01 – David Dinkins is sworn in as New York City’s first black mayor.
02 – World population passes five billion. In 1960 it was three billion.
03 – Manuel Noriega surrenders to US forces, ten days after taking refuge in the Vatican’s diplomatic mission.
07 – The leaning tower of Pisa in Italy is closed to the public when an increase in ‘leaning’ raises fears for the safety of visitors.
08 – Veteran gap-toothed British comedy actor Terry-Thomas dies aged 78 after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for 15 years.
10 – Troops withdraw from Tiananmen Square as Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng lifts martial law in Peking, which had been imposed on 20 May 1989 to quash pro-democracy protests.
10 – Media giants Warner Communications and Time Inc. complete a $14 billion merger. The new company, Time Warner, is now the world’s largest entertainment company.
12 – Bob Dylan starts the new decade with a small club date at Toads, New Haven, Connecticut, where he plays a set lasting no less than four hours.
17 – Legendary songwriting team Carole King and Gerry Goffin are inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
18 – Mayor Marion Barry of Washington DC is arrested by FBI agents after being videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room. He will serve six months.
18 – Mel Appleby of Mel & Kim dies from pneumonia. She is 22 and has been suffering from a rare form of cancer for the past three years.
20 – Hollywood film actress Barbara Stanwyck dies, aged 82.
21 – The first MTV Unplugged show is broadcast, featuring UK band Squeeze, Elliot Easton of The Cars and female singer Syd Straw.
25 – Veteran actress Ava Gardner dies in London, aged 67.
25 – Severe storms across Europe leave 100 people dead, 47 of them in the UK. Among the hundreds of people injured by falling trees and masonry is Gordon Kaye, star of the BBC’s ‘Allo ‘Allo sitcom. He is critically ill in hospital after a plank for an advertising board was blown through his car windscreen in west London.
30 – Bob Dylan receives France’s highest cultural honour, Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
31 – After 14 years of negotiation, the first McDonalds restaurant opens in Russia, serving 30,000 people on opening day. Situated in Pushkin Square, Moscow, it is also the biggest (and soon the busiest) McDonalds in the world.
02 – The President of South Africa FW de Klerk lifts the 30-year ban on the African National Congress (ANC), the leading anti-apartheid group.
06 – After sustaining injuries when crashing his Harley Davidson into a car, singer Billy Idol undergoes surgery in Los Angeles.
07 – Soviet leaders agree to free elections, surrendering the Communist Party’s 72-year power monopoly.
08 – Singer Del Shannon dies of self-inflicted gunshot wounds at home in Santa Clarita, Los Angeles.
11 – Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years in Victor-Verster Prison in South Africa. He immediately resumes leadership of the ANC (African National Congress) and leads multi-party negotiations to achieve the first multi-racial elections in the country.
15 – Britain and Argentina agree to restore full diplomatic relations, which were broken off in 1982 after the Falklands War.
16 – Ike Turner is sentenced to four years in prison on cocaine charges.
26 – Cornell Gunter of The Coasters is murdered in Las Vegas, at the age of 53.
06 – The Soviet parliament approves a law that gives private citizens the right to own the means of production: they can now buy property and start businesses.
09 – Police seal off Brixton in south London after another night of protest against the Conservative government’s imposition of what has been dubbed the ‘Poll Tax‘.
10 – American Jennifer Capriati, aged just 13 years and 11 months, becomes the youngest player ever to reach the final of a professional tennis tournament in Florida.
15 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected Executive President of the USSR.
15 – Farzad Bazoft, a journalist for The Observer, is hanged in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, after being convicted of spying for Israel while working on a news story about an explosion at a weapons complex 30 miles (48km) south of the capital.
18 – East Germany holds its first free elections since the state was formed after World War II.
20 – Singer Gloria Estefan’s back is broken when a tractor rams her tour bus during a freak snowstorm outside Scranton, Pennsylvania.
24 – In the wake of his widely-reported anti-Jewish remarks, Professor Griff of rap band Public Enemy announces his departure from the group.
25 – After being ejected from the Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx, NY, Julio Gonzalez spills petrol on the entrance and sets it on fire. The ensuing conflagration kills 87 people, and Gonzalez is given 25 years-to-life in prison.
