1977 1978 1979 - 1980 - 1981 1982 1983
1950s 1960s 1970s - 1980s - 1990s 2000s 2010s
Events of 1980
- January 4 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaims a grain embargo against the USSR with the support of the European Commission.
- January 6 - The president of Sicily, Piersanti Mattarella, is assassinated by the Mafia.
- January 7 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs legislation approving $1.5 billion in loan guarantees to bail out the Chrysler Corporation.
- January 9 - In Saudi Arabia, 63 Muslim fanatics are beheaded for their part in the siege of the Great Mosque in Mecca in November, 1979.
- January 11 - Nigel Short, 14, is the youngest chess player to be awarded the degree of International Master.
- January 21 - The London Gold Fixing hits its highest price ever (adjusted for inflation), at US$850 a troy ounce.
- January 21 - The MS Athina B is beached at Brighton, becoming a temporary tourist attraction.
- January 26 - Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.
- January 27 - Six United States diplomats, posing as Canadians, manage to escape from Tehran, Iran as they board a flight to Zürich, Switzerland, thus ending the Canadian caper operation.
- January 31 - The Spanish Embassy in Guatemala is invaded and set on fire, killing 36 people.
- February 2 - Abscam: Reports surface that FBI personnel are targeting members of the Congress of the United States in a sting operation.
- February 2-February 3 - The infamous New Mexico State Penitentiary Riot takes place: 33 inmates are killed and more than 100 inmates injured.
- February 4 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini names Abolhassan Banisadr as president of Iran.
- February 13 - The XIII Winter Olympics open in Lake Placid, New York.
- February 22 - The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the Winter Olympics, in the Miracle on Ice.
- February 23 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini states that Iran's parliament will decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.
- February 25 - A coup in Suriname ousts the government of Henck Arron. Leaders Desi Bouterse and Roy Horb replace it with a National Military Council.
- February 27 - M-19 guerrillas begin the Dominican embassy siege in Colombia, holding 60 people hostage, including 14 ambassadors.
- March 1 - The Voyager 1 probe confirms the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn.
- March 3 - Pierre Trudeau returns to office as Prime Minister of Canada.
- March 4 - Robert Mugabe is elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
- March 14 - In Poland, a plane crashes during an emergency landing near Warsaw, killing a 14-man American boxing team and 73 others.
- March 18 - Fifty people are killed at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, when a Vostok-2M rocket explodes on its launch pad during a fueling operation.
- March 20 - The pirate radio station Radio Caroline sinks.
- March 21 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
- March 21 - Mafioso Angelo Bruno is assassinated in Atlantic City.
- March 24 - The Australia Olympic Committee announces it will send an Olympic delegation to Moscow, despite objections by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.
- March 24 - Archbishop Óscar Romero is killed by gunmen while celebrating Mass in San Salvador. At his funeral 6 days later, 42 people are killed amid gunfire and bombs.
- March 26 - A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reef gold mine in South Africa falls 1.2 miles, killing 23.
- March 27 - The Norwegian oil platform Alexander Kielland collapses in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212.
- March 27 - The Silver Thursday market crash occurs.
- March 28 - Talpiot Tomb is found in Jerusalem.
- April 1 - The Mariel boatlift from Cuba begins.
- April 2 - The St. Pauls riot breaks out in Bristol.
- April 7 - The United States severs diplomatic relations with Iran and imposes economic sanctions, following the taking of American hostages on November 4, 1979.
- April 10 - Spain and the United Kingdom agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain, closed since 1969.
- April 12 - Samuel Kanyon Doe takes over Liberia in a coup d'etat, ending over 130 years of democratic presidential succession in that country.
- April 18 - Zimbabwe gains independence from the United Kingdom; Robert Mugabe becomes Prime Minister.
- April 24-April 25 - Operation Eagle Claw, a commando mission in Iran to rescue American embassy hostages, is aborted after mechanical problems ground the rescue helicopters. Eight United States troops are killed in a mid-air collision during the failed operation.
- April 25 - crash of a Dan-Air Boeing 727 in Tenerife killing all 146 occupants and marking the worst air disaster involving a British-registered aircraft in terms of loss of life.
- April 27 - The Dominican embassy siege ends with all hostages released and the guerrillas flying to Cuba.
- April 30 - Iranian Embassy Siege: Six Iranian-born terrorists take over the Iranian embassy in London, UK. SAS retakes the Embassy on May 5; 1 terrorist survives.
- April 30 - Luis Muñoz Marín, the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico, dies at the age of 82.
- April 30 - Queen Juliana of the Netherlands abdicates, and her daughter Beatrix ascends to the throne.
- May 4 - Yugoslav President Tito dies. The funeral ceremony later becomes the world's biggest diplomatic meeting and media event ever, with more than 140 state delegations in Belgrade from all over the world (only the funeral of Pope John Paul II in April 2005 will have more news coverage and a higher number of delegations).
- May 7 - Paul Geidel, convicted of second-degree murder in 1911, is released from prison in Beacon, New York, after 68 years and 245 days (the longest-ever time served by an inmate).
- May 9 - In Florida, a Liberian freighter named the Summit Venture hits the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, sending 35 people (most of whom were in a bus) to a watery death as a 1,400-foot section of the bridge collapses.
- May 17 - A Miami, Florida court acquits 4 White police officers of killing Arthur McDuffie, a Black insurance executive, provoking 3 days of race riots.
- May 17 - On the eve of presidential elections, Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path attacks a polling location in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho starting the Internal conflict in Peru.
- May 18 - Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
- May 20 - 1980 Quebec referendum: Voters in Quebec reject by a vote of 60% a proposal to seek independence from Canada.
- May 24 - The International Court of Justice calls for the release of U.S. Embassy hostages in Tehran.
- May 26 - In South Korea, military government forces and pro-democracy protesters clash; 2,000 protesters die.
- June 1 - In Los Angeles, comedian Richard Pryor is badly burned trying to freebase cocaine.
- June 3 - A series of deadly tornadoes strikes Grand Island, Nebraska, causing over $300m in damage, killing 5 people and injuring over 250.
- June 3 - U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy wins several primaries, including California, on 'Super Tuesday', but not enough to overtake President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Party nomination.
- June 10 - A Unabomber bomb injures United Airlines president Percy Wood in Lake Forest, Illinois.
- June 19 - Iraqi security forces shoot dead 3 gunmen who attacked the British Embassy in Baghdad. The unknown attackers are killed in the embassy gardens by Iraqi security men, sent at the urgent request of the British ambassador, Alex Stirling.
- June 23 - Sanjay Gandhi, son of Indira Gandhi, dies in an air crash.
- June 23-September 6 - 1980 United States heat wave
- June 25 - A Muslim Brotherhood assassination attempt against Syrian president Hafez al-Assad fails. Assad retaliates by sending the army against them.
- June 27 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs Proclamation 4771 requiring 19- and 20-year-old males to register for a peacetime military draft, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
- June 29 - Vigdis Finnbogadottir is elected president of Iceland.
- July 9 - Pope John Paul II visits Brazil; 7 people are crushed to death in a crowd meeting him.
- July 10 - Alexandra Palace in London destroyed by fire.
- July 16 - Former California Governor and actor Ronald Reagan is nominated for U.S. President, at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. * July 19 - Former Turkish Prime Minister Nihat Erim is killed by 2 gunmen in Istanbul, Turkey.
- July 19-August 3 - The 1980 Summer Olympics are held in Moscow, Soviet Union.
- July 27 - Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, deposed shah of Iran, dies in Cairo.
- July 30 - Vanuatu gains independence.
- August 2 - A terrorist bombing at the railway station in Bologna, Italy kills 85 people and wounds more than 200.
- August 7-August 14 - Lech Wałęsa leads the first of many strikes at the Gdańsk shipyard.
- August 10 - Hurricane Allen Pounds Southeastern Texas as A category 3 hurricane.
- August 14 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter defeats Senator Edward Kennedy to win renomination, at the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York City.
- September 5 - The St. Gothard Tunnel opens in Switzerland as the world's longest highway tunnel at 10.14 miles (16.32 km) stretching from Goschenen to Airolo.
- September 12 - Kenan Evren stages a military coup in Turkey. It stops political gang violence, but begins stronger state violence leading to the execution of many young activists.
- September 17 - After weeks of strikes at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland, the nationwide independent trade union Solidarity is established.
- September 17 - Former Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle is killed in Asunción, Paraguay.
- September 22 - The command council of Iraq orders its army to "deliver its fatal blow on Iranian military targets," initiating the Iran-Iraq War.
- September 22 - Youth riots in the capital of the Soviet Republic of Estonia are quickly forced down.
- September 26 - The Mariel Boatlift officially ends.
- September 29 - The Washington Post publishes Janet Cooke's story of Jimmy, an 8-year-old heroin addict (later proven to be fabricated).
- October 10 - El Asnam in Algeria is destroyed by an earthquake which claimed more than 2,600 lives. After the quake, El Asnam is rebuilt and changes its name to the city of Chlef.
- October 15 - James Callaghan announces his resignation as Leader of the British Labour Party.
- October 18 - The Fraser Government is re-elected for a third consecutive term in Australia with a reduced majority.
- October 27 - Six Provisional Irish Republican Army prisoners in Maze prison refuse food and demand status as political prisoners; the hunger strike lasts until December.
- October 28 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate in Cleveland, Ohio.
- October 30 - El Salvador and Honduras sign a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969's Football War before the International Court of Justice.
- October 31 - The Polish government recognizes Solidarity.
- October 31 - Reza Pahlavi, eldest son of the shah of Iran, proclaims himself the rightful successor to the Peacock Throne.
- November 4 - U.S. presidential election, 1980: Republican challenger and former Governor Ronald Reagan of California defeats incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in a landslide victory, exactly 1 year after the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis.
- November 10 - November 12 - Voyager program: The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn, when it flies within 77,000 miles of the planet's cloud-tops and sends the first high resolution images of the world back to scientists on Earth.
- November 20 - The Gang of Four trial begins in China.
- November 21 - A fire at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada kills 85 people.
- November 23 - Italy Earthquake of 1980: a magnitude 7 earthquake in southern Italy kills approximately 3,000 people and leaves 300,000 homeless.
- December 4 - Francisco Sá Carneiro, Portuguese Prime Minister dies in a plane crash in Camarate in the outskirts of Lisbon.
- December 8 - Former Beatle John Lennon dies in hospital after being shot outside his New York City apartment by Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan who had received his signature earlier in the day.
- December 16 - During a summit on the island of Bali, OPEC decides to raise the price of petroleum by 10%.
- March 5 - Winifred Wagner, Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law, close friend of Adolf Hitler (b. 1897)
- April 15 - Jean-Paul Sarte, French Marxist philosopher (b. 1905)
- July 27 - Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran (b. 1919)
- December 24 - Karl Dönitz, German naval leader and Hitler’s official successor (b. 1891)