The People History Home

1980's Major News Events in History

  1. 1980 Ronald Reagan is elected as the President of the United States.
  2. 1981 Lady Diana Spencer and Charles the Prince of Wales are married.
  3. 1982 "The Computer" is named Time Magazine's Man of the Year.
  4. 1983 Microsoft releases "Word" their word processing program.
  5. 1984 Band Aid records "Do They Know It's Christmas?" a charity single to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.
  6. 1985 Coca-Cola introduced "New Coke" and were forced to return to the old formula only months later due to backlash
  7. 1986 The Chernobyl nuclear reactor explodes in the USSR..
  8. 1987 "The Simpsons" make their debut on the Tracy Ullman Show.
  9. 1988 Two years after the Challenger Disaster, NASA's Space Shuttle program resumes..
  10. 1989 The Berlin Wall is torn down at the end of the Cold War.

More significant History and Events and those not included can be found below

1980s Important News and Events, Key Technology Fashion and Popular Culture

The Eighties see the collapse of traditional communism and the ending of the Cold War, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Apple begin to have an impact on all our lives as small Computers becomes cheaper and more wide spread including home and Business, Famine in Ethiopia causes major music stars to band together to raise money and awareness, and the early beginnings of mobile phones as technology gets cheaper and smaller.

The events listed below we have tried to put a small paragraph on the specific year page providing additional information )


What Happened in 1980 History

Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington state.

John Lennon is shot and dies.

The popular video arcade game "Pac-Man" is released.

Ronald Reagan is elected as the President of the United States.

The United States boycotts the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.


What Happened in 1981 History

Lady Diana Spencer and Charles the Prince of Wales are married.

The cable network MTV (Music Television) is launched.

The AIDS virus is identified in the United States by scientists.

Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President, is assassinated.

Sandra Day O'Connor is nominated as the first female Supreme Court Justice by President Reagan.


What Happened in 1982 History

"The Computer" is named Time Magazine's Man of the Year.

Disney World opens the EPCOT ( Experimental Community of Tomorrow ) park.

The FIFA World Cup is held in Spain and Italy wins the title.

Japan begins selling the first CD players.

Late Rock n' Roll star Elvis Presley's home "Graceland" is opened to the public as an attraction.


What Happened in 1983 History

Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.

Motorola introduces the first mobile phones to the United States in 1983.

Microsoft releases "Word" their word processing program.

The Swiss company "Swatch" introduces their watches and they become a fashion craze.

The I.R.A. bombs the popular London department store Harrods.

Money and Inflation 1980's

To provide an estimate of inflation we have given a guide to the value of $100 US Dollars for the first year in the decade to the equivalent in today's money

If you have $100 Converted from 1980 to 2021 it would be equivalent to $339.73 today

In 1980 a new house cost $68,714.00 and by 1989 was $120,00.00

In 1980 the average income per year was $19,170.00 and by 1989 was $27,210.00

In 1980 a gallon of gas was $1.19 and by 1989 was 97 cents

In 1980 the average cost of new car was $7,210.00 and by 1989 was $15,400.00

A few more prices from the 80's and how much things cost

Camero Coupe $7,571

Pontiac Grand AM $9,965

Nike Air Force Basketball Shoes $54.90

Tailored Style Silk Blouse $15.99

Amiga 500 with Color Monitor $849

Hands Free Operating Car Phone $788

Leg O Lamb $2.19 per pound

Milk 85 cents 1/2 gallon

Bunk Beds with Mattress $148

Chrome Sling Chair $76.00

Cheer Laundry Detergent $1.59



Childrens Toys From The 1980's

Kids Toys From the 80s
The popular toys at of the decade also signaled the age of the video game in arcades, Games Machines and PC's the most popular games being Space Invaders and Pac Man plus talking dolls were all the rage and at the end of the decade Featured Below Children's very own Sony Walkmans, Talking Alf, Star War Figures, Pound Puppies, My Little Pony and Mr and Mr's Potato Head From Our
Some Toy Examples From The Eighties


What Happened in 1984 History

India's Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, is assassinated.

Band Aid records "Do They Know It's Christmas?" a charity single to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.

The Soviet Union boycotts the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games.

China and the United Kingdom agree that the U.K. will transfer power over Hong Kong back to China in the future.

MTV begins the "Video Music Awards" or VMAs.


What Happened in 1985 History

The iconic Route 66 is removed from the highway system in the United States.

