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1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1987th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 987th year of the 2nd millennium, the 87th year of the 20th century, and the 8th year of the 1980s decade.
- 1 Events
- 2 Births
- 3 Deaths
- 4 In fiction
- 5 Nobel Prizes
- 6 References
- January 1 – Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories, changes its name to Iqaluit.
- January 2 – Chadian–Libyan conflict – Battle of Fada: The Chadian army destroys a Libyan armoured brigade.
- January 3 – Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- January 4 – 1987 Maryland train collision: An Amtrak train en route from Washington, D.C. to Boston collides with Conrail engines at Chase, Maryland, killing 16.
- January 5 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan undergoes prostate surgery, causing speculation about his physical fitness to continue in office.
- January 8 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes for the first time above 2,000, gaining 8.30 to close at 2,002.25.
- January 13 – New York mafiosi Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and Carmine Peruccia are sentenced to 100 years in prison for racketeering.
- January 15 – Hu Yaobang, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, is forced into retirement by political conservatives.
- January 16 – León Febres Cordero, president of Ecuador, is kidnapped by followers of imprisoned general Frank Vargas, who successfully demand the latter's release.
- January 20 – Terry Waite, the special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lebanon, is kidnapped in Beirut (released November 1991).
- January 22 – Pennsylvania Treasurer Budd Dwyer shoots and kills himself with a revolver during a televised press conference after being found guilty on charges of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering.
- January 29 – William J. Casey ends his term as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- January 31 – The last Ohrbach's department store closes in New York City after 64 years of operation.
- February 11
- February 20 – A second Unabomber bomb explodes at a Salt Lake City computer store, injuring the owner.
- February 23 – SN 1987A, the first "naked-eye" supernova since 1604, is observed.
- February 25 – Beginning of the Phosphorite War protest movement in Estonian SSR.
- February 26 – Iran–Contra affair: The Tower Commission rebukes U.S. President Ronald Reagan for not controlling his National Security Council staff.
- March 2 – American Motors is acquired by the Chrysler Corporation.
- March 4 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan addresses the American people on the Iran–Contra affair, acknowledging that his overtures to Iran had 'deteriorated' into an arms-for-hostages deal.
- March 6 – Zeebrugge disaster: Roll-on/roll-off cross-channel ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes off Zeebrugge harbor in Belgium; 193 people die.
- March 7 – 1987 Lieyu massacre: Republic of China Army execute 19 unarmed Vietnamese refugees on Donggang beach, Lieyu, Kinmen off Mainland China.
- March 18 – Woodstock of physics: The marathon session of the American Physical Society's meeting features 51 presentations concerning the science of high-temperature superconductors.
- March 20 – AZT is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
- March 23 – The Bold & the Beautiful debuts on CBS.[importance?]
- March 24 – Michael Eisner, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and French Prime Minister and future President of France, Jacques Chirac, sign the agreement to construct the 4,800 acres (19 km2) Euro Disney Resort (now called Disneyland Paris) and to develop the Val d'Europe area of the new town Marne-la-Vallée in Paris, France.
- March 29 – The World Wrestling Federation (later WWE) produces WrestleMania III from the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The event is particularly notable for the record attendance of 93,173, the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America until February 14, 2010, when the 2010 NBA All-Star Game has an attendance of 108,713 at AT&T Stadium.
- March 30 – The 59th Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles, with Platoon winning Best Picture
- March 31 – Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, conducts a 45-minute interview on Soviet television.
- April 3 – Showboat Casino Hotel first opens in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
- April 13 – The governments of the Portuguese Republic and the People's Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau will be returned to China in 1999.
- April 19 – The Simpsons cartoon first appears as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show.
- April 21 – In Colombo, Sri Lanka, The Central Bus Station Bombing kills 113 civilians.
- April 27 – The United States Department of Justice declares incumbent Austrian president Kurt Waldheim an "undesirable alien".
- April 30 – Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the Provincial Premiers agree on principle to the Meech Lake Accord which would bring Quebec into the constitution.
- May 9 – A Soviet-made Ilyushin Il-62 airliner, operated by LOT Polish Airlines, crashes into a forest just outside Warsaw, killing all 183 people on board.
- May 11 – Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.
- May 14 – Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka executes a bloodless coup in Fiji.
- May 17 – USS Stark is hit by two Iraqi-owned Exocet AM39 air-to-surface missiles killing 47 sailors.
