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INFO VINE * 50 Historic Events of the 1980s *

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INFO VINE *  50 Historic Events of the 1980s * Empty INFO VINE * 50 Historic Events of the 1980s *

Post by Paul Sat 27 Jan 2024, 7:25 am

50 Historic Events of the 1980s

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[Photo Courtesy: Daily Life and Popular Culture in the 1980s/ Reading Through History / YouTube ]
50 Historic Events of the 1980s
Jaw-Dropping Events form the 1980s
Fun Facts about the 1980s
Interesting Details about the 1980s
Events in the 80s you'll be glad you Knew About
Details in the 1980s everyone should Know
Don't call yourself a History buff unless you know about these Events in the 19802
The 1980 Events most Don't want you to Know
You won't learn about these 1980 Events in School
Impress you friends with these 1980s Trivia Facts

Like many decades before it, the 1980s had lots of ups and downs. Perhaps one of the most action-packed decades, the 1980s have some memorable moments. We know it is hard to keep track of what happened when, so scroll through this gallery and take a trip into the past and rediscover some of these amazing facts. 

Royal Wedding

Seemingly everyone in the world is obsessed with English Royalty. As it happens, this has not changed over the years. As of recent, it was the marriage of Prince Harry to Actress Meghan Markle that captivated the world's attention. But before that, in the 1980s, there was another royal wedding that took the world by storm. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Prince Charles and Princess Diana Wedding / AP Archive ]

On July 29th, 1981, Britain Prince Charles was wed to Lady Diana Spencer. It was a highly publicized event that took the nation by storm. Unfortunately, that publicity is also ultimately what cost Princess Diana her life when she was killed in a fatal automobile crash fleeing from paparazzi.  

Cuban Exodus

Under the rule of communist dictator Fidel Castro, the conditions of Cuba significantly degraded. With corruption at an all-time high and the economy in a steep decline, the people were looking for a way out. One of those ways out was across the ocean, to the United States. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Cuban Refugee Camp / ]

Specifically, the state of Florida represented the promised land for Cuban refugees. They were desperate to reach U.S. shores and set sail in dangerously ill-equipped rafts trying to navigate the unpredictable ocean. Over 1700 boats attempted the journey and 27 immigrants were killed attempting the voyage. 

Johnny Mack

Known for his stellar tennis game, explosive temper, and terrible attitude, “the Bad Boy of Tennis'' John McEnroe was one of the most polarizing sports figures in the 1980s. That’s why in July of 1980, the nation was captivated by his Wimbledon Match with Bjorn Borg. Because Burg was so calm and McEnroe so hot-tempered, it was quickly referred to as “Fire Vs. Ice."

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[Photo Courtesy: Bjorn vs McEnroe / ]

In what was considered one of the greatest tennis matches ever played, Borg emerged victorious after a hard-fought battle. Borg would go on to win his fifth straight Wimbledon championship after that match which became an instant sports classic. 


In October of 1980, a brand-new video arcade game would emerge, one that revolutionized gaming as we knew it. When Pac-man was introduced it took the world by storm. The tiny, white dot eating Pac-man brought immeasurable joy to players who attempted to navigate his maze, eat all the dots, and avoid the wrath of the ghosts. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Pac-Man / Pixabay]

The original name of the game was “Puck-Man'' as the Japanese word for ‘chomp'' is “paku.” The game was so popular that when Namco released it, they sold over 100,00 arcade units in just 15 months. Pac went from chewing on tiny white dots to chewing on millions in no time. 

Death of a Legend

The 1980s gave us a lot of great innovations, but it also took from us as well. One of those things that we lost was filmed singer-songwriter and Beatles legend John Lennon. Lennon was a gentle soul, who sang of kindness and love eloquently and beautifully, which resonated with people. That is what makes the circumstances of his death so appalling.

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[Photo Courtesy: John Lennon /]

John Lennon was murdered at 40 years old. Lennon was shot multiple times in the chest. The gunman was a man by the name of Mark David Chapman. This senseless murder of an iconic musician sent shockwaves through the world. 

Hostage Crisis

In 1979, in Tehran, Iran, a terrifying situation unfolded. Iranian students swarmed the United States embassy in Tehran and took it over. They demanded the extradition of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi back to the country, and in order to secure their demands, they took 52 Americans hostage. 

