1986 History/Videos

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1986 Following a number of trouble free years in Space Exploration the Space Shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after take off watched by people live on TV around the world. The Internet Mail Access Protocol defined which opens the way for E-Mail and the same year the Human Genome Project is launched to understand the Human Makeup, this will open the way for great advances in the treatment of many illnesses. The worst ever Nuclear Disaster occurs as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station Explodes causing the release of radioactive material across much of Europe. In the UK (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease is identified which causes many deaths over the next few years and a major reform in farming practices.

Cost of Living 1986

How Much things cost in 1986
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.91%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 1895
Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 7.50%
Average Cost of new house $89,430.00
Average Income per year $22,400.00
Average Monthly Rent $385.00
Average Price for new car $9,255.00
1 gallon of gas 89 cents
Casio Portable Color Television $249.99
Tandy 600 Portable Computer $1,599.00
Bacon per pound $1.75

What Events Happened in 1986

  • US bombs Libya in protest at Libyan sponsorship of terrorist organizations involved in the bomb exploded in the crowded La Belle disco in Berlin, Germany.
  • Breakthrough in US - USSR Arms Talks between Reagan and Gorbachev leads to commitment to disarm thus ending a long period of instability caused by the Cold War
  • Spain and Portugal join the EEC
  • John McCarthy, a British TV journalist, is kidnapped in the capital of Lebanon, Beirut.
  • Soviet Nuclear reactor at Chernobyl Explodes causing release of radioactive material across much of Europe
  • Gorbachev steps up reform program in Russia introducing Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (openness)
  • Comet Halley reaches the closest point to the Earth, during its second visit to the solar system in the 20th century.
  • Approximately Seven million Americans join hands in "Hands Across America"
  • Violence continues to escalate in Northern Ireland during the Orangemen Parades in Dumcree and Portadown with more innocents killed during the troubles.
  • Pan Am Flight 73 with 358 people on board is hijacked at Karachi International Airport by four armed men
  • Bomb Explodes on TWA Jet over Greece blowing hole in aircraft sucking 4 passengers out
  • Earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale strikes San Salvador, El Salvador, killing an estimated 1,500 people.
  • Iran-Contra Affair President Ronald Reagan's administration sold arms to Iran, an avowed enemy. At the time, Americans were being held hostage in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a militant Shi'a organization loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini.
  • The London Stock Exchange is deregulated allowing computerized share dealing (The Big Bang)
  • The US stockmarket drops 22.6% in one day on October 19
  • Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease first identified Following an epidemic of BSE in Britain, 157 people (as of 2004) acquired and died of a disease with similar neurological symptoms subsequently called vCJD, or (new) variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
  • Mike Tyson becomes the youngest Heavyweight Champion in history
  • South African troops launch multiple raids on Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana
  • The South African government censors reporters and the news media from reporting unrest throughout the country.
  • Richard Branson on the 72 ft powerboat Virgin Challenger II breaks the world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic
  • Smoking is banned on all public transport including trains, planes, busses and coaches
  • A fire in a King’s Cross underground station London kills 30 commuters and injures dozens of others
  • Swedish Prime Minister Murdered
  • A full survey is carried out of Loch Ness hoping to find proof that Nessie exists. (No Proof Found)
  • The experimental airplane Voyager, completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight
  • The Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, is laid to rest alongside her husband King Edward VIII
  • Terry Waite a special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury is kidnapped
  • A mass uprising by Palestinians against Israeli military occupation, begins in Jabalia refugee camp and spread to Gaza
  • Micronesia Gains Independence From the United States
  • Argentina Wins 1986 World Cup in Mexico

Popular Culture 1986

  • Various artists, including Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Willie Nelson, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder, record the song "We Are The World" as USA for Africa. to raise money for famine relief
  • Michael Jackson Buys ATV Music and every Beatles Song for $47 million dollars
  • Coca-Cola Company introduces New Coke (6 months later they returned to the original formula)

Popular Films

  • Top Gun
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • Platoon
  • The Karate Kid, Part II
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  • Aliens
  • Ruthless People
  • The Color of Money
  • The Money Pit

Popular Musicians

  • Billy Joel
  • Robert Palmer
  • Lionel Richie
  • Van Halen
  • The Police
  • Debbie Harry
  • Simply Red
  • Whitney Houston with "the greatest love of all"
  • The Pretenders
  • Genesis
  • The Bangles with "Walk Like an Egyption"
  • Chris de Burgh
  • Madonna with " Papa Don't Preach "
  • Prince
  • Culture Club
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Pet Shop Boys

Popular TV Programs

  • Magnum, P.I.
  • Dynasty
  • Falcon Crest
  • Hill Street Blues
  • Cagney and Lacey
  • Cheers
  • Fame
  • Family Ties
  • Remington Steele
  • The A-Team
  • Highway to Heaven
  • Murder, She Wrote
  • The Cosby Show
  • EastEnders
  • Growing Pains
  • Neighbours
  • The Twilight Zone

Technology 1986

  • The United Kingdom and France announce plans to construct the Channel Tunnel.
  • Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates after launch, killing all on board
  • The Soviet Union launches the Mir space station
  • IBM unveils the PC Convertible, the first laptop computer.
  • British Surgeons perform the worlds first triple transplant ( Heart, Lung and Liver )
  • Internet Mail Access Protocol defined for e-mail transfer
  • The 386 series of microprocessor introduced by Intel.
  • Human Genome Project launched with the object to understand the human genome and therefore provide the continuing progress of medicine, It was announced in 2000 to be completed by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country (or attributed to First Use)

  • High Temperature Superconductor Switzerland
  • Nicotene patch Frank Etscorn


Research for this year is provided by The People History.
See History By Year and Decade for more prices and information.
Find out more about the 80s at ThePeopleHistory.com.



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