- May 22
- May 27 – In one of the densest concentrations of humanity in history, a crowd of 800,000+ packed shoulder-to-shoulder onto the Golden Gate Bridge and its approaches for its 50th Anniversary celebration.
- May 28 – Eighteen-year-old West German pilot Mathias Rust evades Soviet air defenses and lands a private plane on Red Square in Moscow. He is immediately detained (released on August 3, 1988).
- June 3 – The Vanuatu Labour Party is founded.
- June 8 – The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act is passed, the first of its kind in the world.
- June 11 – The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, led by Margaret Thatcher, is re-elected for a third term at the 1987 general election.
- June 12 – During a visit to Berlin, Germany, U.S. President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
- June 17 – With the death of the last individual, the dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct.
- June 19
- Teddy Seymour is officially designated the first black man to sail around the world, when he completes his solo sailing circumnavigation in Frederiksted, St. Croix, of the United States Virgin Islands.
- Edwards v. Aguillard: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools whenever evolution is taught is unconstitutional.
- June 27 – A commercial HS 748 (Philippine Airlines Flight 206) crashes near Baguio City, Philippines, killing 50.
- June 28
- June 29 – South Korean president Roh Tae-woo makes a speech promising a wide program of nationwide reforms, the result of the June Democracy Movement.
- June 30 – Canada introduces a one-dollar coin, nicknamed the "Loonie".
- July 1
- July 3
- In the Soviet Union, Vladimir Nikolayev is sentenced to death for cannibalism.
- Greater Manchester Police recover the body of 16-year-old Pauline Reade from Saddleworth Moor, after her killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley help them in their search, almost exactly 24 years since Pauline was last seen alive.
- July 4 – A court in Lyon sentences former Gestapo boss Klaus Barbie to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.
- July 11
- July 12 – Konami releases the video game Metal Gear in Japan for the MSX2.[importance?]
- July 15 – Martial law in Taiwan ends after 38 years.
- July 16 – Death of Pierre Lardinois, Belgian politician (b. 1924)
- July 17 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above the 2,500 mark for the first time, at 2,510.04.
- July 22 – Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali is shot in London; he dies August 28.
- July 25
- July 31
- Four hundred pilgrims killed in clashes between demonstrating Iranian pilgrims and Saudi Arabian security forces in Mecca.
- Docklands Light Railway in London, the first driverless railway in Great Britain, is formally opened by Elizabeth II.
- An F4-rated tornado devastates eastern Edmonton, Alberta; hardest hit are an industrial park and a trailer park. 27 people are killed and hundreds injured, with hundreds more left homeless and jobless.
- August 4
- The World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission, publishes its report, Our Common Future.
- The Federal Communications Commission rescinds the Fairness Doctrine, which had required radio and television stations to present alternative views on controversial issues.
- August 7
- August 9 – Hoddle Street massacre in Australia: Julian Knight, 19, goes on a shooting rampage in the Melbourne suburb of Clifton Hill, Victoria, killing 7 people and injuring 19 before surrendering to police.
- August 14 – All the children held at Kai Lama, a rural property on Lake Eildon, Australia, run by the Santiniketan Park Association, are released after a police raid.
- August 16
- Northwest Airlines Flight 255 (a McDonnell Douglas MD-82) crashes on takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan just west of Detroit killing all but one (4-year old Cecelia Cichan) of the 156 people on board.
- The followers of the Harmonic Convergence claim it was observed around the world.
- August 17 – Rudolf Hess is found dead in his cell in Spandau Prison. Hess, 93, is believed to have committed suicide by hanging himself with an electrical flex. He was the last remaining prisoner at the complex, which is soon demolished.
- August 19
- August 23 – The Hirvepark meeting is organized as the first unsanctioned political meeting in Estonian SSR, in commemoration of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
- September 2 – In Moscow, the trial begins for 19-year-old pilot Mathias Rust, who flew his Cessna airplane into Red Square in May.
- September 3 – In a coup d'état in Burundi, President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza is deposed by Major Pierre Buyoya.
- September 7–21 – The world's first conference on artificial life is held at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
- September 13 – Scavengers open an old radiation source abandoned in a hospital in Goiânia, causing the worst radiation accident ever in an urban area.
- September 15 – Pope John Paul II arrives in Los Angeles for a two-day papal visit, his first one ever to the city, where he made an arrival day speech to local leaders of the U.S. entertainment industry.
- September 17 – At a small rally in New York City's Harlem district, televangelist Pat Robertson announces his candidacy for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination.
- October 3 – The Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement is reached but still requires ratification. This agreement would be a precursor to NAFTA.
- October 7 – Sikh nationalists declares the independence of Khalistan from India.
- October 11 – The first National Coming Out Day is held in celebration of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
- October 14–16 – The United States is caught up in a drama that unfolds on television as a young child named Jessica McClure falls down a well in Midland, Texas, and is later rescued.
- October 15–16 – Great Storm of 1987: Hurricane-force winds hit much of southern England, killing 23 people.
- October 19
- October 22 – The pilot of a British Aerospace BAE Harrier GR5 registered ZD325 accidentally ejects from his aircraft. The jet continues to fly until it runs out of fuel and crashes into the Irish Sea.
- October 23
- October 26 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average goes down 156.83 points.
- November 1 – InterCity 125 breaks world diesel powered train speed record reaching 238 km/h (147.88 mph).
- November 7
- November 8 – Enniskillen bombing: Twelve people are killed by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb at a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen.
- November 12 – The first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Mainland China opens in Beijing, near Tiananmen Square.
- November 15 – In Brașov, Romania, workers rebel against the communist regime led by Nicolae Ceaușescu.
- November 16 – The Parlatino Treaty of Institutionalization is signed.
- November 17 – A tsunami hits the Gulf of Alaska.
- November 18
- November 22 – Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion – unknown perpetrators hijack the signal of WGN-TV for about 20 seconds, and WTTW for about 90 seconds, and displays a strange video of a man in a Max Headroom mask.
- November 25 – Category 5 Typhoon Nina smashes the Philippines with 165 miles per hour (266 km/h) winds and a devastating storm surge, causing destruction and 1,036 deaths.
- November 28 – South African Airways Flight 295 crashes into the Indian Ocean off Mauritius, due to a fire in the cargo hold; the 159 passengers and crew perish.
- November 29 – Korean Air Flight 858 is blown up over the Andaman Sea, killing 115 crew and passengers. North Korean agents are responsible for the bombing.
- December 1
- NASA announces the names of 4 companies awarded contracts to help build Space Station Freedom: Boeing Aerospace, General Electric's Astro-Space Division, McDonnell Douglas, and the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell.
- Queensland: Following a week of turmoil from his National Party of Australia colleagues, Joh Bjelke-Petersen resigns as Premier of Queensland. He is replaced by Mike Ahern, the only premier never to contest an election as premier.
- December 2 – Hustler Magazine v. Falwell is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
- December 7 – Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 on board, after a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-supervisor on the flight, then shoots both pilots.
- December 8
- Israeli–Palestinian conflict: The First Intifada begins in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
- Queen Street massacre: In Melbourne, Australia, 22-year-old Frank Vitkovic kills 8 and injures another 5 in a Post Office building before committing suicide by jumping from the eleventh floor.
- The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
- Alianza Lima air disaster: A Peruvian Navy Fokker F27 crashes near Ventanilla, Peru, killing 43.
- December 9
- December 17
- December 18
- December 20 – In history's worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry MV Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector 1 in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).
- December 21 – Turgut Özal of ANAP forms the new government of Turkey (46th government).
- December 30 – Pope John Paul II issues the encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis (On Social Concern).
- Birth rates begin to fall in the Soviet Union as the country's government began to collapse.
- The Pendolino train makes its debut in Italy.
- Tinker Hatfield designs the Nike Air Max.
- Shoko Asahara founds the Aum Shinrikyo cult.
- Thomas Knoll and John Knoll develop the first version of Photoshop.
- Maglite introduces the 2AAA Mini Maglite flashlight, targeted for medical and industrial applications.[importance?]
- Barry Minkow's ZZZZ Best fraud unravels.
- Varroa destructor, an invasive parasite of honeybees, is found in the U.S.
- The first Starbucks Coffee stores outside Seattle are opened in Vancouver and Chicago.
- BiCE Ristorante opens in New York, New York.
- Fluoxetine, marketed as Prozac, is approved for use as an antidepressant in the USA by the Food and Drug Administration in December 1987.