1989 is a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar).
1986 1987 1988 - 1989 - 1990 1991 1992
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
- January 7 - Akihito becomes Emperor of Japan following the death of Hirohito. The Heisei period begins
- January 8 - the Kegworth Air Disaster - British Midlands Boeing 737 crashes on approach to East Midlands Airport - 44 dead
- January 9 - The Sega Genesis is released in New York, New York and Los Angeles, California
- January 10 - Cuban troops begin withdrawing from Angola
- January 17 - A gunman kills 5 children, wounds 30 and then shoots himself in Stockton, California
- January 20 - George Herbert Walker Bush succeeds Ronald Wilson Reagan as President of the United States of America
- January 24 - Serial killer Ted Bundy is executed in Florida's electric chair
- January 30 - Bruce Kimball is sentenced to 17 years in prison for killing two teenagers in a drunk driving accident
- February 2 - Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: The last Soviet Union armored column leaves Kabul ending nine years of military occupation
- February 3 - Military coup overthrows Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay
- February 3 - After a stroke, P.W. Botha resigns party leadership and the presidency of South Africa
- February 10 - Ron Brown is elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee becoming the first African American to lead a major American political party
- February 11 - Barbara Clementine Harris is consecrated first female bishop in the Episcopal Church (United States of America)
- February 14 - Union Carbide agrees to pay USD $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal Disaster
- February 14 - Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini encourages Muslims to kill the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
- February 14 - The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System is placed into orbit
- February 15 - Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announces that all of its troops had left Afghanistan
- February 16 - Pan Am flight 103: Investigators announce that the cause of the crash was a bomb hidden inside a radio-cassette player
- February 24 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini places a three-million-US dollar bounty for the death of The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie
- February 24 - A United Airlines Boeing 747 bound to New Zealand from Honolulu, Hawaii rips open during flight, sucking 9 passenger and crew out of the first class section. Luckily most passengers and crew were still belted to their seats at the time
- March 1 - The Berne Convention is ratified and enters into force with regard to the United States
- March 1 - A curfew is imposed in Kosovo where protests continue at the alleged intimidation of the Serb minority
- March 1 - Louis Wade Sullivan starts his term of office as U.S. Secretary of Commerce, serving under President George Herbert Walker Bush
- March 1 - James D. Watkins starts his term of office as U.S. Secretary of Energy, serving under President George Herbert Walker Bush
- March 1 - The Politieke Partij Radicalen, Pacifistisch Socialistische Partij, Communistische Partij Nederland and the Evangelische Volks Partij amalgamate to form Netherlands political party the GroenLinks (GL, GreenLeft)
- March 2 - 12 European Community nations agree to ban the production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end century
- March 4 - Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announce plans for a merger, forming Time-Warner
- March 4 - The Purley rail crash - 5 dead, 94 injured
- March 7 - Iran breaks off diplomatic relations with United Kingdom over Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses"
- March 9 - A strike forces financially-troubled Eastern Airlines into bankruptcy
- March 14 - Gun control: President George Herbert Walker Bush bans the importation of assault rifles into the United States
- March 18 - In Egypt, a 4,400-year-old mummy is found in the Great Pyramid of Giza
- March 23 - Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announce cold fusion at the University of Utah
- March 23 - A 1,000-foot diameter Near-Earth asteroid misses the Earth by 400,000 miles
- March 24 - Exxon Valdez oil spill: In Alaska's Prince William Sound the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil after running aground
- March 27 - The first free elections for the Soviet parliament go against the communist party
- April 4 - Richard M. Daley elected mayor of Chicago
- April 7 - Soviet submarine Komsomolets sinks in the Barents Sea - more than 40 dead
- April 15 - Hillsborough disaster, one of the biggest tragedies of European football, takes place
- April 19 - Gun turret explodes on the US battleship Iowa - 47 dead
- April 25 - End of term for Baginda Almutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail as the 8th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia
- April 26 - Sultan Azlan Muhibbudin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Yusuff Izzudin Shah Ghafarullahu-lahu, Sultan of Perak becomes the 9th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
- May 15 - Jackie Mann a 74-year-old former Battle of Britain pilot is abducted in Beirut
- May 30 - Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: The 33-foot high "Goddess of Democracy" statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators
- June 1 - The SkyDome stadium is opened in Toronto
- June 3 - The Ayatollah Khomeini dies
- June 4 - Suppression of the Tiananmen Square massacre takes place in Beijing and is covered live on television
- June 4 - Solidarity's victory in the first partly free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland spark off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe.
