1998 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar), and was designated the International Year of the Ocean.
1995 1996 1997 - 1998 - 1999 2000 2001
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- January 1998 - A massive ice storm, caused by El Niño, strikes New England, southern Ontario and Quebec, resulting in widespread power failures, severe damage to forests, and a number of deaths.
- January 1 - Smoking is banned in all California bars and restaurants
- January 2 - Russia begins to circulate new rubles to stem inflation and promote confidence.
- January 2 - Gunman shoots Antario Teodoro Filho, Brazilian politician and radio presenter, in a middle of his broadcast
- January 6 - The Lunar Prospector spacecraft is launched into orbit around the Moon and later found evidence for frozen water on the moon's surface.
- January 8 - Ramzi Yousef is sentenced to life in prison for planning the World Trade Center bombing.
- January 8 - Cosmologists announce that the expansion rate of the universe is increasing.
- January 12 - 19 European nations agree to forbid human cloning.
- January 14 - Researchers in Dallas, Texas present findings about an enzyme that slows aging and cell death (apoptosis).
- January 15 - The stalker of Howard Stern, Lance Carvin, is sentenced to 2 1/2 years for threatening to kill Stern and his family.
- January 16 - NASA announces that John Glenn will return to space when Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off in October 1998.
- January 17 - Paula Jones accuses President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment
- January 22 - Suspected "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski pleads guilty and accepts a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
- January 26 - Lewinsky scandal: On American television, Bill Clinton denies he had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
- January 26 - Compaq buys Digital Equipment Corporation
- January 27 - American First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on the Today show calling the attacks against her husband were part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."
- January 28 - Ford Motor Company announces the buyout of Volvo Cars for $6.45 billion
- January 28 - Gunmen hold at least 400 children and teachers hostage for several hours at an elementary school in Manila, Philippines
- January 29 - In Birmingham, Alabama a bomb explodes at an abortion clinic killing one and severely wounding another. Serial bomber Eric Rudolph is suspected as the culprit.
- February - Iraq disarmament crisis: The United States Senate passes resolution 71, which urged President Bill Clinton to "take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
- February 1998 - Roger Nicholas Angleton committed suicide in a prison cell in Houston, Texas by cutting himself with razor blades. He admitted to murdering socialite Doris Angleton in her River Oaks home in his suicide note.
- February 3 - A United States Military pilot causes the death of 20 skiers in Italy riding on a lift suspended by a cable snapped by the low-flying plane. See Cavalese cable-car disaster
- February 3 - Karla Faye Tucker is executed in Texas becoming the first woman executed in the United States since 1984
- February 4 - An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in northeast Afghanistan kills more than 5,000
- February 6 - Washington National Airport is renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
- February 6 - Crown Prince Abdullah becomes the ruler of Jordan by decree of his father, King Hussein
- February 10 - A college dropout becomes the first person to be convicted of a hate crime committed in cyberspace
- February 10 - Voters in Maine repeal a gay rights law passed in 1997 becoming the first U.S. state to abandon such a law
- February 12 - The presidential line-item veto is declared unconstitutional by a United States federal judge
- February 14 - Authorities in the United States announce that Eric Rudolph is a suspect in an Alabama abortion clinic bombing
- February 18 - Two white separatists were arrested in Nevada and accused of plotting a biological attack on New York City subways.
- February 19 - 66-day blackout begins in Auckland, New Zealand
- February 20 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein negotiates a deal with U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, allowing weapons inspectors to return to Baghdad, preventing military action by the U.S. and Britain
- February 23 - Tornadoes in central Florida destroy or damage 2,600 structures and kill 42 (see Florida El Niño Outbreak)
- February 23 - Osama bin Laden publishes fatwa declaring jihad against all Jews and Crusaders.
- February 24 - Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is acquitted of charges of defamation of Jerry Falwell
- February 28 - Serbian police begin to wipe out so-called "terrorist gangs" in Kosovo.
- March 1 - Attack Submarine USS-Sea Devil (now ex-Sea Devil (SSN-664)) starts to be deactivated
- March 2 - Data sent from the Galileo probe indicates that Jupiter's moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice
- March 4 - Gay rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that federal laws banning on-the-job sexual harassment also apply when both parties are the same sex.
- March 5 - NASA announced that that the Clementine probe orbiting the Moon had found enough water in polar craters to support a human colony and rocket fueling station
- March 5 - NASA announces the choice of United States Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins as commander of a future Space Shuttle Columbia mission to launch an X-ray telescope making Collins the first woman commander of a space shuttle mission.
- March 6 - Closure of the South Crofty tin mine
- March 10 - American troops stationed in the Persian Gulf begin to receive the first vaccinations against anthrax.
- March 11 - Danish parliamentary election held, unexpectedly returning Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen to power.
- March 14 - An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hits southeastern Iran
- March 23 - At the Academy Awards ceremony Titanic wins 11 Oscars
- March 24 - In Jonesboro, Arkansas, two young boys (aged 11 and 13 years) fire upon students at Westside Middle School while hidden in woodlands near the school. Four students and one teacher are killed and 10 injured
- March 27 - The FDA approves Viagra for use as a treatment for male impotence, becoming the first pill to be approved to treat this condition in the United States.
- April 5 - In Japan, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge linking Shikoku with Honshu and costing cost about US$3.8 billion, opens to traffic, becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world.
- April 6 - Pakistan tests medium-range missiles capable of hitting India
- April 7 - Citicorp and Travelers Group announce plans to merge creating the largest financial-services conglomerate in the world, Citigroup
- April 8 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM reports to the UN Security Council that Iraq's declaration on its biological weapons program is incomplete and inadequate.
- April 10 - Good Friday: 18 hours after the end of talks deadline the Belfast Agreement is signed between the Irish and British governments and most Northern Ireland political parties.
- April 16 - A massive tornado occurred in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the first tornado in 20 years to make a direct hit on a major city. (see Nashville Tornado of 1998)
- April 25 - A waste reservoir at Los Frailes mine in Andalusia, Spain, ruptures, discharging heavy metal waste into the Guadiamar River. The pollution threatens the sensitive ecosystem and endangered species of [[Do�ana National Park]], Spain's largest nature reserve, but is diverted into the Guadalquivir River. Up to 100 km² of farmland are ruined by the spill. 
- May 7 - Apple Computer unveils the iMac.
- May 7 - Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for US$40 billion and forms DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.
- May 11 - Nuclear testing: In the Rajasthan Desert, India conducts its second series of underground nuclear tests (the first were in 1974) and inflaming its rival neighbor Pakistan (who already has nuclear weapons).
- May 13 - Following India's second round of nuclear tests the United States and Japan impose economic sanctions on the nation.
- May 15 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM learns that an Iraqi delegation has travelled to Bucharest to meet with scientists who can provide the country with missile guidance systems.
- May 18 - Microsoft antitrust case: The United States Department of Justice and 20 U.S. states file an antitrust case against Microsoft
- May 21 - School shooting: At Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, Kipland Kinkel (who was suspended for bringing a gun to school) shoots a semi-automatic rifle into a room filled with students killing 2 wounding 25 others after killing his parents at home
- May 21 - Reproductive rights: In Miami, Florida, five abortion clinics are hit by a butyric acid attacker
- May 21 - Suharto resigns, after 32 years as Indonesian President and 7th consecutive re-election by the Indonesian Parliament (MPR). Suharto's hand-picked Vice President, B. J. Habibie, became Indonesia's third president.
- May 21 to September 30 - Expo '98 is held in Lisbon, Portugal, with the title "Oceans, an Heritage for the Future". UNESCO had previously declared 1998 to be the International Year of the Oceans due to the Expo. 12 million people attend the world fair
- May 22 - Lewinsky scandal: A federal judge rules that United States Secret Service agents can be compelled to testify before a grand jury concerning the scandal
- May 27 - Oklahoma City bombing: Michael Fortier is sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $200,000 for failing to warn authorities about the terrorist plot.
- May 28 - Nuclear testing: Pakistan responds to a series of Indian nuclear tests with six of its own in Chaghi (Baluchistan)prompting the United States, Japan and other nations to impose economic sanctions
- May 30 - Nuclear testing: Pakistan conducted two more Nuclear Explosions following its first test.
- May 30 - A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hits northern Afghanistan killing up to 5,000.
- June 2 - The CIH virus is discovered in Taiwan.
- June 2 - Voters in California approved California Proposition 227, abolishing that state's bilingual education program.
- June 3 - Eschede train disaster: an ICE high speed train derails, causing 101 deaths.
- June 4 - Terry Nichols is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing
- July 5 - Japan launches a probe to Mars, and thus joins the United States and Russia as a space exploring nation
- June 5 - A strike begins at the General Motors parts factory in Flint, Michigan that quickly spreads to five other assembly plants (the strike lasted seven weeks)
- June 8 - Charlton Heston assumes the presidency of the National Rifle Association.
- June 12 - A jury in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, convicts 17-year-old Luke Woodham of killing two students and wounding seven others at Pearl High School 
- June 25 - In Clinton v. City of New York, the United States Supreme Court decides that the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 is unconstitutional.
- July 7 - US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are bombed - 190 dead
- July 10 - The DNA-identified remains of United States Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie arrive home to his family in St. Louis, Missouri after being in the Tomb of the Unknowns since 1984
- July 10 - Catholic priests' sex abuse scandal: The Diocese of Dallas agrees to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos
- July 17 - In St. Petersburg, Nicholas II of Russia and his family are buried in St. Catherine Chapel 80 years after he and his family were killed by Bolsheviks
- July 17 - A tsunami triggered by an undersea earthquake destroys 10 villages in Papua New Guinea killing an estimated 1,500, leaving 2,000 more unaccounted for and thousands more homeless
- July 17 - Biologists report in the journal Science how they sequenced the genome of the bacterium that causes syphilis, Treponema pallidum
- July 24 - Russel Eugene Weston Jr. bursts into the United States Capitol and opens fire killing two police officers. He is later ruled to be incompetent to stand trial
- July 25 - The United States Navy commissions the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and puts her into service
- July 25 - Wakayama Arsenic poison case - 63 poisoned and 4 dead by arsenic in a festival in the town in Wakayama prefecture in Japan - Masumi Hayashi is arrested for murder
- July 28 - Monica Lewinsky scandal: Ex-White House intern, Monica Lewinsky receives transactional immunity in exchange for her grand jury testimony concerning her relationship with US President Bill Clinton.
- August 5 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq officially suspends all cooperation with UNSCOM teams
- August 7 - 1998 U.S. embassy bombings: Bombing of the United States embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya kills 224 people and injures over 4,500
- August 15 - The Real IRA denoate a car bomb in Omagh, Northern Ireland, killing 29 and injuring over 200 - the greatest loss of life in a single incident of The Troubles.
- August 17 - Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On the same day he admits before the nation that he "misled people" about his relationship
- August 20 - The Supreme Court of Canada states Quebec can not legally secede from Canada without the federal government's approval
- August 20 - 1998 U.S. embassy bombings: The United States military launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Quaida camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for the August 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum is destroyed in the attack
- August 26 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Scott Ritter resigns from UNSCOM, sharply criticized the Clinton administration and the U.N. Security Council for not being vigorous enough about insisting that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction be destroyed. Ritter told reporters that "Iraq is not disarming," "Iraq retains the capability to launch a chemical strike."
- August 31 - North Korea reportedly launches Kwangmyongsong, their first satellite. Although North Korea reports that it reached stable orbit, NORAD was never able to confirm this assertion
- September 2 - In Canada, pilots for Air Canada launch the first strike in company's history
- September 2 - A McDonnell Douglas MD-11 airliner carrying Swissair flight 111 crashes near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia after taking off from New York City en-route to Geneva. All 229 people on board are killed
- September 2 - A United Nations court finds Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide, marking the first time that the 1948 law banning genocide is enforced
- September 7 - Google Inc. is founded.
- September 8 - St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire breaks baseball's single season homerun record, formerly held by Roger Maris. McGwire hits #62 at Busch Stadium in the fourth inning off of Chicago Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel.
- September 29 - Iraq disarmament crisis: The United States Congress passes the "Iraq Liberation Act", which states that the United States wants to remove Saddam Hussein from power and replace the government with a democratic institution.
- October 4 - Leafie Mason is murdered in her Hughes Spring, Texas house by Angel Maturino Resendiz. She was his second victim in his second incident.
- October 6 - Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming college student, is found tied to a fence, the victim of a gay-bashing. He dies on Monday, October 12, becoming a symbol of victims of gay-bashing and sparking public reflection on homophobia.