In what many consider one of the worst marketing moves, Coca-Cola introduced "New Coke" and were forced to return to the old formula only months later due to backlash.

The first version of Microsoft Windows is released.

Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan is named as the NBA's "Rookie of the Year."

The wreck of the Titanic was discovered.


What Happened in 1986 History

The Chernobyl nuclear reactor explodes in the USSR.

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster takes place when the space shuttle disintegrates after being launched, killing all on board.

Spain and Portugal are added to the EEC.

Mad Cow Disease (BSE - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) is identified in Britain for the first time.

The first triple organ transplant is performed.


What Happened in 1987 History

Disposable contact lenses are first sold.

"The Simpsons" make their debut on the Tracy Ullman Show.

Margaret Thatcher is elected as the British Prime Minister for the third time.

The Fox television network begins operations.

Construction begins on the Channel Tunnel.


What Happened in 1988 History

The Soviet Union withdraws their troops from Afghanistan.

George H.W. Bush is elected as the U.S. President after defeating Michael Dukakis.

Two years after the Challenger Disaster, NASA's Space Shuttle program resumes.

The site of the original Globe Theater is discovered by archaeologists in London.

The Iran-Iraq war ends.


What Happened in 1989 History

The Berlin Wall is torn down at the end of the Cold War.

Pro-Democracy protests take place at Tiananmen Square in China.

The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spills 240,000 barrels of oil in the Prince William Sound in Alaska.

The Nintendo Game Boy portable video game system is released.

NASA launches the Galileo spacecraft.

1980's Mens and Womens and Childrens Fashion Clothes

Below are just a few examples from our Selection Take a little trip back in time to the clothes of your youth and have a smile or feel nostalgic
Some Example Fashions From the 1980's

Electrical Home Goods

As technology improved the size gets smaller and smaller and more and more powerfull, The "Portable Camcorder" replaced by today's Mobile Phone, The Timex Sinclair Color Computer replaced a much more powerful Tablet, Stereo Sound Television now exists as a smaller more energy efficient flatscreen TV, and the latest 50 inch Projection Screen TV can now be found as Flat Screen TV up to 100 inches .
Some Examples Of Home Appliances From The 1980's

Furniture From The 80's

It is interesting looking at the furniture and fixtures you might find in a home from each decade, as we move to more smaller computers why have a Computer Work Station, VHS Tapes No Longer used, Bean Bags not anywhere near as popular as during the Eighties

Some Examples of Furniture From The Eighties


The 80's signaled the start of the computer age, following on from the creation of Microsoft and Apple towards the end of the 70's , the technology and the speed of innovation both in Hardware and Software together with the cheapness provided a speed of growth and take up . The birth of the IBM PC signaled the start of Personal Computers first in the Offices and then into peoples homes becoming an integral part of our lives. following on from Micrsofts MSDOS on PC's to the first versions of Windows a GUI Graphical User Interface

As well as the Hardware and Software changes a new technology was evolving starting as Bulletin boards later to become what we now know as the Internet invented by English physicist Tim Berners and the beginnings of the World Wide Web

This was also the Decade that the Post-It was introduced which came from a glue invented in 1968 accidentally while trying to discover a stronger glue at 3M by Spencer Silver

Another technology that was also just starting was that of cellular mobile phones , in the beginning the phones were big and heavy and hit and miss for signal strength , but as with the Internet would change our lives .

After many years of ignoring the impact on our environment ,the world also took more notice of the impact that we were having on our planet and more research was done on the effects on global warming through population growth, land clearing of rain forests for agriculture and logging, increased use of fossil fuels for power generation together with our love affair with the car for transport .

Other Major Events From The 80's

During the 80's we also saw the collapse of the traditional communism and the end of the cold war .The fragmentation of communism included the collapse of the Berlin wall and the breakup up of what was the USSR towards the end of the 80's. and leading to German reunification.

The 80's also signaled a period of the rise of conservatism as the in political and cultural life, caused by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the USA .

Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland islands in 1982 but is subsequently defeated by the United Kingdom.

China continued it's growth and liberalization but suffered unrest towards the end of the 80's after student's protested in Tiananmen Square on June 4th 1989 and the authorities used force to quell the protests

Famine in Ethiopia was shown to the world on our television screens in 1984 - 1985 and the pain and suffering caused the western world to find new ways to help including the Live Aid concert and many of the most popular stars contributed their time and performed for free in cities throughout the world , This has to be one of the most successful campaigns ever to create awareness and raise much needed funds by those who have the power to draw TV audiences around the globe.

