1989 History Events: What Happened in 1989

In 1989, the Western world watched as Ronald Reagan passed the presidential torch to George HW Bush. When the former began office, the world’s population had risen to around 5.2 billion people. The world welcomed celebrities like Chris Brown, Daniel Radcliffe, and Taylor Swift among a sea of newborns named Mike and Jessica. On the other hand, some well-known individuals have passed away. Salvador Dali, Hirohito (the Emperor of Japan), Ted Bundy, Lucille Ball, and Bette Davis were among those who attended.

With the release of A Time to Kill, John Grisham had millions on the edge of their seats and himself at the top of the best-selling list. Meanwhile, Batman and Dead Poets Society also broke box office records. Continue reading to learn how 1989 contributed to international peace, irrevocably altered the environment of our oceans, and introduced the world of advertising to Spanish-speaking people all around the world.

In 1989, a number of noteworthy events occurred for the first time. A heterosexual couple revealed that they had contracted AIDS. On American television, the world’s first Spanish commercial aired, and the first stamp honouring gay and lesbian Americans was presented. For the first time in decades, the former communist republic of the USSR held free elections. Finally, the United States tested its first stealth bomber this year.

The tragedy in Tiananmen Square and the horrible environmental disaster that was the Exxon-Valdez oil spill marked 1989 as a watershed year for the world. To end this section on a good note, 140 countries joined forces in 1989 to outlaw the use of chemical weapons like Agent Orange and Mustard Gas. In addition, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1989.


(February 14, 1989)
On this day in 1989, Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa and offered a reward for the killing of author Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses (1988) was deemed by Khomeini as heretical.


(February 15, 1989)
After occupying Afghanistan since 1979, the Soviet Union evacuated its final soldiers under President Mikhail Gorbachev.

(March 24, 1989)
The oil ship Exxon Valdez ran aground on this day in 1989, releasing 11 million gallons (41 million litres) of oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska, making it the greatest oil spill in US history.

(April 12, 1989)
Sugar Ray Robinson, a six-time world champion and widely regarded as the greatest fighter in history, passed away in California.

(April 15, 1989)
A crush of football (soccer) fans resulted in 96 deaths and hundreds of injuries at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England; police faults were ultimately blamed for the disaster.


(April 26, 1989)
Lucille Ball, a longstanding American television comedy queen best known for her classic comedy series I Love Lucy, died in Los Angeles.

(June 03, 1989)
On this day in 1989, the Chinese government dispatched the military to suppress a pro-democracy demonstration in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, which resulted in hundreds of deaths.

(November 07, 1989) Douglas Wilder, an American politician, was elected governor of Virginia, becoming the first African American to win a gubernatorial election in the United States.

(November 09, 1989)
The Berlin Wall, constructed in 1961 and eventually stretching 28 miles (45 km) to divide the western and eastern sections of Berlin, was officially opened on this day in 1989 by the East German government. photo source:


(November 28, 1989)
All Hail the Queen, Queen Latifah's debut album, helped to revolutionise the previously male-dominated rap genre. photo source:

(December 13, 1989)
Taylor Swift, a country music singer-songwriter from the United States, was born. photo source:

(December 22, 1989)
Reopening of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, brings an end to the separation of the country into East and West. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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