Can You Name All of These Events That Happened While Reagan Was President?

By: Lauren Lubas
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Can You Name All of These Events That Happened While Reagan Was President?
Image: Wikicommons by Unknown

About This Quiz

From 1981 to 1989, the world, the economy and social norms changed dramatically. Sexuality was making its way to television shows. Tough topics were brought up in news interviews. This was the Reagan Era. The Reagan Era gave us some pretty great moments in entertainment, synergy and music, but it also gave us some pretty shocking events that we won't soon forget. People around the world watched on live television as moments from a presidential assassination attempt to the tearing down of the Berlin wall unraveled before their eyes. If you were one of them, you probably still remember where you were standing when Ronald Reagan delivered his speech that demanded: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" 

There were so many impactful events in the 1980s that stunned the world, and if you can remember even half of them, you might just have a fighting chance at passing this quiz.

Whether you're a history buff or you grew up in the 1980s, you most likely remember quite a few moments that changed the world and even some smaller moments that impacted countries large and small. Do you think you can name them all? Scroll down to see just how ingrained the events of the Reagan Era are in your mind.

2. sandra
Wikicommons by White House Photographic Office
In July of 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated for something. What was it?
The Vice Presidency
The U.S. Supreme Court
The Nobel Prize
The English Ambassadorship
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The first woman to be a judge on the U.S. supreme court was Sandra Day O'Connor of Arizona. Though she was a conservative, she worked diligently to uphold the constitutional rights of women to have safe and legal abortions.

4. aids
Wikicommons by Photo Credit: C. Goldsmith/ Content Providers: CDC/ C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus
The first cases of which deadly disease were found in children in 1983?
Prostate cancer
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The AIDS epidemic was a very real thing. Doctors first started recording questionable diseases that might be linked together as early as 1981, but finding it in children in 1983 helped doctors understand the disease that much better: it was passed through the bloodstream.

5. insane
Wikicommons by User:Tom
In June of 1982, what was the final verdict in the trial of John Hinkley Jr. for attempting to assassinate the president?
Not guilty, by reason of insanity
Not guilty
First-degree attempted murder
Second-degree murder
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Although many people believe that John Hinkley Jr. deserved a much more severe punishment, his obsession with Jodie Foster was so intense that he honestly didn't understand that he was doing anything wrong by shooting the president and three other people.


1. shooting
Wikicommons by Michael Evans
Early in the Reagan presidency, something very traumatic and dramatic happened to the president. What was it?
Someone shot him.
He had a heart attack.
He admitted he was depressed.
He was impeached.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinkley Jr. in March of 1981. Hinkley shot the president and three others in order to get actress Jodie Foster's attention. Reagan's wounds were severe, but he was released from the hospital three weeks after the shooting.

6. heart
Wikicommons by rick proser
Dr. Barney B. Clark implanted what into a human for the first time at University of Utah Medical Center in 1982?
Artificial lung
Artificial heart
False teeth
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

First imagined by Paul Winchell and designed by Willem Johan Kolff and Robert Jarvik, the Jarvik-7 was the first artificial heart to be implanted into a human being. Though not common, newer technologies allow for artificial hearts to be implanted temporarily while patients wait for transplantation.

7. John Belushi
Wikicommons by English: Wheaton Central High School
What happened to comedian and actor John Belushi in 1982?
He lost both of his legs.
He was arrested and spent the rest of his life in prison.
He died of an overdose.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The "live fast, die young" mentality that Belushi projected was more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The young comedian died at the age of 33, alone in a hotel room. Though friends weren't necessarily shocked by what happened, they were heartbroken.


8. invasion
Wikicommons by MSgt. David Goldie
Do you know which country the United States invaded on October 25, 1983?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Operation Urgent Fury lasted from October 25, 1983, to December 15, 1983. The invasion of the island nation was meant to protect United States citizens living on the island who had been threatened by the standing regime.

9. mash
Wikicommons by CBS Television
Over 125 million people sat in front of their television sets to watch the finale of which show?
"Miller House"
"Diff'rent Strokes"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

One of the most interesting fun facts in modern history is that over a million toilets in New York City flushed within five minutes of the finale's conclusion. This was, of course, before DVR technology, so it was important to hold it if you wanted to really see the end of a show.

10. motorola
Wikicommons by Rico Shen
In 1983, the FCC allowed Motorola to do what?
Create cable internet
Test cellular phone service
Tap into the Internet
Tap into telephones
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The first cellular phone service tests by Motorola were conducted in Chicago in 1983. This was the first step to the world that you see today. Though the phones were heavier than most laptops these days, they worked.


11. olympics
Wikicommons by unknown, U.S. Air Force
During the 1984 Summer Olympic games, which country openly boycotted the United States?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In 1980, the United States boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow, because of the 1979 Afghanistan invasion. In retaliation, Russia boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics, because of security concerns and strong anti-Soviet feelings pulsing through the U.S.

