President: George H. W. Bush (R-Texas)
Vice President: Dan Quayle (R-Indiana)
Chief Justice: William Rehnquist (Wisconsin)
Speaker of the House of Representatives: Tom Foley (D-Washington)
Senate Majority Leader: George J. Mitchell (D-Maine)
January 2 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 2,800 for the first time ever.
January 3 – United States invasion of Panama: General Manuel Noriega, the deposed "strongman of Panama", surrenders to American forces.
January 5 – The National Gallery of Art purchases The Fall of Phaeton by Peter Paul Rubens.
January 9–20 – The Space Shuttle Columbia flies STS-32.
January 10 – Time Warner is formed from the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc.
January 13 – Douglas Wilder becomes the first elected African American governor as he takes office in Richmond, Virginia.
In Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.
In California, the McMartin preschool trial, the longest criminal trial in U.S. history ends with all defendants found innocent of child molesting.
January 22 – Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. is convicted of releasing the Morris worm.
Richard Secord is sentenced to two years probation for lying to the United States Congress about the Iran–Contra affair.
In Miami, William Lozano, a Hispanic police officer is sentenced to seven years in prison for shooting a black motorcyclist in 1989, an event that had set off three days of rioting.
January 25 – Avianca Flight 52 crashes into Cove Neck, Long Island, New York after a miscommunication between the flight crew and JFK Airport officials.
January 28 – The San Francisco 49ers defeat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.
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.
In Holmdel, New Jersey, scientists at Bell Labs announce they have created a digital optical processor that could lead to the development of superfast computers that use pulses of light rather than electric currents to make calculations.
President of the United States George H. W. Bush gives his first State of the Union address and proposes that the U.S. and the Soviet Union make deep cuts to their military forces in Europe.
Cold War: The first McDonald's in Moscow, Russia opens.
February 9 – The owners of Major League Baseball announce a lockout because of a salary dispute with players.
February 11 – James "Buster" Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson to win the World Heavyweight Boxing crown.
February 13 – Drexel Burnham Lambert files for bankruptcy protection, Chapter 11.
February 14 – The Pale Blue Dot picture was sent back from the Voyager 1 probe after completing its primary mission, it was about 6 billion km (3.7 billion miles) from Earth.
February 19 – The United Mine Workers reach a deal with the Pittston Company to end the Pittston Coal strike that had gone on since April 5, 1989; most striking coal miners return to work on February 26.
February 25 – A smoking ban takes effect on all domestic U.S. flights of less than six hours.
February 27 – Exxon Valdez oil spill: Exxon and its shipping company are indicted on five criminal counts.
February 28 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis begins STS-36.
Steve Jackson Games is raided by the U.S. Secret Service, prompting the later formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves a license for the long-delayed Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant.
March – Greyhound bus drivers strike for higher pay.
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 – Antonia Novello is sworn in as Surgeon General of the United States, becoming the first female and Hispanic American to serve in that position.
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 2012) have not been recovered.
Major League Baseball players and owners agree to a new four-year contract, ending the lockout begun on February 15.
March 22 – A jury in Anchorage, Alaska finds Joseph Hazelwood guilty of misdemeanor negligence for his role in the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He is sentenced to pay $50,000 in restitution and to spend 1,000 hours cleaning oily beaches.
March 25 – In New York City, a fire due to arson at an illegal social club called "Happy Land" kills 87.
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.
April 2 – The UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball team defeats the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team to win the 1990 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
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 9 – Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. was established.
April 17–18 – President Bush meets with representatives of 17 countries and 2 international organizations at the White House to discuss global warming and other environmental issues.
April 20 – STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.
April 23 – Lebanon hostage crisis: Lebanese kidnappers release American educator Robert Polhill, who had been held hostage since January 1987.
April 24 – Michael Milken pleads guilty to six felonies and agrees to pay $600 million in fines and restitution.
April 25 – The Space Shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
April 28 – A Chorus Line, the longest-running musical in Broadway history, closes after 6,137 performances.
