The year on the coin you receive will be the specific year of the listing
January 20 – George H. W. Bush succeeds Ronald Reagan as the 41st President of the United States of America.
February 7 – The Los Angeles, California City Council bans the sale or possession of semiautomatic weapons.
February 10 – Ron Brown is elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first African American to lead a major United States political party.
February 11 – Barbara Clementine Harris is consecrated as the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
February 14 – The first of 24 Global Positioning System satellites is placed into orbit.
March 4 – Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announce plans for a merger, forming Time Warner.
March 13 – A geomagnetic storm causes the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid. Six million people are left without power for 9 hours. Some areas in the northeastern U.S. and in Sweden also lose power, and aurorae are seen as far as Texas.
March 14 – Gun control: U.S. President George H. W. Bush bans the importation of certain guns deemed assault weapons into the United States.
March 23 – Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announce that they have achieved cold fusion at the University of Utah.
March 24 – Exxon Valdez oil spill: In Alaska's Prince William Sound the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil after running aground.
March 29 – The 61st Academy Awards are held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, with Rain Man winning Best Picture.
April 14 The U.S. government seizes the Irving, California Lincoln Savings and Loan Association; Charles Keating (for whom the Keating Five were named – John McCain among them) eventually goes to jail, as part of the massive 1980s Savings and Loan Crisis which costs U.S. taxpayers nearly $200 billion in bailouts, and many people their life savings.
April 20 – NATO debates modernising short range missiles; although the U.S. and UK are in favour, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl obtains a concession deferring a decision.
May 1 – Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World opens to the public for the first time.
May 25 – Thirteen days after a Southern Pacific train derails, a Calnev pipeline explodes at the same section of Duffy Street in San Bernardino, California.
June 12 – The Corcoran Gallery of Art removes Robert Mapplethorpe's gay photography exhibition.
July 9–12 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush travels to Poland and Hungary, pushing for U.S. economic aid and investment.
July 26 – A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. for releasing a computer virus, making him the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
August 7 – Federal Express purchases Flying Tiger Line for approximately 800 million U.S. dollars.
August 8 – STS-28: Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a secret 5-day military mission.
August 16–17 – Woodstock '89 festival.
August 20 – In Beverly Hills, California, Lyle and Erik Menendez shoot their wealthy parents to death in the family's den.
August 23 – Yusef Hawkins is shot in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York, sparking racial tensions between African Americans and Italian Americans.
August 24 – Record-setting baseball player Pete Rose agrees to a lifetime ban from the sport following allegations of illegal gambling, thereby preventing his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
August 29 – Harry Zych a diver and salvager files a lawsuit to gain ownership of the wreck of the Lady Elgin which he has recently discovered in Lake Michigan in Highland Park, IllSeptemberSeptember 5 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush holds up a bag of cocaine purchased across the street at Lafayette Park, in his first televised speech to the nation.
September 21 – Hurricane Hugo makes landfall in South Carolina, causing $7 billion in damage.
October 17: Loma Prieta earthquake
October 5 – U.S. televangelist John Nunes is found guilty of embezzling $158 million.
October 13 – Friday the 13th mini-crash: The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunges 190.58 points, or 6.91 percent, to close at 2,569.26, most likely after the junk bond market collapses.
October 17 – The Loma Prieta earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, strikes the San Francisco–Oakland region of Northern California, killing 67 people and delaying the 1989 World Series for ten days
October 19 – The Wonders of Life pavilion opens at Epcot in Walt Disney World, Florida.
November 2 – North Dakota and South Dakota celebrate their 100th Birthdays.
November 7 – Douglas Wilder wins the Virginia governor's race, becoming the first elected African American governor in the United States.
November 7 – David Dinkins becomes the first African American mayor of New York City.
November 21 – North Carolina celebrates its bicentennial statehood.
December 20: United States invasion of PanamaDecember 3 – Cold War: In a meeting off the coast of Malta, U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the Cold War between their nations may be coming to an end.
December 20 – Operation Just Cause is launched in an attempt to overthrow Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.