12. live aid
Wikicommons by Squelle
Which concert was the first worldwide event to take place on live television?
Farm Aid
Comic Relief
Hands Across America
Live Aid
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In efforts to alleviate Ethiopian famine, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure brought bands together from around the world to create the ultimate charity concert. The world's top stars performed in front of live audiences as well as live television cameras.

13. coke
Wikicommons by Melizabethi123
After 99 years, the Coca-Cola company decided it wanted to make a change. What did they call the formula that everyone hated?
New Coke
Youth Coke
Jolt Cola
Up Cola
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

All great companies like to rebrand, renew and simply change their ways every once in a while. No company regretted this more than Coca-Cola in 1985. New Coke was the furthest thing from a hit, and the soda company had to return to its previous recipe, rebranding it Coca-Cola Classic.


14. Chernobyl
Wikicommons by Jason Minshull
In 1986, one of the biggest nuclear disasters to ever occur happened. Do you know what it's referred to?
3 Mile Island
Waker Meltdown
Nevada Meltdown
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Even if you don't know how to spell Chernobyl, you could probably tell people what it was. If you watched the hit series on HBO, you probably know more about than anyone who was living in 1986. Unfortunately, the fires from this disaster are still burning.

15. fox
Wikicommons by Jim.henderson
Which television network became the "fourth network" in 1986?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When FOX first released content, they did so on a limited schedule, lasting only 10 hours per day. However, with hit shows that pushed the envelop, more and more viewers came to see the shocking comedies and gritty dramas.

16. enclo
Wikicommons by User:SEWilco
This one is pretty tough. Do you know which reference collection was the first one to be made available on CD-ROM in the '80s?
"Encyclopedia Britannica"
"National Geographic"
"Merriam-Webster Dictionary"
"The Academic American Encyclopedia"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

While the home-tech craze was in its early years, it wasn't common to see books and reference works digitized. Putting "The Academic American Encyclopedia" on CD-ROM meant that larger schools and universities were able to add to their reference sections at lower costs, with less shelf space.


17. nintendo
Wikicommons by Evan-Amos
As video-game consoles were introduced to the public, people looked for better and better graphics. Which game console offered 8-bit graphics?
Turbo Graphic 16
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

These days, we measure the quality of video game graphics by how many frames per second (fps) they deliver. However, in 1986, graphics were a little simpler, using pixels. The Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the U.S. in 1986, delivering better graphics than Atari and showing Americans what 8-bit felt like.

18. B
Wikicommons by CDC
There were several medical discoveries during the Reagan era, including the first genetically-engineered vaccine. Do you know what it was a vaccine for?
Hepatitis B
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Though there was already a vaccination for hepatitis B, in 1986, genetic engineering of vaccines was much less common. Having the first FDA approved genetically-engineered vaccine paved the way for medical scientists and researchers to work on other diseases.

19. hailey
Wikicommons by NASA/W. Liller
Can you name the celestial event that everyone was talking about in April of 1986?
The Commodore explosion
The first man to walk on the moon
The return of Halley's Comet
The first ever meteor shower
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Every 75 years or so, a gorgeous celestial object is shown in our skies. It's known as Halley's Comet. What makes it so unique is the fact that it is one of the rare comets that come close enough to our planet to be seen by the naked eye.


20. Klaus Barbie
Wikicommons by Section de recherche de la Gendarmerie nationale de Lyon (US Domain)
Which German Gestapo officer was under the United States' protection until 1983 and tried for war crimes in 1987?
Wilhelm Muller
Ralph Schmidt
Clyde Abbendoth
Klaus Barbie
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It might be a little jarring to believe that the American government was protecting a man whose nickname was "The Butcher of Lyon," but we did apologize. After his trial, Klaus was sentenced to life in prison and died in 1991.

21. USS Stark
Wikicommons by Service Depicted: Navy/ Command Shown: N1601
Do you know which United States ship was hit by Iraqi missiles in 1987?
USS Stark
USS Eisenhower
USS Kennedy
USS Gaines
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

President Sadam Hussein of Iraq did send his apologies for the deaths of 47 sailors. However, the United States didn't take this lightly and worked toward retaliation immediately.

22. black monday
Wikicommons by Autopilot
What do most people call the stock market crash of 1987?
Red Tuesday
Black Monday
Blue Wednesday
Pink Friday
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

1986 and '87 were amazing years for the stock market. They showed promise to an American economy that set up the entire decade of the 1990s. However, what goes up must come down, but no one expected it to crash as hard as it did. On October 19th, 1987, the Dow plummeted 22.6%. It is still considered the largest one-day loss in history.


23. communication
Wikicommons by David Monniaux
Making strides in communication technology, what project was completed in December of 1988?
The first transatlantic phone line
Satellite telephones
The first transatlantic optical-fiber cable system
Optical image enhancement
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There was already a transatlantic phone line and telegraph line. However, creating a fiber optic cable system allowed for 40,000 overseas phone calls to happen simultaneously, opening communication with other countries.

24. drought
Wikicommons by Gary Bridgman
What climate event caused $60 billion in crop damage during the Reagan era?
The U.S. flood of 1988
The Kansas tornado series of 1988
The July freeze of 1988
The U.S. drought of 1988
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A frightening drought swept the United States in 1988, causing chaos in our fields. The drought lasted three years in total and resulted in farmers losing more than just their land. It is still considered one of the worst droughts the U.S. ever faced.

25. singing
Wikicommons by Kusurija
What revolution happened in Soviet-occupied Estonia on September 11, 1988?
Singing Revolution
Stringing Revolution
Communist Revolution
Estonian Revolution
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

On September 11, 1988, some 300,000 protesters gathered and began singing. The Singing Revolution lasted until 1991 and resulted in several demonstrations of spontaneous singing across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


26. WWW
Wikicommons by Victorgrigas
In 1988, Tim Berners-Lee reveals his plan for what would become a global phenomenon. What was it?
The Smartphone
The World Wide Web
The home computer
The climate change solution
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Unfortunately, Al Gore is still not the inventor of the Internet. The original idea came from Tim Berners-Lee in 1988, and in 1989, Berners-Lee worked brought that idea to life with the World Wide Web.

27. Challenger explosion
Wikicommons by National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Which highly viewed and publicized NASA tragedy occurred during the Reagan era?
The moon crash
The Colombia explosion
Challenger explosion
There was no NASA tragedy.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The majority of people who were around in 1986 can tell you exactly where they were when the Challenger tragedy occurred. It was a televised event, and everyone was interested because it was a mission that sent civilians into space.

28. hulk
Wikicommons by John McKeon
In entertainment news, the retirement of Andre the Giant was defeated when what happened?
Ric Flair hired him to take the fall.
Bam Bam Bigelow hit him with a chair.
The Million Dollar Man paid him to take the fall.
Hulk Hogan body slammed him.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In 1987, wrestling history was made. Not only did we get to see the two most popular wrestlers go head to head, we got so see the unbeatable Andre the Giant get body slammed by Hulk Hogan.


29. The first successful in vitro fertilization
Pixabay by DrKontogianniIVF
What strides did America make in 1981 when it came to reproductive science?
The first successful in-vitro fertilization
The first successful tube-tie reversal
The first male birth control was created.
The first baby developed outside of the womb
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) was long considered an impossible science. However, in December of 1981, the first "test-tube baby" was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Since then, IVF has been one of the leading procedures to fight infertility.

30. Commodore 64
Wikicommons by Evan-Amos
What was the best-selling personal computer in 1982?
Commodore 64
Wellburn Acromantia
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The personal or home computer was one of the most important consumer items to come out of the 1980s, and the Commodore 64 was the most popular of these. It was easy to use and build-out, and anyone could use it.

31. vietnam
Wikicommons by Mariordo (Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz)
Construction on which two-acre memorial began in 1982?
World War II Veterans Memorial
Women in Combat Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Presidential Memorial
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most important memorials of our generation. What makes it so important is the fact that Vietnam was never considered a war, it was only a conflict. However, the amount that America lost in those years proved that our nation's men and women deserved more, and they received that with the Veterans Memorial.


32. jr
Wikicommons by White House Photo Office
In January of 1986, Americans first observed the federal holiday dedicated to a civil rights leader. Do you know what that holiday is?
Malcolm X Day
Jesse Jackson Day
Robert Miller Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ronald Reagan signed the bill to create the federal holiday in 1983. It was first observed nationally and on calendars in 1986. The holiday is always to fall on the third Monday of every January in honor of the civil rights leader.

33. dare
Wikicommons by Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)
In 1983, which program was created to teach children that drugs are bad?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was designed to teach children about the dangers of drugs and how they affect users and families alike. The success rate of the program is often debated, but the program itself defines the anti-drug movement of the '80s.

34. Marvin Gaye
"Wikicommons by Tamla"
American singer, Marvin Gaye, died in 1984. How?
A drug overdose
His father shot him.
A plane crash
A car accident
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In a tragic event in 1984, Marvin Gaye's father shot him dead the day before he turned 45 years old. The events leading up to the night of April 1, 1984, show trouble between Marvin Gay Sr and Marvin Gaye (the "e" was added for his stage name) Jr.


35. wearetheworld
Wikicommons by White House Photo Office
Can you name the charity single record that was created by multiple stars from around the world to help Africa?
"Live Aid"
"For Christmas"
"We Are The World"
"This Christmas"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"We Are The World" brought the world's biggest celebrities and musical talents together to create the ultimate song. The song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and sold over 20 million copies.

You Got:
Wikicommons by Unknown