We continue our look at the decades leading to 2016.


January 1

Spain and Portugal enter the European Community, which later becomes the European Union.

Aruba gains increased autonomy from the Netherlands and is separated from the Netherlands Antilles.

The Province of Flevoland is established in the Netherlands.

UNIDO becomes a specialised agency of the United Nations.

In Northern Ireland as part of The Troubles, James McCandless (39) and Michael Williams (24), both Protestant members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, are killed by a Provisional Irish Republican Army remote controlled bomb hidden in a litter bin and detonated when their foot patrol passes at Thomas Street, Armagh.

January 9 – After losing a patent battle with Polaroid, Kodak leaves the instant camera business.

January 11 – The Gateway Bridge in Brisbane, Australia, at this time the world’s longest prestressed concrete free-cantilever bridge, is opened.

January 12 – STS-61-C: Space Shuttle Columbia is launched with the first Hispanic American astronaut, Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz.

January 13–24 – South Yemen Civil War.

January 19 – The first PC virus, Brain, starts to spread.

January 20 – The United Kingdom and France announce plans to construct the Channel Tunnel.

January 24 – The Voyager 2 space probe makes its first encounter with Uranus.

January 25 – Yoweri Museveni‘s National Resistance Army Rebel group takes over Uganda after leading a 5-year guerrilla war in which up to half a million people are believed to have been killed. They will later use January 26 as the official date to avoid a coincidence of dates with Dictator Idi Amin‘s 1971 coup.

January 26 – Super Bowl XX was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Chicago Bears and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1985 season. The Bears defeated the Patriots by the score of 46–10, capturing their first NFL championship since 1963, three years prior to the birth of the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XX was played on January 26, 1986, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

January 28 – Space Shuttle Challenger disaster – STS-51-L: Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates 73 seconds after launch from the United States, killing the crew of 7 astronauts, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.

January 29 – Yoweri Museveni is sworn in as President of Uganda.


February 3 – Pixar Animation Studios are opened in California.

February 7 – President Jean-Claude Duvalier (“Baby Doc”) flees Haiti, ending 28 years of family rule. (shown below leaving in Feb 1986)

February 8 – The Hinton train collision happened, which a Canadian National train heading westbound collided with a Via Rail train in Hinton, Alberta. 23 people were killed in the accident, and injured 71 people.

February 9 – Halley’s Comet reaches its perihelion, the closest point to the Sun, during its second visit to the solar system in the 20th century (the first was in 1910).

February 11 – Human rights activist Natan Sharansky is released by the Soviet Union and leaves the country.

February 15 – The Beechcraft Starship makes its maiden flight.

February 16

The Soviet liner MS Mikhail Lermontov sinks in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.

Ouadi Doum air raid: The French Air Force raids the Libyan Ouadi Doum airbase in northern Chad.

February 17 – The Single European Act is signed.

February 19

The Soviet Union launches the Mir space station.

The United States Senate approves a treaty outlawing genocide.

February 21 – Nintendo releases the first game in the Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda, in Japan on the Famicom.

February 22 – People Power Revolution begins in the Philippines to remove President Ferdinand Marcos from office.

February 25

The 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union opens in Moscow. The General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev introduces the keywords of his mandate to the audience: Glasnost and Perestroika.

People Power Revolution: President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines goes into exile in Hawaii after 20 years of rule; Corazon Aquino becomes the first Filipino woman president, first as an interim president. Salvador Laurel becomes her Vice President.

Egyptian military police, protesting against bad salaries, enter 4 luxury hotels near the pyramids, set fire to them and loot them.

February 27 – The United States Senate allows its debates to be televised on a trial basis.

February 28 – Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme is shot to death on his way home from the cinema in Stockholm, Sweden.


March 1 – Olof Palme`s deputy Ingvar Carlsson becomes acting Prime Minister of Sweden. He is elected Prime Minister by the Swedish Riksdag on March 15 .

March 3 – The first paper is published describing the atomic force microscope invented the previous year by Gerd Binnig, Calvin Quate and Christopher Berger.

