Tens of thousands of Chinese students take over Beijing's Tiananmen Square in rally for democracy (April 19 et seq.). More than one million in Beijing demonstrate for democracy; chaos spreads across nation (mid-May et seq.). Thousands killed in Tiananmen Square as Chinese leaders take hard line toward demonstrators (June 4 et seq.).
- George Herbert Walker Bush inaugurated as 41st US President (Jan. 20).
Ruptured tanker Exxon Valdez sends 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound (March 24).
EconomicsUS GDP (1998 dollars): $5,438.70 billion
Federal spending: $1143.17 billion
Federal debt: $2868.0 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars): $28,906
Consumer Price Index: 124
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.25
- Salman Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses is published and sparks immediate controversy. Islamic militants put a price on his head.
- America's beloved comedienne Lucille Ball dies at age 87.
- Visionary Jaron Lanier coins the term virtual reality and produces the equipment to experience it.
- Saturday Night Live's comedienne Gilda Radner passes away at age 42 from ovarian cancer.
Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love