- June 4 - Train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia kills 645 as two trains passing each other throw sparks near a leaky pipeline
- June 13 - The wreck of the German battleship Bismarck, which was sunk in 1941, is located 600 miles west of Brest, France
- June 14 - Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is arrested in Beverly Hills, California after slapping a motorcycle police officer. 
- June 21 - British police arrest 250 citizens for celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge
- June 22 - Irelands first universities are established since independence in 1922, they are Dublin City University and University of Limerick
- July 2 - Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece resigns. New government formed under Tzannis Tzannetakis
- July 19 - A Douglas DC-10 carrying United Airlines flight 232 crashes in Sioux City, Iowa killing 112 but due to extraordinary efforts by the pilot and his crew, 184 on board survive
- July 19 - The BBC programme "Panorama" accuses Lady Porter Tory Leader of Westminster City Council of "gerrymandering"
- July 20 - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi placed under house arrest
- August 20 - The Marchioness collides with the dredger Bowbelle on the River Thames adjacent to Southwark Bridge - 51 dead
- August 25 - Voyager II passes the planet Neptune and its moon Triton
- July 26 - A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. for releasing a computer virus, making him the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
- The asteroid 4769 Castalia is the first asteroid directly imaged, by radar from Arecibo
- August 6 - The comic strip Bloom County ends.
- August 7 - US Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX), and 15 others die in a plane crash in Ethiopia
- August 8 - STS-28: The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a secret five-day military mission.
- August 18 - Leading presidential hopeful [[Luis Carlos Gal�n]] is assassinated near [[Bogot�]] in Colombia.
- August 19 - Polish president Wojciech Jaruzelski nominates Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be Prime Minister, thus becoming the first non-communist in power in 42 years.
- August 20 - In Beverly Hills, California, Lyle and Erik Menendez shoot their wealthy parents to death in their family's den.
- August 20 - 51 people die when the Marchioness pleasure boat collides with a barge on the River Thames.
- August 23 - Baltic Way, uninterrupted 600 kilometre human chain, in which two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, then still occupied by the Soviet Union, joined hands to demand freedom and independence
- September 10 - The Hungarian government opens the country's western borders to refugees from the German Democratic Republic.
- September 15 - The Sega Genesis is released in the rest of North America.
- September 22 - Deal barracks bombing: IRA bomb explodes at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, United Kingdom - 11 dead, 22 injured
- October 5 - US TV Evangelist Jim Bakker is found guilty of embezzlement of $158 million
- October 9 - An official news agency in the Soviet Union reports the landing of a UFO in Voronezh.
- October 9 - In Leipzig, East Germany protesters demand the legalization of opposition groups and democratic reforms
- October 17 - An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the richter scale strikes the San Francisco / Oakland area in the United States, killing 63.
- October 19 - The Guildford Four are freed after 14 years
- October 19 - Samora Machel, president of Mozambique, and 33 others die in an air crash
- November 7 - Douglas Wilder wins the governor's seat in Virginia and becomes the first elected African American governor in the United States
- November 7 - David Dinkins becomes the first African American mayor of New York City.
- November 7 - In California, convicted murderer Richard Ramirez (the "Night Stalker") is sentenced to death.
- November 9 - Cold War: Communist-controlled East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to freely travel to West Germany for the first time in decades (the next day celebrating Germans began to tear the wall down).
- November 10 - After 45 years of communist rule in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Communist Party leader Todor Zhivkov is replaced by Prime Minister Petar Mladenov, who changes the party's name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
- November 12 - Brazil holds its first free presidential election since 1960
- November 16 - Six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter are shot in San Salvador, El Salvador
- November 16 - South African President FW de Klerk announces scrapping of Separate Amenities Act
- November 17 - Cold War: Velvet Revolution begins - In Czechoslovakia a peaceful student demonstration in Prague is severely beaten back by the communist riot police. This sparks a revolution aimed at overthrowing the communist government (it succeeded on December 29)
- November 20 - Cold War: Velvet Revolution - The number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.
- Tuesday, November 21, 1989 - North Carolina celebrates its bicentennial statehood.
- November 22 - In west Beirut, a bomb explodes near the motorcade of Lebanese President Rene Moawad and kills him.
- November 28 - Cold War: Velvet Revolution - With other communist regimes falling all around it and with growing street protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announces they will give up their monopoly on political power (elections held in December brought the first non-communist government to Czechoslovakia in more than 40 years)
- November 30 - Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen is killed by a terrorist's bomb (the Red Army Faction claimed responsibility of the murder)
- November 30 - A storeowner in Palm Harbor, Florida named Richard Mallory takes a ride with Aileen Wuornos and is seen for the last time (Mallory became the first of seven people killed by the female serial killer over the next year)
- December 1 - Cold War: East Germany's parliament abolishes the constitutional provision granting the communist party the leading role in the state (Egon Krenz, the Politburo and the Central Committee resigned two days later).
- December 3 - Cold War: In a meeting off the coast of Malta, US President George Herbert Walker Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the cold war between their nations may be coming to an end (some commentators from both nations exaggerated the wording and independently declared the Cold War over).
- December 6 - The [[�cole Polytechnique Massacre]] (or Montreal Massacre): [[Marc L�pine]], an anti-feminist gunman, murders fourteen young women at the [[�cole Polytechnique de Montr�al|�cole Polytechnique]] in Montreal.
- December 14 - Chile holds its first free election in 16 years.
- December 17 - Brazil holds its first free election in 29 years. Fernando Collor de Mello wins the election.
- December 20 - United States invades Panama (Operation Just Cause) to overthrow Manuel Noriega - he takes refuge in the Vatican mission until January 3 1990
- December 22 - After a week bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu takes over as president of Romania, ending Nicolae Ceauşescu's communist dictatorship.
- December 25 - Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena are executed.
- December 25 - Bank of Japan governors announce a major interest rate hike, eventually leading to the peak and fall of the "bubble economy."
- December 29 - [[V�clav Havel]] elected the president of Czechoslovakia - a big victory of the Velvet Revolution.
- December 29 - Riots break-out after Hong Kong decides to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees.
- Rice University celebrates the demisesquicentennial anniversary of its founding
- Kamchatka opened to Russian civilian visitors
- Retirement of the Alize propeller-driven anti-submarine planes from carrier service in the French Navy
- The first national park, in Schiermonnikoog, is established in The Netherlands
- Soviet submarine K-173, Chelyabinsk, commissioned
- The wreck of the Lady Elgin discovered off Highland Park, Illinois by Harry Zych
- Margaret Rey establishes the Curious George Foundation to help creative children and prevent cruelty to animals
- The most known child murder in Finland was done by Veikko "Jammu" Siltavuori, who abducted and murdered two 8 year old girls in Myllypuro suburb in Helsinki
- Nintendo released its popular handheld video game player, Game Boy
Year in topic
- 1989 in film
- Friday, April 21, 1989 - Field of Dreams
- Wednesday, May 24, 1989 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery
- Friday, June 2, 1989 - Dead Poets Society
- Wednesday, June 14, 1989 - Do the Right Thing
- Friday, June 23, 1989 - Batman
- Wednesday, July 12, 1989 - When Harry Met Sally...
- Wednesday, August 9, 1989 - The Abyss starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn
- Wednesday, November 22, 1989 - Back to the Future Part II starring Michael J. Fox
- Wednesday, December 13, 1989 - Driving Miss Daisy
- Saturday, December 16, 1989 - Godzilla vs Biollante (Japanese release date)
- Wednesday, December 20, 1989 - Born on the Fourth of July
- 1989 in literature
- 1989 in music
- Amon (later Deicide) releases Sacrificial
- Bad Religion releases their popular Epitaph Records album No Control
- The Band are inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame
- De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising helps invent the field of alternative rap
- N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton is the first hip hop album to achieve widespread mainstream success
- 1989 in sports
- Sunday, January 22, 1989 - Super Bowl XXIII San Francisco 49ers (20) def. Cincinnati Bengals (16)
- Saturday, February 11, 1989 - US female Figure Skating championship won by Jill Trenary
- Tuesday, March 21, 1989 - Sports Illustrated reports allegations that tie Pete Rose to baseball gambling
- Thursday, August 24, 1989 - Following allegations that he gambled on baseball, Baseball player Pete Rose is banned from baseball for life by commissioner Bart Giamatti
- 1989 in television
- January 3 - Alex D. Linz, actor
- March 5 - Jake Lloyd, actor
- March 15 - Caitlin Wachs, actress
- March 25 - Alyson Michalka, actress
- April 18 - Alia Shawkat, actress
- June 2 - Freddy Adu, soccer prodigy
- July 23 - Daniel Radcliffe, actor
- October 11 - Michelle Wie, golf prodigy
- December 27 - Kateryna Lahno, Ukrainian chess player
- January 6 - Chris Gueffroy, last person killed crossing the GDR border
- January 7 - Emperor Hirohito of Japan
- January 21 - Billy Tipton, jazz musician (b. 1914)
- January 23 - [[Salvador Dal�]], artist
- January 24 - Ted Bundy, serial killer (electrocuted)
- February 3 - John Cassavetes, actor, director, writer
- February 6 - Roy Eldridge, jazz musician (b. 1911)
- February 6 - Barbara W. Tuchman, historian
- February 11 - George O'Hanlon, actor/director
- February 27 - Konrad Lorenz
- March 9 - Robert Mapplethorpe, artist
- April 26 - Lucille Ball, actress, comedienne
- April 30 - Sergio Leone, director
- May 14 - E. P. Taylor, Canadian business tycoon
- May 20 - Gilda Radner, comedian, actress
- June 3 - The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iranian religious and political figure
- June 28 - Joris Ivens, filmmaker
- July 10 - Mel Blanc, voice actor (b. 1908)
- August 22 - Diana Vreeland, fashion editor
- August 29 - Peter Scott, naturalist, artist, and explorer
- September 1 - Bart Giamatti, academic, Commissioner of Major League Baseball
- September 22 - Irving Berlin, composer (b. 1888)
- September 28 - Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, Philippine political figure and strongman
- October 4 - Secretariat, Triple Crown winner in 1973, two-time Horse of the Year (b. 1970)
- October 4 - Graham Chapman, comedian
- October 11 - M. King Hubbert, geophysicist
- November 5 - Vladimir Horowitz, pianist
- November 11 - Kenneth MacLean Glazier, Sr., minister, librarian
- December 6 – [[Marc L�pine]], mass murderer of 14 women
- December 16 - Silvana Mangano, actress
- December 22 - Samuel Beckett, writer, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature 1969
- December 25 - Nicolae Ceausescu, former ruler of Romania (executed)
- Physics - Norman F. Ramsey, Hans G. Dehmelt, Wolfgang Paul
- Chemistry - Sidney Altman, Thomas R. Cech
- Medicine - J. Michael Bishop, Harold E. Varmus
- Literature - Camilo Jos� Cela
- Peace - Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
- Economics - Trygve Haavelmoaf:1989
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