Soviet-Afghan War

What Happened in 1988?

1988 was a huge year for many of us, even for those of us who weren’t there! From important births of people who added wonder to our lives, and tragic celebrity losses – it’s a year that’s worth looking back on for many reasons.

It’s also a year of massive societal and technological developments – even if you weren’t around at the time, you might be aware of some of the bigger changes that unfolded during these 12 months.

Here are some of the biggest events that took place in 1988.

In this year

Lee Teng-hui


In China, on January 13th, then-vice-president Lee Teng-hui took over as President of China – he did so after the death of Chiang Ching-kuo, the previous President, thus ushering in something of a new era for the people of China.

1988 winter olympics


One of the most memorable Winter Olympic Games ceremonies of all time unfolded as of February 13th, 1988. The events this year took place in Calgary, in Alberta, Canada. This ceremony was particularly notable as it brought us some of the biggest and best-known sporting underdogs of all time – British skier Eddie the Eagle Edwards, and the Jamaican bobsleigh team that was immortalized in “Cool Runnings.”

McDonald's Nutrition Facts


McDonald’s and communism? No, really! As of March 24th, 1988, the very first McDonald’s restaurant to open in a communist nation was declared fit for business in Belgrade, in what was then Yugoslavia. Communist nations got a taste for Big Macs all the more when additional restaurants opened in Budapest and even Moscow!

Kuwait Airways Flight 422


On April 5th, 1988, Kuwait Airways Flight 422 was hijacked. While traveling from Bangkok, Thailand, to Kuwait, hijackers took control of the flight to demand that 17 Shiite Muslim prisoners be released by Kuwait. What followed was a siege of around 16 days and the deaths of two passengers.

Soviet-Afghan War


Following the Soviet-Afghan War, and across almost a full decade of conflict, Russia’s Soviet Army finally began to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. It was one of several moves away from policy that would reform Russia in the coming years. However, as we all know, the reign of Vladimir Putin was yet to come.

James Hansen


In a pivotal moment for environmentalism, on June 23rd, 1988, James Hansen, a scientist working for NASA, testified via US Senate that global warming was underway – caused by human destruction. Doing so made him one of the very first people to warn of the threat of a heating planet.

Piper Alpha


Devastation struck the North Sea on July 6th, 1988, as Piper Alpha, a production platform, exploded and fell to its knees. This tragedy claimed the lives of 167 people, two of whom were mariners on-site for rescue. 61 workers, miraculously, survived the ordeal.

Iran-Iraq War


The Iran-Iraq War effectively ended as of August 20th, 1988, when the countries decided to agree to down arms. However, this decision came much too late for the million-plus people reportedly killed during conflicts.

Challenger space shuttle disaster


Following the horrific Challenger space shuttle disaster, NASA finally decided to resume shuttle missions as of September 29th, 1988 – with Discovery taking to the stratosphere for the first time.

Augusto Pinochet


An end of an era for dictatorship in Chile took place on October 5th, 1988 – as then-leader Augusto Pinochet would effectively end his reign by losing a national referendum. He would, perhaps surprisingly, relinquish his rule in 1990. However, he would later be pursued for a variety of allegations.

Morris Worm


The first-ever computer worm to be sent via the Internet, the Morris Worm, was launched via the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – and it’s all thanks to the work of Robert Tappan Morris.

Benazir Bhutto


Benazir Bhutto was officially sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan on December 2nd, 1988. She became the first woman ever to head an Islam-dominated government, but she would eventually be assassinated, tragically, some 19 years later.

1988 was the year of the…

year of the dragon


Like 1964, 1976, 2000, 2012, and 2024, 1988 celebrated Dragons everywhere – that is, according to the Chinese Zodiac! People born in Dragon years tend to be very smart and confident, talented and charismatic. However, they also have exceptionally high standards for both themselves and others, which can be a quality and a fault! The next Dragon year won't be until 2036.

This page was last modified on February 12, 2024. Suggest an edit