29 – Prime Minister Bob Hawke and the Australian Labor Party are returned for an unprecedented fourth term in the Australian general elections. Hawke’s rival Andrew Peacock concedes defeat and resigns as leader of the Liberal Party.
31 – 200,000 people join a demonstration in central London against the government’s new ‘Poll Tax’. The demonstration starts off peacefully until a group of around 3,000 protesters launches a violent attack on the police. 113 people are injured and 340 are arrested in “The Battle of Trafalgar” – the largest civil disturbance seen in the British capital in the 20th Century.
01 – Britain’s longest prison riot begins, at HMP Strangeways in Manchester. The riot lasts for 25 days and two men die. The repair bill tops £55 million. The riots spread to other prisons and a public inquiry, led by Lord Woolf, recommends major reform to the prison service.
07 – 160 people are killed when the Danish-owned ferry Scandinavian Star catches fire shortly after leaving Oslo. Police suspect arson.
09 – Decades of Communist rule come to an end with the first free elections in Hungary and the newly formed Hungarian Democratic Forum forming a new government.
11 – Customs officers in the UK seize the barrel of a massive gun on a ship bound for Iraq. The length of the barrel is 40 metres (130 feet) which would make it the largest gun in the world with a range of approximately 600 miles (965 kilometres). Investigations reveal the gun is part of “Project Babylon”, the brainchild of Canadian Dr Gerald Bull, who is assassinated shortly before the parts are discovered.
12 – James Brown is released from his South Carolina jail cell on work furlough after serving 15 months of a six-year sentence for aggravated assault.
13 – The Soviet Union finally admits to and apologises for the murder of thousands of imprisoned Polish officers in the Katyn Forest during World War II. The massacre was previously blamed on the Nazis.
15 – Screen legend Greta Garbo dies in a New York hospital, aged 84.
16 – Nelson Mandela appears at Wembley Stadium in London as part of the Nelson Mandela Birthday Tribute Concert featuring Neil Young, Simple Minds, Aswad and others. The concert is attended by 75,000 people and seen around the world by a television audience estimated at up to 1,000 million.
22 – The 20th anniversary of Earth Day is celebrated worldwide with 200 million people in 140 countries participating in tree-planting, recycling and other earth-friendly events.
25 – The Hubble Space Telescope is launched from the Space Shuttle. The telescope is the size of a railway carriage and has taken 20 years to build at a cost of $1.55 billion.
15 – Vincent Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Doctor Gachet” is sold for $82.5 million, setting a new world record.
16 – Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr passes away in Los Angeles as a result of throat cancer, aged 64.
16 – Muppets creator Jim Henson passes away in New York, aged 53.
16 – Christian Brando, the 32-year-old son of actor Marlon Brando, is arrested for murder by Los Angeles police. He is accused of putting a bullet through the head of Dag Drollet, the young French boyfriend of Christian’s 20-year-old half-sister, Cheyenne. The young Brando claims it was an accident.
19 – UK Agriculture Minister John Gummer feeds a hamburger to his five-year-old daughter in front of the world’s media, in an effort to counter rumours about the spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – referred to in the press as “mad cow disease”.
20 – The Hubble Space Telescope sends back its first photographs. Within weeks of its launch, a defect in the telescope’s mirror is discovered, resulting in blurry images. The problem is not repaired until 1993.
21 – Mafia-linked record company boss Morris Levy dies of cancer in Ghent, New York. He was the owner of such labels as Roulette, Rama and Tico.
22 – Microsoft releases Windows 3.0, featuring more advanced graphics and an improved user interface. It goes on to sell over 10 million copies in the next two years.
22 – The New Zealand yacht Steinlager 2, skippered by Peter Blake, wins the Whitbread Round the World Race after 128 days at sea.
22 – British comedian and actor Max Wall dies in London, aged 82.
26 – Angie Bowie begins a legal suit against her former husband David Bowie, seeking to lighten his wallet by $56m.
27 – Two Australian holidaymakers in the southern Dutch town of Roermond are mistaken for British soldiers and shot dead by masked IRA gunmen. Admitting responsibility, the IRA apologises for its mistakes.
27 – The Stone Roses perform at Spike Island, Widnes
30 – France bans all imports of British beef and live cattle over fears of “mad cow disease”.
01 – One off-duty soldier is shot dead and two others are wounded when they are fired on by gunmen at Lichfield City station in Staffordshire. All three are trainee recruits from the Prince of Wales infantry division based at Whittington Barracks in Lichfield. The IRA claims responsibility.
01 – Major Michael Dillon-Lee of the Royal Artillery is shot dead in his car in Dortmund, West Germany. The IRA claims responsibility for the killing.
01 – West Germany also bans British beef over fears of “mad cow disease”, and Belgians are advised by their health minister not to eat it.
02 – Actor Sir Rex Harrison dies in New York, aged 82.
06 – The Derby is won by ‘Quest for Fame’ ridden by Pat Eddery.
08 – Football World Cup kicks off in Italy. West Germany meets Argentina in the final, winning 1-0, with Argentina’s Pedro Monzon becoming the first player ever to be sent off in a World Cup Final.
09 – 17 civilians are injured when an IRA bomb explodes during a birthday party at the headquarters of the Honourable Artillery Company – a Territorial Army unit – in Islington, north London.
10 – Bulgaria’s former Communist Party – renamed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) – wins the country’s first free elections in more than four decades.
11 – Olivia Newton-John becomes a United Nations environmental ambassador.
11 – John Poindexter, National Security Adviser to former US President Ronald Reagan, is sentenced to six months in prison for lying to Congress over the Iran-Contra affair of 1985-1986.
21 – An earthquake hits an area north-west of Tehran in Iran causing 40,000 fatalities and making half a million homeless.
25 – More than 20 people are injured when an IRA bomb badly damages the Carlton Club in St James’s Street, London.
25 – The US Supreme Court upholds a court verdict that an individual has the right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. This comes just three weeks after Dr Jack Kevorkian lets a terminally ill woman, Janet Adkins, use his “suicide machine”.
28 – The Prince of Wales breaks his right arm in two places during a polo match at Cirencester Park, Gloucestershire.
30 – The US National Academy of Science announces that the AIDS epidemic is not levelling off, but rather spreading to new groups including black and Hispanic women.
30 – The West German D-Mark is brought in as legal tender for East Germany as the economic and monetary union of the two countries comes into effect, paving the way for full reunification.
02 – Representatives of the Italian Catholic Church announce they will attempt to halt Madonna‘s concerts in Rome because of her inappropriate use of crucifixes and other sacred symbols.
02 – 1,426 pilgrims die in a tunnel leading to Mecca when a breakdown in the air conditioning system causes a stampede.
04 – England is defeated in the semi-finals of the soccer World Cup by West Germany after a penalty shoot-out. In the other semi-final, Italy is beaten by Argentina, also on penalties.
07 – Martina Navratilova beats Zina Garrison to win her ninth women’s title at Wimbledon.
08 – West Germany beats Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup final.
08 – Stefan Edberg of Sweden beats Boris Becker of West Germany in five sets to win the men’s final at Wimbledon.
10 – Mikhail Gorbachev wins re-election as the leader of the Soviet Communist Party.
10 – The European football authority UEFA lifts its bans on English clubs playing in Europe.
10 – England beats New Zealand in the third test by 114 runs to win the series.
12 – Boris Yeltsin resigns from the Soviet Communist Party. Days later, tens of thousands of demonstrators gather beside the walls of the Kremlin to voice their opposition to the Soviet Communist Party.
15 – Stage and film actress Margaret Lockwood dies in London aged 73.
15 – After failing to finish in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Nigel Mansell announces he will retire from motor racing at the end of the season.
16 – An earthquake in the Philippines registers at 7.7 on the Richter scale and causes the deaths of more than 1,000 people in Manila and the surrounding area.
16 – Judas Priest go on trial in Reno, Nevada, accused of placing subliminal messages on their Stained Class album and causing two teenage fans to shoot themselves, one fatally.
18 – Patricia Cahill, 17, and Karen Smith, 18, from the Midlands are arrested for drug smuggling in Thailand. The two were in possession of nearly 70lb (32kg) of powdered heroin with a street value of about £4m hidden in shampoo bottles and coffee and biscuit tins. Both girls are found guilty and serve three years in prison before being given a royal pardon after pressure from the British Government.
20 – A time bomb planted by the IRA explodes in the Stock Exchange in the City of London, damaging the rear of the building and halting some trading for a period. No one is hurt.
22 – British golfer Nick Faldo wins the Open championship at St Andrews by five strokes.
24 – Three policemen and a Roman Catholic nun, Sister Catherine Dunn, are killed when an IRA landmine explodes on a road outside Armagh in Northern Ireland.
25 – Comedienne Roseanne Barr sings the US National Anthem in San Diego before a baseball game and is booed for her performance.
26 – President Bush signs a landmark law forbidding discrimination against disabled persons in employment, public accommodations and transportation.
26 – Grateful Dead pianist Brent Mydland dies outside his home in Lafayette, California, from a morphine/cocaine overdose.
30 – Conservative MP for Eastbourne and former Treasury Minister Ian Gow is killed by an IRA bomb which explodes in his car as he drives from his home in Hankham, Sussex.
01 – Press censorship in the Soviet Union is abolished under a new law which makes it a criminal offence to interfere with the professional activities of journalists.
02 – Under orders from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iraqi troops invade Kuwait. The United Nations and a majority of Arab nations immediately condemn the invasion and call for a withdrawal.
03 – Temperatures in Britain are the highest ever recorded. By 10 August more than 18 million Britons are banned from using their hosepipes because of water shortages.
06 – The UN imposes sanctions against Iraq and invokes Article 51, the right to ‘individual or collective self-defence’, paving the way for military action.
07 – The United States dispatches troops, armour and aircraft to Saudi Arabia in order to protect the country against a possible offensive by Iraqi troops.
08 – Iraq annexes Kuwait.
09 – US forces begin arriving in Saudi Arabia as President Bush begins assembling a coalition of UN countries against Iraq.
10 – 12 out of 21 member nations of the Arab League vote to support US and UN actions against Iraq.
10 – The American Magellan spacecraft arrives at Venus after a 15-month journey. It is placed in an elliptical orbit around the planet’s poles and will begin mapping the surface, carrying on until 1994.
12 – Douglas Croskery, a British man attempting to escape from Iraqi-occupied Kuwait in a three-car convoy heading for Saudi Arabia is shot dead by Iraqi soldiers. He had been working in Kuwait for only a few weeks at the time of the Iraqi invasion.
12 – Seven-year-old Gemma Lawrence is snatched from her bed through the open window of a caravan parked at West Bay, Dorset. After a two-day search, armed police surround a house nearby and rescue the girl unharmed. Paul Stephen Burton, 23, is arrested and charged with abduction.
13 – Soul star Curtis Mayfield is paralysed from the neck down when a lighting rig collapses on him at an outdoor show in Brooklyn, New York.
18 – The first shots are fired by the US in the Persian Gulf when the USS Reid – a guided missile frigate – fires rounds across the bow of an Iraqi oil tanker that refuses to alter its course.
22 – Angry smokers blockade a street in Moscow to protest about the summer-long cigarette shortage. The man blamed for the shortage, Vladilen Nikitin, is sacked by President Gorbachev.
26 – 178 miners die when they are trapped 500 feet underground after an explosion in a coal mine at Kreka, Bosnia in Yougoslavia.
27 – Texan guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan dies in a freak helicopter crash after a concert in East Troy, Wisconsin. The 35-year old has only just made a comeback after long-term drink and drugs problems. Pilot error is blamed for the accident.
28 – Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein declares that Kuwait is now the 19th province of Iraq.
28 – PC Laurence Brown, aged 27, is shot dead at point-blank range in Hackney, east London while investigating a report of suspicious behaviour on a housing estate. A man is later charged with his murder.
29 – The United Nations sets a deadline of 15 January for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait and authorises the use of “all necessary means” to enforce its ruling.
02 – An Iraqi Airways jumbo jet flies 200 British women and children back from Baghdad following Saddam Hussein’s promise to release all women and children hostages.
03 – New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer resigns after 13 months in office. He is succeeded by Mike Moore, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
06 – Tom Fogerty, the former guitarist with Creedence Clearwater Revival, dies – aged 48 – at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was suffering from respiratory failure brought on by tuberculosis.
15 – The IRA shoot dead off-duty RUC officer PC Louis Robinson after kidnapping him as he returned from a fishing trip in the Irish Republic.
18 – Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Terry is shot and seriously wounded by the IRA at his home near Stafford. Sir Peter was Governor of Gibraltar in 1988 when the SAS shot dead three IRA members and had signed the authorisation of that act.
18 – Banker Charles H Keating is jailed in Los Angeles on criminal fraud charges concerning saving-and-loans.
24 – The Supreme Soviet gives President Gorbachev powers to rule by decree for the next 18 months while changing the country to a market economy.
24 – Winnie Mandela, the wife of the deputy president of the African National Congress, is ordered to stand trial in Johannesburg on charges of kidnapping and serious assault.
25 – At the Dutchman rehearsal room in Seattle, Washington, a drummer named Dave Grohl auditions to join a band called Nirvana. He is successful.
03 – The former state of Communist East Germany joins the Federal Republic of Germany and Berlin is re-unified after 43 years of division.
03 – Stefano Casiraghi, the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, is killed during a world championship off-shore powerboat race.
09 – Two IRA terrorists, Desmond Grew and Martin McCaughey, both armed, are shot dead by security forces on a farm near the Armagh-Tyrone border in Northern Ireland.
10 – The space shuttle Discovery lands safely in California after a four-day journey comprising 66 orbits of the earth during which time it successfully launches the European Ulysses space probe towards Jupiter.
14 – Leonard Bernstein, the composer, pianist and conductor, dies at his home in New York, aged 72.
15 – Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
18 – The city of Los Angeles declares today ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show Day’.
31 – Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses is arrested for hitting a neighbour with a bottle in a fight about the volume of his stereo.
02 – Sky and BSB merge to form BSkyB.
05 – President Bush signs a budget law intended to reduce the federal budget by $492 billion over the next five years. Despite his famous “Read my lips: No new taxes” promise during the 1988 campaign, the law includes $140 billion in new taxes.
06 – About 20% of the Universal Studios backlot in Southern California is destroyed after an arson attack.
09 – Mary Robinson becomes the first woman to be elected president of the Republic of Ireland.
10 – Chandra Shekhar is sworn in as India’s new prime minister.
12 – Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones is injured when he is hit by a car near London.
12 – Emperor Akihito, the first Japanese emperor to be proclaimed as head of state rather than a living god, is enthroned in Tokyo’s Imperial Palace.
13 – Journalist and author Malcolm Muggeridge dies aged 87.
14 – The Who‘s Pete Townshend tells an interviewer that he is bisexual. He will later claim he was misquoted.
15 – President Bush signs the Clean Air Act of 1990 which updates and tightens air pollution standards for the first time since 1977.
19 – The Cold War is officially ended as leaders of NATO and Warsaw Pact countries sign the arms control treaty and a joint declaration renouncing the use of force. The signings take place at the Élysée Palace in Paris.
22 – Margaret Thatcher resigns as UK Conservative party leader and Prime Minister after her Cabinet refuses to back her in a second round of leadership elections.
23 – Author Roald Dahl dies in an Oxford hospital aged 80.
25 – Lech Walesa wins Poland’s first free election and becomes president.
27 – John Major wins the second ballot for the leadership of the Conservative party and becomes the new British Prime Minister.
01 – Engineers digging the Channel Tunnel break through, joining Britain to mainland Europe for the first time since the Ice Age.
09 – Slobodan Milošević becomes the president of Serbia, one of the republics making up the troubled state of Yugoslavia.
14 – After 30 years in exile, ANC president Oliver Tambo returns to South Africa.
15 – Rod Stewart marries blonde model Rachel Hunter in Beverly Hills, California.
26 – Romania expels ex-King Michael only 12 hours after he returns from 43 years of exile.
Also this year . . .
- BSE begins to devastate British farming
- Monica Seles wins the 1990 French Open at the age of 16