1989 was the last year of the best decade in history, a bridge to the nineties, the final hurrah before we left totally oversized decadence behind and entered ten years of grunge.
So, who was born in 1989? And who died? What events that occurred in this year shaped the world as we know it today? This installment of the 80s timeline focuses on 1989.
Love Harry Potter? The actor who portrays him, Daniel Radcliffe was born in 1989. So was Hayden Panettiere of Heroes fame (save the cheerleader, save the world!). American Idol hopeful Sanjaya Malakar was born in 1989 and so was Idol winner Jordin Sparks. 1989 also gave us pop country sensation Taylor Swift and controversial hip-hop dancing man Chris Brown.
Many cultural icons were lost to us during our 80s timeline. In 1989, Spanish artist Salvador Dali passed away. We lost comediennes Gilda Radner from Saturday Night Live and Lucille Ball, the beloved and funny redhead. We said goodbye to acclaimed actors Bette Davis and Laurence Olivier, and boxer Sugar Ray Robinson.
80s Timeline: 1989 Events by Month
It’s a total joy to welcome new life and it’s a big bummer when we lose those we love. But plenty of other major events happened that were newsworthy. Here’s a look at the 80s timeline for 1989 by month:
- January 17 – It what was coined as the “Stockton Massacre,” Patrick Edward Purdy murdered 5 children, wounded 30, and then shot himself in Stockton, California.
- January 20 – George H. W. Bush became the 41st President of the U.S.A.
- January 24 – Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy is executed in Florida via the electric chair.
- February 10 – Ron Brown becomes the first African American to lead a major political party in the U.S.A. when he is elected as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
- February 11 – Barbara Clementine Harris becomes the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.
- February 14 – The first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite enters orbit.
- March 4 – Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announce a merger that will ultimately form conglomerate Time Warner.
- March 24 – The Exxon Valdez spills 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska.
- March 29 – Rain Man wins best picture at the 61st Academy Awards.
- April 14 – The Keating Five (including John McCain) are accused as responsible for the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980s, which cost taxpayers in the U.S.A. almost $200 billion in bailouts.
- April 25 – The worlds smallest mobile phone, the Motorola MicroTAC Personal Cellular Telephone, is introduced.
- May 1 – Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World opens its doors to the public.
- May 2 – Hungary removes 150 miles of barbed wire fencing at its Austrian border, marking the first crack in the Iron Curtain.
- May 12 – In San Bernadino, California, a Southern Pacific Railroad freight train crashes on Duffy Street. Just thirteen days later, a pipeline explodes at the same section of the same street.
- June 4 – The Tiananmen Square massacre.
- June 12 – The Corcoran Gallery of Art pulls Robert Mapplethorpe’s gay photography exhibit.
- June 21 – 250 people are arrested by British police for celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge.
- June 23 – The 1989 Batman film hits theaters and becomes the highest grossing film based on a DC comic book until 2008′s The Dark Knight. (Yes, we LOVE Batman flicks).
- July 5 – Seinfeld premieres.
- July 14 – 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.
- July 19 – United Airlines Flight 232 crashes in Iowa. 112 people are killed, 184 survive.
- July 26 – Cornell student Robert Tappan Morris Jr. is indicted for releasing a computer virus, the first such indictment under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
- July 31 – Nintendo launches GameBoy in North America.
- August 14 – Sega Genesis launches in North America.
- August 16-17 – Woodstock ’89 festival.
- August 20 – Lyle and Erik Menendez shoot their wealthy parents in the family home, killing them.
- August 24 – Famous, record-setting baseball player Pete Rose accepts a lifetime ban from baseball due to allegations of illegal gambling. He is therefore banned from becoming inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- September 5 – President George H. W. Bush holds up a bag of cocaine that was purchased in Lafayette Park (across the street) during his first televised speech to the country.
- September 6 – The South African general election, which is the last vote under apartheid, favors the National Party.
- September 21 – Hurricane Hugo hits South Carolina and inflicts $7 billion in damages.
- October 13 – On Friday the 13th, the Dow Jones plunges in a mini-crash of the stock market.
- October 17 – A 7.1 earthquake, strikes the California’s Bay Area and leaves 67 dead.
- November 7 – Douglas Wilder of Virginia becomes the first elected African American governor in U.S. history and David Dinkins becomes the first African American mayor of New York City.
- November 9 – (Cold War) East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, and begins letting citizens travel freely to West Germany, and the next day, celebratory Germans start tearing the wall down.
- December 17 – The Simpsons premieres on FOX.
80s Timeline – Summary
Some of it was good (hello comic book movies!) and some of it was bad (Tienneman Square). Like most years, 1989 had its ups and downs. With the 80s timeline, we can learn from history and continue to make the world a totally better place.
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 1989.