- Syria frees captured US Navy pilot, Lieut. Robert C. Goodman, Jr. (Jan. 3).
- US and Vatican exchange diplomats after 116-year hiatus (Jan. 10).
- Reagan orders US Marines withdrawn from Beirut international peacekeeping force (Feb. 7).
- Yuri V. Andropov dies at 69; Konstantin U. Chernenko, 72, named Soviet leader (Feb. 9). Background: Rulers of Russia since 1533
- Italy and Vatican agree to end Roman Catholicism as state religion (Feb. 18).
- Soviet Union withdraws from summer Olympic games in US, and other bloc nations follow (May 7 et seq.).
- José Napoleón Duarte, moderate, elected president of El Salvador (May 11).
- Three hundred slain as Indian Army occupies Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar (June 6).
- Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards; 1,000 killed in anti-Sikh riots; son Rajiv succeeds her (Oct. 31).
- Toxic gas leaks from Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killing 2,000 and injuring 150,000 (Dec. 3).
- Bell System broken up (Jan. 1).
- Congress rebukes President Reagan on use of federal funds for mining Nicaraguan harbors (April 10).
- Thirty-ninth Democratic National Convention, nominates Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine A. Ferraro (July 16–19).
- Thirty-third Republican National Convention renominates President Reagan and Vice President Bush (Aug. 20-25).
- President Reagan re-elected in landslide with 59% of vote (Nov. 7).
US GDP (1998 dollars): $3,902.40 billion
Federal spending: $851.85 billion
Federal debt: $1564.7 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars): $22,415
Consumer Price Index: 103.9
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.20
LA Raiders d. Washington (38-9)
Detroit d. San Diego (4-1)
Boston d. LA Lakers (4-3)
Edmonton d. NY Islanders (4-1)
Women: Martina Navratilova d. C. Evert Lloyd (7-6 6-2)
Men: John McEnroe d. J. Connors (6-1 6-1 6-2)
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
Georgetown d. Houston (84-75)
NCAA Football Champions
- The Cosby Show debuts on NBC. The sitcom is widely considered the most popular show of the 1980s.
- The Supreme Court rules that taping television shows at home on VCRs does not violate copyright law.
- Led by Bob Geldof, the band Band Aid releases “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” with proceeds of the single going to feed the starving in Africa.
- Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, The Pope of Greenwich Village
- Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac, Alison Lurie, Foreign Affairs
- Joe W. Kittinger makes the first solo transatlantic balloon flight in the helium-filled Rosie O’Grady’s Balloon of Peace. He travels 3,535 miles from Caribou, Maine to Savona, Italy. Background: Famous Firsts in Aviation
- Apple introduces the user-friendly Macintosh personal computer. Background: Computers and Internet
- Indira Gandhi
- Francois Truffaut
- Truman Capote
- Count Basie