reagan's idea a reckless "Star
Wars" scheme and speaks of its enormous cost. Some worry that the
Soviets will see it as giving the US a first strike capability.
Skeptical scientists will say it can't work. Military contractors will
make substantial campaign contributions to encourage spending on the
Apr 1 Europeans protest the presence of US nuclear weapons on
Apr 7 Families of the more than 500 Argentine servicemen
missing in the Falkland war have been campaigning for information.
Britain tells them that it has no secret clues to their fate.
Apr 15 In Argentina the military government takes a step
toward the return of civilian rule. It restores the rights of 19
political and labor leaders to take part in political activity.
Apr 18 A car packed with explosives is crashed into the US
embassy in Beirut killing 17 US foreign service and military personnel
and more than 40 Lebanese. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility. There
will be no rush to defend against this terrorist technique.
Apr 19 An Argentine human rights organization lists 47 secret
detention camps where political prisoners were interrogated and
tortured in the late 1970's.
May 4 The Vatican criticizes Argentina's military government
for its campaign against leftists in the late 1970s.
May 17 Lebanon, Israel, and the United States agree to a
phased Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, contingent upon a Syrian
Jun 9 Elections in Britain give Margaret Thatcher a landslide
victory, the result, it is said, of an improved economy and her victory
in the Falklands.
stripped Tamil youth shortly before he
Jun 15 US Secretary of State,
George Schultz, is struggling against hawks: Secretary of Defense
Casper Weinberger and others. Schultz has been preparing for
negotiations with the Soviet Union. He tells senators that "Strength
and realism can deter war but only direct dialogue and negotiation can
open the path toward lasting peace."
is doused with gasoline and set
Jul 4 A letter from Communist Party chief Yuri Andropov to
President Reagan suggests elimination of the nuclear threat. Reagan
responds with the suggestion that US and Soviet negotiators pursue this
Jul 20 The government of Poland declares an end to martial
Jul 23 In Sri Lanka, Tamil guerrillas ambush and kill 13
government soldiers. This is followed by Sinhala mobs rioting and
killing from 400 to 3,000 Tamils.
Jul 25-28 In Colombo, capitol of Sri Lanka, gangs rampage
against the Tamil minority. Close to 1,000 Tamils will be estimated as
having been killed, and more than 100,000 Tamil homes destroyed. This
will be called Black July and mark the beginning of all-out war between
the Tamil minority and the Singhalese dominated government.
Aug 21 In Manila, Benigno Aquino, Jr., a longtime advocate of democracy
for the Philippines and a foremost enemy of the regime of Ferdinand
Marcos, returns from exile, and as he debarks from the airliner, with
the military standing by, he is shot dead.
Stanislav Petrov. He saves the world from nuclear distruction.
Bernard Coard, super-revolutionary, responsible for
the death of
Marxist leader Maurice Bishop
Sep 1 Korean Air Flight 007 takes off from Anchorage, Alaska,
heading for Seoul, South Korea. It veers slightly off course, flies
over the southern tips of Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island,
Soviet territory, and is shot down by a Soviet aircraft. All 269 on
board are killed.
Sep 23 Violence erupts in New Caledonia between native Kanaks
and French expatriates. The French government withdraws its promise of
Sep 25 Reports from satellites signal to Soviet security
forces that a nuclear attack from the United States is pending. A
diligent Russian lieutenant colonel, Stanislav Petrov, averts nuclear
war by discovering a computer error.
Oct 7 On the island of Grenada, the Deputy Prime Minister,
Bernard Coard, sees Maurice Bishop as too moderate. He has military
officers on his side who have been criticized lately. They overthrow
Bishop and place Bishop under house arrest.
Oct 13 Bishop has been rescued from house arrest. He is
recaptured and with some of his supporters executed.
Oct 23 For months leaders in the Caribbean have agreed with
Reagan that Grenada could become a Communist danger for the region.
President Reagan decides to send the US troops to Grenada.
Oct 23 Since September 1982, US Marines are still in Lebanon,
ordered there by President Reagan to support the Lebanese armed forces.
They are based at a reinforced concrete structure by the Beirut
airport. A truck crashes into the Marine barracks, demolishing it and
killing 241 Marines.
Oct 25 Reagan sends US forces to Grenada, asserting that 800
US medical students who are at St. George's School of Medicine are in
danger and that an airport being built there, with Cuban assistance, is
a danger to the United States.
Oct 30 The election victory of Raúl Alfonsín restores
democracy to Argentina.
Nov 2 President Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther
Dec 3 The US Secretary of Defense, Caspar W. Weinberger, says
he thinks the Soviet Union is ahead of the United States in developing
weapons to repel nuclear attacks from outer space and that this
Dec 15 After more than a month of fighting, leaders of the
Communist forces in Grenada have been rounded up, as have a few Cubans,
Russians, North Koreans, Libyans, East Germans, Bulgarians. They have
been put in a "detention camp." A nine-member advisor council is left
to govern until elections are held. All US combat forces leave Grenada.
Dec 19-20 President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld,
then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan. The US has been
interested in restoring normal diplomatic relations with the Hussein
regime. The Iraqi foreign minister says that Iraq is "not interested in
making mischief in the world.”
Dec 26 Poland's Communist government is still working on
trying to appease public opinion. Thirty political prisoners are being
released as a gesture to the Roman Catholic Church. The church is
negotiating for the release of others: some prominent dissidents and
senior officials of the still outlawed trade union, Solidarity.
Dec 31 Brunei gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Dec 31 Two bombs explode in France. One on the Paris train kills 3 and
injures 19. The other at Marseille station kills 2 and injures 34.
Police suspect the leftist terrorist-revolutionary for Palestinian
causes, Carlos the Jackal.
Dec 31 In the US, inflation is down to an annual rate of 3.22 percent.
Paul Volcker has lowered interest rates to 9 percent, and this is
encouraging more lending, investment and home buying.
Jan 1 Brunei, on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia,
becomes fully independent from British rule.
Jan 4 The Reverend Jesse Jackson has traveled to Syria and
won the release of US Navy pilot Lieutenant Robert Goodman, in
captivity for days after being shot down over the country while on a
reconnaissance mission. In a ceremony at the White House, President
Reagan greets both Goodman and Jackson.
Jan 16 Speaking of the Soviet Union, President Reagan says
"The fact that neither of us likes the other system is no reason to
refuse to talk. Living in this nuclear age makes it imperative."
Jan 29 Chinese officials announce plans to buy technology
from the West worth $1 billion to reduce bureaucratic delays and to
encourage foreign companies to do business and to invest in China.
Feb 7 President Reagan orders US Marines "redeployed" from
shore to US Navy ships offshore in Lebanon. He describes the bombing of
the Marine barracks that killed 241 Marines "Syrian sponsored."
Feb 8 In Lebanon, for nine hours US warships shell pro-Syrian
Feb 13 Yuri Andropov has died. Konstantin Chernenko succeeds
him as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Mar 5 During their continuing war, Iran accuses Iraq of using
Mar 5 Armed Sikh militants who
have been seeking independence for the Sikh's have been occupying the
Golden Temple at Amritsar. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi orders Indian
troops to storm the temple. Nearly 300 people are killed.
Mar 16 The CIA station chief in Beirut, William Francis
Buckley, is kidnapped by Islamic Jihad.
Mar 22 Teachers at the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach,
one of the most affluent areas in Los Angeles County, are charged with
Satanic ritual and sexual abuse of the schoolchildren that were in
their care. The authorities responsible for the charges are incompetent
and naive as are the local journalists excited by the event.
Mar 30 The UN has learned that Iraq has used mustard gas
laced with a nerve agent against Iranian soldiers. It condemns their
Apr 4 President Ronald Reagan calls for an international ban
on chemical weapons.
Apr 9 Nicaragua files an application with the UN's
International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court) against
the US, accusing it of aggression through its support of military and
paramilitary forces - the Contras. The court will make a decision in
Apr 12 Palestinian gunmen hijack a bus carrying Israeli
passengers. Israeli special forces storm the bus, freeing the hostages.
One hostage and two hijackers are killed. Two other hijackers will die
in captivity, causing a scandal in Israel.
May 9 In a televised speech, Reagan urges helping the Contra
"freedom fighters" against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
Jun 9 In socialist Algeria the government appeals to an
increase in Islamic conservatism. A family code law is passed, drawn
largely from Islam's shari'a. A woman must obtain a father's approval
to marry. Muslim women are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, but
Muslim men may marry non-Muslim women. Women are to be wards of their
families before marriage and of their husbands after marriage.
Jul 12 In San Francisco, the Democratic National Convention
has nominated Walter Mondale for US President.
Aug 21 Half a million people in Manila demonstrate against
the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.
Aug 30 The Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its maiden
Sep 5 The Space Shuttle Discovery lands after its maiden
Sep 26 Britain and China sign an agreement that Hong Kong
will revert to China in 1997.
Oct 7 In running for re-election, President Reagan is
benefiting from economic recovery and in his debate with Mondale
conveys confidence in more improvement of the economy. To Mondale's
complaint about Reagan's neglecting the poor he adds that "We are
spending now 37 percent more on food for the hungry in all the various
types of programs than was spent in 1980. We're spending a third more
on all the programs of human service."
Oct 12 The Provisional Irish Republican Army in the person of
Patrick Magee leaves a bomb in a room in the Brighton Hotel, where
Britain's Conservative Party is holding a conference. Five people die
and many more are injured. The blast cuts through Prime Minister
Thatcher's bathroom two minutes after she has left. She carries on with
her conference speech, on schedule, a few hours later.
Oct 19 In Poland, secret police have arrested a Catholic
priest, Jerzy Popieluszko, a supporter of the Solidarity movement and
famous throughout the country.
Oct 28 In another debate with Mondale, President Reagan says,
"... I also recognize that as the two great superpowers in the world,
we have to live with each other. And I told Mr. Gromyko we don't like
their system. They don't like ours. And we're not gonna change their
system and they sure better not try to change ours."
Oct 30 After two days of searching the bottom of a reservoir,
divers find Jerzy Popieluszko's body. The Polish nation mourns. The
three who abducted the priest and one of their superiors will be
convicted of the crime. Nevertheless, the Communist Party in Poland
will remain near collapse.
Oct 31 Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by
two Sikh security guards. Riots erupt and some 2,700 Sikhs are killed.
Nov 6 In the US the Republicans have successfully portrayed
Mondale as favoring spending, big government and taxation. Reagan wins
all but Mondale's home state and 59 percent of the popular vote.
Dec 3 In Bhopal India, a Union Carbide pesticide plant leaks
methyl isocyanate, killing more than 2,000 people outright and injuring
from 150,000 to 600,000 others, some 6,000 of whom will later die from
Dec 22 Prime Minister Thatcher tells President Reagan that
the number two man in the Kremlin, Mikhail Gorbachev, is an unusual
Russian in that he is less constrained, more charming and more open to
discussion and debate.
Dec 31 Orwell's novel, Nineteen Eight-Four, it turns out,
failed to describe the year - however much it was intended as a satire
on Stalinism. Stalin was gone and he had been denounced by his
successor Nikita Khrushchev. There were some in the United States still
saying Communism would not change. Some with Communist leanings were
optimistic about the Soviet Union becoming more liberal. Since 1979 the
Soviet Union's politburo had as one of his members a Marxist-Leninist
by the name of Mikhail Gorbachev. He would become General Secretary of
the Communist Party in March and would try.
Xiaoping. He was against becoming another exalted
against the distribution of his photograph.
Jan 2 China's Communist Party leader, Deng Xiaoping, speaks
of a new ''open door'' policy to the West as the only way to overcome
the legacy of ''poverty, backwardness and ignorance'' that had been
produced by hundreds of years of isolation.
Jan 6 An eight-day congress of the Chinese Writers'
Association concludes with a declaration of their right to ''democracy
Jan 26 South Africa's president, Pieter Botha, promises
blacks a greater political voice. He is accused by rightists of selling
out Apartheid principles.
Feb 3 A Gallup poll shows President Reagan’s approval rating
at 62 percent.
Feb 11 Nelson Mandela, former guerrilla leader, in prison
since 1962, refuses President Botha's offer of release on condition
that he renounce violence. Mandela says violence would not be necessary
with democracy. Mandela will remain in prison five more years.
Feb 28 In Northern Ireland the IRA carries on its war against
England with a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Mar 11 In the Soviet Union, Konstantin Chernenko dies.
Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary of the Soviet Union's
Mar 16 In Lebanon a civil war still rages. Since 1982 Shia
militants have been kidnapping and holding Westerners hostage. Today,
Associated Press newsman Terry Anderson, from Ohio, is kidnapped.
Apr 8 Gorbachev announces his first unilateral initiative: a
temporary freeze on the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in
Europe. He calls on the US to respond with a similar freeze.
Apr 15 South Africa ends its ban on interracial marriages.
Jun 3 In Beirut, CIA agent William Francis Buckley has been
held captive since March, 1984. On or around this day he dies of
medical neglect. His death is not announced.
Jun 6 Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres orders most of
Israel's troops withdrawn from Lebanon. A small force is to remain in a
15 kilometer-wide area to buffer attacks against Israel from hostile
forces in Lebanon.
Robert Stethem, victim
Ali Atwa, accomplice
Jun 6 The US Senate authorizes
non-military aid of $38 million to the "Contras" - a guerrilla group
waging war against the Nicaraguan government.
Jun 9 In Beirut, Thomas Sutherland, the Dean of Agriculture
at the American University in Beirut, is taken hostage.
Jun 14 In Athens, Greece, two Lebanese Shia, said to be
members of Hezbollah, smuggle pistols and a grenade aboard TWA Flight
847. A third man in the hijacking party, Ali Atwa, had been bumped from
the flight. The pilot is forced to land in Beirut. Most of the
passengers are from the United States. One of them, a young man in the
US Navy, Robert Stethem, is singled out, beaten and his dead body
dumped on the tarmac. The leader of the operation is Imad Mughniyeh of
Jun 17 All but 40 of the passengers on the hijacked airline
are released. One of the forty, who has heart trouble, is soon to be
Jun 25 Irish police arrest 13 IRA terrorists suspected of
Jun 30 Ali Atwa, an accomplice in the highjacking of TWA
Flight 847, has been arrested by Greek authorities. The thirty-nine
hostages aboard the plane in Lebanon are released in exchange for Ali
Atwa. In weeks to come Israel will release more than 700 Shia
prisoners, while claiming that the release is unrelated to the
Jul 10 The Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior is bombed and
sunk in Auckland, New Zealand, by members of France's foreign
intelligence agency, DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité
Jul 18 President Reagan approves National Security Advisor
William McFarlane's plan for better relations with Iran. MacFarlane
wants to help Iran in its war against Iraq. Reagan is interested in
Iran using its influence on those fellow Shia holding hostages in
Jul 18 Secretary of Defense Weinberger, CIA chief William
Casey and other hardliners remain in principle opposed to a summit
meeting with leaders of the Soviet Union, and, if there was to be one,
they prefer Gorbachev coming to Washington - a show of subordination.
Encouraged by Secretary of State George Schultz, Reagan accepts a
summit meeting at Geneva, Switzerland.
Jul 25 Israeli representatives meet with Iranian Foreign
Minister Ghorbanifar. Israel will sell arms to Iran and the US will
compensate Israel by sending it arms.
Sep 23 The cover story for Time Magazine describes moves in
the Communist world away from socialism, including Bulgaria having
allowed "the establishment of a string of largely autonomous companies
that offer bonuses or other incentives," Hungary tinkering with market
mechanisms, and Poland having 75 percent of its farming in private
hands and small restaurants and shops. The focus of the article is
China, where industries set their own prices, work for profit, are free
to fire employees and are allowed to create joint ventures with foreign
Sep 25 Terrorists belonging to Force 17, a group associated
with the PLO, murder three Israeli citizens on their yacht in Larnaca,
Oct 1 In retaliation for the murders in Cyprus, Israel sends
military aircraft against the PLO headquarters in Tunis, killing 65
people and wounding bystanders.
Oct 2 Rock Hudson dies of acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS), the product of a virus first identified in 1983, now receiving
Oct 8 Abdul Abbas, a member of the PLO Executive Committee,
has planned the hijacking of an Italian cruise ship the Achille Lauro.
The Palestinian commandos shoot an elderly Jewish-American, Leon
Klinghoffer, and push him in his wheelchair overboard.
Nov 10 President Reagan's National Security Advisor, Robert
McFarland, has been concerned about the president's reliance on
generalities about the Soviet Union, including use of "Nikolai Lenin"
rather than the correct "Vladimir Lenin." For weeks Reagan has been
studying papers given him by the State Department, 24 ten-page papers,
one or two per week, in what aids jokingly call "Soviet Union 101."
Reagan has also been watching movies made in the Soviet Union to
sharpen his grasp of the humanity of the Russian people. (See Summits
by David Reynolds, p. 357-58.)
Nov 15 In the Washington Post a rift between "moderates" and
"hardliners" within the Reagan administration is suggested. The paper
publishes a letter by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger urging
President Reagan not to compromise SDI at the upcoming Geneva Summit
Nov 19 Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev hold a
"fireside" summit in Geneva. Reagan tries to assure Gorbachev that the
Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) called Star Wars would not be used
to launch a first strike against the USS.R.
Nov 20 Microsoft Corporation releases Windows 1.0.
Nov 21 Gorbachev has decided to cut off negotiations because
he was having no success persuading Reagan to drop SDI. Gorbachev and
Reagan pledge to meet again and seek a 50 percent cut in nuclear arms.
Nov 23 Three members of an Abu Nidal's group hijack an
Egyptian airliner in Athens, Greece, and force the plane to head to
Libya. An Egyptian security guard kills one of the highjackers and is
killed. The plane is forced to land in Malta and refused refueling.
Nov 25 The hijackers have released two injured stewardesses
and have begun shooting passengers, the first an Israeli woman.
Egyptian commandos storm the plane. Fifty-six of the eighty-eight
aboard the plane, including the highjackers, are killed.
Dec 7 Three members of the Reagan administration, George
Shultz, Casper Weinberger and Donald Regan, advise Reagan to stop sales
of arms to Iran.
Dec 27 Abu Nidal terrorists attack holiday travelers in the
airports of Rome and Vienna. Eighteen vacationers die and 120 are
Dec 31 Sometime around now, said to be the mid-1980s, in the
Darfur region of the Sudan, climate change and a gradual trend toward
desertification is making it more difficult for land to support both
herder and farmer. There are farmers In Darfur who are no longer
allowing nomadic herders to migrate across their land. A conflict is in
the making between famers and the Arab speaking nomads whose militia,
on horseback and camel, will be known as the Janjaweed.
Jan 1 Spain and Portugal become members of the European
Economic Community - the future European Union.
Jan 28 Seventy-three seconds after launch, NASA's Space
Shuttle Challenger disintegrates, killing its crew of seven. An O-ring
seal in one of the rocket boosters fails, allowing flame to reach a
fuel tank. NASA managers had warnings from engineers.
Feb 6 In Haiti, after 15 years of repressive rule and looting
the treasury, Jean-Claude Duvalier, 34, resigns and goes into exile.
Feb 11 Anatoly Shcharansky (Natan Sharansky), who has spent
eleven years in a Soviet prison, is flown to East Germany and is traded
for two Russian spies. He is told to walk straight to the Western zone.
He is defiant to the end and walks zig-zag.
Feb 19 The Soviet Union launches its Mir (Peace) space
Feb 25 Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines goes into exile to
Hawaii after having attempted re-election by fraud and after having
been opposed by the Catholic Church and what is called the People Power
Revolution. Marcos has billions of dollars worth of wealth invested or
stashed away in the United States and Europe. His wife, Imelda, will be
reported as owning 15 mink coats, 508 gowns, 888 handbags and over 3000
pairs of shoes. Corazon Aquino, wife of the murdered senator, Benigno
Aquino, becomes the 11th President of the Philippines.
Feb 25 Egyptian military police, protesting poor pay, enter 4
luxury hotels near the pyramids, loot and set fire to the hotels.
Feb 28 Sweden's leftist Prime Minister, Olof Palme, detested
by rightists in Sweden, is shot dead on his way home with his wife from
the cinema. The assassin is a mystery.
Mar 8 Japanese spacecraft Suisei flies by Halley's Comet,
studying its UV hydrogen corona and solar wind.
Apr 2 A bomb explodes on a TWA flight from Rome to Athens,
Apr 5 A bomb explodes in a discotheque in West Berlin,
killing two US servicemen, a Turkish woman, and injuring 230, some of
whom will be permanently disabled. A telex message intercepted from
Libya to the Libyan embassy in East Berlin embassy offers
congratulations on a job well done.
Apr 13 Pope John Paul II officially visits the Synagogue of
Rome, the first time a modern Pope has visited a synagogue.
Apr 15 President Reagan has ordered air strikes against Libya
in retaliation for the discoteque bombing. At least 15 Libyans are
killed, including leader Gaddafi's 15-month old daughter. More than 100
Apr 17 In Beirut, Lebanon, British journalist John McCarthy
is kidnapped while on his way to the airport to get out of the country.
Three others, believed to be British hostages, are found dead.
Terrorists claim responsibility in retaliation for the US bombing of
Apr 17 Guards at London's Heathrow Airport arrest a pregnant
Irishwoman with explosives in her luggage. The explosives were from her
Jordanian fiancé, Nizar Hindawi, who intended to blow up an El Al
flight bound for Tel Aviv.
Apr 26 In Ukraine, one of the reactors at the Chernobyl
nuclear plant explodes, immediately killing 31. In years to come, many
more are to die from over-exposure to radiation. Areas in Ukraine and
Belarus are rendered uninhabitable.
May 25 At least 5,000,000 people form a human chain from New
York City to Long Beach, California, to raise money to fight hunger and
Jun 27 The International Court of Justice, by twelve votes to
three, decides that the US, "by training, arming, equipping, financing
and supplying the Contra forces or otherwise encouraging, supporting
and aiding military and paramilitary activities in and against
Nicaragua, has acted, against the Republic of Nicaragua, in breach of
its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in
the affairs of another State." The three judges voting "no" are from
the US, Britain and Japan.
Jun 28 The US State Department describes the International
Court of Justice as ''not equipped'' to judge complex international
military issues. The Reagan administration does not intend to abide by
the court's ruling.
Aug 6 In Louisville, Kentucky, William Schroeder, the second
person to receive an artificial heart, dies after 620 days.
Aug 20 In Edmond, Oklahoma, Patrick Sherrill is known for his
peculiar behavior. He is fired from his job as a part-time United
States Postal Service employee. He tries to get even by killing his
co-workers. Then he kills himself.
Sep 5 In Karachi, Pakistan, four men belonging to an Abu
Nidal organization and posing as security guards fire shots and force
their way onto Pan Am Flight 73. The plane is on a stopover from India
and scheduled to fly to Frankfurt and New York. The pilot and co-pilot
escape out of a cockpit hatch, effectively grounding the plane.
Frustrated, the hijackers kill at least 20 of the crew and passengers
and wound 127 before commandos enter the plane and arrest them. The
hijackers intended to fly the plane into the Israeli defence ministry,
"using the aircraft as a missile," a claim that would be made by the
highjackers during their trial in 1988.
Sep 6 In Istanbul, two Abu Nidal terrorists kill 22 and wound
6 inside the Neve Shalom synagogue during Sabbath services.
