Events in History in 1981

Events 1 - 200 of 454

  • Jan 1 Greece is 10th country to join European Economic Community
  • Jan 1 International Year for the Disabled begins
  • Jan 1 Palau (Trust Territory of Pacific Is) becomes self-governing
  • Jan 1 Roger Smith becomes CEO of General Motors
  • Jan 2 Mary Terstegge Meagher swims female record 200 m butterfly (2:05.65)
  • Jan 2 Sylvester Clarke knocks out spectator with brick, WI v Pakistan
  • Jan 3 Greg Chappell scores 204 v India at the SCG
  • Jan 3 Mary Terstegge Meagher swims female record 100m butterfly (58.91)
  • Jan 4 "Frankenstein" opens & closes on Broadway
  • Jan 4 British police arrest Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper"
  • Jan 4 "Red Right 88", trailing 14–12 Clevelands Browns attempt an end zone pass play (Red Right 88) and a game-winning field goal in the final minute, but pass intercepted by Raiders safety Mike Davis and Oakland wins
  • Jan 5 "Nightline" with Ted Koppel extended from 20 mins to 30 mins
  • Jan 5 British police arrest Peter Sutcliffe, a truck driver later convicted of "Yorkshire Ripper" murders of 13 women
  • Jan 6 50th hat trick in Islander history-John Tonelli scored 5 goals
  • Jan 8 India all out 63 in one-day international v Australia
  • Jan 8 Reds become last team to sign a free agent (Larry Biitner)
  • Jan 9 Francisco Balsamao elected President of Portugal
  • Jan 10 El Salvador guerrilla group FMLN opens "general offensive"
  • Jan 10 John Severin sets 100-mi unicycle speed record, 9 h 21 m
  • Jan 11 Palau adopts constitution
  • Jan 11 British team led by Ranulph Fiennes completes longest & fastest crossing of Antarctica, reaching Scott base after 75 days (2,500 miles)
  • Jan 12 -35°F (-37°C), Chester, Massachusetts (state record)
  • Jan 13 Barbara Sonntag, Colo, crochets record 147 stitches/min for 1/2 hour
  • Jan 13 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to May Swenson & Howard Nemerov
  • Jan 14 US Federal Communications Commission frees stations to air as many commercials an hour as they wish

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 15 Pope John Paul II receives Lech Wałęsa and Solidarity delegation at the Vatican

Polish Politician and Labor Activist Lech Wałęsa
Polish Politician and Labor Activist
Lech Wałęsa
264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II
  • Jan 16 John Lennon releases "Woman" in UK
  • Jan 16 Protestant gunmen shoot & wound Bernadette Devlin McAliskey & husband
  • Jan 17 Philippino president Marcos ends state of siege
  • Jan 18 Iran accepts US offer of $7.9 billion in frozen assets
  • Jan 18 Punk singer Wendy O. Williams arrested in Milwaukee for on-stage obscenity (later cleared)
  • Jan 18 Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield become the first two people to BASE jump from objects in all four categories (buildings, cliffs, bridges, antennae) after parachuting off a Houston skyscraper
  • Jan 19 US & Iran sign agreement to release 52 American hostages
  • Jan 20 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days freed
  • Jan 20 Adm Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret), ends term as 12th director of CIA
  • Jan 20 Frank C Carlucci, ends term as deputy director of CIA
  • Jan 20 Islander Glenn Resch's 25th & last shut-out opponent-Flames 5-0
  • Jan 20 The US diplomats and citizens held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran begin their journey home
  • Jan 21 Bernhard Goetz is assaulted for 1st time on a New York City subway train
  • Jan 21 Norman Stronge and his son James (both former Ulster Unionist Members of Parliament) are assassinated by the Irish Republican Army at their home Tynan Abbey, which is then burnt down
  • Jan 22 40th Islander shut-out opponent-3-0 vs Red Wings-Billy Smith 15th
  • Jan 23 1st Richard Nixon museum opens in San Clemente California
  • Jan 23 Jochem Bird elected mayor of West Berlin
  • Jan 24 Kim Hughes scores 213 v India at Adelaide
  • Jan 25 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived back in US

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 25 Mao's widow Jiang Qing sentenced to death

Chinese Communist & Wife of Mao Zedong Jiang Qing
Chinese Communist & Wife of Mao Zedong
Jiang Qing
  • Jan 26 Sandeep Patil scores memorable 174 v Australia at Adelaide Oval

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 28 William J Casey becomes 13th director of CIA (until 1987)

CIA Director William Casey
CIA Director
William Casey
  • Jan 31 Gaetan Boucher skates world record 1000m (1:13.39)
  • Feb 1 Dutch Antilles census is 231,932
  • Feb 1 French government accord sends 60 Mirage fighter jets to Iraq

  • Feb 1 Trevor Chappell bowls underarm to Brian McKechnie, WSC Final MCG
  • Feb 3 Gro Harlem Brundtland is elected as the first female Prime Minister of Norway
  • Feb 5 Largest Jell-O made (9,246 gallons of watermelon-flavor) in Brisbane
  • Feb 5 Milt jury in NC convicts Robert Garwood of collaborating with enemy
  • Feb 6 Suleiman Nyambui runs world record 5k indoor (13:20.4)
  • Feb 8 US female Figure Skating championship won by Elaine Zayak
  • Feb 8 US male Figure Skating championship won by Scott Hamilton
  • Feb 10 8 killed & 198 injured by fire at Las Vegas Hilton
  • Feb 11 Australia all out 83 v India at MCG chasing 143 to win
  • Feb 11 Polish premier Jozef Pinkowski replaced by Wojciech Jaruzelski
  • Feb 12 Admiral Bobby R Inman, USN, becomes deputy director of CIA
  • Feb 12 Cape Verde amends its constitution
  • Feb 12 Pete Squires sets record for 1575 steps of Empire State Building, 10m
  • Feb 13 Longest sentence published by "The New York Times" - 1286 words
  • Feb 13 A series of sewer explosions destroys more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Feb 13 31st Berlin International Film Festival: "Hurry, Hurry!" wins the Golden Bear
  • Feb 14 Stardust Disaster: A fire in a Dublin nightclub kills 48 people
  • Feb 15 Rocket-powered ice sled attains 399 kph, Lake George, New York
  • Feb 15 23rd Daytona 500: Richard Petty wins (169.651 MPH)
  • Feb 17 Chrysler Corp reports largest corporate losses in US history
  • Feb 20 Flight readiness firing of Columbia's main engines; 20 seconds
  • Feb 20 James Sanford equals 50m indoor world record (5.61 sec)
  • Feb 21 "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe, murderer of 13 women, captured
  • Feb 21 Japan launches Hinotori satellite to study solar flares (580/640 k)
  • Feb 21 NASA launches Comstar D-4
  • Feb 23 People magazine features drug ordeal of Mackenzie & Papa John Phillips
  • Feb 23 Spanish coup under lt-col Antonio Tejero Molina fails

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 24 Britain's Prince Charles announces engagement to Lady Diana Spencer

Princess of Wales Diana Spencer
Princess of Wales
Diana Spencer
Prince of Wales Prince Charles
Prince of Wales
Prince Charles
  • Feb 24 Jean Harris is convicted of murdering Scarsdale diet doctor Tarnower
  • Feb 24 An earthquake registering 6.7 on the Richter scale hits Athens, killing 16 people and destroying buildings in several towns west of the city.
  • Feb 25 Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo elected premier of Spain
  • Feb 25 Rita Jenrette (wife of Abscam congressman) appears on Donahue
  • Feb 25 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Feb 26 3 Anglican missionaries detained in Iran since Aug 1980 are released
  • Feb 26 French Train Grande Vitesse averages 380 kph on trial run
  • Feb 27 Greatest passenger load on a commercial airliner-610 on Boeing 747
  • Feb 28 People's Republic of China throws out the Netherlands ambassador due to Dutch sales of submarines to Taiwan
  • Mar 1 Republican prisoners in the Maze began a second hunger strike; among them is Bobby Sands
  • Mar 2 Aircraft hijacked by 3 Pakistani terrorists
  • Mar 2 Howard Stern begins broadcasting on WWDC in Washington, D.C.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 2 Discovery of minor planet 5020 Asimov, named after sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov

Author, Biochemistry Professor Isaac Asimov
Author, Biochemistry Professor
Isaac Asimov
  • Mar 5 Ice Pairs Champ at Hartford won by Irina Vorobieva & I Lisovski (URS)
  • Mar 5 Men's Figure Skating Champions in Hartford won by Scott Hamilton (USA)
  • Mar 5 US government grants Atlanta $1 million to search for black boy murderer
  • Mar 6 France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll
  • Mar 6 Soyuz 39 returns to Earth
  • Mar 7 1st homicide at Disneyland, 18 year old is stabbed to death
  • Mar 8 Dennis Lillee ct by Qld 12th man Dennis Lillie in Shield game
  • Mar 10 "Bette Davis Eyes" single released by Kim Carnes (Billboard Song of the Year 1981)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 11 Chile constitution takes effect, Augusto Pinochet's second term begins