April 30 – Lebanon hostage crisis: Lebanese kidnappers release American educator Frank H. Reed, who had been held hostage since September 1986.
May 13 – In the Philippines, gunmen kill two United States Air Force airmen near Clark Air Base on the eve of talks between the Philippines and the United States over the future of American military bases in the Philippines.
May 19 – The U.S. and the Soviet Union agree to end production of chemical weapons and to destroy most of their stockpiles of chemical weapons.
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.
May 30 - President Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev begin a four-day summit meeting in Washington, D.C.
June – The last month of the 1980s business cycle expansion, at the time the second-longest expansion in American history (the 1960s expansion was a year longer), comes to an end; The Unemployment Rate is 5.2%
Cold War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign the Chemical Weapons Accord to end chemical weapon production and begin destroying their respective stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 2,900 for the first time ever.
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 1974 Super Outbreak.
June 7 – Universal Studios Florida opens to the public.
June 9 – Mega Borg oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas.
Nolan Ryan pitches his sixth career no-hitter.
In United States v. Eichman, the Supreme Court overturns a 1989 federal law that made it illegal to burn the United States flag.
June 14 – 1990 NBA Finals: The Detroit Pistons defeat the Portland Trail Blazers.
June 17–30 – Nelson Mandela tours North America, visiting 3 Canadian and 8 U.S. cities.
June 18 – James Edward Pough kills 10 and injures 6 before committing suicide at a General Motors car loan office in Jacksonville, Florida.
June 22 – The United States Fish and Wildlife Service declares the spotted owl a threatened species.
June 25 – In Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, the Supreme Court allows public officials to intervene in questions of termination of life support in the absence of an advance healthcare directive.
June 26 – President George H. W. Bush reneges on his 1988 "no new taxes" campaign pledge in a statement accepting tax revenue increases as a necessity to reduce the budget deficit. This later becomes a factor in the 1992 presidential election.
July – The United States enters the early 1990s recession.
July 2 – A U.S. District Court acquits Imelda Marcos on racketeering and fraud charges.
July 9–11 – The 16th G7 summit is held in Houston.
July 19 – Pete Rose is sentenced to five months in prison after pleading guilty to filing false tax returns.
A federal appeals court overturns three convictions of Oliver North.
William J. Brennan, Jr. resigns from the Supreme Court for health reasons.
July 25 – The United States Senate votes to reprimand Sen. David Durenberger for improper financial dealings and orders him to pay restitution.
U.S. President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act, designed to protect disabled Americans from discrimination.
The United States House of Representatives votes to reprimand Rep. Barney Frank for conduct stemming from his relationship with a male prostitute.
July 28 – A fire at a generating plant knocks out power to 40,000 homes in Chicago's west side. Power is restored by July 31.
Gulf War: Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.
Federal prosecutors indict Rep. Floyd H. Flake and his wife on 17 counts of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion.
August 6 – Gulf War: The United Nations Security Council orders a global trade embargo against Iraq in response to its invasion of Kuwait.
August 9 – Yosemite National Park closes temporarily because of forest fires.
August 10 – The Magellan lands on Venus.
August 12 – "Sue", the best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found, is discovered near Faith, South Dakota by Sue Hendrickson.
August 18 – In New York City, a jury finds three teenagers guilty of raping and assaulting a woman in Central Park in April 1989. On September 11, they are sentenced to 5–10 years in prison.
August 19 – Leonard Bernstein conducts his final concert, ending with Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
August 26–28 – In Gainesville, Florida, police find five murdered college students, apparently killed by a serial killer.
August 28 – The Plainfield Tornado (F5 on the Fujita scale) strikes the towns of Plainfield, Crest Hill, and Joliet, Illinois, killing 29 people (the strongest tornado to date to strike the Chicago Metropolitan Area).
President Bush and Soviet President Gorbachev meet in Helsinki to discuss the Persian Gulf crisis.
After six years of renovations, Ellis Island reopens as an immigration museum.
Pete Sampras, age 19, wins the 1990 US Open, becoming the youngest person to ever win the event.
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 – Cold War: 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 14 – Scientists at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland begin the first gene therapy on a human patient.
September 17 – United States Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney fires Gen. Michael Dugan, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, for publicly discussing plans to bomb Iraq.
The International Olympic Committee awards the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta, Georgia.
Charles Keating is indicted on charges in connection with the 1989 failure of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.
September 24 – President Bush meets with President of South Africa F. W. de Klerk at the White House, the first time a South African head of government had visited the U.S. since 1945.
September 26 – The Motion Picture Association of America replaces its X rating with a new NC-17 rating.
September 29 – Washington National Cathedral is completed after 83 years of construction.
September 30 – The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is published in the United States.
October 2 – The Senate confirms David Souter to the Supreme Court; he takes his seat on October 9.
October 3 – In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a jury convicts a record store owner of obscenity for selling an album by 2 Live Crew. On October 20, a second jury finds 2 Live Crew not guilty of obscenity on charges stemming from a June 1990 performance.
October 5 – In Cincinnati, a jury finds an art museum and its art director innocent of breaking obscenity laws for displaying sexually explicit photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe.
October 6 – STS-41: The Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off and launches the Ulysses on a mission to study the sun.
October 6–8 – The federal government temporarily halts all non-essential services after Congress fails to enact a new budget and President Bush vetoes a stop-gap spending measure.
October 9 – Leonard Bernstein announces his retirement from conducting after 47 years. He dies five days later.
October 20 – The Cincinnati Reds win the 1990 World Series.
President Bush vetoes a civil rights bill that would have strengthened federal protection against job discrimination, arguing that it would lead to race and gender based quotas.
In Orange County, California, a judge denies a surrogate mother's request for parental rights to a child she bore for another couple.
October 24 – United States Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole announces her resignation.
October 25 – Evander Holyfield defeats James "Buster" Douglas to become the heavyweight boxing champion.
October 27 – Congress passes the Clean Air Act of 1990.
President George H. W. Bush signs the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, which includes tax increases despite his "no new taxes" pledge.
Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the far-right Kach movement, is shot dead after a speech at a New York City hotel.
In the congressional elections, Democrats increase their majorities in both houses of Congress.
Sharon Pratt Kelly is elected Mayor of the District of Columbia, becoming the first black woman to head a major U.S. city. She takes office January 2, 1991.
November 8 – William Bennett resigns as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
November 11 – Stormie Jones, the Texas girl who had been the world's first recipient of both a heart and a liver transplant in 1984, died at a Pittsburgh hospital, at age 13.
November 15 – STS-38: Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched on a classified military mission.
November 16 – President Bush leaves on a trip to Europe and the Middle East; he spends Thanksgiving with U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.
November 21 – Michael Milken is sentenced to 10 years in prison.
November 27 – The National Football League fines the New England Patriots and three of its players for the sexual harassment of reporter Lisa Olson.
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 January 15, 1991.
December – The Unemployment Rate rises to 6.3%, the highest since May 1987
December 1 – Quarterback Ty Detmer of the BYU Cougars football wins the Heisman Trophy.
December 2 – STS-35: Space Shuttle Columbia begins a mission that ends on December 10, a day earlier than planned, ending a mission plagued with computer and plumbing problems.
December 2–8 – President Bush visits Brazil, Uruguay, Argentine, Chile, and Venezuela.
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 11 – American mob boss John Gotti is arrested.
December 14 – President Bush names Lynn Morley Martin to replace Dole as Secretary of Labor.
December 17 – President Bush names Lamar Alexander as United States Secretary of Education, replacing Lauro Cavazos, who resigned on December 12.
December 25 – The Godfather Part III opens in theaters.
Cold War (1945–1991)
Gulf War (1990–1991)
1990 in the United States Wikipedia
Events from the year 1990 in the United States.