Sep 7 Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet survives an
assassination attempt. Five of his bodyguards are killed.
Sep 17 Terrorist bombings have plagued Paris for the last
nine months. Two men in a passing car throw a bomb at a crowded,
cut-rate clothing and textile store, killing five.
Oct 5 A cargo plane is shot down over Nicaragua while
delivering supplies to the Nicaraguan "Contras" considered by the
Sandinista regime in Nicaragua to be a terrorist group. Three US
citizens aboard the plane die. A survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, is captured
by Nicaraguan government forces.
Oct 9 President Reagan states that the downed cargo plane had
"absolutely" no connection to the US government. Eugene Hasenfus,
imprisoned in Managua, describes his mission as having been supervised
by the CIA.
Oct 11 At Reykjavik, Iceland, Reagan and Gorbachev get close
to an agreement on arms reduction, but the talks stall over Reagan's
Star Wars (SDI) plan. The conference ends without an agreement. Another
meeting is planned but with no fixed date.
Oct 22 The US Congress passes the Tax Reform Act of 1986,
designed to simplify the income tax code, broaden the tax base and
eliminate many tax shelters and other preferences. It is a bi-partisan
bill and will be signed by President Reagan and referred to as Reagan's
second tax cut. The highest income tax rate (for the more wealthy) is
lowered again, from 50 percent, established in 1981, to 28 percent.
Those at the bottom of the tax rate, who have been paying 11 percent,
will be paying 15 percent. Benefit is expected from money going from
tax shelters to more productive investments.
Oct 25 Britain's Thatcher government breaks ties with Syria regarding
evidence of Syria's tie with Nezar Hindawi's involvement in the April
17 attempt to blow up an Israeli airliner at Britain's Heathrow
airport. Syria breaks relations with Britain. Hindawi has described his
ties to Syria but later will change his story and blame Israeli agents.
Nov 4 Democrats gain eight seats in the US Senate, regaining
control of that body for the first time in six years. In the House of
Representatives the Democrats gain four seats for a 258 to 177 majority.
Nov 17 In France, the industrialist, Georges Besse, is
assassinated outside his home by members of "Maoist" revolutionaries -
members of Action Directe. Besse was in charge of Renault, a company in
financial trouble and he had recently laid off many workers.
Nov 21 National Security Council member Oliver North and his
secretary, Fawn Hall, begin shredding documents that implicate them in
weapons sales to Iran.
Nov 25 Congress has declared Iran a terrorist nation and has
outlawed the sale of arms to the Iranian government. US Attorney
General Edwin Meese announces that profits from weapons sales to Iran
have been illegally diverted to "Contra" forces fighting the Sandinista
regime in Nicaragua.
Dec 19 The Soviet Union's leading dissident, Andrei Sakharov,
is given freedom to return to Moscow from Gorky.
Jan 1 In a ten-minute New Year greeting to the Soviet Union,
broadcast over Voice of America, President Reagan speaks of the new
freedom for Sakharov (his return to Moscow from exile in Gorky) as
helping to "strengthen the foundations for trust and cooperation
between our two countries."
Jan 8 In Czechoslovakia a human rights group, Charter 77, on
the 10th anniversary of its founding, calls on citizens to shake off
their apathy, rid themselves of hopelessness and overcome their fears.
Hope for change is said to reside in the Charter movement rather than
Jan 8 The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches a new high,
closing above 2,000 for the first time.
Jan 20 In Beirut, Terry Waite, special envoy of the
Archbishop of Canterbury in Lebanon, there to reason and negotiate with
the kidnappers, is kidnapped.
Jan 25 In Beirut, "Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of
Palestine" abducts three Americans and one Indian professor from Beirut
University College: Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, Robert Polhill and
Jan 27 In the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev describes his
Communist Party as stagnating and having systematic failures. He speaks
of staying within Communist principles and calls for secret ballots and
giving the public at large a choice of candidates in general elections
to local government bodies.
Feb 22 Fawn Hall, who has been granted immunity, admits
helping her former boss, Oliver North, destroy documents last November.
Feb 26 A government commission, headed by retired Republican
Senator John Tower, concludes that Reagan's passive management style
allowed his staff to mislead him about the illegal Iran-Contra
Mar 4 On national television, President Reagan acknowledges
mistakes regarding Iran-Contra.
Mar 30 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is on a peace mission
in the Soviet Union. She attracts great crowds of friendly people that
surprise and challenge security, and Thatcher's visit is described as
Apr 9 President Reagan describes bugging of the US embassy in
Moscow as "outrageous." A journalist asks him about the US bugging of
the Soviet embassy in Washington. Reagan replies that further
discussion "wouldn't be useful."
Apr 13 Portugal and the People's Republic of China sign an
agreement to have Macau returned to China in 1999.
Apr 15 The Soviet press agency Tass reports that Mikhail S.
Gorbachev proposes ridding Europe of all short-range nuclear missiles
along with medium-range missiles.
Apr 28 An engineer from the US and two Nicaraguans are killed
in a Contra ambush while working at the construction site for a new dam
for the nearby village of San José de Bocay in northern Nicaragua. An
autopsy will show that Linder had been wounded by a grenade and then
shot in the head at point-blank range.
May 1 In the Soviet Union men and women are standing in lines
to a government agency to take advantage of new laws that allow the
creation of small businesses.
May 5 The Assemblies of God defrocks televangelist Jim Bakker.
May 8 A photograph of US Senator Gary Hart with Donna Rice
sitting on his lap aboard the yacht "Monkey Business" has been made
public. Hart has been accused of an extra-marital affair with Donna
Rice. He drops out of the running for the Democratic presidential
May 11 Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon, France, for war
crimes committed during World War II.
May 17 A poll by the Allensbach organization, commissioned by
West Germany's conservative government, reveals that 58 percent want
West Germany to "cooperate equally with America and Russia'' and only
31 percent prefer the government to work closely with America only.
May 26 For the first time in seven years the Soviet Union
stops jamming Voice of America radio broadcasts.
May 28 A 19-year old from West Germany flies his a small
airplane from Helsinki, Finland, to Red Square in Moscow, across 400
miles of Soviet air space. Gorbachev uses the incident to start making
sweeping personnel changes, beginning immediately with Defense Minister
Sergei L. Sokolov and Marshal Aleksander I. Koldunov, commander of the
Jun 12 In a speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, President
Reagan calls on Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."
Jun 17 In Lebanon, the "Organization for the Defense of the
Free People" abducts an American television correspondent, Charles
Jul 31 At Mecca, a demonstration by Iranian pilgrims against
the "enemies of Islam" leads to Saudi police shooting at demonstrations
and a stampede by pilgrims. Saudi authorities report 402 dead: 275
Iranians, 85 Saudis including policemen, and 45 pilgrims from other
Aug 1-2 In Teheran, Iranians attack the Saudi and Kuwaiti
embassies, two countries allied with Iraq in war against Iran. The
following day, over one million Iranians gather in Teheran and call for
the overthrow of the Saud family.
Aug 7 Five Central American presidents sign the "Esquipulas
II Accord," which calls for amnesty for persons charged with
insurgencies, an end to all external aid to insurgents, and for reforms
leading to free elections in Nicaragua. President Reagan says he also
favors a negotiated settlement. The Contras, meanwhile, have taken and
held no ground inside Nicaragua. Their atrocities have alienated people
and they have not been gaining support within Nicaragua.
Aug 17 Hitler's old war-hero Nazi colleague, Rudolf Hess, is
found dead in his cell. He was the last remaining prisoner in Spandau
Aug 19 Mexico and Venezuela have stopped deliveries of oil to
Nicaragua because of Nicaragua's inability to pay for it.
Aug 19 In Hungerford, Berkshire, England, an unemployed
laborer, Michael Ryan, with two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun,
kills sixteen, including his mother, wounds fifteen others and kills
Aug 23 In Estonia, the first outdoor political rally since
the Soviet takeover in 1940 protests Russian rule. Thousands
demonstrate for independence also in Latvia and Lithuania.
Sep 6 A senior Soviet diplomat has suggested a move toward
stability in Central America, that the Soviet Union stop sending oil to
the Sandinistas in power in Nicaragua in exchange for the US ending its
support of the "Contras."
Sep 17 At a small rally in Harlem, televangelist Pat
Robertson announces his candidacy for the 1988 Republican presidential
Sep 30 President Reagan complains to the Washington Times
that a Soviet "disinformation campaign" has made anti-Communism in the
US "unfashionable." He speaks of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House
Un-American Activities Committee investigations of subversives.
"They've done away with those committees," says President Reagan. "That
shows the success of what the Soviets were able to do in this country."
Oct 10 The Reverend Jesse Jackson launches his second
campaign for the presidency.
Nov 5 The cease fire that is part of the plan does not become
a reality. The Reagan administration speaks of support for peace in
Central America but continues to support the Contras. The Contras are
still launching attacks on Nicaragua. Reagan says he will ''not accept
phony democratization designed to mask the perpetuation of
dictatorship.'' The Sandinista's see the Contras as largely riffraff
from the old National Guard who helped keep the Somoza family
dictatorship in power for 43 years.
Nov 15 In Romania people are frustrated by economic
depression, food shortages and reduced wages. In Brasov, the country's
industrial center, around 20,000 from a plant that manufactures trucks
march to the city center and shout slogans such as “Down with
Ceausescu,” and “Down with Communism.” They are joined by more than
20,000 others. The crowd sacks the local Communist Party headquarters
and the city hall. A military force surrounds the city center, moves
in, disperses the crowd and arrests approximately 300.
Dec 8 In Melbourne, Australia, a former law student at a
Catholic college, 22-year-old Frank Vitkovic, kills 8 and injures 5 in
a Post office building. His gun is taken from him on the 11th floor,
and he jumps to his death.
Dec 8 An Israeli truck injures four Palestinian laborers, and
rather than treating it as a traffic accident, youths begin thowing
stones at Israeli soldiers. They are fed up with the Israeli
occupation. It is the beginning of the rising to be known as the First
Dec 8 In Washington D.C., Reagan and Gorbachev sign the
Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty to eliminate 4 percent
of their nuclear arsenals. It is the first US-Soviet treaty for the
destruction of nuclear weapons and includes on-site monitoring of that
Dec 17 In Czechoslovakia, Gustáv Husák, 74, resigns as
General Secretary of the Communist Party in order to let younger party
members participate in power.
Jan 2 In the Soviet Union, the government newspaper
Izvestiareports that Soviet tourists would now be allowed to travel to
East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria and a number of other
Communist-ruled countries without first acquiring a visa.
Jan 10 In Israel, according to polls, an overwhelming
majority support the "iron fist'' response to Palestinian unrest by the
government and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Jan 13 The Israeli Army, stunned by more than a month of
protests in the occupied territories, is sealing off refugee districts
and ordering Palestinians to stay in their houses, sometimes for days
at a time.
Jan 13 Taiwan's ruler, Chiang Ching-kuo, 77, son of Chiang
Kai-shek, dies. The vice president he had selected, Lee Teng-hui, a
bright native-born Taiwanese, succeeds him as president and will end
the martial law that has existed in Taiwan since Chiang Kai-shek's
forces arrived there in 1949.
Jan 15 President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua agrees to direct
talks with the Contras and for national elections.
Jan 17 In East Germany, around 120 dissidents demonstrate and
quote a communist heroine, Rosa Luxemburg (murdered in 1919) who said
"Freedom is always the freedom for others to think differently." Police
arrest dozens, including Stephan Krawczyk, 32, a popular
anti-establishment folk singer.
Jan 29 The Jihad Brigades issue a communique with
instructions on ways of fighting the Israeli army: burn Israeli
vehicles, attack Israeli economic interests, refuse to pay taxes, and
Feb 2 In East Germany, dissents have responded to arrests
with more demonstrations. Rather than create further unrest the
government issues dissidents exit visas, including one to Stephan
Krawczyk. And, fearing Gorbachev's new policies, East Germany is
banning publications from the Soviet Union.
Feb 17 US Lieutenant Colonel William R. Higgins, serving with
the United Nations and monitoring a truce in southern Lebanon, is taken
prisoner by a group suspected to have ties with Hezbollah. He is to be
tortured and to die in captivity.
Feb 21 On his television show, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart
confesses to an unspecified sin (an affair with prostitute Debra
Murphree) and announces he will temporarily leave the pulpit.
Mar 1 Wal-Mart is opening its first super-center, in
Washington, Missouri, designed for one-stop shopping. Because of
consumer support Wal-Mart is on its way to becoming the world's largest
retailer, in two years to surpass Sears, K-Mart and J.C. Penney. A new
era of mega-stores is developing, which is diminishing sales for small
retailers in old town centers.
Mar 16 Regarding the Iran-Contra scandal, Lieutenant Colonel
Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter are indicted on charges
of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Mar 20 Fighting has erupted along the Honduras-Nicaragua
border, with accusations of assaults by the Contras and accusations
that Nicaraguan forces have crossed into Honduras. Honduras, allied
with the United States, sends Air Force jets to bomb Nicaraguan troop
positions. A US infantry battalion moves to within 42 miles of the
Mar 24 Leaders of the Sandinista government and the Contra
guerrillas sign a 60-day cease-fire agreement that will begin on April
1. The Contras will not be required to disarm during the truce, and the
Sandinista government will begin to release anti-Sandinista prisoners,
including former members of the Somaza dictatorship's National Guard.
Mar 25 In Bratislava, Slovakia, around 2,000 Catholics
holding candles rally against controls on the Church by
Czechoslovakia's communist government. Police break up the rally. Some
are beaten and arrested.
Apr 11 The Last Emperor (directed by Bernardo Bertolucci)
wins 9 Oscars.
Apr 16 In Italy, the Marxist-Leninist Red Brigade (Brigate
Rosse), whom Lenin would have described as politically infantile, have
lost most of their support. But they are still at it. In a move to
counter what they see as their isolation they seek to attract Islamic
radicals. They kill Senator Roberto Ruffilli.
May 15 After more than 8 years in Afghanistan, the Soviet
Union begins withdrawing its armed forces and says all will be out in
May 16 A report by US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop states
that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of
heroin and cocaine.
May 22 Hungary's Communist Party removes János Kadar from power. Kadar
had taken power when the Soviet Union crushed Hungary's liberal
Communist regime in 1956.
May 27 The US Senate ratifies Reagan's INF Treaty with the
Soviet Union. Four conservatives vote against it. One is Jesse Helms of
North Carolina, another is Malcolm Wallop of North Carolina who has
spoken of the Soviet Union as having "broken most every treaty they
have ever signed.''
May 31 President Reagan is on the third day of his first
visit to what he has called the evil empire. In a toast, President
Reagan says, "Mr. General Secretary, allow me to raise a glass to the
work that has been done, the work that remains to be done. And let us
also toast the art of friendly persuasion, the hope of peace with
freedom, the hope of holding out for a better way of settling things."
Jul 1 Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, conservative rebel who
wants to stick with Latin, defies the Vatican and is excommunicated.
Jul 20 The Democratic National Convention in Atlanta,
Georgia, nominates Michael Dukakis for US President and Lloyd Bentsen
for Vice President. In his acceptance speech, Dukakis speaks of the
American dream, of community and people loving one another. He says,
"It’s time to understand that the greatest threat to our national
security in this hemisphere is not the Sandinistas, it's the avalanche
of drugs that is pouring into this country and poisoning our children."
Aug 8 Iran has regained much of the territory that it had
lost to Iraq early in their war. Iraq has bankrupted itself. The two
countries create a truce, ending their eight years of war, a war that
took at least one million Iranian lives and killed more than 100,000
Aug 8 In Burma, General Ne Win, socialist leader of a one
party state, has resigned. It is the 8th day of the 8th month of the
year '88 and seen as a favorable day for demonstrating for democracy.
