The People History Home

1988 Major News Events in History

  1. North, Poindexter, Secord, and Hakim indicted for their involvement in Iran-Contra affair.
  2. The US Senate ratified the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union
  3. Burma -- 8888 Pro-Democracy Protest
  4. Benazir Bhutto is elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
  5. Soviet Red Army withdraws from Afghanistan.
  6. Iraq carries out Poison Gas Attack On Kurds
  7. Suspected Libyan terrorist bomb explodes on Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in Scotland
  8. Archaeologists uncover the original Globe Theatre in London
  9. Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea is destroyed by explosions and fires
  10. Stephen Hawking Publishes " A Brief History Of Time "

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

What Happened in 1988 Major Events, Born This Year, Popular Culture, Prices

What happened in 1988 Major News Stories include Students and Buddhist monks protest against military rule in Burma, Soviets withdraw from Afghanistan, Libyan terrorist bomb explodes on Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, A Brief History Of Time Published, Solidarity Supporters strike in Poland, Piper Alpha drilling platform disaster, space shuttle launches resumed after the Challenger tragedy, Clapham Rail Crash, Ben Johnson wins gold medal and is banned for steroid use,

1988 A bomb is exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland on December 21st . Also Prozac is sold for the first time as an anti-depressant some of the great movies that year included Rain Man, Die Hard and A Fish Called Wanda

Cost of Living 1988 - How Much things cost

Yearly Inflation Rate USA4.08%

Year End Close Dow Jones 2168

Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 10.50%

Average Cost of new house $91,600

Median Price Of and Existing Home $90,600

Average Income per year $24,450.00

Average Monthly Rent $420.00

Average Price for new car $10,400.00

1 gallon of gas 91 cents

Movie Ticket $3.50

US Postage Stamp 24 cents

Dozen Eggs 65 cents

Gallon 2% Milk $1.89

Pork Chops Lb 40 cents

Lotus 123 Spreadsheet S/W $299.00

Star NSX Dot Matrix Printer $189.00

Logitech Mouse $89.99

Amiga Computer With Color Monitor $849.00

IBM PC with 30Mb Hard Disk, Mono Monitor and 512K Memory $1249.00

Ford Taurus $9,996

A few UK Examples in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 44,040

Gallon of Petrol 1.67

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 4.9%

United States Iran-Contra Affair

North, Poindexter, Secord, and Hakim indicted for their involvement in Iran-Contra affair.

More Information and Timeline for the Iran-Contra Affair.

During March 1988 Oliver North, John Poindexter, Richard Secord, and Albert Hakim are indicted by a Grand Jury on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States government for their involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair. The Iran-Contra Affair was a scandal that involved the illegal sales of arms to Iran in exchange for U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon by Iranian terrorists. The money from the Iranian arms sales was then used to illegally fund and aid the Contras, a Nicaraguan rebel group by CIA operatives. The illegal activities were exposed and several top Reagan administration officials were implicated in the scandal. Secord and Hakim decided to plead guilty and received probation, while Poindexter and North were convicted and sentenced but eventually had their convictions overturned during the appeals process.

United States - INF Treaty

The US Senate ratified the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union in May with a vote of 93-5. Formal talks began in 1981 and had stalled in 1983 and did not resume until 1985. The treaty was negotiated between President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and was eventually signed by the leaders in December of 1987. The treaty mandated that the USSR and United States eliminate all short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles.

Burma -- 8888 Pro-Democracy Protest

The 8888 uprising takes place in Burma (Myanmar) during August. A nationwide pro-democracy demonstration was held in opposition to the military rule that had made the nation an authoritarian one-party state since 1962. Students planned the uprising and it was centered around the capital of Rangoon (Yangon), with estimates of up to 1 million participants in the capital and more than 100,000 more in other large cities. Protests persisted throughout the month and after a coup took place restoring military power, they enacted martial law and ended the demonstrations with violence. During the protests, Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as an opposition leader and became a symbol of non-violent resistance for the pro-democracy movement in Burma.

Canada - Winter Olympics

The XV Olympic Winter Games, were held in Calgary, Canada from February 13 to February 28th. There were 46 events that 1,423 athletes from 57 countries participated in during the games. This was the first time Canada hosted the Winter Games. The Soviet Union, East Germany, and Switzerland won the most medals with 29, 25, and 15 respectively. Notable moments during these Olympics include the debut of the Jamaican bobsled team that inspired the popular film “Cool Runnings” and the self-taught “Eddie the Eagle” who became the first British ski jumper to compete in the event in 60 years.