Many South American Countries return to democracy after a period of dictatorships

The mixing of politics and Sport from in both 1980 and 1984 Olympics Boycotts by the worlds major powers

Sporting Changes In The 1980s


Players go on strike again in 1981 they win but lose fans for the game through their actions for striking and from drugs or alcohol used by the players.


During the eighties new stars emerge Larry Bird, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan drawing fans back to the games .

Association Football (Soccer)

24 teams fight for the World Cup in 1982

Soccer Hooliganism and the Heysel Stadium Disaster give English Football a bad name the Hooliganism continues through to the mid 90's

American Football

Miami Hurricanes win college national championships

California Teams The Raiders and San Francisco 49ers Dominate The NFL

The 80's was the decade of the quarterback and the best of them was Joe Montana

The 1985 Chicago Bears with running back Walter Payton considered by many to be one of the greatest teams of all time.

Ice Hockey

New York Islanders Dominate The First Half Of The Decade

The Great One Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier Help Edmonton Oilers Dominate The Second Half Of The Decade

Television During the Decade

The 1980s was an important decade in the television industry. Not only were great strides made in the way of “pushing the envelope” with shows like Married…With Children, but other programs displayed a stark contrast with family-friendly issues and themes. The Cosby Show began in the middle of the decade and it enjoyed several years as the #1 television program because it was a witty and realistic rendering of family life during the era. It also destroyed the stereotype of poor African-American families that shows in the past only helped to reinforce. Heathcliff Huxtable – the father on The Cosby Show – was an obstetrician while his wife – Claire – was a successful lawyer. <

TV Shows 1980s

Married with Children 1987 - 1997.

Baywatch 1989 - 1999.

Chips 1977 - 1983.

Hill Street Blues 1981 - 1987.

Highway to Heaven 1984 - 1989.

Knight Rider 1982 - 1986.

Dukes Of Hazzard 1979 - 1985.

The Benny Hill Show 1969 - 1989.

Fame 1982 - 1987.

Cagney & Lacey 1982 - 1988.

Dallas 1978 - 1991.

Matlock 1986 - 1992.

MacGyver 1985 - 1992.

Little House on the Prairie 1974 - 1983.

Doctor Who 1963 - 1989.

Columbo 1968 - 2003.

The A Team 1983 - 1987.

Laverne & Shirley 1976 - 1983.

The Cosby Show 1984 - 1992.

Happy Days 1974 - 1984.

Cheers 1982 - 1993.

Taxi 1978 - 1983.

Benson 1979 - 1986.

Growing Pains 1985 - 1992.

Other shows that began in the Eighties that are still memorable and popular today include Cheers, The Golden Girls, Miami Vice, and Family Ties. Along with The Simpsons, many of these programs are available as DVD box sets for those who lived through the era and want to experience a feeling of nostalgia by experiencing these shows again.

Popular Culture 1980s

John Lennon is shot outside his New York apartment

MTV (Music Television) is launched

Floppy shirts, Backcombed hair, Padded shoulders, big hairdoes and white stilettoes

The Simpsons Is First Seen On Tracey Ullman Show April 5th 1987

Michael Jackson releases his second adult solo album, Thriller.

The Eighties also saw the creation of a number of cable networks that viewers still enjoy today. The Weather Channel – based in Atlanta, GA – premiered in 1982 as a cable network that covered the weather 24 hours a day. The Cable News Network, better known as CNN, was also created as television’s first 24-hour news network. It created a trend and today you have the option of several 24-hour cable news networks to choose from. Rupert Murdoch also created the Fox Network in the 1980s as a challenge to the only three major networks at the time – NBC, CBS, and ABC. Even though many people scoffed at the idea of Fox being a major competitor, it has since created several popular and award-winning shows in its more than 20 year existence. Music Television (MTV) was also a major breakthrough network in the decade and today viewers can choose from a large number of music-based television channels.

Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Eighties

Clint Eastwood

Burt Reynolds

Harrison Ford

Michael J Fox

Eddie Murphy

Tom Cruise

Dudley Moore

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Popular Musicians

Bucks Fizz

The Jam

Olivia Newton-John


Lionel Richie


Black Sabbath


The Police

Tina Turner

David Bowie

Whitney Houston

Culture Club

Bruce Springsteen


© Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved