Century 20 9 th. Decade
Century c 20 1981-1990 AD


Ronald Reagan begins his presidency
Ronald Reagan begins his presidency. He emphasizes pride in
America and believes it is for the US to teach the world.

Jan 8  US Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher is in Algiers representing the Carter administration regarding hostages in Iran.

Jan 10  Hoping to take power before the Ronald Reagan takes office, the rebel force called the FMLN, in El Salvador, begins a military offensive.

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.

Madam Mao

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 Security.

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 ends.

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 Movement.

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 also wounded.

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 Christian militiamen.

Bobby Sands dies in prison
Bobby Sands dies in prison
Fr. Stanley Rother
Fr. Stanley Rother
Diana and Charles 
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 disliked.

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 Edinburgh.

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 down.

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 negotiated settlement.

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 Britain.

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.
Sadat's assassination  
Sadat's assassination
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 Nicaragua.

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."

Timeline: 1982
President Assad crushes the
President Assad crushes the
Muslim Brotherhood

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 Reagan administration

Apr 2  The military junta in Argentina lands troops in British-ruled Falkland Islands, which Argentines call the Malvinas and consider Argentinean.

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, killing 20.

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 Nidal.

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.''

Argentina's General Galtieri
Argentina's General Galtieri

Argentina's Malvinas War Memorial 
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 Jeremy Moore.

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 Fellow.''

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 Britain.

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 son, William.

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.

Yasser Arafat, to Greece
Yasser Arafat, to Greece
President-elect Bashir Gemayel 
President-elect Bashir Gemayel

Palestinians at Shatila refugee camp  
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 of Lebanon.

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 Lebanon.

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 Democrat parties.

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 Nicaraguan Government.

Nov 10  The Soviet Union's Leonid Brezhnev dies at the age of 75.

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.

Timeline: 1983

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 enemy missiles.

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 effort.

Apr 1  Europeans protest the presence of US nuclear weapons on their continent.

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 withdrawal.

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
A stripped Tamil youth shortly before he
is doused with gasoline and set afire.

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."

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 at Geneva.

Jul 20  The government of Poland declares an end to martial law.

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
Stanislav Petrov. He saves the world from nuclear distruction.
Bernard Coard, super-revolutionary  
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 independence.

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 King Day.

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 frightens him.

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.

Timeline: 1984

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 militia positions.

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 chemical weapons.

 Virginia McMartin
Virginia McMartin
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 use.

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 1986.

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 voyage.

Sep 5  The Space Shuttle Discovery lands after its maiden voyage.

Jerzy Popieluszko
Jerzy Popieluszko

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 their injuries.

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.

Timeline: 1985

Deng Xiaoping. He was
Deng Xiaoping. He was against becoming another exalted
personality and 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 and freedom.''

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 Communist Party.

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.

William Buckley  
William Buckley
Robert Stethem, victim 
Robert Stethem, victim
Ali Atwa, accomplice 
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 Hezbollah.

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 released.

Jun 25  Irish police arrest 13 IRA terrorists suspected of plotting bombings.

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 hijacking.

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 Extérieure).

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 Beirut.

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 capitalists.

Sep 25  Terrorists belonging to Force 17, a group associated with the PLO, murder three Israeli citizens on their yacht in Larnaca, Cyprus.

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 more attention.

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 with Gorbachev.

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 injured.

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.

Timeline: 1986


 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. Haitians rejoice.

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 station.

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, killing four.

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 are injured.

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 Libya.

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 homelessness.
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.

Timeline: 1987

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 outside influences.

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 Mitheleshwar Singh.

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 transaction.

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 historic.

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 nomination.

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 air defense.

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 Glass.

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 countries.

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 Prison.

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 himself.

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 nomination.

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 Intifada.

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 destruction.

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.

Timeline: 1988

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.

William R. Higgins
William R. Higgins

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 eliminate collaborators.

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 Nicaraguan border.

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 February,1989.

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 Iraqi soldiers.

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.

Candidate Dukakis  
Candidate Dukakis

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 1989.

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 remains widespread.

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 0.5 percent.

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 Islam-dominated state.

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.

Timeline: 1989

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 other nation.

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 left Afghanistan.

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 player.

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 for democracy.

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.

 Short lasting standoff
Short 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 hated.

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 executed.

Jun 5  Solidarity candidates are allowed to run in Parliamentary elections in Poland. Their success ends Communist Party dominance.

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 Limerick.

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" barrier.

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 defense ministries.

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 days.

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 reforms.

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.

Dancing on The Wall
Dancing 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 Wall useless.

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 apparatus.

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 military victory.

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 yesterday's.

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 journalists.

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.

 Nioclae and Elena Ceausescu in the 1960s
Nioclae 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.

Timeline: 1990

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
President 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 Nicaragua.

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 invalid."

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.

President Chamorro of Nicaragua
President 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 printed.

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 pro-democracy movement.

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 direct talks.

Apr 13  The Soviet Union apologizes for the Katyn Massacre, which occurred in 1941 as the Russians were pulling back from Germany's invasion.

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.

Kuwait City. Kuwait is invaded
Kuwait City. Kuwait is invaded
by Suddam Hussain in August.

Jul 24  Tens of thousands of Iraqi troops deploy to Iraq's border with Kuwait.

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 prosecuters.

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 19, 2002.

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 government.

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 Islamic extremists.

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.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
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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