World Events

  • Cease-fire ends Persian Gulf War (April 3); UN forces are victorious. Background: The Persian Gulf War
  • Europeans end sanctions on South Africa (April 15). South African Parliament repeals apartheid laws (June 5).
  • France agrees to sign 1968 treaty banning spread of atomic weapons (June 3). China accepts nuclear nonproliferation treaty (Aug. 10). Bush-Gorbachev summit negotiates strategic arms reduction treaty (July 31).
  • Communist Government of Albania resigns (June 4).
  • Warsaw Pact dissolved (July 1).
  • Boris Yeltsin becomes first freely elected president of Russian Republic (July 10). Yeltsin’s stock increases when he takes a prominent role in suppressing an anti-Gorbachev coup by communist hardliners (Aug. 18-22). Background: Rulers of Russia since 1533
  • Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia win independence from USSR (Aug. 25); US recognizes them (Sept. 2).
  • Haitian troops seize president in uprising (Sept. 30). US suspends assistance to Haiti (Oct. 1).
  • US indicts two Libyans in 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (Nov. 15).
  • Soviet Union breaks up after President Gorbachev’s resignation; constituent republics form Commonwealth of Independent States (Dec. 25). Background: Dissolution of the USSR
U.S. Events
  • US Supreme Court limits death row appeals (April 16).
  • William H. Webster retires as Director of CIA; Robert H. Gates succeeds him (May 14).
  • Professor Anita Hill accuses Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment (Oct. 6); Senate, 52-48, confirms Thomas for US Supreme Court after stormy hearings (Oct. 15).

US GDP (1998 dollars):   $5,916.70 billion
Federal spending:   $1323.63 billion
Federal debt:   $3598.5 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars):  
Consumer Price Index:   136.2
Unemployment:   6.8%
Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.25 ($0.29 as of 2/3/91)


Super Bowl
NY Giants d. Buffalo (20-19)

World Series
Minnesota d. Atlanta Braves (4-3)

NBA Championship
Chicago d. LA Lakers (4-1)

Stanley Cup
Pittsburgh d. Minnesota (4-2)

Women: Steffi Graf d. G. Sabatini (6-4 3-6 8-6)
Men: Michael Stich d. B. Becker (6-4 7-6 6-4)

Kentucky Derby Champion
Strike the Gold

NCAA Basketball Championship
Duke d. Kansas (72-65)

NCAA Football Champions
Miami-FL (AP) (12-0-0) & Washington (USA, FW, NFF) (12-0-0)



  • Fox Broadcasting is the first network to permit condom advertising on television.
  • Seattle band Nirvana releases the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the LP Nevermind and enjoys national success. With Nirvana’s hit comes the grunge movement, which is characterized by distorted guitars, dispirited vocals and lots of flannel.
  • Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) is arrested in a Florida movie theater for indecent exposure.


  • The Silence of the Lambs, Beauty and the Beast, JFK, Thelma & Louise


  • Nirvana, Nevermind


  • Ben Okri, The Famished Road
  • Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
  • The FDA approves the use of Bristol-Meyers’ ddI (didanosine) in the treatment of AIDS.
  • Gopher, the first user-friendly internet interface, is created at the University of Minnesota and named after the school mascot. Gopher becomes the most popular interface for several years. Background: Computers and Internet
  • In Japan’s worst nuclear accident to date, a leak of radioactive water causes a nuclear plant 220 miles west of Tokyo to release about 8% of the plant’s annual radioactive emissions in a single day (Feb. 9). Background: nuclear energy
  • First transpacific hot-air balloon flight. Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand flew about 6,700 mi. from Miyakonyo, Japan, to 150 mi. west of Yellowknife, Canada (Jan. 15–17). Background: Computers and Internet
  • The first cholera epidemic in a century sickens 100,000 and kills more than 700 in South America.
  • Miles Davis
  • Theodore Seuss Geisel
  • Frank Capra
  • Leo Durocher
  • Graham Greene


The movie “Silence of the Lambs” came out
(Anthony Hopkins & Jodie Foster)