The military crushes the demonstration and makes it a favorable day for
itself by grabbing political power.
Aug 18 The Republican National Convention in New Orleans,
Louisiana, nominates George H.W. Bush for President and Dan Quayle for
Vice President. In his acceptance speech Vice President Bush describes
the US as a rising nation and a dominant force for good in the world
and predicts that the 21st century will be another American century. He
adds: "I hate war; love peace, and we have peace. And I am not going to
let anyone take it away from us." He says he supports capital
punishment, the right to own a gun to protect one's home, the right to
say a prayer in school and that he believes in protecting the lives of
innocent children and that his opponent (Dukakis) on all these points
does not. He says he wants a kinder and gentler nation.
Sep 11 In Estonia, 300,000 demonstrate for independence.
Sep 13 While campaigning at the General Dynamics M1 Abrams
tank factory, candidate Dukakis is filmed riding in a tank, behind a
machine gun, and waving to the crowd and with a grin - a scene that
will attract much ridicule.
Sep 17 The Summer Olympic Games begin in Seoul, South Korea.
Sohn Kee-chung carries the Olympic torch into the stadium. He won the
marathon in the 1936 Olympics but had to run as a member of Japan's
team, Korea then under Japanese rule.
Sep 21 An television ad called "Weekend Passes" begins to run
that faults Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts from 1975 through 1978,
for having supported a prisoner furlough program that in 1986 allowed a
convict, Willie Horton, serving a life sentence for murder, an
opportunity to commit more heinous crimes. Dukakis will complain that
the furlough program changed after he had left office. A study by a
Republican campaign team has shown a significant number of voters who
see this ad switch from Dukakis to Bush.
Sep 29 In the Soviet Republic of Lithuania, riot police break
up a demonstration by tens of thousands, the crowd shouting "occupiers
get out of here."
Oct 5 President Pinochet of Chile has been in power fourteen
years. Results of a plebiscite guaranteed by the new 1980 constitution
disappoints him. Fixty-six percent of those voting don't want him to
continue as president. Pinochet wants to ignore the vote. He summons
members of the military to his office. Air Force commander Fernando
Matthel refuses to go along and so too do other generals. Dictators
need others to rule, and Pinochet accepts that he will have to step
down as President. A presidential election will be held in December
Oct 10 Algeria is officially socialist, with a collectivized
agriculture. Members of the National Liberation Front, which took power
in 1962, are believed to be enriching themselves. The economy has been
foundering, despite recent moves to increase free enterprise.
Unemployment is at 40 percent. Islamic fundamentalists, who have been
growing in number, have joined with others against one-party. The army
crushes four days of protests and rioting. Around 500 die, and outrage
Nov 8 George H. W. Bush wins the presidency, with 53.4
percent of the popular vote to 46.4 for Dukakis. The New Alliance Party
proves its alliance small: its candidate, Lenora Fulani, wins only 0.2
percent of the vote. The Libertarian Party candidate, Ron Paul, wins
Nov 15 An independent State of Palestine is proclaimed at the
Palestinian National Council meeting in Algiers.
Nov 16 In Pakistan's first open election in more than a
decade, Benazir Bhutto's political party, the Pakistan People's Party,
wins the largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly.
Dec 2 Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of
Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an
Dec 7 Estonian becomes the official language of Estonia.
Dec 7 Speaking to the UN General Assembly, Gorbachev
announces that by 1991 the Soviet Union intends to withdraw troops and
tank divisions from its "Warsaw Treaty allies:" East Germany, Hungary
and Czechoslovakia. In these countries a new hope for change arises.
Dec 21 Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland,
killing 270 people.
Jan 7 Hirohito, 87, dies after 62 years as Japan's emperor.
Jan 20 President Reagan is succeeded by George H.W. Bush.
Since Reagan took office in 1981 inflation and interest rates have
fallen dramatically, income taxes and unemployment are down, but the
national debt has risen from around 32 percent of Gross Domestic
Product to around 68 percent. (It rose to 120 percent during World War
II.) The United States has become a debtor nation greater than any
Feb 3 In Paraguay a military coup overthrows Alfredo
Stroessner, ending his 35-year dictatorship.
Feb 14 The leader of Iran's theocratic regime, Ayatollah
Khomeini, declares a fatwa requiring the execution of novelist Salman
Rushdie for his book Satanic Verses and to those involved in its
publication. This is a new dimension to classical Islamic law in that
Khomeini is claiming jurisdiction over non-Muslims in a non-Muslim
country. It is a concept that will be copied by others.
Feb 15 The Soviet Union announces that all of its troops have
Feb 16 Investigators announce that the cause of the crash of
Pan An flight 103 in Scotland was a bomb hidden inside a radio-cassette
Mar 9 The Soviet Union announces acceptance of binding
arbitration by the International Court of Justice concerning genocide,
trafficking in prostitutes and similar forms of slavery, political
rights for women, racism, and torture.
Mar 15 In Budapest, about 100,000 protesters gather and call
Mar 24 Gorbachev meets with Hungary's prime minister and
tells him that the Soviet Union will not interfere with sweeping
political reforms in Hungary and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Mar 29 In the Soviet Union, millions of citizens vote for a
new parliamentary body that includes non-Communist Party candidates.
lasting standoff in Beijing, China
Apr 9 During a peaceful rally in the Republic of Georgia,
tens of thousands who favor independence are attacked by a Soviet
military force. Twenty are killed and many injured.
Apr 26 The New York Daily News prints a story of a woman
jogger "repeatedly raped, viciously beaten and left for dead by a wolf
pack of more than a dozen young teenagers who attacked her at the end
of an escalating crime spree." These are not facts except for the rape
and vicious beating. The rape occurred on April 19. Five black kids
(the Central Park Five) are bullied into making confessions by
emotionalized police making assumptions and eager to tag the guilty.
The jogger is in a coma.
Apr 26 The Soviet Union begins its phased withdrawal of
troops stationed in Hungary.
May 2 Hungary begins to dismantle fortified border with
Austria - also called the iron curtain.
May 4 At Beijing's Tiananmen Square, a group of students
launch a movement they call "the Great Revolution for Democracy against
Dictatorship." Deng Xiaoping also believes in democracy, and he is
outraged at what he sees as naïve, absolutist and arrogant youth
similar to those who had risen during the Cultural Revolution, which he
May 7 In Panama, Manuel Antonio Noriega ignores election
results in order to stay in power.
May 8 Slobadan Milosevic becomes president of one of the
member states of Yugoslavia: Serbia. He has been rallying Serbs against
"enemies [who] are massing against us." He favors Serbia holding onto
Kosovo, where around 90 percent of the population is ethnically
Albanian and 5 percent Serbian.
May 13 About 400 students begin a hunger strike in Tiananmen
Square. Groups of students have been moving through Beijing trying to
rally support and dramatizing their cause by disrupting traffic and
releasing air from bus tires.
May 20 Crowds are joining the protesters daily in Tiananmen
Square. The Chinese government declares martial law in Beijing.
May 22 Saying he hoped that the crisis in China would not
turn bloody, President Bush urges the demonstrators in Beijing to
follow a nonviolent path and ''stand up for what you believe in.''
May 30 In Tiananmen Square, demonstrators unveil a ten-meter
(33-foot) high styrofoam and papier-mâché "Goddess of Democracy."
Jun 3 The Ayatollah Khomeini dies of a heart attack.
Jun 4 China's army takes over Tiananmen Square, demonstrators
killing what will be described as "several dozen" soldiers and the
soldiers killing between 300 and 5,000, depending upon who is doing the
estimating. Leaders of the demonstration will be hunted down and
Jun 5 Solidarity candidates are allowed to run in
Parliamentary elections in Poland. Their success ends Communist Party
Jun 16 A crowd of 250,000 gathers at Heroes Square in
Budapest for the reburial of Imre Nagy, the liberal Communist former
prime minister hanged by the Kadar regime in 1958.
Jun 22 Since Ireland's independence in 1922, its first two
universities open: Dublin City University and the University of
Jun 27 The foreign ministers of Hungary and Austria cut
through some barbed wire between their two countries, putting a
symbolic end to what little there was left to the "iron curtain"
Jun 30 In Sudan, General Omar Hassan al-Bashir leads a coup
d'etat. There will be purges and executions in the upper ranks of the
army. Political parties and newspapers will be banned. Politicians and
journalists will be imprisoned. General al-Bashir will hand power over
to the National Islamic Front, an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood,
headed by Hassan al-Turabi.
Jul 9-12 President George H. W. Bush travels to Poland and
Hungary. In Poland he speaks of the climb to democracy as "exhilarating
but not always easy" and that it will require "sacrifices." In Hungary
he promises to open US markets to Hungarian goods and to send Peace
Corps volunteers to teach English, useful he says for making
international business deals.
Jul 20 In Burma, the ruling military junta asks democracy
advocate Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country. She refuses and is put
under house arrest.
Aug 18 In Poland, the results of June elections are
implemented. Communist Party rule officially ends. A new cabinet takes
power headed by Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Communists retain the interior and
Aug 23 Two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
join hands and form a 600 kilometer chain across the three republics to
demand freedom and independence.
Aug 15 South Africa's president Pieter W. Botha, 73, resigns.
Frederick W. de Klerk is sworn in as acting president.
Sep 10 Hungary has been a vacation destination for East
Germans, and East Germans have flocked there hoping to migrate to West
Germany. An agreement is made between West Germany and Hungary that
allows the East Germans in Hungary to leave for West Germany within
Sep 13 East Germany demands that Hungary not allow East
Germans to flee to the West.
Sep 20 Following a general election on the sixth of this
month, de Klerk is inaugurated as South Africa's president. De Klerk
will end apartheid and release Nelson Mandela from prison.
Sep 26 The last Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia. Civil war
will erupt as the Khmer Rouge, who had been suppressed by the
Vietnamese, will try but fail to regain control.
Oct 9 In East Germany, demonstrators demand democratic
Oct 18 East Germany's Erich Honecker resigns. The reason given is "ill
health," but rising discontentment and hostility toward him is
considered the real reason. He is succeeded by Egon Krenz.
Oct 23 The People's Republic of Hungary becomes the Republic
of Hungary. The ruling Communist Party renames itself the Socialist
Party and has a plan for multiparty elections, to be held in 1990.
on The Wall in front of Brandenburg Gate, Berlin.
Oct 28 In Czechoslovakia, thousands chant for freedom and
democracy. Authorities crush the demonstration and arrest leading
dissidents, including Vaclav Havel. The crowd shouts "gestapo" and "the
world is watching." Mikhail Gorbachev urges Czechoslovakia's government
to respond to the need for change.
Nov 4 West Germany's embassy in Prague in packed with people
fleeing East Germany. They speak of labor shortages in East Germany
creating an economic crisis there.
Nov 7 The Communist government of East Germany resigns, but Egon Krenz
remains head of state.
Nov 9 East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall,
allowing travel to West Germany without visas. This makes the Berlin
Nov 10 Celebrating Germans begin tearing down the wall.
Nov 10 Bulgaria's president and party leader, Todor I.
Zhivkov, resigns after 35 years in power. He is succeeded by his
younger foreign minister, Petar T. Mladenov, 53, who says there is no
alternative to restructuring the nation's economy and its political
Nov 11 The 10-year civil war in El Salvador continues with
what the rebels call a final offensive. It will fail to achieve a
Nov 17 In Czechoslovakia, police attack another demonstration. People
shout "dinosaurs resign" and "communists get out." Arrests are made and
at least thirteen demonstrators are admitted to a Prague hospital.
Nov 18 Another demonstration in Prague is larger than
Nov 19 A demonstration in Prague numbers around 200,000.
Nov 24 On the eighth day of huge demonstrations,
Czechoslovakia's Communist Party boss, Milous Jakes, resigns.
Nov 25 Encouraged, 500,000 people march for the end of
Communist Party rule, and millions engage in a two-hour general strike.
Nov 28 The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia promises free
elections within a year.
Dec 3 Gorbachev and Bush meet off the coast of Malta and
release statements that the Cold War between their nations may be
coming to an end.
Dec 10 In Sofia, Bulgaria, 50,000 people demonstrate and
demand that the constitution be changed to eliminate the communist
monopoly on power.
Dec 10 In Mongolia, Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj announces the
establishment of Mongolia's democratic movement, that peacefully
changes the second oldest Communist country into a democratic society.
Dec 11 In Prague, public pressure speeds up democratization.
Eleven non-communists are given positions in a cabinet of 21. The ten
others are communists.
Dec 14 In Chile, following the plebiscite in 1988 that denied
President Pinochet continuation in office, elections are held and won
by a broad coalition led by a Christian Democrat, Patricio Aylwin.
Pinochet's dictatorial rule will end in March.
Dec 17 In Brazil, Fernando Collor de Mello becomes the first
democratically elected president in 29 years.
Dec 16 In Romania, security forces shoot protestors.
Dec 20 After months of building up its military on bases
within what was previously the Panama Canal Zone, the US responds to
Manuel Noriega's nullifying an election, complicity in money laundering
and drug trafficking. The Bush administration moves against Panama in
an operation called "Just Cause."
Dec 21 In Bucharest, Romania, anti-government protests have increased.
Security forces again shoot at demonstrators. Army personnel flee to
the side of the demonstrators. The leader of the communist regime,
Nicolae Ceausescu, flees in a helicopter.
Dec 22 Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, are captured.
Dec 22 US Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, has been
maintaining secrecy regarding Operation Just Cause that is annoying to
Dec 23 Panama Resistance to the US force in Panama is greater than was
expected by the US Department of Defense. An additional 2,000 troops
are sent from California's Fort Ord. Also not expected is the
widespread looting and "lawlessness" that continues in Panama.
and Elena Ceausescu in the 1960s.
Dec 24 The Organization of
American States has passed a resolution deploring the invasion of
Panama and calls for the withdrawal of US troops. A majority of the
fifteen members of the UN Security Council vote in favor of a
resolution criticizing the invasion of Panama. The US, Britain and
France use their vetos to kill the resolution.
Dec 25 The Vatican announces that General Noriega has taken
refuge in its embassy in Panama. He will remain there till January 3 as
US troops continue to occupy Panama.
Dec 25 In Romania, a military court convicts Nicolae
Ceausescu and his wife Elana of "genocide" and plundering more than $1
billion from the state. On a military base outside the capital,
standing before a firing squad, tears roll down the cheeks of Nicolae.
Elena asks why and says "I raised you all like a mother."
Dec 29 In Czechoslovakia, parliament elects the playwright
dissident Vaclav Havel president. Alexander Dubcek, the liberal
Communist deposed by the Russians in 1968, whom the crowds have been
cheering, becomes parliament chairman.
Jan 3 In Panama, Manuel Noriega leaves the Holy See embassy
and surrenders to US forces. He is put on a military transport plane
and flown to the United States.
Jan 22 The New York Times reports that at least 2,500
Mongolians have defied a ban on demonstrations by demanding human
rights and other concessions from the country's Communist government.
"The police made no attempt to break up the illegal demonstration, and
the Government announced that it would officially recognize the group
that organized the protest."
Jan 29 In Anchorage, Alaska, the trial of Joseph Hazelwood,
former skipper of the Exxon Valdez, begins.
Jan 31 Moscow, Russia, a McDonald's restaraurant opens.
Feb 10 In South Africa, President F.W. de Klerk announces
Nelson Mandela's release from prison.
Feb 15 Britain and Argentina restore diplomatic relations,
broken in 1982 at the beginning of the Falklands War.
F.W. de Klerk and freed prisoner, Nelson Mandela.
