Who was born in 1988? Who died? What events impacted society and shaped the world as we know it today? Did we make any important advances?
This installment of the 80s timeline focuses on 1988.
Fans of Rihanna will want to know that the Barbadian pop singer was born in 1988, as was British songstress, Adele. Celebrities contributed to the gene pool: The Hulk’s wife gave birth to Brooke Hogan and Bruce Willis and Demi Moore welcomed daughter Rumer in 1988. Actor Haley Joel Osment, who wowed us with his acting skills at a very young age, was born in 1988. But he couldn’t see dead people until much later.
Every year, we say goodbye to people who’ve influenced our culture. In 1988, one of the saddest and most startling deaths was that of Heather O’Rourke, the 13-year-old actress who had portrayed Carol Anne in the 80s Poltergeist movie franchise. Beloved singer Roy Orbison passed away in 1988 as did Andy Gibb. The Andy Warhol circle grew smaller with the loss of both Nico (singer-songwriter, fashion model, and actress) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (musician and painter). We also lost three great American writers in 1988: Robert A. Heinlein, Louis L’Amour, and Raymond Carver.
80s Timeline: 1988 Events by Month
Two things are certain: life and death. But every year, plenty of other major events shape our culture, inform our society, and make the news. Some of our 80s timeline events are joyous while others are tragedies. But they all affected us in some way. Here’s a look at the 80s timeline for 1988 by month:
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 140.58 points (6.85%) on January 8, 1988.
- In Israel, several police officers and 70 Palestinians are injured at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
- Australia celebrates its bicentennial on January 26, 1988.
- The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives rejects President Reagan’s request for over $36 million to support Nicaraguan Contras.
- The 1988 Winter Olympics are held in Canada from February 13 – 28.
- The U.S. Supreme Court overturns a decision to award Jerry Falwell $200,000 for defamation by Husler magazine in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, paving the way for millions more to hurl insults at the hateful false evangelist.
- On March 7, the Special Air Service shoots and kills three unarmed Provisional Irish Republican Army members in Gibraltar. A couple of weeks later, the IRA kills British Army Corporals Woods and Howes.
- 17 servicemen are killed when two U.S. Army helicopters collide in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
- Gallaudet University (a university for the deaf) elects its first deaf president, marking a turning point for deaf civil rights.
- On March 16, 1988, the Iraqi government carries out a poison gas attack, killing thousands.
- Lt. Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter are indicted in the Iran-Contra Affair (for conspiracy to defraud the U.S.).
- Arizona Governor Evan Mecham is impeached.
- The Last Emperor wins nine Oscars at the Academy Awards.
- Sonny Bono (of Sonny & Cher) is elected mayor of Palm Springs, California.
- The Soviet Union promises to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.
- The 1988 World Expo opens in Brisbane, Australia.
- A drunk driver collides with a bus near Carrollton, Kentucky, killing 27 people.
- The U.S. Surgeon General issues a report stating that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to heroin and cocaine.
- The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a search warrant isn’t required for police to search through garbage (California v. Greenwood).
- The United Kingdom passes Section 28, which outlaws promotion of homosexuality in schools.
- Microsoft releases Windows 2.1.
- Musicians, comedians, film makers, and other entertainers gather in Wembley Stadium to give a concert celebrating (imprisoned) Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday.
- The Netherlands wins Euro 88 (defeating the Soviet Union 2–0).
- 165 oil workers and rescuers are killed when an explosion rocks the Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea.
- Medical waste discovered on beaches in the greater New York area leads to forced closure of numerous beaches during one of the hottest summers in the American Northeast.
- When the city attempts to enforce a curfew at Tompkins Square Park in New York City, a riot ensues.
- Thousands of anti-government protesters are killed in the 8888 Uprising in Burma (Myanmar).
- After a million have died, the Iran–Iraq War finally ends.
- Mehran Karimi Nasseri, (“Terminal man”) gets stuck in a Paris airport terminal, where he will live until 2006.
- Hurricane Gilbert devastates Jamaica.
- The 1988 Summer Olympics are held in South Korea from September 17 to October 2.
- Women are granted admission to Magdalene College, Cambridge. Male students wear black armbands and fly a black flag.
- When the UK bans interviews with IRA members, the BBC finds a loophole by using professional actors.
- Super Mario Bros. 3 is released in Japan.
- The first Internet worm (the Morris Worm) is launched from MIT.
- George H. W. Bush is elected President of the United States of America.
- In Portland, Oregon, an Ethopian student is beaten to death by members of a Neo-Nazi group called East Side White Pride.
- Ted Turner purchases NWA Crockett and converts it into WCW (World Championship Wrestling).
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 debuts KTMA.
- Benazir Bhutto becomes the first woman to lead an Islamic state as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
- Thousands die and millions lose their homes when a cyclone hits Bangladesh.
- A 6.9 earthquake kills almost 25,000, injures 15,000 and leaves almost half a million homeless in Armenia.
- Pan Am Flight 103 explodes in mid-air over Scotland, killing 270 people. The Libyans are thought to be responsible.
80s Timeline – Summary
If you know where you’ve been, you can figure out where you’re going. The 80s timeline is a way to see how events of the past shaped the present that we’re all living in.
The 80s timeline is not meant for academic purposes and is presented here for entertainment only. Check an encyclopedia for further details on the events of 1988.