March 4 – The Today national tabloid newspaper is launched in the United Kingdom, pioneering the use of computer photosetting and full-colour offset printing, at a time when British national newspapers still use Linotype machines and letterpress printing.

March 8 – The Japanese Suisei probe flies by Halley’s Comet, studying its UV hydrogen corona and solar wind.

March 9 – United States Navy divers find the largely intact but heavily damaged crew compartment of the Space Shuttle Challenger; the bodies of all seven astronauts are still inside.

March 13 – In a Black Sea incident, American cruiser USS Yorktown and the destroyer USS Caron, claiming the right of innocent passage, enter the Soviet territorial waters near the southern Crimean Peninsula.

March 14 – Microsoft Corporation holds its initial public offering of stock shares.

March 15 – Hotel New World collapses, 33 killed and 17 rescued from rubble.

March 25 – The 58th Academy Awards are held in Los Angeles, with Out of Africa winning Best Picture.

March 26 – An article in The New York Times charges that Kurt Waldheim, former United Nations Secretary-General and candidate for president of Austria, may have been involved in Nazi war crimes during World War II.

March 27 – Russell Street Bombing: A car bomb explodes at Russell Street Police Headquarters in Russell Street, Melbourne, killing a police constable, the first Australian policewoman to be killed in the line of duty.

March 31

A fire causes extensive damage at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, England.

Mexicana Flight 940 crashes near Maravatío, Mexico, killing 167.


April 26: Chernobyl Disaster in Kiev, U.S.S.R.

April 1 – Sector Kanda: Communist Party of Nepal (Mashal) cadres attack a number of police stations in Kathmandu, seeking to incite a popular rebellion.

April 2 – A bomb explodes on a Trans World Airlines flight from Rome to Athens, killing 4 people.

April 3 – The British children’s TV show The Raggy Dolls is released on ITV in the UK.

April 5

1986 Berlin discotheque bombing: The West Berlin discothèque La Belle, a known hangout for United States soldiers, is bombed, killing 3 and injuring 230; Libya is held responsible.

Jean Michel Jarre plays Rendez-vous Houston concert in Houston, Texas.

April 13 – Pope John Paul II officially visits the Great Synagogue of Rome, the first time a modern Pope has visited a synagogue.

April 13 – The first child born to a non-related surrogate mother is born.

April 14 – Hailstones weighing 1 kg (2.2 lb) fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.

April 15 – Operation El Dorado Canyon: At least 15 people die after United States planes bomb targets in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and the Benghazi region.

April 17

John McCarthy is kidnapped in Beirut (released in August 1991) – 3 others are found dead; Revolutionary Cells claims responsibility in retaliation for the U.S. bombing of Libya.

The Hindawi affair begins when an Irishwoman is found unknowingly carrying explosives onto an El Al flight from London to Tel Aviv.

April 21 – Geraldo Rivera opens Al Capone‘s secret vault on The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults, discovering only a bottle of moonshine.

April 26 – Chernobyl disaster: A mishandled safety test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union “killed at least 4,056 people and damaged almost $7 billion of property”.[4]Radioactive fallout from the accident is concentrated near Belarus, Ukraine and Russia and at least 350,000 people are forcibly resettled away from these areas. After the accident, “traces of radioactive deposits unique to Chernobyl were in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere”.

April 27 – “Captain Midnight” interrupts the HBO satellite feed.

April 29 – The Diamond Jubilee of Hirohito is held at the Kokugikan in Tokyo.


May 2

Expo 86, the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication, a World’s fair, opens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The physical game show Takeshi’s Castle first airs on the Tokyo Broadcasting System.

May 3 – Sandra Kim from Belgium wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Bergen, Norway with her song J’aime la vie.

May 8 – Óscar Arias is inaugurated into his first term as President of Costa Rica.

May 9 – Short Circuit starring Fisher Stevens is released.

May 12 – NBC debuts the current well-known peacock as seen in the NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration.

May 16 – The Seville Statement on Violence is adopted by an international meeting of scientists, convened by the Spanish National Commission for UNESCO, in Seville, Spain.

May 19 – The Firearm Owners Protection Act is enacted.

