Decades: 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s - 1980s - 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s 2030s
Years: 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 - 1983 - 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988
January 1 - the ARPANET officially changes to use the Internet Protocol, creating the Internet.
January 2 - The musical Annie is performed for the last time after 2,377 shows (Uris Theatre on Broadway, New York City).
January 19 - Klaus Barbie, Nazi war criminal, is arrested in Bolivia.
January 19 - The Apple Lisa personal computer is announced.
January 22 - Bjorn Borg retires from tennis after winning 5 consecutive Wimbledon championships.
January 26 - Lotus 1-2-3 is released.
February 16 - The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim the lives of 71 people in Australia's worst ever fires.
February 23 - The Environmental Protection Agency announces its intent to buy out and evacuate the dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri.
February 24 - A special commission of the United States Congress releases a report critical of the practice of Japanese internment during World War II.
March 8 - President Reagan calls the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire."
March 23 - Strategic Defense Initiative: President Ronald Reagan makes his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles. The media dub this plan "Star Wars."
April 7 - During STS-6, astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson perform the first space shuttle spacewalk (duration: 4 hours, 10 minutes).
April 25 - Maine schoolgirl Samantha Smith is invited to visit the Soviet Union by its leader Yuri Andropov after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war.
May 17 - Lebanon, Israel, and the United States sign an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
June 18 - Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space on the Space Shuttle Challenger.
July 7 - Samantha Smith flies to the Soviet Union (see April 25).
July 23 - Gimli Glider: Air Canada flight 143 crash-lands in Gimli, Manitoba.
August 4 - Thomas Sankara become President in Upper Volta.
August 18 - Hurricane Alicia hits the Texas coast, killing 22 and causing over US$1 billion in damage (1983 dollars).
August 21 - Benigno Aquino, Jr, Philippines opposition leader, assassinated in Manila.
September 1 - Cold War: Korean Air Flight KAL-007 is shot down by a Soviet jet fighter when the commercial aircraft entered Soviet airspace. All 269 on board die.
September 6 - The Soviet Union admits to shooting down Korean Air Flight KAL-007, stating that the pilots did not know it was a civilian aircraft when it violated Soviet airspace.
October 12 - Japan's ex Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei found guilty of taking a $2 million bribe from Lockheed and sentenced to 4 years in jail.
October 23 - United States Marine Corps barracks in Beirut destroyed by suicide bomber, killing 241.
October 25 - United States invades Grenada.
October 27 - Pope John Paul II visits Mehmet Ali Agca in prison to forgive him. Ali Agca is a Turkish gunman, who attempted to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981.
October 30 - The first democratic elections in Argentina after seven years of military rule are held.
November 2 - Martin Luther King Day: At the White House Rose Garden, US President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating a federal holiday on the third Monday of every January to honor American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
November 17 - The Zapatista Army of National Liberation founded.
November 26 - Brinks Mat robbery: In London, 6,800 gold bars worth nearly UK£26 million are taken from the Brinks Mat vault at Heathrow Airport (only a fraction of the gold was ever recovered, and only two men were convicted of the crime). 
Barbara McClintock receives Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovery of the first transposons in maize in 1940.
The U.S Embassy is bombed in Beirut, killing 40 people.
Internet Domain Name System invented by Paul Mockapetris.
Democratic reform in power in Argentina.
American Public Radio founded; changes its name to the current Public Radio International in 1994
Year in topic
1983 in film
May 25 - Return of the Jedi
Terms of Endearment
The Big Chill
The Right Stuff
1983 in literature
1983 in music
1983 in sports
March 6 - The United States Football League begins its first year of competition
1983 in television
February 28 - Over 125 million Americanss tune in to watch the final episode of M*A*S*H
March 7 - The Nashville Network (TNN) begins broadcasting.
January 18 - Utada Hikaru, Japanese-American R&B singer
May 2 - Rose Falcon, actress/singer
November 18 - Jon Johansen, programmer
December 30 - Lauren Priest, dietrician/dancer
January 11 - Shri Ghanshyam Das Birla, Indian industrialist, Gandhian and educationist
January 23 - George Cukor, director
February 4 - Karen Carpenter, singer, dies of anorexia nervosa
February 12 - Eubie Blake, musician, songwriter
February 25 - Tennessee Williams, playwright
March 3 - Herge, Belgian comics creator
March 8 - William Walton, composer
March 15 - Rebecca West, writer
March 23 - Barney Clark, first artificial heart recipient
April 4 - Gloria Swanson, actress
April 22 - Earl 'Fatha' Hines, musician
May 15 - Meyer Lansky, gangster
May 18 - Frank Aiken, Irish Foreign Minister (1959-1969)
May 19 - Jean Rey, President of the European Commission
June 12 - Norma Shearer, Academy Award winning actress
July 23 - Georges Auric, composer, member of Les Six
July 29 - Raymond Massey, actor
August 21 - Benigno Aquino Jr, Philippine opposition leader
September 25 - Leopold III of Belgium
October 28 - Otto Messmer, creator of Felix the Cat
November 7 - Germaine Tailleferre, composer
December 2 - Fifi D'Orsay, actress
December 25 - Joan Miro, surrealist painter
Buckminster Fuller, American architect
Stan Rogers, Canadian musician
Physics - Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, William Alfred Fowler
Chemistry - Henry Taube
Medicine - Barbara McClintock
Literature -William Golding
Peace - Lech Walesa
Economics - Gerard Debreu
Fictional References to the Year
"1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)", by Jimi Hendrix, from his album Electric Ladyland (1968)