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[Photo Courtesy: What Was the Iran Hostage Crisis? / History / YouTube]

This event would later be recorded in history as “The Iran Hostage Crisis.” It was not a short ordeal; in fact, the hostage situation lasted a staggering 444 days. Thankfully, the event did not escalate, and no Americans were killed. The hostages were released on January 20, 1981.

Attempted Assassination 

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot in a failed attempt to kill him. The President took a shot to the left side of his body as he was leaving the Hilton Hotel in Washington. The Secret Service responded quickly, pulling the president to safety, and rushing him to the hospital. 

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[Photo Courtesy: President Ronald Reagan / Picryl]

The President was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he underwent surgery to remove the bullet. Thankfully, Reagan survived and was able to make a full recovery. John Hinckley, the man who shot Regan, was found not guilty at his trial due to reasons of insanity. 

Farewell Bob Marley

One of the more notable Musicians of the 1980s was singer Bob Marley. Marley rose to fame after the 1970’s antiwar movement. He was a free spirit, a peace-loving, soul-singing icon. He was beloved by the people and traveled the country spreading his brand of peace, love, and music. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Bob Marley / ]

Unfortunately, 1980 struck again and Bob Marley passed away. The brilliant musician succumbed to a four-year battle with skin cancer, which began on his toe and spread throughout the rest of his body ending his life far too early at 36 years old. 


In the 1960s, there were few musical duos more popular than Simon and Garfunkel. They were permanent fixtures on the radio waves all across America. Their most popular hit “Mr. Robinson'' is still one of the most globally recognized songs today. Their popularity rarely waned throughout history.

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[Photo Courtesy: Simon and Garfunkel 1982 / ]

It is, therefore, no surprise that in September of 1981, over 500,000 fans attended their reunion concert after not performing together for nearly a decade. The concert was free and took place in New York’s Grand Central Park, and it was the largest crowd to ever watch a concert in that venue. 

The Eruption of Mount St. Helens

There are few more dazzling natural disasters than the eruption of a Volcano. While they are an awesome display of the power of mother nature, they are also dangerous. With molten hot lava and miles of ash, they can wreak havoc on all parts of civilization within its reach.

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[Photo Courtesy: Image by WikiImages from Pixabay ]

In May of 1980, terror struck the heart of Washington state. A long-dormant volcano, Mount St. Helens, erupted. The ensuing eruption triggered an earthquake, blowing 1,000 feet off the top of the volcano, leaving a massive crater, and claiming the lives of 57 people.

A Step into the Future

Prior to 1981, there had never been a woman appointed as a supreme court justice. In fact, in 1981 there were not many women in power anywhere. The male patriarchy still dominated society, and women were still largely demeaned, being denied the same types of jobs and pay rates, as the men, despite being equally or even more qualified than their male counterparts.

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[Photo Courtesy: Sandra Day O’Connor /]

On September 21st, 1989, a small shift within that trend began to emerge. Women were gaining more respect in the realms of powerful position holding, particularly in the government. This was evidenced by the appointment of Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female judge ever appointed to the nation's highest court, the Supreme Court. 

Personal Technology

In the early 1980s, computers began to be a more mainstream tool, particularly in the business setting. The advancement of the digital age and digital information allowed companies to be more efficient in utilizing these machines. In 1981 however, the age of computers took a step out of the business world and into the personal world.

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[Photo Courtesy: 5151-model / ]

The 5151-model home computer, manufactured by IBM, was released as the first personal computer model in the country. The computer cost a staggering $1,565 and was available at Sears and ComputerLand stores. In addition to the hefty price tag, it also weighed a mammoth 25 pounds! 

Re-emergence of the Klan

Racial inequality and unrest have been an unfortunate theme throughout the history of the United States. Still today, with the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah McClain, the distrust between civilians and police, and the imbalance between the black and the white, and the rich and poor are hot button topics. 

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[Photo Courtesy: 1980 Racism / ]

While a strong argument can be made that racism is still alive in the country today, it is a verifiable fact that it existed in 1982. In 1982 the shooting of Nevell Johnson Jr, a black man, by Luis Alvarez, a white cop, sparked violent protests and riots. In true “no justice fashion” Alvarez was later acquitted on manslaughter charges. 