- October 7 - Oslo Fornebu Airport closes.
- October 7 - United States Congress passes, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which gives copyright holders 20 more years of copyright privilege on work which they control the copyright. This effectively freezes the public domain to works created before 1923 in the United States.
- October 8 - Oslo Airport Gardermoen opens.
- October 8 - Japan-Republic of Korea Joint Declaration A New Japan-Republic of Korea Partnership towards the Twenty-first Century.
- October 12 - United States Congress passes Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- October 14 - Eric Robert Rudolph is charged with 6 bombings including the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta, Georgia
- October 16 - British police place General Augusto Pinochet into house arrest during his medical treatment in Britain
- October 28 - An Air China jetliner is hijacked by disgruntled pilot Yuan Bin and flown to Taiwan. After landing the plane safely, Yuan Bin was arrested.
- October 29 - Apartheid: In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents its report, which condemns both sides for committing atrocities
- October 29 - Space Shuttle Discovery blasts-off with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space. He became the first American to orbit Earth on Tuesday, February 20, 1962.
- October 29 - While en route from Adana to Ankara, a Turkish Airlines flight with a crew of 6 and 33 passengers is hijacked by a Kurdish militant who orders the pilot to fly to Switzerland. The plane instead lands in Ankara after the pilot tricked the hijacking into thinking that he was landing in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to refuel
- October 29 - In Freehold, New Jersey, Melissa Drexler pleads guilty to aggravated manslaughter for killing her baby moments after delivering him in the bathroom at her senior prom, and is sentenced to 15 years imprisonment
- October 29 - In [[G�teborg]], Sweden two arsonists burn down a disco of a local Macedonian Society - 63 dead, over 200 injured, most of them children of refugees
- October 31 - Iraq disarmament crisis begins: Iraq announces it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
- November 1 - The European Court of Human Rights is instituted.
- November 3 - Former professional wrestler, Jesse Ventura is elected Governor of Minnesota.
- November 5 - Lewinsky scandal: As part of the impeachment inquiry, House Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde sends a list of 81 questions to US President Bill Clinton
- November 5 - The journal Nature publishes a genetic study showing compelling evidence that Thomas Jefferson fathered his slave Sally Hemings' son Eston Hemings Jefferson
- November 9 - In the largest civil settlement in United States history, a federal judge approves a US$1.03 billion settlement requiring dozens of brokerage houses (including Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Salomon Smith Barney) to pay investors who claim they were cheated in a wide-spread price-fixing scheme on the NASDAQ
- November 12 - Daimler-Benz completes a merger with Chrysler to form Daimler-Chrysler.
- November 13-14 - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President Clinton orders airstrikes on Iraq. Clinton then calls it off at the last minute when Iraq promises once again to "unconditionally" cooperate with UNSCOM
- November 18 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM inspectors return to Iraq.
- November 19 - Lewinsky scandal: The United State House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against US President Bill Clinton.
- November 20 - A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares accused terrorist Osama bin Laden "a man without a sin" in regards to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
- November 23-26 - Iraq disarmament crisis: According to UNSCOM, Iraq once again ends cooperation with the U.N. inspectors, alternately intimidating and withholding information from them
- November 24 - America Online announces it will acquire Netscape Communications in a stock-for-stock transaction worth US$4.2 billion.
- November 26 - Tony Blair becomes the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Republic of Ireland's parliament
- November 26 - Japan-China Joint Declaration On Building a Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation for Peace and Development
- November 30 - Deutsche Bank announces a US$10 billion deal to buy Bankers Trust, thus creating the largest financial institution in the world.
- December 1 - Exxon announces a US$73.7 billion deal to buy Mobil, thus creating Exxon-Mobil, the largest company on the planet.
- December 11 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq announces that U.N. weapons inspections will no longer take place on Friday, the Muslim day of rest. Iraq also refuses to provide test data from the production of missiles and engines
- December 6 - [[Hugo Ch�vez Fr�as]], Venezuelan military and politician, is elected President of Venezuela.
- December 16-19 - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President Clinton orders American and British airstrikes on Iraq. UNSCOM withdraws all weapons inspectors from Iraq
- December 17 - Claudia Benton, of West University Place, Texas, is murdered in her house by Angel Maturino Resendiz, She is his third victim in his third incident.
- December 19 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan announces that Iraq will no longer cooperate and declares that UNSCOM's "mission is over."
- December 21 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UN Security Council members France, Germany and Russia call for sanctions to end against Iraq. The three Security Council members also call for UNSCOM to either be disbanded or for its role to be recast. The U.S. says it will veto any such proposal
- December 26 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq announced its intention to fire upon US and British warplanes that patrol the northern and southern "no-fly zones".
- December 29 - Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million in the 1970s.
Year in topic
- 1998 in film
- 1998 in literature
- 1998 in music
- 1998 in sports
- 1998 in television
- January 1 - Helen Wills Moody, tennis player, first women's champion at Wimbledon
- January 4 - Mae Questel, actress
- January 5 - Sonny Bono, singer, actor, United States Representative
- January 8 - Michael Tippett, composer
- January 15 - Junior Wells, musician
- January 19 - Carl Perkins, guitarist
- January 21 - Jack Lord, actor
- February - Roger Nicholas Angleton, admitted to murdering Doris Angleton on his suicide note
- February 6 - Carl Wilson, musician ("The Beach Boys")
- February 6 - Falco, singer
- February 7 - Lawrence Sanders, author
- February 8 - [[Halld�r Laxness]], author
- February 8 - Julian Simon, economist, author
- February 18 - Harry Caray, TV and radio broadcaster for three Major League Baseball teams (b. 1917)
- February 24 - Henny Youngman, comedian (b. 1906)
- February 27 - J.T. Walsh, actor
- March 8 - Ray Nitschke, American football star
- March 10 - Lloyd Bridges, actor
- March 12 - Beatrice Wood, artist/ceramist
- March 13 - Bill Reid, Canadian artist
- March 13 - Risen Star, race horse (b. 1985)
- March 15 - Benjamin Spock, pediatrician, writer, Olympics gold medalist
- March 31 - Bella Abzug, American politician
- April 6 - Tammy Wynette, country musician
- April 15 - Pol Pot, Cambodian dictator
- April 23 - Constantine Caramanlis, Greek politician
- May 1 - Eldridge Cleaver, founding member of the Black Panther Party, United States Peace and Freedom Party Presidential candidate and candidate for the Republican nomination for the position of Senator from California.
- May 9 - Alice Faye, actress
- May 14 - Frank Sinatra, singer, actor
- May 15 - Earl Manigault, basketball player
- May 19 - Uno Sosuke, Japanese prime minister
- May 28 - Phil Hartman, Canadian graphic artist, writer, actor and comedian
- May 29 - Barry M. Goldwater, Arizona Senator
- June 10 - Hammond Innes, 83, English adventure author
- June 11 - Catherine Cookson, author
- July 3 - Danielle Bunten Berry, a.k.a. Dan Bunten, software developer
- August 3 - Alfred Schnittke, Russian classical composer
- August 4 - Yuri Artyukhin, cosmonaut
- August 24 - E.G. Marshall, American actor (b. 1910)
- August 26 - Frederick Reines, physicist (1995 Nobel Prize)
- September 6 - Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director
- September 21 - Florence "Flo-Jo" Griffith-Joyner track and field sprinter (b. 1959)
- September 30 - Dan Quisenberry, baseball pitcher (b. 1953)
- October 2 - Olivier Gendebien, Belgian race car driver
- October 6 - Mark Belanger, former major league baseball player, died of lung cancer
- November 10 - Hal Newhouser, Baseball Hall of Famer (b. 1921)
- December 14 - Annette Strauss, philanthropist, former mayor of Dallas, Texas
- December 17 - Claudia Benton, Child Psychologist
- December 18 - Lev Demin, cosmonaut
- December 20 - Irene Hervey, actress (b. 1910)
- December - Brian Stonehouse, painter, SOE agent in WW II
- Physics - Robert B. Laughlin, [[Horst L. St�rmer]], Daniel Chee Tsui
- Chemistry - Walter Kohn, John A. Pople
- Medicine - Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, Ferid Murad
- Literature - [[Jos� Saramago]]
- Peace - John Hume and David Trimble
- Economics - Amartya Sen
Heads of state and government
- [[Jean Chr�tien]] Prime Minister
- People's Republic of China
- Republic of Ireland
- Russia - Boris Yeltsin President
- United Kingdom
- United States - Bill Clinton Presidentaf:1998
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