May 23 – Somali President Siad Barre is injured in a car accident in Mogadishu and taken to Saudi Arabia for treatment. Somali opposition groups see this as an opportunity to try and remove Barre, beginning the Somali Civil War.

May 24 – The Montreal Canadiens win their 23rd Stanley Cup In Calgary against the Flames.

May 25

Hands Across America: At least 5,000,000 people form a human chain from New York City to Long Beach, California, to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness.

The Bangladeshi double decked ferry Shamia capsizes in the Meghna River, southern Barisal, Bangladesh, killing at least 600.

May 27 – The game credited as setting the template for role-playing video games, Dragon Quest, is released in Japan.

May 28 – Pingu premieres in Switzerland.

May 31 – The 1986 FIFA World Cup begins in Mexico.


June – Construction of the Oosterscheldekering, the world’s largest openable storm surge flood barrier, is completed in the Netherlands.

June 4 – Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

June 8 – Former United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim is elected president of Austria.

June 9 – The Rogers Commission releases its report on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

June 12 – South Africa declares a nationwide state of emergency.

June 14 – The Mindbender accident happened in West Edmonton Mall. 3 people died, and 1 person was injured.

June 19 – American college basketball player Len Bias suffers a fatal cardiac arrhythmia from a cocaine overdose, less than 48 hours after being selected 2nd overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft. Bias’ death came 11 days after the Celtics won their 16th NBA championship by defeating the Houston Rockets in the finals.

June 22 – In one of the most famous FIFA World Cup matches, Argentinian football player Diego Maradona scores one handball goal (nicknamed the “Hand of God”) and then dribbles past the entire English football team to score a second goal (nicknamed “The Goal of the Century”) with Argentina winning 2-1 against England.

June 23 – Eric Thomas develops LISTSERV, the first email list management software.

June 24 – The Dominican Republic recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

June 29 – Argentina defeats West Germany 3–2 to win the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico City.


July 1 – CSX Transportation is established.

July 5 – The Statue of Liberty is reopened to the public after celebrating its centennial and an extensive refurbishment.

July 5 – 20 – The Goodwill Games are held in Moscow.

July 7 – Australian drug smugglers Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers are executed in Malaysia.

July 12 – The New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Act decriminalizes consensual sex between men from the age of 16.

July 22 – In the Philippines, ABS-CBN Radio launches DZMM at 630 kHz on AM Band.

July 23 – In London, Prince Andrew, Duke of York marries Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey.

July 27 – Greg LeMond wins the Tour de France.

July 28 – Estate agent Suzy Lamplugh vanishes after a meeting in London.


August 2 – The first film produced by Studio Ghibli, Castle in the Sky directed by Hayao Miyazaki is released in Japan.

August 6

A low-pressure system moving from South Australia and redeveloping off the New South Wales coast dumps a record 328 millimetres (12.9 in) of rain in a day on Sydney.

In Louisville, Kentucky, William J. Schroeder, the second artificial heart recipient, dies after 620 days.

Australian Democrats leader Don Chipp retires from federal parliament and is succeeded by Janine Haines, the first woman to lead a political party in Australia.

August 19 – Two weeks after it was stolen, the Picasso painting Weeping Woman is found in a locker at the Spencer Street Station in Melbourne, Australia.

August 20 – In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States Postal Service employee Patrick Sherrill guns down 14 of his co-workers before committing suicide.

August 21 – The Lake Nyos disaster, a limnic eruption, occurs in Cameroon, killing nearly 2,000 people.

August 31

The Soviet passenger liner SS Admiral Nakhimov collides with the bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev in the Black Sea and sinks almost immediately, killing 398.

Aeroméxico Flight 498, a Douglas DC-9, collides with a Piper PA-28 over Cerritos, California, killing 67 on both aircraft and 15 on the ground.

The cargo ship Khian Sea departs from the docks of Philadelphia, carrying 14,000 tons of toxic waste. It wanders the seas for the next 16 months trying to find a place to dump its cargo. The waste is later dumped in Haiti.


September 1 – Jordan University of Science and Technology is established in Jordan.

