World Events

  • Spain and Portugal join European Economic Community (Jan. 1).
  • President Reagan freezes Libyan assets in US (Jan. 8). US planes attack Libyan “terrorist centers” (April 14).
  • Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier flees to France (Feb. 7).
  • President Ferdinand Marcos flees Philippines after ruling for 20 years; newly elected Corazon Aquino succeeds him (Feb. 26).
  • Union Carbide agrees to settlement with victims of Bhopal gas leak in India (March 22).
  • Major nuclear accident at Soviet Union’s Chernobyl power station alarms world (April 26 et seq.).
  • Ex-Navy analyst, Jonathan Jay Pollard, 31, guilty as spy for Israel (June 4).
  • World Court rules US broke international law in mining Nicaraguan waters (June 27).
U.S. Events
  • US Supreme Court bars racial bias in trial jury selection (Jan. 14).
  • Space shuttle Challenger explodes after launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., killing all seven aboard (Jan. 28).
  • US Supreme Court reaffirms abortion rights (June 11).
  • Senate Judiciary Committee approves William H. Rehnquist as Chief Justice of US Supreme Court(Aug. 14).
  • House votes arms appropriations bill rejecting Administration’s “star wars” policy (Aug. 15).
  • Secret initiative to send arms to Iran revealed (Nov. 6 et seq.); Reagan denies exchanging arms for hostages and halts arms sales (Nov. 19); diversion of funds from arms sales to Nicaraguan Contras revealed (Nov. 25).

US GDP (1998 dollars):   $4,422.20 billion
Federal spending:   $990.34 billion
Federal debt:   $2120.6 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars):  
Consumer Price Index:   109.6
Unemployment:   7.0%
Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.22


Super Bowl
Chicago d. New England (46-10)

World Series
NY Mets d. Boston Red Sox (4-3)

NBA Championship
Boston d. Houston (4-2)

Stanley Cup
Montreal d. Calgary (4-1)

Women: Martina Navratilova d. H. Mandlikova (7-6 6-3)
Men: Boris Becker d. I. Lendl (6-4 6-3 7-5)

Kentucky Derby Champion

NCAA Basketball Championship
Louisville d. Duke (72-69)

NCAA Football Champions
Penn St. (12-0-0)

World Cup
Argentina d. W. Germany (3-2)



  • Barry Diller, head of News Corp., creates Fox, the fourth television network. Fox offers 10 hours of prime-time programming a week.
  • The Television Bureau of Advertising announces that the average American household watches television for more than seven hours a day.
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show hits national television.
  • The Academic American Encyclopedia is available on CD-ROM. It is the first reference work published in this medium.
  • Nintendo video games introduced in U.S.


  • Platoon, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Color of Money, The Mission


  • Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
  • Alice Munro, The Progress of Love
  • Peter Taylor, A Summer to Memphis
  • K. Alex Müller (Switzerland) and J. Georg Bednorz (Germany) discover superconductivity in a ceramic material at -397ºF, a higher temperature than ever before.
  • Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager make the first nonstop flight around the world without refueling. The Voyager flew around the world (24,986 miles) from Edwards AFB, California, returning in 216 hours, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds (Dec. 14–23). Background: Famous Firsts in Aviation
  • The first genetically-engineered vaccine, for hepatitis B, gains FDA approval. Background: Health & Nutrition
  • The Voyager 2 probe passes Uranus in January, returning images and data on its moon, rings, atmosphere, interior, and magnetic field. Background: US Unstaffed Planetary and Lunar Programs
  • Halley’s comet yields information on return visit (April 10). Background: comets
  • Olof Palme (Swedish politician)
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Harold Macmillan
  • Duchess of Windsor


The movie “Aliens” came out
(Sigourney Weaver & Bill Paxton)