Polish PEN Club awards prizes to Gustaw Herling-Grudziński and to Jerzy Pomianowski. Kultura initiates the K.A. Jeleński Prize for translators.
Lech Wałęsa is elected president of the Republic of Poland.
Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus declare independence. Communist party relinquishes power in the USSR. In South Africa, Nelson Mandela is freed. Iraq invades Kuwait, sparking off the Gulf War. Hubble Space Telescope is launched.