John Belushi

One of the most well-known comedy actors in the 1980’s was actor and comedian John Belushi. With “Animal House’ ‘being one of the most popular movies in the decade, his stick was at an all-time high. He was a regular on comedy movies with legends like Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray and was a universal name in entertainment. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Nunez and Belushi / ]

Unfortunately, Murray also liked to party. In the end, his love for fun nights and drugs cost him his life. On March 9, 1982, John Belushi died of a drug overdose at the very young age of just 33 years old. 

Magic Cube

Toys that took the world by storm were rarities in history. Most of the most popular toys in history were the likes of board games, action figures, and model planes, trains, and automobiles. In 1970, professor Erno Rubik hit the ground running with his newest invention “The magic cube.”

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[Photo Courtesy: Rubik's Cube / ]

The toy took the world by storm and skyrocketed in popularity. The name was eventually changed to the Rubik's cube. Attempting to solve the puzzle with speed was a trend of the highest importance, in fact, it was so popular that in 1982 the world's first “International Rubik's Cube Championship” took place.  

Disney Expansion

Disney has been a global entertainment powerhouse for decades. From the original Mickey Mouse to a host of other cartoons, characters, and amusement parks, they are an industry giant. The original Disneyland in Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations to this day.

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[Photo Courtesy: Disney Epcot /]

However, as most major companies do, the opening of Disneyland wasn’t enough. Seeking expansion, Disney opened a second theme park in Florida called Epcot Center in 1982. The most iconic attraction was a giant spherical spaceship ride. It was also catered more towards adults with the serving of beer and wine from all over the world. 

End of the Tape Recorder

Every piece of technology eventually becomes outdated. As humanity evolves, so too does the technology we possess. This has been evidenced throughout history, from automobiles to computers and even our music devices. As great as something is in its day, there will inevitably always be something better that replaces it.

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[Photo Courtesy: Panasonic / ]

In the case of personal music devices, this was especially true in the 1980s. Originally, music was played through 8-tracks. As time moved on, the tape-deck player became the norm that was the rage for many years, especially prominent in the age of the boombox. The CD player soon stepped in and took it all over, with Billy Joel’s “52nd Street'' album becoming the first commercial Compact Disc ever sold in 1982. 

Space Communications

In the mid-’70s through the ’80s, the world was particularly interested in space exploration. A lot of national pressure and attention was on being the first ones to develop space technology. The American entity in charge of this technological development was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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[Photo Courtesy: STS-7 / US National Archives ]

In June of 1983, Nasa sent a 5-member team of astronauts (an unusual number) to space aboard the STS-7. The purpose of the crew's mission was to deploy communications satellites into orbit. The mission was successful. 

National Tragedy

There are few more things more respected and revered in American culture than the United States Armed Forces. The brave men and women who put on that uniform to put themselves in harm's way to protect our freedom on a daily basis are worthy of every ounce of respect bestowed on, and more. When something happens to our troops, the whole nation takes time to mourn.

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[Photo Courtesy: The bombed remains of the U.S. Marine barracks / Public Domain Archive]

On October 23, 1983, such a tragedy occurred. A terrorist driving a truck full of explosives, drove into a U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, detonating the explosives and killing 241 members of the U.S. Armed Forces. At the time, it was the deadliest attack against the United States Marine Corps since Iwo Jima.  

Media Icons

Media sensations seemingly pop up overnight these days. In the 1980s however, it was a genuine rarity. The exciting thing about it is that the things that took the world by storm were some of the most unusual suspects. in 1977, an art student created a series of dolls that were originally called “Little People."

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[Photo Courtesy: The Cabbage Patch Kids /]

In the early 1980s, “Little People'' evolved into “The Cabbage Patch Kids,” and they had become insanely popular. They hit the shelves as dolls and the whole world went absolutely insane over them. The dolls were so popular that parents were literally fighting each other to get their hands on them at local stores for their kids. 

