The People History Home

1980 Major News Events in History

  1. US defeats Soviet Union in ice hockey in what was labeled the "Miracle on Ice"
  2. Mount St. Helens Eruption on May 18th in Washington killing 57.
  3. The Iran-Iraq war begins in September of 1980
  4. CNN (Cable News Network) began broadcasting on June 1st.
  5. 3M begins sales of it's latest product Post-It Notes invented by Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver.
  6. Former Beatle John Lennon is shot to death
  7. Severe Summer Heat Wave in Southern US Causes 1,117 deaths in 20 States
  8. US Passes "Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act" to tax high profits by oil companies
  9. Fire Destroys the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas
  10. The Killer Clown ( John Wayne Gacy Jr ) sentenced to death for the murder of 33 boys and young men.

More Detailed Information on each Event and those not included can be found below

What Happened in 1980 Major Events, Popular Culture, Prices, Born This Year

What happened in 1980 Major News Stories include John Lennon shot and killed in New York, Post-It Notes go on sale, Liberty City, Miami Rioting, MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas Destroyed with Fire, Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act passed. As the continued miniaturization continues new technology allows for new consumer products that could never have existed to appear including Domestic Camcorders and Fax Machines , One other notable is the release of the Pac-Man arcade game. Politics enters the Olympic games with the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics and War breaks out between Iraq and Iran. This was also a bad year for natural disasters including Mount St. Helens eruption on 27th March and a major heat wave in the US. Also the world tunes in to the answer of Who Shot JR? on the popular soap Dallas.

Rubik's Cube Debuts

The Rubik’s Cube puzzle toy debuts internationally during January at a toy fair in London. The toy had been created by Erno Rubik in the 1970s and was first patented as the “Magic Cube” in Hungary in 1975. The colorful puzzle was soon picked up by Ideal Toys to develop the toy for a global market. After its introduction in early 1980, the Rubik’s Cube hit toy stores in May of that year. By the following year it was a huge success causing a worldwide craze. Competitions for who could solve the puzzle the fastest emerged and it still remains popular today.

US defeats Soviet Union in ice hockey in what was labeled the "Miracle on Ice"

More Information for the "Miracle on Ice."

The United States Olympic ice hockey team makes history at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics on February 22nd in what was later called the “Miracle on Ice.” The U.S. Team, composed of mostly college-level players, defeated the four-time gold medal winning team from the Soviet Union in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The game was the semi-final and would determine who would go on to compete for the gold. the Soviet team had not lost a single Olympic hockey game since 1968 and were the heavy favorites, but the Americans amazingly beat them with a score of 4-3 and continued on to the final match, winning again against Finland. This was the second time that the United States had won the gold medal in Olympic hockey.

Mount St. Helens erupts

More Information for Mount St. Helens Eruption on May 18th in Washington killing 57..

1. A series of small earthquakes near Mount St. Helens in Washington state begin in March of 1980.

2. Earthquakes throughout the month increased the volcanic activity, and near the end of the month, the volcano had its first eruption in over one hundred years as a series of steam explosions blew a crater into the summit, releasing ash.

3. The volcano remained active through most of April but then ceased activity for a number of days.

4. Volcanic activity began again in May.

5. By the middle of May on May 18 the pressure had built and Mount St. Helens experienced a huge eruption that created avalanches, explosions, large ash clouds, mudslides, and massive damage to the surrounding area.

6. A total of 57 people were killed as a result of the volcanic blast.

Start of Iran -- Iraq War.

More Information for the Iran-Iraq War.

The Iran-Iraq war begins in September of 1980 after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered his forces to invade Western Iran. Fighting during the war continued between the two nations until 1988 when they signed a cease-fire. A formal peace agreement to officially end the war was not signed until August of 1990. It was estimated that over one million people, military members and civilians, lost their lives as a result of the conflict

Cost of Living 1980 - How Much things cost

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 13.58%

Year End Close Dow Jones 963

Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 21.50%

Average Cost of new house $68,700

Median Price Of and Existing Home - $62,200 -

Average Income per year $19,500.00

Average Monthly Rent $300.00

Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.19

Average cost new car $7,200.00

Ground Beef Lb $1.39

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head $4.77

LCD Pendant Watch $34.95

Pontiac Firebird $5,992.00

Men's Casual Shirt $14.00

Magnavox VHS Recorder $699.00

VHS Home Movie Camera $1,599.00

Tomi Cosmic Combat Electronic Game $28.99

Mens 3 Piece Suit $89.95

From our 1980 US Cars Page

1980 Ford F150 Truck Ford F150 Truck
Price: From $7,595
EPA : 19 MPG
Description This offers a great example of auto manufacturer changing engines and designs to meet the fuel efficiency Americans were looking for following the fuel crisis with the new F150 providing 19 MPG EPA with a 4.9L 300 CID six cylinder engine.

CNN Launches

CNN (Cable News Network) began broadcasting on June 1st. The American-based network was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and founded by Ted Turner. It was the first 24-hour news network available to cable subscribers in the United States and Canada and has since become available worldwide. The network originally struggled to find success but by the mid- 1980s it had gained more influence and became well known for its live coverage of events as they happened, often being the first to broadcast during big news events.

The Staggers Act

More Information and Timeline for the Staggers Act

The Staggers Act of 1980 comes into effect in October of 1980. The Act allowed for the deregulation of the United States Rail Industry which had remained largely untouched since the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act that had been created with the purpose of regulating the booming rail industry and the monopolies that had been controlling the rails. The Staggers Act allowed carriers greater freedom in establishing rates as well as increasing the overall flexibility of the industry. The deregulation was thought of as necessary as the automobiles and trucking greatly overshadowed rail in the 20th century.

Post-It Notes

3M begins sales of it's latest product Post-It Notes invented by Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver.

More Information for the creation of Post-It Notes

Post-It notes are officially introduced to U.S. stores during April of 1980. The innovative product featured a square, yellow notepad that had a lightweight and sticky adhesive strip on the back of each note, making it removable. The product was created by the 3M corporation in 1974 by scientists Spencer Silver and Art Fry. Silver had created the adhesive earlier and Fry came up with the idea to use the adhesive on a note. The notes were then market tested in 1978 under the name “Press n’ Peel.” By 1980, interest in the product increased and they were officially added to shelves in stores across the country.

Former Beatle John Lennon is shot to death

More Information for John Lennon

Popular musician and former Beatles member John Lennon was shot and killed by obsessed fan Mark David Chapman outside of Lennon’s apartment in Manhattan during December of 1980 at the age of 40. Lennon, beloved by many around the world for his talent as an artist and outspoken nature as a public figure, had given an autograph to Chapman earlier in the day and was returning home from a recording studio with his wife Yoko Ono at the time of the attack. In the days following his death hundreds of fans gathered outside of his apartment in mourning.

Cencus US Population

Latest Cencus reveals US Population is 226,504,825

U.S. Severe Summer Heat Wave

Severe Summer Heat Wave in Southern US Causes 1,117 deaths in 20 States

Mini Gold Rush in Australian

Mini Gold Rush in Australian outback after gold is discovered.

Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act Passed

US Passes "Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act" to tax high profits by oil companies

The Killer Clown

The Killer Clown ( John Wayne Gacy Jr ) sentenced to death for the murder of 33 boys and young men.

Israel introduced Shekel

Israel Replaces the Pound with a new currency the Shekel

MGM Grand Hotel

Fire Destroys the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas

Italy terrorist bombing

Right wing terrorists explode a bomb at Bologna railway station, Italy killing over 70

Italy - Earthquake

6.0 earthquake strikes southern Italy causing the death of more than 3,000 people

Rioting Liberty City, Miami

Rioting Liberty City, Miami on on May 17 leaves 18 dead

Wisconsin Thunderstorm

A severe and destructive thunderstorm strikes four counties in western Wisconsin  

Hurricane Allen

Hurricane Allen hits landfall on Haiti and Jamaica

Born This Year in 1980

Martina Hingis

Born: September 30 News Events , Košice, Slovakia

Isaac Hanson

Born: November 17th, Tulsa, OK

Jessica Simpson

Born: July 10th, Abilene, TX

Macaulay Culkin

Born: August 26th, New York, NY

Kim Kardashian

Born: October 21st, Los Angeles, CA

Matthew Gray Gubler

Born: March 9th, Las Vegas, NV

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Born: January 16th, New York, NY

1980 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Part of our Collection of Clothing From The 1980's Fashion

Women's Fashion Clothing Examples From this Year

Part of our Collection of Toys From this Year

1980 Toys

Popular Culture 1980

Millions of viewers tune into the TV soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J.R. Ewing.

John Lennon is shot outside his New York apartment

The Rubik's Cube goes on Sale From Ideal Toy Corp ( invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik

Popular Films

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Superman II

Nine to Five

Raging Bull

Coal Miner's Daughter

Popular Music



Adam and the Ants

Black Sabbath

Blondie with " Call Me "

David Bowie

The Cars

Eric Clapton

Alice Cooper

Elvis Costello

KC and The Sunshine Band

Michael Jackson

Queen with " Another One Bites the Dust "

Pink Floyd

Diana Ross " Upside Down "

Paul McCartney

Olivia Newton-John with " Magic "

Electric Light Orchestra

David Bowie

The Police

Popular TV

The Facts Of Life

General Hospital


The Dukes Of Hazzard


Alexander Kielland platform

Alexander Kielland platform capsized in the North Sea with the loss of 123

Winter Olympic Games

The Winter Olympic Games are held in Lake Placid, New York, United States

Rhodesia / Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe formerly Rhodesia gains independence

Majority black rule in Zimbabwe

Solidarity Trade Union

Solidarity Trade Union Formed in Poland and shipyard workers go on strike

Iran US Hostages

Failed operation by US to free hostages in Iran

Yassar Arafat

Yassar Arafat is elected the President of the Palestinian National Council

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan Elected President of the USA

UK Iran Embassy

Terrorists seize Iran embassy and hostages in London leading to the British SAS storming embassy and releasing hostages

Japanese Cars

Japan becomes the worlds largest auto producing country

US leads boycott of Moscow Olympics

US leads boycott of Moscow Olympics in protest at Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

political refugees from Cuba

Mariel boat lift mass exodus of political refugees from Cuba to the United States


Spain and United Kingdom agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain closed since 1969.


First available Domestic Camcorders available in Japan

First Available Fax Machines in Japan

30% of US car sales are imports

In Mexico first ever natural birth in captivity of a Giant panda

Voyager 1 probe sends the first high resolution images of Saturn back to scientists and confirms the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn.

Release of Pac-Man arcade game

CNN becomes the first 24hrs News Station

Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel and Xerox introduce the DIX standard for Ethernet

3M begins sales of it's latest product Post-It Notes invented by Arthor Fry and Spencer Silver

Calendar For The Year 1980

1980 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

Brazil President João Figueiredo

Canada Prime Minister Joe Clark till March 3,

Canada Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau from March 3,

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Post Abolished

France President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Germany Chancellor Helmut Schmidt

India Prime Minister Charan Singh To 14 January

India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi From 14 January

Italy Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga Till 18 October

Italy Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani From 18 October

Japan Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira Till 12 June

Japan Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki From 17 July

Mexico President José López Portillo

Russia / Soviet Union

Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Leonid Brezhnev

South Africa Prime Minister Pieter Willem Botha

United States President Jimmy Carter

United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher