weeping woman

What Happened in 1986?

1986 brought us all so much in terms of music and cinema, fashion, and design, but also in the political world. Some big changes occurred in 1986, and while many of you might not have been around to witness them at the time, these are big events we’re still feeling to this day.

Whether or not you remember ‘86 personally, here are some of the biggest things that took place in 1986.

In this year

facts about Spain


Spain and Portugal officially joined what was known as the European Community, otherwise known as the European Union from 1993 onwards. They’re member states to this day – with only Britain having left the EU at the time of writing. Spain and Portugal joined the EEC as of January 1st, 1986.

Pixar logo


Pixar, the world-famous animation studio, was founded by John Lasseter and Apple mogul Steve Jobs. The company has since produced more than 25 movies, among them the likes of Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille – some of the most beloved feature films of the past 40 years.

The Japanese Suisei probe


The Japanese Suisei probe officially flew by Halley's Comet on March 8th, 1986, in what’s likely to be a rare event! During its remarkable trail, the probe studied the comet’s UV hydrogen corona and its solar wind. We won’t see Halley’s Comet again until 2061!

baby girl asleep


The first child ever to be born to a non-related mother – i.e., a surrogate – was born! Today, surrogacy is commonly used as a means of helping those who cannot conceive naturally to have children of their own. Hard to believe, then, that the practice is so new!

Hands Across America


As of May 25th, 1986, the Hands Across America event took place. Around five million people gathered to form a massive human chain all the way from New York City to Long Beach, California – in an attempt to raise money to help fight national hunger and homelessness. It’s thought $15 million went to charities as a result of the demonstration.

Diego Maradona


Diego Maradona earned his place in soccer history on June 22nd, 1986, as the Argentinian player managed to score a goal with his hand before scoring a second – the first, he called the infamous “Hand of God,” and the second was referred to as the “Goal of the Century.” Regardless of what you felt about this performance at the FIFA World Cup, Maradona was peerless in the sport.



An incredible moment for human rights unfolded on July 14th, 1986, as consensual sex between two men was decriminalized in New Zealand, as part of the country’s landmark Homosexual Law Reform Act. The act would determine that homosexual sex between men was legal provided it was consensual and between people aged 16 and older.

weeping woman


The famous Picasso painting, Weeping Woman, was bizarrely found stashed in a station locker at Spencer Street in Melbourne, Australia. Thankfully, it was found barely two weeks after the painting went missing in the first place – that’s a fast recovery!

Desmond Tutu


South Africa took a further step toward racial equality on September 7th, 1986, as Desmond Tutu became the very first black bishop representing the Anglican Church in the country. In the years to come, more racial boundaries would be broken down, effectively ending apartheid.

Ronald Reagan and USSR head Mikhail Gorbachev


Then-US President Ronald Reagan and USSR head Mikhail Gorbachev held their latest of several meetings to try and bring an end to the Cold War as of October 11th, 1986. Their latest talks took place in Iceland regarding scaling back European missiles. However, the talks sadly didn’t lead to any positive action.

Iran-Iraq War


The US arms trade scandal of the 80s scaled new heights on November 3rd, 1986. Ash-Shiraa, a magazine produced in Lebanon, reported that the US was reportedly selling weapons to Iran in secrecy. They did so reportedly to help secure the release of American hostages in Lebanon – part of the Iran-Contra scandals.

Facts of Bulgaria


Tragically, the Bulgarian town of Strajica would fall as of December 7th, 1986, due to a catastrophic 5.7 magnitude earthquake. The quake would destroy much of the area, with two people losing their lives.

1986 was the year of the…

year of the tiger


Like 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1998, 2010, and 2022, 1986 was all about the Tiger, according to the Zodiac followed in China. People born in Tiger years are usually calm, warm, and brave. However, they can also have bad tempers and be pretty terrifying when they need to be! The next Tiger year won't be until 2034.

This page was last modified on February 16, 2024. Suggest an edit