1981 was the second year since the 1980s in the 20th century. According to the Gregorian calendar, that year was a normal year with 365 days. In the Hijri solar calendar, 1981 began in January 1980 and ended in December 1981.
In the Chinese calendar this year is called the Year of the Rooster.
January 19 - Iran and the United States sign an agreement to release US embassy hostages in Tehran.
January 20 - Ronald Reagan wins US election.
The start of the oil tanker war with the attack of Iraqi fighters on Iranian merchant ships.
July 29 - Prince Charles and Princess Diana are married in Westminster Abbey.
May 25 - The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council is established.
January 2 - Maxi Rodriguez, Argentine soccer player
January 15 - Pitbull (American rapper), American rapper
January 28 - American actress Elijah Wood
January 31 - Justin Timberlake, American singer and actor
February 2 - Emily Rose, American actress
February 3 - American actress Alyssa Reese
February 19 - Vitas, Ukrainian singer-songwriter, artist, and songwriter
February 22 - Janet Biedermann, German actress and singer
February 24 - Leighton Hewitt, Australian tennis player and athlete
February 25 - Park Ji-sung, a South Korean football player and athlete
February 27 - American singer Josh Gruben
March 10 - Cameroonian footballer Samuel Eto'o
March 26 - Ji Sean, British singer-songwriter and singer
April 11 - Alessandra Ambrosio, Brazilian model
April 27 - German singer Sandy Mulling
April 28 - American actress Jessica Alba
May 17 - Shiri Maimon, an Israeli singer
May 18 - Adam Green, American singer-songwriter, musician, and singer
May 20 - Iker Casillas, retired Spanish goalkeeper and footballer
June 7 - Russian tennis player Anna Kornikova
June 12 - Adriana Lima, Brazilian model
June 13 - Chris Evans, American producer, voice actor, actor, and director
June 17 - Amrita Rayo, Indian actress
June 23 - Anthony Costa, a British actor
June 28 - Mara Santanglu, Italian tennis player and athlete
July 3 - Canadian actor Brandon J. McLaren
July 24 - American actor Summer Glave
July 26 - Maicon, a Brazilian soccer player
August 3 - Travis Willingham, American voice actor and actor
August 4 - Marquez Houston, American actor, musician, and singer
August 15 - Sung Ji-hyo, South Korean actress and model