Pakistan Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto is elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

More Information for Benazir Bhutto.

Benazir Bhutto is chosen as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in December of 1988 becoming the first female leader of a Muslim country. Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. Bhutto, the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had been the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan in the 1970s, pushed for economic reforms and deregulation during her terms but was removed from power due to corruption charges. She later went into exile and returned in 2007 but was assassinated not long after her return.

Turkey -- Second Bosphorus Bridge

Construction on the Faith Sultan Mehmet Bridge, also known as the Second Bosphorus Bridge, is completed during July. Located in Istanbul, Turkey, the bridge was the fifth largest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its construction. It spans a total of 1,510 meters and is eight lanes across. It is one of three bridges that connect Europe to Asia located in Istanbul. At the time of its opening, the Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Özal became the first person to drive across.

From our 1989 Toys Page

Tastybake Oven From The 1980s

Tastybake Oven

Manufacturer: Tyco
Price: $29.99

It's as much fun to bake as it is to eat the goodies you'll make with the Tastybake oven. You can bake cookies, muffins, cakes and even melt chocolate for yummy candies. Door is released by special spatula designed to keep child's fingers out, and a cooking guide is printed on the front panel. Includes metal cake/pie pan, cookie sheet, spatula, recipe book, and three cookie cutters.

From our 1980s Furniture Page

1988 Walnut Laminate Bar

1988 Walnut Laminate Bar

Price: $299.97

Country bar and matching barstools. Bar is walnut laminate over wood products and has thickly padded elbow rests covered in brown vinyl. Storage shelves in back keep your glassware out of sight. Brown vinyl-covered stool has brown painted base and chrome-plated foot ring.

1980s Ladies Dresses

1988 Two Piece Dramatic Dress

From 1988 Two Piece Dramatic Dress

Price: $80.00

Description : A dress that makes heads turn and hearts sigh. Two piece, cut-out sleeveless dress has softly draped and shirred turtleneck with top back slit and back button closure. Elastic waist, shirred self-covered cummerbund with back button closure. Soft, gathered skirt. Cocoon-style jacket has self-covered shoulder pads, button cuffs. Pale pink.

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.

Afghanistan Soviet Red Army withdraws

Soviet Red Army withdraws from Afghanistan.

More Information for the USSR withdraws from Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union agreed to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan after signing the Geneva Accords in April of 1988. The 1988 Accords were officially known as the “Agreements on the Settlement of the Situation Relating to Afghanistan.” These agreements were the result of talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the USSR, and the United States, which ended on April 8, 1988. The accords were signed by all four countries on April 14 and led to the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the settlement of conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The USSR became involved in the conflict in 1979 and their troops did not leave until February of 1989.

World Expo 88 in Australia

World Expo 88 comes to an end during October News Events. Expo 88 began in April of 1988 and was held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The expo hosted more than 15 million attendees during its run and there were 35 countries that participated. The theme of the fair was “Leisure in the Age of Technology.” The expo was also a part of the celebrations for the Australian Bicentenary. It included attractions like a monorail, an amusement park, sculpture park, and Japanese garden among much more across the 98 acre fairgrounds.

US Space Shuttle program

US Space Shuttle program resumes 2 1/2 years after Challenger disaster.

More Information for the US Space Shuttle Program.

NASA resumed the Space Shuttle program during September of 1988, with the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-26 mission. The program had been halted after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster for about two and a half years. The STS-26 mission became known as the “Return to Flight” mission and was an important factor in whether or not and to what capacity the Space Shuttle program would resume if successful. Besides the initial purpose of returning to flight, the STS-26 mission also had the purpose of launching a NASA satellite, which it did as planned. The flight was also the first Space Shuttle mission to have a veteran crew with all members having previously participated in at least one other mission. STS-26 lasted about four days and traveled in space for about 1.7 million miles before returning to Earth.

Soyuz TM-5.

The Soviet Union launches the Soyuz TM-5 mission to take cosmonauts to the Mir space station for the fifth time.

More Information and Timeline for Soyuz TM-5.

