1989 Timeline by David Miller

Events List

Economic Report

January 6, 1989

Economic reports on the previous year from the Labor Department indicate a growth rate of 3.8%, the largest in four years and an unemployment rate of 5.3%, a low of fourteen years.

The Satanic Verses

February 14, 1989

Valentine’s Day, Ayatollah Khomeini placed a $3 million bounty on Salman Rushdie, the author of 'The Satanic Verses', which was accused of being ‘against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran.'

Exxon Valdez Crash

March 24, 1989

The Exxon Valdez crashes into Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound, causing the largest oil spill in American history, eleven million gallons, which extended forty-five miles.

Oliver North's Conviction

May 4, 1989

North is convicted after the Iran- Contra Affair, on three charges: accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents.

Ayatollah Khomeini's Death

May 25, 1989

Ayatollah Khomeini dies in Iran after having been the supreme religious leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran for twenty years.

Tiananmen Square Massacre

June 4, 1989

Chinese troops storm through Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters. The brutal Chinese government assault on the protesters shocked the West.


June 23, 1989

Tim Burton's Batman becomes the highest grossing (at the time) film based on a DC comic book.

Sega Genesis

August 14, 1989

Sega releases the all new 16-bit console, Genesis to North America inviting a new era of gaming.

America's Pastime Tarnished

August 24, 1989

Pete Rose receives his lifetime ban from baseball due to allegations of gambling.

Voyager Make's Distance

August 26, 1989

NASA's Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to observe the planet Neptune, its closest approach to any planet 12 years after leaving Earth in 1977.

Hurricane Hugo

September 21,1989

In South Carolina, Hurricane Hugo makes landfall causing $7 billion in damage.

Loma Prieta Earthquake

October 17, 1989

San Francisco was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, killing 67 and injuring over 3,000

Berlin Reunited

November 9, 1989

The Berlin Wall, after thirty-eight years of restricting traffic between the East and West German sides of the city, begins to crumble when German citizens are allowed to travel freely between East and West Germany. One day later, the influx of crowds around and onto the wall begin to dismantle it, ending its existence.

Velvet Revolution

November 16, 1989

The non-violent Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia saw the overthrow of the Communist government.

The Simpsons

December 17, 1989

The Simpsons' debut

Panama Invasion

December 20, 1989

The United States invades Panama in an attempt to overthrow military dictator Manuel Noriega.