Miracle on Ice

Perhaps the most iconic event of the 1980s was the “Miracle on Ice.” In the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, the US Men's Olympic team, which allowed no Professionals on its roster, coached by Herb Brooks, suddenly found itself competing for a medal against a powerhouse squad from the Soviet Union. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Boat Races / ]

The Soviet Union was a four-time defending championship gold medalist team. The U.S. was a collection of college kids. Nobody gave them the slightest chance. An exhibition game earlier had seen the U.S. squad get thoroughly dismantled by the Soviets. In a stunning display of heart and skill, the U.S. team defeated the Soviets and went on to win the Gold Medal in a literal Miracle on the ice. 

Fonda Phenomena 

With in-home workouts becoming more desirable, lots of different media personalities emerged with video instructions on their workouts. Richard Simmons was probably one of the most recognizable male workout figures during the craze, but there were seemingly new popular workouts popping up from many different sources.

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[Photo Courtesy: Jane Fonda / ]

In terms of female workout videos in the 1980s, there is really only one name to look at. In 1982, Jane Fonda released her own workout video, and it was an immediate success. Very quickly she became a fitness guru and the icon for women’s fitness across the globe. 

Rivalry Renewed

In order to understand the NBA basketball culture in the 1980s, you only had to focus mostly on two teams; The Los Angeles Lakers and The Boston Celtics. Going a little deeper there was one player from each team who stood at the center of the raucous rivalry; Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics and  Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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[Photo Courtesy: TheNBAHistorian / YouTube]

In June of 1984, these two players put on a dazzling display, leading to a pivotal game 7 matchup to decide who would be crowned the champions. The Celtics eventually emerged victoriously, but many saw it as just another chapter in the Bird-Magic rivalry that stretched all the way back to their college years. 

Hee-Hee Man

You would be hard-pressed to find a more iconic popstar, or musician even, in the 1980s than Michael Jackson. Emerging from the childhood group “The Jackson 5” MJ had launched a solo career that had propelled him into stardom. With hits like “Thriller” and “Billie Jean”, he had become a fixture on the top of the pop charts.

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[Photo Courtesy: Michael Jackson / ]

On his July 1984: Victory Tour, Michael Jackson appeared on stage with a wardrobe choice that would become iconic. A single white glove adorned with flashing lights. The choice sparked emulations and trends across the globe. In 2010 the glove itself sold for $190,000 at auction. 


Generally speaking, McDonald's is a symbol of America. It is a place that is iconic for its burgers and fries, and its playgrounds and happy meals for children. However, the friendly and beloved franchise was the setting for one of the more tragic events in American history.

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[Photo Courtesy: Michael Jackson ' ]

On July 18, 1984, a tragedy occurred. At a San Ysidro McDonalds in the state of California, a 41-year-old male named James Oliver Huberty walked into the restaurant and opened fire on the patrons. He was responsible for the deaths of 21 people before a police sniper ended Hubertus' reign of terror and shot him in the chest. To this day the motives behind the senseless attack are unclear.

Breaking Ground

While women were still largely marginalized in the 1980s, it was the beginning of a shift in precedent, empowering the female population. At a time when the first female Supreme Court Justice was appointed, it was pivotal to keep the momentum moving forward. The 1980s saw more than just one woman put in a position of government leadership.

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[Photo Courtesy: Geraldine Ferraro /

In 1984, Democratic candidate Geraldine Ferraro was placed on her party's presidential ticket as the Vice-Presidential Nominee next to Walter Mondale. Ferraro became the first-ever woman to achieve such a feat, although they inevitably lost the election. On the momentous occasion, Ferraro said “It’s not just a statement, it's a bond between women all over America. 

MTV Firsts

When MTV first debuted, it was non-stop music videos. It was the first television station devoted almost entirely to music. It gave a major leg up to the entertainment industry, making hit songs accessible to people sitting in their homes on a device other than the radio (or stereo).

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[Photo Courtesy: MTV Music Awards / ]

In 1984, MTV took it a step further by holding their first-ever “MTV Music Awards.” Among the performers was Madonna, who performed “Like a Virgin'' wearing a wedding dress. Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, and Cyndi Lauper all also took home awards, respectively.

Bhopal Incident

For as much joy as the 1980s brought us, it also took. One of the worst disasters in human history occurred on December 2nd in 1984. The event occurred in Bhopal, India, at the Union Carbide Pesticide Plant. The tragedy would live on in history to be known as “The Bhopal Incident.”

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[Photo Courtesy: Bhopal Incident / ]

Due to plant malfunction, the plant released a large number of toxic chemicals which formed into poison gasses and struck the surrounding populations. In what was considered “the world’s worst industrial accident” The Bhopal Incident took the lives of over 15,000 innocent people. 

Heart of a Champion

Few football franchises have ever been as successful in a given decade as were the San Francisco 49ers. The franchise was led by now Hall Of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. Montana was a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate, and he was easily one of the most recognizable faces. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Joe Montana / ]

Joe was notorious for performing heroics under pressure. He set records in nearly every category of the game. In the 1985 Super Bowl against the Miami Dolphins, Montana broke several Super Bowl records, including most passing yardage in a Superbowl at 331 passing yards (Though this has since been broken). Between 1982 through 1990 Montana’s 49ers won 4 Super Bowl Championships.

Coming Together

During the 1980s one of the most notable global events was a deadly famine that struck the continent of Africa. Countries like Ethiopia were hit especially hard, experiencing starvation conditions on a massive scale. The world came together and decided that they were not going to allow their fellow humans to starve and did something about it. 

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[Photo Courtesy: African Famine Camp / ]

In January of 1985, musicians joined the fight. A total of 45 musicians banded together and made a single record, selling it and using the proceeds to help fight the famine and save the lives of the African people. The album was called “We are the World” and it sold over 20 million copies featuring the likes of Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, and Michael Jackson. 

The Odd Couple

There has been no shortage of odd collaborations in the realm of sports entertainment over the years. The 1980s offered their fair share of dynamic duos teaming up in odd fashion and crossing over into each other's worlds. One of those pairings was iconic tough-guy Alpha males Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

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[Photo Courtesy: Hulk Hogan / ]

In the mid-1980s, Mr. T and the Hulkster began their tandem work. Mr. T first went on to aid Hogan in the debut of WrestleMania in 1985. From there, Hogan took to the silver screen, portraying “Thunder lips” in Rocky III, a film in which Mr. T played antagonist Clubber Lang. The pair even went on to host an episode of Saturday night live together! 

Pop Goddess

The unquestionable Queen of pop in the 1980s was Madonna. The ageless beauty captivated audiences on the radio, on television sets, and music stages across the globe. One of her most iconic performances in the 1980s came in 1984 at the MTV Music Awards where she performed “Like a Virgin” in a wedding dress. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Madonna Wedding Dress / ]

“Like a Virgin” was her first-ever billboard top 100 hit, a list she grew familiar with over the years. On her “Like a Virgin” tour in 1985, she had a pretty impressive opening act, rap group “The Beastie Boys” served in the capacity making it a star-studded (and very popular) concert.  


The Titanic was one of the biggest catastrophes of its era. The sinking of the multimillion-dollar luxury vessel was a subject that inspired memoirs, news coverage, and movies. The story is still captivating to this day (Almost as captivating as the love story of Jack and Rose).

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[Photo Courtesy: Titanic from the Side / ]

On September 2 of 1985, the lost ship was finally found. After sinking in 1912, the ship was thought to be lost forever, as no wreckage could be found. Due to technological advancements, a team of U.S. and French researchers discovered its remains 12,000 feet on the bottom of the ocean just south of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean. 


One of the more notable national issues during the 1980s was that of Russia and U.S. relations. Joseph McCarthy helped drum up the “red scare” which spread panic to the American people that the Russians had infiltrated the country and were spreading their communist ideals. This caused a great deal of trouble within the U.S. and sparked international pressure.

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[Photo Courtesy: Red Scare by Peter Hegland / Haiku Deck]

The resulting pressure deteriorated the U.S. and Russia relations bringing us to the brink of a Cold War with Russia. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, and President Ronald Reagan met with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit in 1985 and ended the conflict without incident.  

The Challenger

The race to outer space discovery was a hot topic during the 1980s. The Russians had made great advancements in space-age technology and advancement, while the U.S. was struggling to catch up. The United States had great optimism in a new space shuttle it was set to launch called “The Challenger.”

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[Photo Courtesy: The Challenger / Picryl]

On January 28, 1986, the Challenger launched for space. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, tragedy struck. The Shuttle exploded, due to a combination of cold weather and design flaws, killing all 7 crew members inside. After that incident, NASA made over 100 design changes to make future shuttles safer. 