The USSR launches the Soyuz TM-5 spacecraft on June 7th of 1988. The mission carried three crew members to the Mir Space Station. This was the fifth mission to bring Soviet cosmonauts to the Mir Space Station. The crew on board the flight were Anatoly Solovyov, Aleksandr Aleksandrov, and Viktor Savinykh. The crew left the space station after one week had passed and used a different spacecraft, the Soyuz TM-4, to return to Earth. The Soyuz TM-5 was left at the space station for the two remaining cosmonauts who had been on a long-term mission to use to get home. They returned to Earth aboard the Soyuz TM-5 during September of 1988.

More News and Key Events From 1988

Iran -- Iraq war ends

After 8 years and 1.5 million dead the Iran -- Iraq war ends

Iraq Poison Gas Attack On Kurds

Iraq carries out Poison Gas Attack On Kurds

Armenia Earthquake

Earthquake in Armenia Kills 60,000

Scotland Lockerbie Bombing

Suspected Libyan terrorist bomb explodes on Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in Scotland on December 21st killing all 259 on board and 11 on the ground

Australia bicentennial

Australia celebrates its bicentennial.

U.S. Crack

A new drug Crack appears ( A derivative of Cocaine ) and is increasingly found in US Cities

Gibralta IRA bombers

UK SAS kill suspected IRA bombers in Gibraltar

UK English Pound Note

The English Pound Note ceases to be legal Tender

South Korea Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson wins the 100m gold at the Seoul Olympics and is then disqualified for taking the anabolic steroid, Stanozol

UK Salmonella

Salmonella is found in Eggs in Britain causing problems for British Farmers

UK Pubs

Laws restricting opening times for UK Pubs are changed allowing Pubs to stay open all day

UK Clapham Rail Crash

34 people die in the Clapham Rail Crash

Poland Solidarity

Widespread strikes in Poland by Solidarity Supporters

UK Globe Theatre

Archaeologists uncover the original Globe Theatre in London

Russia School Bus

A Soviet Union School Bus is Hijacked

Panama Noriega

Panama leader General Manual Antonio Noriega, is charged with drug smuggling and money laundering

UN Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat is invited to adress the U.N. General Assembly

Scotland Piper Alpha

Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea is destroyed by explosions and fires killing 165 oil workers and 2 rescue mariners.

South Korea Olympics

The Summer Olympics are held in Seoul, South Korea

Burma Buddhist monks protest

Students and Buddhist monks protest against military rule in Burma leading to multiple arrests and murder by the Military government.

U.S. Flight 655

The USS Vincennes shoots down Iranian passenger jet Flight 655

U.S. Yellowstone National Park

Over 1/3 of Yellowstone National Park is destroyed when a a series of more than 250 small different fires combined with the 1988 Drought destroys 793,880 acres of the park.

Switzerland Prince Charles

Prince Charles escapes avalanche in Switzerland

Canada Winter Olympic Games

The Winter Olympic Games are held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Jamaica Hurricane Gilbert

Hurricane Gilbert devastated Jamaica, it turns towards Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula two days later

Popular Culture 1988

Popular Films

Popular Films

Rain Man

Who Framed Roger Rabbit



Crocodile Dundee II

Die Hard

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!


Dangerous Liaisons

A Fish Called Wanda

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Popular Musicians


Robert Palmer


Kylie Minogue


The Beach Boys


Michael Jackson with " Dirty Diana "

Gloria Estefan

Chicago with " Look Away "

George Michael with " father Figure "

Guns N' Roses

George Harrison


First transatlantic fibre optic cable laid able to carry 40,000 telephone calls simultaneously

Stephen Hawking Publishes " A Brief History Of Time "

The first major computer virus infects computers connected to the Internet.

The US Stealth Bomber is unveiled

Using Carbon Dating it is established that the Turin Shroud Can Not Be the Burial Cloth of Christ

The Antidepressant Prozac introduced which quickly became the market leader for treating depression

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

Laser Eye Surgery USA

Calendar For The Year 1988

1988 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Bob Hawke

Brazil President José Sarney

Canada Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Yang Shangkun

France President François Mitterrand

Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl

India Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

Italy Prime Minister Giovanni Goria Till 13 April

Italy Prime Minister Ciriaco de Mita From 13 April

Japan Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita

Mexico President Miguel de la Madrid Till 30 November

Mexico President Carlos Salinas de Gortari From 30 November

Russia / Soviet Union
General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev

South Africa State President Pieter Willem Botha

United States President Ronald Reagan

United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher