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<< 1989 CE | 1981-1990 CE | >>

§Of World Interest

World Population: 5,263,593,000

May 17 – The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its list of diseases.


§French Guinea

February 22 - Western Europe's 36th Ariane rocket, carrying two Japanese satellites, explodes less than two minutes after lift-off from Kourou, French Guiana.

§Central America


January 3 – Manuel Noriega, the former leader of Panama, surrenders to American forces.


December 1 – Establishing the first ground connection between the United Kingdom and the mainland of Europe since the last Ice Age, Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the English Channel seabed.


December 22 – The first constitution of the Republic of Croatia is adopted.


January 15 – Thousands storm the Stasi headquarters in Berlin in an attempt to view their government records.

October 3 – Cold War: East Germany and West Germany reunify into a single Germany.

§Great Britain

November 22 – Margaret Thatcher announces she will not contest the second ballot of the leadership election for the Conservative Party (UK).

November 27 – John Major wins the second ballot of the Conservative Party leadership election and his two rivals, Michael Heseltine and Douglas Hurd, concede defeat.

November 28 – Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; John Major succeeds her as Party Leader and is appointed Prime Minister by Queen Elizabeth II.


December 3 – Mary Robinson begins her term as the first female President of Ireland.


January 7 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to the public due to safety concerns.


November 25 – Lech Wałęsa and Stanisław Tymiński win the first round of the first presidential elections in Poland.

December 9 – Lech Wałęsa wins the 2nd round of Poland's first presidential election.


For a brief time in early 1990, Romania has a civil war in the aftermath of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, between the supporters of Nicolae Ceauşescu and the Communist regime, and those of the new regime.


December 9 – Slobodan Milošević becomes President of Serbia.



December 6 – President Hossain Mohammad Ershad of Bangladesh is forced to resign following massive protests.

§Middle East


August 6 – The United Nations Security Council orders a global trade embargo against Iraq in response to its invasion of Kuwait.

December 6 – Saddam Hussein releases the Western hostages.


October 8 – Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: In Jerusalem, Israeli police kill 17 Palestinians and wound over 100 near the Dome of the Rock mosque on the Temple Mount


August 2 – Gulf War: Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.

§Saudi Arabia

July 2 - A massive stampede in the Mina tunnel, south of Mecca, during the hajj leaves 1,426 pilgrims asphyxiated or trampled to death. The stampede seems to have been caused by a breakdown in the ventilation system amid high temperatures.

§North America


December 16 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide is elected president of Haiti, ending 3 decades of military rule.

§United States

January 18 – In Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.

January 22 – Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. is convicted of releasing the Morris worm.

March 1 – Steve Jackson Games is raided by the U.S. Secret Service, prompting the later formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

March 25 – In New York City, a fire due to arson at an illegal social club called "Happy Land" kills 87.

March 28 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush posthumously awards Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal.

April 7 – Iran Contra Affair: John Poindexter is found guilty of 5 charges for his part in the scandal; the convictions are later reversed on appeal.

June 2 – The Lower Ohio Valley tornado outbreak spawns 88 confirmed tornadoes in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, killing 12; 37 tornadoes occur in Indiana, eclipsing the previous record of 21 during the Super Outbreak of April 1974.

June 7 – Universal Studios Florida opens to the public.

September 7 - Part of a U.S. Titan rocket falls from a crane and explodes at Edwards Air Force Base, sending flames 150 feet into the air and killing at least one person.

December 11 – American mob boss John Gotti is arrested.

§U.S. Business

January 10 – Time Warner is formed from the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc.

February 27 – Exxon Valdez oil spill: Exxon and its shipping company are indicted on 5 criminal counts.

May 22 – Microsoft releases Windows 3.0.

November 12 – Tim Berners-Lee publishes a more formal proposal for the World Wide Web.

§U.S. Entertainment

August 19 – Leonard Bernstein conducts his final concert, ending with Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

October 9 – Leonard Bernstein announces his retirement from conducting; unbeknownst to anyone other than himself and his doctors, he is terminally ill.

October 14 – Leonard Bernstein dies of a heart attack at his home in New York City. He is 72 years old.

§U.S. Industry

December 25 – The first successful trial run of the system that would become the World Wide Web is carried out.

§U.S. Law

January 17 - The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that sales of religious literature were subject to taxation.

§U.S. Politics

January 13 – Douglas Wilder becomes the first elected African American governor as he takes office in Richmond, Virginia.

January 18 – Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.

June 1 – Cold War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign a treaty to end chemical weapon production and begin destroying their respective stocks.

June 26 – U.S. President Bush breaks his 1988 'no new taxes' campaign pledge, accepting tax revenue increases as a necessity to reduce the budget deficit. This will greatly decrease his popularity in subsequent years.

July 26 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act, designed to protect disabled Americans from discrimination.

September 11 – Gulf War: President George H. W. Bush delivers a nationally televised speech in which he threatens the use of force to remove Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait.

§U.S. Religion

January - In New York, Auxiliary Bishop Austin Vaughn declared that New York Governor Mario Cuomo, a Catholic, was in "serious risk of going to hell" because he believed that abortion was a matter of individual women's conscience.

March 1 - Until March 1990, The Watchtower and its companion Awake! were available for a small charge that varied over time and in different countries. For example, in the United States, the suggested donation per issue was $0.05 in 1950, gradually increasing to $0.25 in 1989. On January 17, 1990, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that sales of religious literature were subject to taxation, which introduced ambiguity into the formerly tax-free practice of suggesting a specific amount in exchange for the magazines. The Watch Tower Society filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief arguing that the perceived sale of religious literature should be exempt from taxation. From March 1, the journals were made available at no cost, on a freewill donation basis in the United States, with the stated purpose of simplifying their Bible educational work and distinguishing themselves from those who commercialize religion. The article "Use Our Literature Wisely", which appeared in the May 1990 issue of Our Kingdom Ministry, stated that "there are growing pressures against all religious elements" and went on to say that their main concern was to move ahead in the worldwide preaching work, "without hindrance."



January 20 – Soviet troops occupied Baku, Azerbaijan, under the state of emergency decree issued by Gorbachev and killed over 130 and wounded over 700 protesters for national independence.


After a long lapse Andrei Chikatilo resumed killing, murdering seven boys and two women between January and November of 1990. He was finally caught when trying to approach young children whilst under police surveillance.

§South America


July 28 – Alberto Fujimori becomes president of Peru.

§South Pacific


Channel 7–10 networks go into receivership in Australia.

Homosexual acts between consenting adults are decriminalized in Queensland.

§Marshall Islands

December 22 – The Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia become independent, after the termination of their trusteeship.

§New Zealand

November 13 - Thirteen people were shot dead by David Gray when he went on a shooting spree in Aramoana. Two children, who were shot, survived. Four of the people who died were young children. One police sergeant was also shot dead.


April 20 – STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.

April 24 – The Space Shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.


  • Jhangvi, co-founder of the militant SSP in Pakistan was killed in an attack by Shia militants
  • April 15 - Greta Garbo, actress, aged 84


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