OG “Shooter McGavin”

While many modern-day golf fans would likely call Tiger Woods the greatest golfer, those who were around to watch Jack Nicklaus play would most certainly disagree. His golf game was pure and simple and will go down as one of the most accurate strikers of the golf ball in the history of the sport.

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[Photo Courtesy: Jack Nicklaus / ]

Nicklaus put his talents on display once again on April 13, 1986. On that day he bested all of his opponents en route to capturing his sixth Masters Championship title. At the time of that victory, he was 46 years old, becoming the second-oldest player ever to win the event. 


One of the most eerily haunting events of the 1980s was Chernobyl. The event was a catastrophe, shrouded in mystery, and while plausible explanation was given, there was still so much more beneath the surface that has never been examined. The lives of 32 people were lost forever, while the lives of millions more were drastically affected.

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[Photo Courtesy: Chernobyl Power Plant / ]

A Nuclear Power Plant in a small town in Ukraine called Chernobyl was subject to several explosions which led to a plant meltdown. The disaster spilled radiation out into the town, making it inhabitable. The radiation levels produced by the explosion were 400 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was. 

Statue Celebration

1986 marked a rather unique year for the United States of America. The Statue of Liberty had been given to the U.S. as a gift from France. She had loomed large in the New York Harbor ever since, overlooking Ellis Island, an immigration processing center. For many new immigrants, she was the first awe-inspiring sight they saw upon entering the country. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Statue of Liberty / ]

In 1986, it marked the 100th year that Lady Liberty had stood guard in our nation's waters. The history and the people she watched over for the last 100 years had changed the country and built it into a great nation, some would say, the greatest in the world.  

New Term, Bad Origin

The term “going postal” is a term quite regularly used to describe people going mental. We use it quite freely in today's society, but very few people stop and think about where it may have come from. While it has become a normal phrase, it’s chilling origin is anything but normal. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Post Office in Washington / ]

The year was 1986, on an August morning, in a town called Edmond in Oklahoma, a mailman who had just been fired from his job walked into the Post Office and opened fire. He took 14 lives before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. This is the event that the term “Going Postal” originates from. 

The One That Got Away

There are very few sports franchises that endured a string of bad luck quite like the Boston Red Sox. Ever since the 1918 season, after which they traded Babe Ruth, perhaps the greatest player ever in the game, the Red Sox had not captured a World Series. In 1986, it looked like they were close to ending that streak, or as it was known “The Curse of the Bambino."

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[Photo Courtesy: The Curse of the Bambino / ]

The Red Sox were up 3 games to 1 in the series, with a chance to close it out. A routine ground ball was hit to first baseman Bill Buckner. Buckner misplayed the ball, costing the Red Sox a game that they should have one. The opposing team went on to win the next two games, continuing the curse for the Red Sox. 

Halley's Comet

The universe is a mysterious thing. Lying awake at night and gazing up into the stars is a wondrous thing and your mind cannot help but wander to all the endless possibilities. Sometimes, you are lucky to live through a once in a lifetime event. For those who were alive in 1986, that is precisely what happened. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Halley's Comet / ]

In October of 1986, “Halley's Comet” passed earth and was visible to the naked eye, an event that only happens every 76 years. Unfortunately, the event in 1986 was only just barely visible, so it didn’t quite live up to the hype, but still, for those who won't make it another 76 years, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Black Monday

Most people are familiar with “Black Friday'' as it is an annual shopping event held the day after Thanksgiving. The day is filled with low prices on a limited number of desirable items to encourage early Christmas shopping or a holiday splurge on oneself. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Black Monday / ]

However, for those alive in the late ’80s, Black Monday was a different animal. On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones suffered a historic drop, nearly collapsing the stock market, almost plunging us into another great depression. The Dow Jones lost 22% of its value in 1 day, however, thankfully, the market did recover. 

Bold Strategy, Cotton

The 1988 Olympics were held in South Korea. After wowing the crowds in the 1984 event in Los Angeles, Greg Louganis, an Olympic diver for team USA was determined to push the boundaries even further. He was renowned for his dazzling dives, so all of America was watching. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Greg Louganis / ]

He stepped up on the diving board, took a deep breath, and began his complicated dive. And then he fell awkwardly and hit his head on the diving board in what was dubbed “The Thud Heard round the world.” He would eventually recover and win the gold medal in the event, so maybe he was playing for sympathy points from the judges. Whatever the strategy, it worked. 

