Did these events happen in the '80s?


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

The 1980s was such an event-filled decade. Think you can guess these events that happened during the ‘80s? Hop into our time capsule of fun and test your wits with this quiz!

The royal wedding of the decade happened in Britain, as the lovely Diana Spencer became Princess Diana. Which heir to the throne did she marry?

Prince Charles is the heir to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II. But more than the Prince it was Princess Di who was a beloved figure, even after her untimely death.


The crazy cube with the 9-tile color on each side was invented in the ‘70s but it debuted as an enjoyable and brain-challenging toy in the ‘80s. What is this toy called?

The Rubik’s Cube has been selling like hotcakes up to this day. The aim is to have the 9-tiles of colors all align on one side, giving all 6 sides a solid color.


Back when there was still an entity known as the USSR, a monumental nuclear power plant disaster happened somewhere there. Can you remember where?

The Chernobyl accident happened in 1986. The world was watching this nuclear disaster, since its effects reached outside of the original place.


Which of the Beatles was fatally shot in 1980?

Mark David Chapman, a fan, fatally shot John Lennon in 1980.


A U.S. volcano located in Washington state exploded in 1980. What is the volcano's name?

The USA is not really prone to disastrous volcano eruptions. So the eruption of Mount St. Helens was fairly significant in U.S. history.


Pac-Man was a very popular arcade game that defined the 1980s. From which country did Pac-Man originate?

A Japan-based company named Namco was responsible for creating Pac-Man. But you can still play it today, as the popular monster-munching round disc hero was adapted to the digital age, now downloadable in smartphones for newer generations.


A fan of Jodie's Foster shot a U.S. President to impress her. Which president was shot?

Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr., a Jodie Foster fan.


The Berlin Wall, which divided Germany, was demolished before the decade ended. How did it separate the country?

For a long time, Germany was divided into the more oppressive East Germany and the more democratic West Germany. Today, democracy rules in the unified Germany.


The year 1986 was a sad day for space fans when they saw the Space Shuttle Challenger explode in the air, just right after takeoff. What happened to all its astronaut passengers?

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was being watched live on TV when it exploded. Needless to say, no one survived that explosion.


The pioneering effort of this cable news network channel spearheaded today's 24-hour TV news broadcasts when it went live in 1980. Which channel is this?

CNN, or Cable News Network, was the mother of all 24-hour news broadcast channels we have today. It started in America, then it created different bureaus around the world.


The Mariel boatlift is the term used for the 1980 mass migration of this country's citizens, thousands which landed in Florida, USA.

Then Cuban leader Fidel Castro allowed his countrymen to leave his regime if they didn't want to stay in Cuba anymore. However, not all the citizens who arrived on Florida's shores were law abiding.


The world of personal computing changed technology today, with IBM as one of its pioneers when they developed the IBM PC hardware. But what does IBM mean?

The company's origins, prior to the computer age, can be traced back to the 1880s.


The Tiananmen Square Massacre was a dark turning point in Chinese history, because many student demonstrators were killed in this incident. Where in China did this take place?

China's capital city of Beijing is where the Tiananmen Square Massacre happened. This was in 1989.


1983 marked a milestone for gender emancipation as the first American woman was sent to space. What is the name of this female astronaut?

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space during the '80s. After her death in 2012, it was revealed that she had a female partner of 27 years, making her the first known LGBT astronaut as well.


The 1980s saw a drought and widespread famine happen in Ethiopia. In which continent is this country located?

Ethiopia suffered heavily due to many political events, which led to a drought and a famine in the '80s. This put the spotlight on the country and its continent of Africa in the international sphere.


Toured for the very first time: The year 1985 saw The Virgin Tour in North America, featuring this ultra-famous pop diva.

Madonna broke her "tour virgin mode" when her record label sent her to tour in 1985. Needless to say, she hasn't stopped touring, or making great music.


A devastating virus was discovered during the 1980s, which led to the deadly syndrome called AIDS. What is this virus called?

HIV means human immunodeficiency virus. When it gets worse, it leads to AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.


An oil spill happened in 1989 caused by the oil tanker called Exxon Valdez. In which US state did this oil spill occur?

It was in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spilled crude oil on the waters of Alaska. It’s considered one of the worse environmental disasters of all time.


The ‘80s is also noted as the decade that deep-sea explorers found the wreckage of this infamous ship that sank after hitting an iceberg. What ship was it?

After how many decades of being a mystery, the late 1980s modern technology accurately tracked down the wreckage of the Titanic, which sank in 1912.


A visual art form called the music video started circulating before the ‘80s. But in 1981, this iconic music video channel went on air. What is this channel called?

Music video-watching — and music video filmmaking — was elevated into a higher form upon the debut of the MTV cable channel in 1981. Since then, it’s not enough for a musician to have a hit song, but the song has to have a cool music video.


A very cool astronomical phenomenon also happened during the 1980s, when this heavenly body called Halley’s passed by the earthen skies. What kind of celestial orb-with-a-tail is it?

Halley’s Comet passes by the earth’s orbit every 75 years on average, sometimes 74 or 79 years depending on the decade. Its last modern sighting was on March 1986.


One of the most popular and well-known musicals opened during the 1980s. Which love story is this?

"Phantom of the Opera" was originally a French novel. Show tunes maestro Andrew Lloyd Weber turned it into a musical for the stage. It debuted in London’s West End and New York’s Broadway during the late 1980s.


Pope John Paul II survived an assassination attempt in 1981. Where did this attempt happen?

Vatican City is where the Catholic Pope resides. During Pope John Paul II's time, he was shot, and a second attempt happened elsewhere after this.


Benefit concerts were all the rage during the 1980s, mostly in response to the famine that happened in Ethiopia that decade. What is the name of the concert staged by UK musician Bob Geldof?

Live Aid is but one of the Africa famine-benefiting concerts and musical efforts staged by popular musicians in the 1980s. This benefit concert was staged in 1985 both in London, UK and Philadelphia, US.


Oprah Winfrey helped change the landscape of this kind of TV show when she produced and hosted "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which debuted in 1986. What show genre is this?

Even if "The Oprah Winfrey Show" ended in 2011, this long-running talk show paved the way for many kinds of TV talk shows during the decade, and for decades to come. It’s also significant to note during the ‘80s that a woman produced, ran the show, and hosted it.


Michael Jackson performed this signature dance move of his during the 1980s. What is this move called?

It was 1983 when the King of Pop danced the moonwalk for the first time, attaching to him this signature move until today. It was performed in a TV special celebrating Motown’s 25th anniversary.


It was 1985 when the show called "Saturday Night’s Main Event" debuted on American television, featuring a celebrity-oriented sport which catapulted the likes of Hulk Hogan to fame. What kind of sport did the show feature?

Professional wrestling was given primetime TV exposure during the 1980s. "Saturday Night’s Main Event" made that happen.


This Asian sub continent​ had an environmental disaster when the Bhopal gas leak happened. Which country is this?

Bhopal is the name of the area in India where a pesticide plant had a gas leak in 1984. Needless to say, many neighborhoods nearby suffered massively, with sicknesses and diseases still manifesting today.


The untimely death of Rebecca Schaeffer prompted America to heighten its laws on anti-stalking ​since she was killed by a stalker. What did Schaeffer do for a living?

Promising young actress Rebecca Schaeffer was fatally shot by a fan obsessed with her, who had been stalking her for three years. She was only 21 when she died in 1989.


A bloodless revolution could only happen when a critical mass of people stand up against tyrannical rule, without a single bullet being fired. This happened at the 1986 People Power Revolution in Manila. Where in the world is this Asian city located?

Manila is the capital of the Philippines. The People Power Revolution of 1986 toppled the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, and installed Corazon Aquino at the presidency.


October 17, 1987 is a Monday when a massive stock market crash happened in various parts of the world, including the USA. What was this called?

Most of the stock market crash affected countries during that Black Monday. Hong Kong is the country where the Black Monday crash started, and it spread worldwide from there.


The infamous Iran-Contra Affair is a political scandal that shocked the American people, in the mid-‘80s when it was revealed that top officials were illegally selling these kinds of military items to Iran. What are these items?

Apparently, the US was selling various arms to militant groups they funded to fight various “wars” in other countries, or to specifically topple communist-based regimes. This was the controversial fact revealed by the Iran-Contra scandal in the ‘80s.


The US Supreme Court broke a gender barrier when they appointed this kind of justice in 1981.

Sandra Day O’Connor holds the distinction of being the very first female appointed as a US Supreme Court justice. Then President Ronald Reagan was responsible for this appointment.


Tyrannical ruler Nicolai Ceausescu was booted out by the Romanian people in 1989. But it was not totally bloodless, since the tyrant was tried and sentenced to die via firing squad. In which continent did this happen?

This Eastern European revolution in Romania happened in 1989. Ceausescu and his wife died via firing squad.


Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s revolutionary concepts of glasnost and perestroika became buzzwords in the 1980s, which significantly contributed to the end of this kind of war. What was this "war" called?

Glasnost means openness, while perestroika means reorganizing, two things that helped shake up things in the 1980s. This eventually led to the end of the Cold War.


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