The People History Home

What Happened in 1983 Major Events, Born This Year, Popular Culture, Prices

What happened in 1983 Major News Stories include IBM releases the IBM PC XT, Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Proposed, Harrods Bombing, Space Shuttle Challenger is launched Maiden Flight, . The worlds most popular word processing programme is launched Microsoft Word. Following on from the start of the recession in the US Unemployment Rises to 12 million. In Ethiopia following the worst drought in history the death toll reaches a staggering 4 million. The US starts deploying Cruise Missiles and Pershing Missiles in Europe at the Greenham Common Air Force Base in England and West Germany amid mass protest

Cost of Living 1983 - How Much things cost

Yearly Inflation Rate USA3.22%

Year End Close Dow Jones 1258

Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 11.00%

Average Cost of new house $82,600

Median Price Of and Existing Home $70,300 -

Average Monthly Rent $335.00

Cost of a gallon of Gas 96 cents

Dodge RAM 50 Truck $5665.00

Volkswagen Rabbit $6,994.00

Ford Mustang $6,572.00

Timex Sinclair Color Computer $179.99

Milk 2% Gallon $1.35

Kraft Singles Cheese (12) $1.49

Mens Leather Shoes $39.99

Chicago, Illinois

Townhouse 2 bed 1 bath $47,000

Average Income per year $21,070.00

A few UK Examples in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 34,795

Gallon of Petrol 1.25

BOE Interest Rates Year End 9.06%

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 4.6%

Hurricane Alicia

Hurricane Alicia hits the Texas coast, killing 21.

Hurricane Alicia hits the Texas coast during August of 1983 causing billions of dollars worth of damage to the region. The category 3 storm directly hit Galveston and Houston on the Gulf Coast and was the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 3 years. Hurricane Alicia had wind gusts of up to 127 mph and storm surges of up to 12 feet in height ravaged coastal neighborhoods. As a result of the storm 21 people were killed and about 3,000 homes were severely damaged.

United States invades Grenada

More Information and Timeline for the U.S. invasion of Grenada

1. The United States invades Grenada on October 25th of 1983.

2. Over 5,000 Marines were sent to the island after the government was overthrown in a bloody coup by a Cuban trained military force.

3. At the time, there were about 1,000 United States civilians in the country, most of them medical students.

4. President Reagan ordered the invasion citing the need to protect the American citizens in the country but also using it as an excuse to stem the tide of Communism in the Caribbean.

5. Overall, the U.S. invasion was a success despite encountering resistance. The U.S. civilians were rescued, the Cuban troops surrendered, and there were only 19 U.S. troop casualties in total.

Space -- NASA's STS-7 Mission

NASA’s STS-7 mission was completed successfully during June. The mission carried five astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on a 6 day flight. The crew carried out several experiments and deployed two satellites. This mission was notable in that it was Sally Ride’s first space flight, making her the first American woman in space. Twenty years earlier, the Soviet Union had already sent the first woman to space with Valentina Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6 in 1963.

Strategic Defense Initiative SDI

President Ronald Reagan proposes the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

More Information for the Strategic Defense Initiative

1. U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly proposes the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) during a televised address in March of 1983.

2. The proposed defense system was a highly advanced system that would rely on technology that had not yet been developed to intercept and prevent a nuclear missile attack on the U.S. by the Soviet Union.

3. The plan was called “Star Wars” by many critics who thought it impossible to create with the restrictions of the current capabilities of technology during the decade.

4. SDI began development in the following year under the Department of Defense but its funding ended after the Cold War ended and before anything could be completed.

Mario Bros. Game Debuts

The video game Mario Bros. was first released as a Nintendo arcade game in Japan during July. The game was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto (who also designed the Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong) and Gunpei Yokoi (who also created Metroid and the Game Boy) and was a platform style game with phases. The Mario Bros. game featured the now iconic characters of Mario and his brother Luigi, two plumbers who battled sewer creatures in New York. The game was not initially successful as at the time of its release the video game industry was going through a crash, but it became a successful series of games after the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) gaming console.

NASA’s STS-8 Mission

NASA’s STS-8 mission comes to an end during September. The Space Shuttle Challenger launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying a crew of five including Guion Bluford who became the first African-American astronaut to fly in space. The mission’s objectives focused on studying the physiological effects of space on the human body, specifically Space Adaptation Syndrome (space sickness). STS-8 successfully returned to Earth after six days and landed at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Fraggle Rock

The children's show "Fraggle Rock" debuts on HBO as one of the premium cable network's first original programs.

More Information and Timeline for Fraggle Rock.

1. Fraggle Rock premieres during January of 1983 on HBO.

2. The show was one of HBO’s first original programs and was created and produced by Jim Henson.

3. Fraggle Rock focused on the interactions between a group of muppets called Fraggles and other groups within their world.

4. Many of the episodes featured stories that revolved around conflicts between the Fraggles and the other groups despite the fact that they all depended on each other to survive.

5. Fraggle Rock had a total of 96 episodes and ran until 1987.

6. The show’s creators had hoped it would promote concepts of world peace and it was shown around the world, in nearly one hundred different countries.