General and Dictator Augusto Pinochet
General and Dictator
Augusto Pinochet
  • Mar 12 Soyuz T-4 carries 2 cosmonauts to Salyut 6 space station
  • Mar 12 Walter R T Witschey installs world's largest sundial in Richmond, Virginia
  • Mar 15 "Broadway Follies" opens/closes at Nederlander Theater NYC
  • Mar 15 Suriname failed coup under sgt-mjr Wilfred Hawker
  • Mar 19 -21] Emmy 8th Daytime Awards - Susan Lucci loses for 2nd time
  • Mar 19 2 workers killed in space shuttle Columbia accident
  • Mar 20 Argentine ex-president Isabel Peron sentenced to 8 years
  • Mar 20 Jean Harris sentenced 15-to-life for slaying of Scarsdale Diet Dr
  • Mar 22 US 1st class postage raised to 18 cents from 15 cents
  • Mar 22 Soyuz 39 carries 2 cosmonauts (1 Mongolian) to Salyut 6
  • Mar 22 Toshihiko Seko runs world record 25k (1:13:55.8)/30k (1:29:18.8)
  • Mar 23 US Supreme Court upholds law making statutory rape a crime only for men
  • Mar 23 US Supreme Court rules states could require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teen-age girls sought abortions
  • Mar 24 Colombia drops diplomatic relations with Cuba
  • Mar 26 Police & Albanian demonstrators battle in Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Mar 26 Soyuz T-4 lands
  • Mar 27 John Lennon single "Watching the Wheels" released posthumously in UK
  • Mar 28 Christa Rothenburger skates ladies world record 500 m 40.18 sec)
  • Mar 28 France performs nuclear test
  • Mar 28 Gabi Schonbrunn skates ladies world record 3 km (4:21.70)
  • Mar 28 Viv Richards scores century in the 1st Test at his home Antigua
  • Mar 28 Yevgeni Kulikov skates world record 500m (36.91 secs)
  • Mar 29 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Apr 1 Daylight saving time is introduced in the USSR.
  • Apr 2 Belgium's 4th government of Martens resigns
  • Apr 2 Heavy battle between Christian militia & Syrian army in East Lebanon
  • Apr 3 Arnie Boldt of Saskatchewan jumps 6' 8.25," with 1 leg
  • Apr 3 Race riots in London's Brixton area, England
  • Apr 4 Henry Cisneros becomes 1st Mexican-American mayor (San Antonio)
  • Apr 6 Yugoslav government sends troops to Kosovo
  • Apr 6 Belgian government of Mark Eyskens forms
  • Apr 7 Willem Klein mentally extracts 13th root of a 100-digit # in 29 sec
  • Apr 9 US sub George Washington rams Japanese freighter Nisso Maru
  • Apr 10 "Caveman" with Ringo premieres
  • Apr 10 Computer glitch keeps Space Shuttle Columbia grounded
  • Apr 10 France performs nuclear test
  • Apr 10 Imprisoned IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands elected to British Parliament for Northern Ireland county of Fermanagh and South Tyrone
  • Apr 11 Race riot in London area of Brixton
  • Apr 12 Maiden voyage Space Transit System-space shuttle Columbia launched
  • Apr 13 Pulitzer prize awarded to Beth Henley for "Crimes of the Heart"
  • Apr 13 Wash Post Janet Cooke wins Pulitzer Prize (later admits story a hoax)
  • Apr 14 1st Space Shuttle, Columbia 1, returns to Earth
  • Apr 15 Janet Cooke says her Pulitzer award winning stry about an 8-year-old heroin addict is a lie, Washington Post relinquishes Pulitzer Prize on fabricated story
  • Apr 19 Oakland A's runs record to 11-0
  • Apr 20 "Fire and Smoke" single released by Earl Thomas Conley (Billboard Song of the Year 1981)
  • Apr 21 US furnish $1 billion in arms to Saudi-Arabia
  • Apr 22 10,000 copper workers in Chile strike
  • Apr 22 Almost 1 million West German metal workers go on strike
  • Apr 22 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Apr 22 More than $3.3 million is stolen from the First National Bank of Arizona in Tucson in the then largest US bank robbery in history
  • Apr 24 US ends grain embargo against USSR
  • Apr 25 Mariners mgr Maury Wills is suspended for 2 games after ordering Seattle's grounds crew to enlarge batter's boxes by one foot
  • Apr 25 More than 100 workers are exposed to radiation during repairs of a nuclear power plant in Tsuruga, Japan
  • Apr 27 Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse
  • Apr 28 Galician current Statute of Autonomy.
  • Apr 29 Peter Sutcliffe admits he is the Yorkshire Ripper (murdered 13 women)
  • May 1 Harrison Williams (Sen-D-NJ) convicted on FBI Abscam charges
  • May 1 Radio Shack releases Model III TRSDOS 1.3
  • May 2 Radio Shack re-releases Model III TRSDOS 1.3 with 2 fixes
  • May 3 "Moony, Shapiro Songbook" opens & closes at Morosco Theater NYC
  • May 4 Rockline premieres on KLOS FM in Los Angeles
  • May 4 Silvana Cruciata runs 15k female world record (49:44.0)
  • May 4 Yankee Ron Davis strikes out 8 consecutive Angels, ran record of 13 strikeouts of last 14 faced, also saved Gene Nelsons 1st win, 4-2
  • May 5 16th and final Mayor's Trophy Game, Mets beat Yanks 4-1, hold 8-7-1 edge
  • May 5 After 66 days on hunger strike, 26 year old MP Bobby Sands dies in the Maze Prision; 9 further hunger strikers die in the next 3 months
  • May 6 Mariners manager Maury Wills is fired & replaced by Rene Lachemann
  • May 6 US expels Libyan diplomats
  • May 8 Ron Davis pitches 10th consecutive strike out, 1 short of record
  • May 9 Kazimiroff Blvd in Bronx named for a Bronx historian

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 10 Francois Mitterrand defeats Valery Giscard d'Estang for Presidency of France

21st President of France Francois Mitterrand
21st President of France
Francois Mitterrand

MurderAssassination Attempt

May 13 Pope John Paul II is shot and critically wounded by Turkish gunman Mehemet Ali Agca in St Peter's Square, Vatican City

264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II
  • May 14 NASA launches space vehicle S-192
  • May 15 "Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island" airs
  • May 15 Len Barker of Cleveland pitches perfect game vs Toronto
  • May 15 Soyuz 40 carries 2 cosmonauts (1 Romanian) to Salyut 6
  • May 19 Pirate Jim Bibby gives up a leadoff single to Brave Terry Harper, then retires next 27 batters
  • May 19 5 British Army soldiers are killed when their armoured vehicle is ripped apart by a Provisional Irish Republican Army roadside bomb near Bessbrook, County Armagh
  • May 21 Francois Mitterrand becomes president of France
  • May 22 Soyuz 40 returns to Earth
  • May 23 Barcelona fascists take 200 people hostage
  • May 23 NASA launches Intelsat V satellite, no. 501
  • May 24 Hostage situation ends at Central Bank in Barcelona Spain
  • May 25 Daniel Goodwin scales outside of Chicago's Sears Tower in 7 hours
  • May 25 Rangers' Bill Stein sets AL record with 7 consecutive pinch hits
  • May 26 Marine jet crashes on flight deck of USS Nimitz, killing 14
  • May 26 The Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resign following a scandal over membership of the pseudo-masonic lodge P2 (Propaganda Due).
  • May 27 John Hinckley attempts suicide by overdosing on Tylenol
  • May 27 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • May 29 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • May 30 "Nightline" extends from 4 nights to 5 nights a week (Friday)
  • May 30 Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman is shot by group of rebel officers
  • Jun 3 Pope John Paul II released from hospital after assassination attempt
  • Jun 4 54th National Spelling Bee: Paige Pipkin wins spelling sarcophagus
  • Jun 5 AIDS Epidemic officially begins when US Centers for Disease Control reports on pneumonia affecting five homosexual men in Los Angeles
  • Jun 5 World's first today in history program with editable data "TODAY", invented by Michael Butler runs for the first time on a mainframe computer
  • Jun 6 Maya Yang Lin wins competition to design the Vietnam War Memorial
  • Jun 6 A passenger train travelling between Mansi and Saharsa, India, jumps the tracks at a bridge crossing the Bagmati river, killing 268 officially with another 300 or more missing
  • Jun 7 35th Tony Awards: "Amadeus" & "42nd Street" win
  • Jun 7 Israeli F-15/F-16 destroys alleged Iraqi plutonium production facility