Handheld Gold

Nintendo was one of the most dominant game enterprises in the 1970s through the 1990s. Every single thing that they put out turned to gold. Tetris was insanely popular, Donkey Kong and Mario were performing at a high level in the market, and it seemed like they could’ve just relaxed and let the money pile in, but that is not how Nintendo operated. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Gameboy / pixabay]

On April 21, 1989, Nintendo launched its first model of the handheld “Gameboy” in Japan. It quickly revolutionized the game industry. It took mere weeks to sell its initial 300,000-unit batch. In its lifetime the device sold over 118 million units. 

AIDS Crisis

One of the most notable epidemics the world medical community battled in the 1980s was that of AIDS. AIDS was a disease that attacked the body's white blood cells, eventually killing them. Initially, it was believed that the disease could only be transmitted through homosexual intercourse, but that was disproven soon after. 

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[Photo Courtesy: AIDS /]

Steve Sternberg and Michael Schwarz, a photojournalist and a reporter, spent time with a man named Tom Fox in 1989 and chronicled the man's battle with AIDS. Their work helped to spread the truths and dangers of the disease, helping spread awareness and organizations with research to help combat the disease and its spread. 

Quake Ball

California is well-known for its earthquakes. However, most of them are minimal tremors in the earth that are mostly inconsequential. That wasn't always the case, however. In the early days of San Francisco for example, an earthquake caused a fire that nearly burned the entire city down. 

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[Photo Courtesy: San Fransisco Earthquake / ]

On October 17, 1989, one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the state occurred. The quake hit near San Francisco and was a 6.0 magnitude. It occurred during game three of the 1989 World series. The quake claimed 67 lives and did 10 billion dollars worth of damage.

Rise of Crack

In the 1980s, a deadly wave hit the U.S. It came in the form of drugs. Specifically, a new drug that had hit the streets was known as Crack Cocaine. Crack cocaine was a new, cheaper, more potent form of cocaine, and it spread through urban cities like wildfire. This sparked increases in overdoses and crime. 

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[Photo Courtesy: Crack Cocaine / ]

In 1989, a report published in the New York Times suggested that Crack Cocaine had tripled the number of Cocaine users in the state since its arrival in mass quantities in 1986. It had contributed to a recent spike in homicide rate, proving to be a dangerous “crack” in America’s foundation.

Saintly Spirit

Throughout life, we rarely get a chance to encounter a person who is holy pure in spirit. That person in the 1980s was Mother Theresa. Mother Theresa worked tirelessly with the poor, giving those less fortunate everything she had. She had even lived in India to help those impoverished for 50 years of her life.

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[Photo Courtesy: Mother Theresa / ]

In 1989, the world nearly lost that pure spirit, and she suffered a serious heart attack. She underwent surgery and had a pacemaker implanted. That surgery extended her life. Though another heart attack would claim her life in 1997, it is hard to know how many more lives she was able to impact in those extra 8 years. 


For nearly 30 years, Germany divided itself into sections. East Germany and West Germany. They acted as separate entities, different leaders, different political structures, they were essentially different countries, divided by the massive Berlin wall. The Wall stood as a looming symbol of the decision within the country.

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[Photo Courtesy: Berlin Wall / US National Archives]

On December 22 of 1989, the wall finally came down, rejoining the nation once again, as one. The crowds celebrated and cheered as the gates opened and leaders from both sides proclaimed it as “a gate of Peace" and walked out into the open and shook hands as a symbol of peace and new beginnings.  

Eco Disaster

One of the more notable disasters of the 1980s came at the tail end, in 1989. On March 24, an Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran itself aground on the shores of Alaska. The area in which the ship was grounded was called the Prince William Sound. This was a significant ecological disaster and one that the region still has not fully recovered from.

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[Photo Courtesy: Oil Spill Clean Up / ]

The damaged tanker spilled 11 million gallons of oil, affecting more than 1300 miles of shoreline. This had devastating consequences for the wildlife in the area, changing the landscape and the environment likely forever. 

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