September 4 – Eusko Alkartasuna, the Basque Social Democratic Party, is created in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

September 5 – Pan Am Flight 73, with 358 people on board, is hijacked at Karachi International Airport by four Abu Nidal terrorists.

September 6

The Big Mac Index is introduced in The Economist newspaper as a semi-humorous international measure of purchasing power parity.

In Istanbul, two Abu Nidal terrorists kill 22 and wound 6 inside the Neve Shalom Synagogue during Shabbat services.

September 7

Desmond Tutu becomes the first black Anglican Church bishop in South Africa.

Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet survives an assassination attempt by the FPMR; 5 of his bodyguards are killed.

September 8 – The Oprah Winfrey Show premieres in syndication.

September 13 – A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocks the city of Kalamata in southern Greece, killing 20 people, injuring 80 and completely destroying one-fifth of the city.

September 28 – The Democratic Progressive Party is founded. It was part of the Tangwai movement in new generation to challenge Kuomintang in Taiwan’s one-party politics.


October 1 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the Goldwater–Nichols Act into law, making official the largest reorganization of the United States Department of Defense since the Air Force was made a separate branch of service in 1947.

October 3 – TASCC, a superconducting cyclotron, officially opens at Chalk River Laboratories.

October 9

United States District Court Judge Harry E. Claiborne becomes the fifth federal official to be removed from office through impeachment.

News Corporation completes its acquisition of the Metromedia group of companies, thereby launching the Fox Broadcasting Company.

The Phantom of the Opera, the longest running Broadway show in history, opens at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

October 10 – The 5.7 Mw San Salvador earthquake shook San Salvador, El Salvador with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). Up to 1,500 people were killed.

October 11 – 12 – Cold War: Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Reykjavík, Iceland, to continue discussions about scaling back their intermediate missile arsenals in Europe, which end in failure.

October 12 – Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh visit the People’s Republic of China.

October 16 – The International Olympic Committee chooses Albertville, France to be the host city of the 1992 Winter Olympics and Barcelona, Spain to be the host city of the 1992 Summer Olympics. The IOC also announces that the summer and winter games will separate with the winter games on every even, common year; and the summer games on every even, leap year starting from 1992.

October 19 – Mozambican President Samora Machel‘s plane crashes in South Africa.

October 21 – The Marshall Islands became an associated state under the Compact of Free Association.

October 22 – In New York City, WNBC Radio‘s traffic helicopter crashes into the Hudson River, killing traffic reporter Jane Dornacker. The last words heard on-the-air are Dornacker’s screams of terror, “Hit the water! Hit the water! Hit the water!”

October 24 – Lambda Sigma Gamma Sorority Inc. is founded at Sacramento State by Linda V. Fuentes and 26 Founding Mothers.

October 26 – Bus deregulation goes into effect in the United Kingdom, except Greater London and Northern Ireland.

October 27

The International World Day of Prayer is held in Assisi, Italy.

World Series: The New York Mets defeat the Boston Red Sox in 7 games. This is the second world series title in the Mets franchise. It is also remembered for Game 6, when Bill Buckner lets a routine ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson roll through his legs, letting the Mets win and pull even with the Red Sox in the series.

The Big Bang in the London Stock Exchange abolishes fixed commission charges, paving the way for electronic trading.

October 28

The centennial of the Statue of Liberty‘s dedication is celebrated in New York Harbor.

In London, Jeremy Bamber is found guilty of the murder of his adoptive[9] parents, sister and twin nephews, and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a recommendation by the trial judge that he should serve at least 25 years before being considered for parole.

October 29 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher officially opens the M25 Motorway, which encircles Greater London, in a ceremony on the carriageway near Potters Bar. It became Europe’s second longest orbital road upon completion, and provides the first and only full bypass of London.


November 1

Queensland, Australia: Joh Bjelke-Petersen wins his final election as Premier of Queensland with 38.6% of the vote. He resigns on December 1, 1987, following revelations of his involvement with corruption released in the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Sandoz chemical spill: a major environmental disaster near Basel, Switzerland, pollutes the Rhine.

November 3

Iran–Contra affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa repo

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