Feb 26 In Nicaragua the Sandinistas are defeated in the free
elections they had promised. A coalition of parties wins. Violeta
Barrios de Chamorro is to replace Daniel Ortega as president of
Mar 11 As a result of elections in Chile in December, a
Christian-Democrat, Patricio Aylwin, takes office, replacing Augusto
Pinochet as president, the first democratically elected president since
1970. Pinochet loses much of his power but remains Commander of Chief
of the Army until March 1998.
Mar 11 Lithuania's Parliament votes to secede from the Soviet
Union, a move supported by Lithuania's Communist Party, which has
already declared itself independent from Moscow.
Mar 12 Estonians call on the United Nations to restore
Estonia's freedom and independence.
Mar 14 Mikhail Gorbachev, now president of the Soviet Union,
declares Lithuania's declaration of independence "illegitimate and
Mar 15 In Mongolia, Communist leaders respond to a growing democracy
movement and propose free elections.
Mar 18 East Germany holds its first free elections since 1932.
Mar 20 In the Philippines the widow of Ferdinand Marcos,
Imelda Marcos, goes on trial for embezzlement and racketeering.
Mar 21 After 75 years of rule by its neighbor, South Africa,
Namibia becomes independent.
Mar 25 In the US, Vice President Dan Quayle says that the
Soviet Union is justified in rounding up Lithuanians who have deserted
from the Soviet Union's army, but he speaks with disapproval of the
Soviet Union acting against Lithuania's independence movement.
Mar 27 In Vilnius Lithuania, armed Soviet troops storm a
psychiatric hospital and arrest about two dozen Lithuanian deserters
who have taken refuge there.
Mar 28 White House Press Secretary, Marlin Fitzwater,
reiterates the Bush administration's call for negotiations between
Lithuania and Moscow. On this issue the Democratic Speaker of the
House, Tom Foley, agrees.
Chamorro of Nicaragua beginning April 25, 1990
Mar 31 In Lithuania, Soviet
forces take control of the State Prosecutor's Office and seize the
printing plant where the republic's main independence newspapers are
Apr 1 To curb the demonstrations that have continued since
February, the government of Nepal closes all high schools in the
capital, Kathmandu, and two suburbs.
Apr 3 In Kathmandu, police shoot at demonstrators, killing
five and wounding seventeen.
Apr 6 In Kathmandu a general strike begins. King Birendra
appoints a new prime minister to negotiate with leaders of the
Apr 13 In an effort to end a four-day political stalemate,
King Birendra invites the leader of Nepal's opposition to join him in
Apr 13 The Soviet Union apologizes for the Katyn Massacre,
which occurred in 1941 as the Russians were pulling back from Germany's
May 4 Latvia declares independence from the Soviet Union.
May 17 The World Health Organization removes homosexuality
from its list of diseases.
Jun 1 US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet Union leader
Mikhail Gorbachev sign a treaty to end chemical weapons production and
to destroy chemical weapon stock piles.
Jun 1 Members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army murder
Major Michael Dillon-Lee in front of his home in Dortmund, Germany, and
they murder Private William Robert Davies of the British Army at a
railway station in Lichfield, England.
Jun 26 President Bush breaks his 1988 "no new taxes" campaign
pledge, accepting tax revenue increases to reduce the budget deficit.
Jul 2 In Mecca a stampede in a pedestrian tunnel kills 1,426
Muslim pilgrims. The Saudi king, Fahd, describes it as "God's will.''
Jul 6 A videotaped image of US Lieutenant Colonel William R.
Higgins, kidnapped in Lebanon in 1988, has been released by his captors
showing him hanged by the neck. Exactly when he died is unknown, but
today he is declared dead.
Jul 24 Tens of thousands of Iraqi troops deploy to Iraq's
border with Kuwait.
Kuwait City. Kuwait is invaded
by Suddam Hussain in August.
Jul 25 US diplomat April Glaspie meets with Saddam Hussein.
She speaks of US disapproval of settling disputes by violence but that
the US has "no opinion" of his border disagreement with Kuwait.
Jul 27 Belarus declares its sovereignty, a step toward
independence from the Soviet Union.
Jul 30 The Provision Irish Republican Army is still acting as
police in Catholic neighborhoods in Northern Ireland -- in areas left
unpoliced by the British - striking against drug dealers and criminals
of various sorts. And they are still engaged in terrorism in England. A
car bomb planted by army members kills a conservative member of
parliament, Ian Gow.
Aug 1 In Mongolia the Communist Party has just won a majority
in legislative elections in which opposition parties participated.
Seeking wide support for a new government, Mongolia's Communist Party
chairman says he will invite opposition groups to join the government.
Aug 2 Iraq invades Kuwait.
Aug 5 Referring to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, President Bush
announces that "This will not stand."
Aug 6 The United Nations Security Council orders a global
trade embargo against Iraq.
Aug 4 The McMartin Pre-School child molestation case, the
longest and most expensive criminal proceeding in American history,
comes to an official end. All charges are dropped. The case was the
result of inept psychologists and an inept district attorney and
Aug 18 Verdicts are in on the trial of the Central Park Five
trial that began on June 13. The verdicts: guilty. Sentences for the
teenagers are 5-15 years imprisonment. Some wanted the death penalty.
The trial is a miscarriage of justice, with testimony from police
interrogators that are lies. All charges are to be vacated on December
Aug 24 Brian Keenan, from Northern Ireland, who was kidnapped
in 1986 while teaching at the American University of Beirut, is
released to Syrian military forces and then to Ireland's ambassador.
The British and American governments would not negotiate on Keenan's
behalf. The Republic of Ireland did, working closely with the Iranian
Sep 11 Gulf War: President George H. W. Bush delivers a
nationally televised speech in which he threatens the use of force to
remove Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait.
Sep19 The Provisional Irish Republican Army tries to
assassinate Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Terry at his home near
Stafford, England. Terry is hit by at least 9 bullets but survives.
Oct 3 East Germany and West Germany unify politically into a
single Germany. By now, KGB agent Vladimir Putin has been transferred
from East Germany back to the Soviet Union.
Oct 13 In Lebanon, Prime Minister and acting President of one
of two rival governments, Michel Aoun, has lost the support of Saddam
Hussein, who is busy. It is to be alleged that in exchange for joining
a coalition against Saddam Hussein, the US has promised the Syrians
that Israel would not attack their aircraft. The Syrians oust Aoun from
power, consolidating their 14-year presence in Lebanon, with Israel
holding onto a security zone in southern Lebanon. Aoun will go into
exile to France, after complaining that the United States had "sold
Lebanon to Syria."
Oct 15 Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev is awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize for his reforms and for reducing Cold War tensions.
Nov 5 In New York, Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the
far-right Kach movement, is shot dead. The leading suspect in the
murder is El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptan born US citizen associated with
Nov 8 Pesident Bush announces that he is increasing US forces
in Saudi Arabia to 400,000 for adequate manpower to liberate Kuwait.
Nov 12 His father, Hirohito, dead for now for 22 months,
Prince Akihito is enthroned as Japan's 125th emperor.
Nov 13 The first known page to appear on the World Wide Web
(the internet) is written.
Nov 14 Germany and Poland sign a treaty confirming the border
between them at the Oder-Neisse line.
elected President of Haiti
Nov 28 John Major succeeds Margaret Thatcher as leader of the
Conservative Party. Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister.
Despite her conservatism she leaves office without having abolished
Britain's health care services, but she did initiate management reforms.
Nov 29 The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution
678, authorizing members to use all necessary force to expel Iraqi
forces from Kuwait if Iraq does not withdraw its forces from Kuwait and
free all foreign hostages by January 15.
Dec 3 Mary Robinson becomes Ireland's first woman president.
Dec 7 Bulgaria's prime minister, Andrey Lukanov, a member of
the reformist wing of Bulgaria's Communist Party, resigns after two
weeks of anti-Communist demonstrations by striking workers.
Dec 16 Jean-Bertrand Aristide is elected president of Haiti,
ending three decades of military rule.
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