1987 1988 1989 - 1990 - 1991 1992 1993
1960s 1970s 1980s - 1990s - 2000s 2010s 2020s
- January 4 – A train accident in Ghotki, Pakistan kills 330.
- January 7 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to the public due to safety concerns.
- January 9 – Ugandan Lt. Gen. Bazilio Olara-Okello, who led a coup against Dr. Apolo Milton Obote's government, dies in Ormduruman Hospital in Khartoum, Sudan.
- January 10 – Time Warner is formed from the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc.
- January 11 – In Lithuania, 300,000 demonstrate for independence.
- January 13 – Douglas Wilder becomes the first elected African American governor as he takes office in Richmond, Virginia.
- January 15 – Thousands storm the Stasi headquarters in Berlin in an attempt to view their government records.
- January 18 – In Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.
- January 20 – Soviet troops occupy Baku, Azerbaijan, under the state of emergency decree issued by Gorbachev and kill over 130 and wound over 700 protesters for national independence.
- January 22 – Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. is convicted of releasing the Morris worm.
- January 25 – Avianca Flight 52 crashes into Cove Neck, Long Island, after a miscommunication between the flight crew and JFK Airport officials.
- January 25–26 – The Burns' Day storm kills 97 in northwestern Europe.
- January 27 – The city of Tiraspol in the Moldavian SSR briefly declares independence.
- January 29 – The trial of Joseph Hazelwood, former skipper of the Exxon Valdez, begins in Anchorage, Alaska. He is accused of negligence that resulted in America's worst oil spill to date.
- January 31 – The first McDonald's in Moscow, Russia opens.
- February 2 – Apartheid: In South Africa, President F.W. de Klerk allows the African National Congress to legally function again and promises to free Nelson Mandela.
- February 5 – Manuel Fraga becomes the president of Galicia, Spain.
- February 10 – South African President F.W. de Klerk announces that Nelson Mandela will be released the next day.
- February 11 – James "Buster" Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson to win the World Heavyweight Boxing crown.
- February 11 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, South Africa, after 27 years behind bars.
- February 13 – German reunification: An agreement is reached for a two-stage plan to reunite Germany.
- February 14 – The Pale Blue Dot picture was sent back from the Voyager 1 probe after completing its primary mission, it was around 3.5 billion miles away from earth.
- February 15 – The United Kingdom and Argentina restore diplomatic relations after 8 years. The UK had severed ties in response to Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands, a British Dependent Territory, in 1982.
- February 26 – The Sandinistas are defeated in the Nicaraguan elections.
- February 26 – The USSR agrees to withdraw all 73,500 troops from Czechoslovakia by July, 1991.
- February 27 – Exxon Valdez oil spill: Exxon and its shipping company are indicted on 5 criminal counts.
- March 1 – A fire at the Sheraton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, kills 16 people.
- March 1 – Steve Jackson Games is raided by the U.S. Secret Service, prompting the later formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- March 1 – The Royal New Zealand Navy discontinues its daily rum ration.
- March 6 – An SR-71 sets a U.S. transcontinental speed record of 1 hour 8 minutes 17 seconds, on what is publicized as its last official flight.
- March 9 – Police seal off Brixton in South London after another night of protests against the poll tax.
- March 9 – Antonia Novello is sworn in as Surgeon General of the United States, becoming the first female and Hispanic American to serve in that position.
- March 9 – Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Clyde Wells confirms he will rescind Newfoundland's approval of the Meech Lake Accord.
- March 10 – Eighteen months after seizing power in a coup, Prosper Avril is ousted in Haiti.
- March 11 – Lithuania declares independence from the Soviet Union with the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania.
- March 11 – Patricio Aylwin is sworn in as the first democratically elected Chilean president since 1970.
- March 15 – Iraq hangs British journalist Farzad Bazoft for spying. Daphne Parish, a British nurse, is sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment as an accomplice.
- March 15 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first executive president of the Soviet Union.
- March 15 – The Soviet Union announces that Lithuania's declaration of independence is invalid.
- March 18 – Twelve paintings, collectively worth from $100 to $300 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts by 2 thieves posing as police officers. This is the largest art theft in US history, and the paintings (as of 2007[update]) have not been recovered.
- March 18 – East Germany holds its first free elections.
- March 20 – Ferdinand Marcos's widow, Imelda Marcos, goes on trial for bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering.
- March 21 – After 75 years of South African rule, Namibia becomes independent.
- March 24 – Australian federal election, 1990: The government of Australian prime minister Bob Hawke is re-elected for a 4th term.
- March 25 – In New York City, a fire due to arson at an illegal social club called "Happy Land" kills 87.
- March 25 – Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie announces his intention to retire at the end of the year.
- March 26 – The 62nd Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, with Driving Miss Daisy winning Best Picture.
- March 27 – The United States begins broadcasting TV Martí to Cuba.
- March 28 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush posthumously awards Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal.
- March 31 – "The Second Battle of Trafalgar": A massive anti-poll tax demonstration in Trafalgar Square, London, turns into a riot; 471 people are injured, and 341 arrested.
- April 1 – Strangeways Prison riot: The longest prison riot in Britain's history begins at Strangeways Prison in Manchester, and continues for 3 weeks and 3 days, until April 25.
- April 6 – Robert Mapplethorpe's "The Perfect Moment" show of nude and homosexual photographs opens at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, in spite of accusations of indecency by Citizens for Community Values.
- April 7 – Iran Contra Affair: John Poindexter is found guilty of 5 charges for his part in the scandal; the convictions are later reversed on appeal.
- April 8 – Scandinavian Star, a Bahamas-registered ferry, catches fire en route from Norway to Denmark, leaving 158 dead.
- April 13 – The Soviet Union apologizes for the Katyn Massacre.
- April 15 – Food poisoning kills 450 guests at an engagement party in Uttar Pradesh.
- April 20 – STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.
- April 24 – The Space Shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
- April 24 – West Germany and East Germany agree to merge currency and economies on July 1.
- April 25 – Violeta Chamorro is elected President of Nicaragua, making her the first woman President in Latin America.
- May 2 – In London, a man brandishing a knife robs courier Nicholas Lane of bearer bonds worth £292 million (the largest mugging to date).
- May 4 – Latvia declares independence from the Soviet Union.
- May 5 – The 35th Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Zagreb, Yugoslavia.
- May 15 – Portrait of Doctor Gachet by Vincent van Gogh is sold for a record $82.5 million.
- May 17 – The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its list of diseases.
- May 20 – The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Romania.
- May 22 – The leaders of the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen announce the unification of their countries as the Republic of Yemen.
- May 22 – Microsoft releases Windows 3.0.
- May 24 – The Edmonton Oilers defeat the Boston Bruins in the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals for their fifth Stanley Cup.
- June 1 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign a treaty to end chemical weapon production and begin destroying their respective stocks.
- June 1 – Members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army shoot and kill Major Michael Dillon-Lee and Private William Robert Davies of the British Army. Dillon-Lee is killed outside his home in Dortmund, Germany and Davies is killed at a railway station in Lichfield, England.
- June 2 – The Lower Ohio Valley tornado outbreak spawns 88 confirmed tornadoes in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, killing 12; 37 tornadoes occur in Indiana, eclipsing the previous record of 21 during the Super Outbreak of April 1974.
- June 7 – Universal Studios Florida opens to the public.
- June 8 – The 1990 FIFA World Cup begins in Italy.
- June 12 – The parliament of the Russian Federation formally declares its sovereignty.
- June 14 – 1990 NBA Finals: The Detroit Pistons defeat the Portland Trail Blazers.
- June 21 – An earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale kills thousands in the Iranian city of Manjil.
- June 22 – Underwater volcano Mount Didicas erupts in the Philippines.
- June 24 – Kathleen Young and Irene Templeton are ordained as priests in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, becoming the first Anglican women priests in the United Kingdom.
- June 25 – The first television program in HDTV airs.
- June 26 – U.S. President Bush breaks his 1988 'no new taxes' campaign pledge, accepting tax revenue increases as a necessity to reduce the budget deficit.
- July 2 – A stampede in a pedestrian tunnel leading to Mecca kills 1,426.
- July 6 – Somali president Siad Barre's bodyguards massacre antigovernment demonstrators during a soccer match; 65 people are killed, over 300 seriously injured.
- July 7 – In Rome, on the night before soccer's 1990 FIFA World Cup, the Three Tenors sing together for the first time. The event is broadcast live on television and watched worldwide by millions of people; the highlight is Luciano Pavarotti's performance of "Nessun Dorma" from Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot.
- July 8 – West Germany defeats Argentina 1-0 to win the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
- July 15 – Tamil Tigers kill 168 Muslims in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- July 16 – An earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter Scale kills over 1,600 in the Philippines.
- July 25 – George Carey, Bishop of Bath and Wells, is named as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
- July 25 – The Serbian Democratic Party declares the sovereignty of the Serbs in Croatia.
- July 26 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act, designed to protect disabled Americans from discrimination.
- July 27 – The parliament building and a government television house in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago are stormed by the Jamaat al Muslimeen in a coup d'état attempt which lasts 5 days. Approximately 26 to 30 people are killed and several wounded (including then Prime Minister, A.N.R. Robinson, who is shot in the leg).
- July 27 – Belarus declares its sovereignty, a key step toward independence from the USSR.
- July 28 – Alberto Fujimori becomes president of Peru.
- July 30 – A Provisional Irish Republican Army car bomb kills British M.P. Ian Gow, a staunch unionist.
- August 2 – Gulf War: Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.
- August 6 – Gulf War: The United Nations Security Council orders a global trade embargo against Iraq in response to its invasion of Kuwait.
- August 19 – Leonard Bernstein conducts his final concert, ending with Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
- August 23 – East Germany and West Germany announce they will unite on October 3.
- August 24 – Northern Ireland writer Brian Keenan is released from Lebanon after being held hostage for nearly 5 years.
- August 28 – The Plainfield Tornado (F5 on the Fujita scale) striles the towns of Plainfield, Crest Hill, and Joliet, Illinois, killing 29 people (the strongest tornado to date to strike the Chicago Metropolitan Area).
- September 2 – Transnistria declares its independence from the Moldavian SSR; however, the declaration is not recognized by any government.
- September 9 – First Liberian Civil War: Liberian president Samuel Doe is captured by rebel leader Prince Johnson and killed in a filmed execution.
- September 11 – Gulf War: President George H. W. Bush delivers a nationally televised speech in which he threatens the use of force to remove Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait.
- September 12 – The two German states and the Four Powers sign the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany in Moscow, paving the way for German reunification.
- September 19 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army tries to assassinate Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Terry at his home near Stafford, England. Hit by at least 9 bullets, the former Governor of Gibraltar survives.
- September 29 – Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral is finished.
- October 3 – East Germany and West Germany reunify into a single Germany.
- October 5 – After 150 years, 10 months and 2 days (Friday, January 3, 1840 – Friday, October 5, 1990), The Herald broadsheet newspaper in Melbourne, Australia is published for the last time as a separate newspaper.
- October 6 – Collingwood wins the AFL Grand Final rematch against Essendon by 48 points.
- October 8 – Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: In Jerusalem, Israeli police kill 17 Palestinians and wound over 100 near the Dome of the Rock mosque on the Temple Mount
- October 9 – Leonard Bernstein announces his retirement from conducting; unbeknownst to anyone other than himself and his doctors, he is terminally ill.
- October 13 – Lebanese Civil War: Syrian military forces invade and occupy Mount Lebanon, ousting General Michel Aoun's government. This effectively consolidates Syria's 14 year occupation of Lebanese soil.
- October 14 – Leonard Bernstein dies of a heart attack at his home in New York City. He is 72 years old.
- October 15 – Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and reform his nation.
- October 21 – The first Apple Day is set up by Common Ground in London.
- October 25 – Evander Holyfield defeats James 'Buster' Douglas for the Heavyweight Boxing crown.
- October 27 – The Supreme Soviet of Kyrgyzstan chooses Askar Akayev as the republic's first president.
- October 27 – The New Zealand general election 1990 returns the New Zealand National Party with record number of 67 seats.
- November 1 – Mary Robinson defeats odds-on favourite Brian Lenihan to become the first female President of Ireland.
- November 5 – Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the far-right Kach movement, is shot dead after a speech at a New York City hotel.
- November 12 – Akihito is enthroned as the 125th emperor of Japan.
- November 12 – Tim Berners-Lee publishes a more formal proposal for the World Wide Web. 
- November 14 – Germany and Poland sign a treaty confirming the border at the Oder-Neisse line.
- November 15 – STS-38: Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched on a classified military mission.
- November 22 – Margaret Thatcher announces she will not contest the second ballot of the leadership election for the Conservative Party.
- November 25 – Lech Wałęsa and Stanisław Tymiński win the first round of the first presidential elections in Poland.
- November 27 – John Major wins the second ballot of the Conservative Party leadership election and his two rivals, Michael Heseltine and Douglas Hurd, concede defeat.
- November 28 – Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister of the UK; John Major succeeds her as Party Leader and is appointed Prime Minister by Queen Elizabeth II.
- November 29 – Gulf War: The United Nations Security Council passes UN Security Council Resolution 678, authorizing military intervention in Iraq if that nation does not withdraw its forces from Kuwait and free all foreign hostages by Tuesday, January 15, 1991.
- December 1 – Establishing the first ground connection between the United Kingdom and the mainland of Europe since the last Ice Age, Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the English Channel seabed.
- December 2 – A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl wins the first free all-German elections since 1932.
- December 3 – At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Northwest Airlines Flight 1482 (a McDonnell Douglas DC-9) collides with Northwest Airlines Flight 299 (a Boeing 727) on the runway, killing 8 passengers and 4 crewmembers on Flight 1482.
- December 3 – Mary Robinson begins her term as the first female President of Ireland.
- December 6 – Saddam Hussein releases the Western hostages.
- December 6 – President Hossain Mohammad Ershad of Bangladesh is forced to resign following massive protests.
- December 9 – Slobodan Milošević becomes President of Serbia.
- December 9 – Lech Wałęsa wins the 2nd round of Poland's first presidential election.
- December 11 – American mob boss John Gotti is arrested.
- December 16 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide is elected president of Haiti, ending 3 decades of military rule.
- December 30 – www.myspace.com/adamtitanband
- December 31 – Russian Garry Kasparov holds his title by winning the World Chess Championship match against his countryman Anatoly Karpov.
- July 7 - George Eggleston, editor of Scribner’s Commentator (b. 1906)
- November 5 - Meir Kahane, militant American-Israeli rabbi (b. 1932)
- December 31 - William Gayley Simpson, White racialist philosopher (b. 1892)