From our 1983 Toys Page

Cabbage Patch Kids From The 1980s Cabbage Patch Kids
Manufacturer: Coleco
Price: $19.99 each

Adopt one and fill a little heart with all your love. They've got baby-soft vinyl faces, big wistful eyes, pudgy fingers and toes, dimpled knees and elbows.. even a cute belly button. Each doll is unique and comes with special birth certificates and adoption papers.

From our 1980s Furniture Page

1989 Videotape Storage Cabinet

1989 Videotape Storage Cabinet

Price: $79.99

This custom-crafted oak-grained cabinet opens to reveal storage for up to 120 video tapes. With inserts included, holds 92 video tapes, 18 CD's and 14 audio cassettes. Doors lock for complete security.

1980s Ladies Dresses

1983 Side Button Dress

From 1983 Side Button Dress

Price: $24.00

Description : Intriguing side-buttons let you be as daring as you wish! Dress has an elasticized peplum-waist and a vinyl-patent belt. Polyester knit in stand-out magenta with black print.

< 1980s Home Electrical

1988 CD Cassette Boom Box

1988 CD Cassette Boom Box

Price: $288.88

You can listen to up to 16 tracks in any order, or repeat your favorite song with the CD play on this boom box. Automatic music sensor moves forward or back to the next selection. Five-band graphic equalizer.

More News and Key Events From 1983


The Worlds Population is estimated at 4.72 billion

China's Population reaches 1 billion

Rhodesia / Zimbabwe

Civil War breaks out in Zimbabwe

Earthquake New York

A 5.2 earthquake hits Central New York

Richard Noble land speed record

Richard Noble sets a new land speed record of 633.468 mph, driving Thrust 2 at the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

Cruise Missiles

The US deploys Cruise Missiles in Europe at the Greenham Common Air Force Base in England and Deploys Pershing Missiles in West Germany

Due to the deployment of Cruise Missiles in the UK CND organises marches and rallies with over 200,000 attending.

Brinks Mat robbery

Brinks Mat warehouse robbery at Heathrow Airport making off with three tons of gold bars valued at $37.5 million

Maze High Security Prison

Mass prisoner breakout from Maze High Security Prison near Lisburn, Northern Ireland

UK Seatbelt Law

Seatbelt use for drivers and front seat passengers becomes mandatory in the United Kingdom.

U.S Embassy is bombed in Beirut

A Terrorist attack by a suicide bomber on the U.S Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people

U.S. Unemployment

Unemployment Rises in the US to 12 million the highest figure since 1941

Harrods Bombing

IRA Bomb Exploded outside Harrods on December 17th during the pre Christmas Shopping Season

Ethiopia Famine

Ethiopia Appeals for world Aid for when the death toll reaches4 million


The Philippines opposition leader, Benigno Aquino, assassinated

First mobile phones

The first mobile phones, are introduced to the public by the Motorola Company.

Breakfast TV

Breakfast TV starts in UK with the BBC Breakfast Time and TV-am

Sally Ride

Sally Ride on June 18 News Events becomes first American woman in space on the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher wins landslide victory in General Elections in the UK


Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín wins democratic elections to become the President of Argentina


ARPANET officially changes to use the Internet Protocol, creating the Internet.

Lotus 1-2-3 is released

IBM releases the IBM PC XT

US Space Shuttle Challenger is launched on it's maiden flight

Microsoft Word is first released

The First Person to Receive an Artificial Heart Barney Clark US dies after 112 days

Swatch introduce their first watches

Popular Culture 1983

Final Episode of M*A*S*H airs record 125 million watch

Cabbage Patch Dolls are sold in shops and become a success

West German news magazine Stern publish the Hitler Diaries which turn out to be Forgeries

Popular Films

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


Trading Places


Superman III


Staying Alive


National Lampoon's Vacation

Never Say Never Again

Terms of Endearment


Educating Rita

Popular Musicians

Phil Collins

The Police with " Every Breath that you take "

Hot Chocolate

Big Country

Black Sabbath

David Bowie

Johnny Cash

Culture Club

Duran Duran

Elton John

Pink Floyd

Ozzy Osbourne

Lionel Richie with " All Night Long "

Rod Stewart

Michael Jackson with " Beat It and Billy Jean "

The Moody Blues

Bob Marley and the Wailers

Born This Year in 1983

Adam Driver

Born: November 19th, San Diego, CA

Mila Kunis

Born: August 14, Chernivtsi, Ukraine

Donald Glover

Born: September 25th, Edwards, CA

Chris Hemsworth

Born: August 11, Melbourne, Australia

Aaron Rodgers

Born: December 2th, Chico, CA

Amy Jade Winehouse

Born: September 14th, Enfield, United Kingdom

Calendar For The Year 1983

1983 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser Till 11 March

Australia Prime Minister Bob Hawke From 11 March

Brazil President João Figueiredo

Canada Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Li Xiannian

France President François Mitterrand

Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl

India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

Italy Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani Till 4 August

Italy Prime Minister Bettino Craxi From 4 August

Japan Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone

Mexico President Miguel de la Madrid

Russia / Soviet Union

Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Yuri Andropov

South Africa Prime Minister Pieter Willem Botha

United States President Ronald Reagan

United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher