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|Centuries:||9th century – 10th century – 11th century|
|Decades:||950s 960s 970s – 980s – 990s 1000s 1010s|
|Years:||978 979 980 – 981 – 982 983 984|
|981 by topic|
|State leaders – Sovereign states|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births – Deaths|
|Establishment and disestablishment categories|
|Establishments – Disestablishments|
|Ab urbe condita||1734|
|Bahá'í calendar||-863 – -862|
|English Regnal year||N/A|
|Chinese calendar||庚辰年 (Metal Dragon)
3677 or 3617
— to —
辛巳年 (Metal Snake)
3678 or 3618
|- Vikram Samvat||1037–1038|
|- Shaka Samvat||903–904|
|- Kali Yuga||4082–4083|
|Igbo calendar||-19 – -18|
|Japanese calendar||Tengen 4
|Minguo calendar||931 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||1524|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 981.|
- The Viking explorer Eric the Red-haired leaves Norway to survey west of Iceland. He finds land and calls it Greenland. Hundreds of land-starved Vikings board longships and head west for this so-called "Greenland".
- The de facto ruler of Al-Andalus, al-Mansur, conquers and razes to the ground the city of Zamora, as part of his effort to seize the Christian-dominated north of the Iberian Peninsula.
- The first ever Mahamasthakabhisheka ceremony of the sacred 57 feet (17 m) high monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali, is performed.
- The Gommateshwara statue is built by Chavundaraya of the Western Ganga Dynasty in India.
- The Bulgarians invade the Byzantine Empire.
- The first commercially made soap for shaving sells for 3 dirhams (0.3 dinars).
- Adalbert of Magdeburg
- Gyeongjong of Goryeo
- Olaf Cuaran
- Pandulf Ironhead
- Xue Juzheng, noted Chinese historian