A combination of factors, including the continued mass mobilization of capital markets through neo-liberalism, the thawing of the decades-long Cold War, the beginning of the widespread proliferation of new media such as the Internet from the middle of the decade onwards, increasing skepticism towards government, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to a realignment and reconsolidation of economic and political power across the world and within countries. The dot-com bubble of 1997–2000 brought wealth to some entrepreneurs before its crash between 2000 and 2001.
The Gulf War – Iraq was left in severe debt after the 1980s war with Iran. President Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait of flooding the market with oil and driving down prices. As a result, on 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and conquered Kuwait. The UN immediately condemned the action, and a coalition force led by the United States was sent to the Persian Gulf. Aerial bombing of Iraq began in January 1991 (see also Gulf War), and a month later, the UN forces drove the Iraqi army from Kuwait in just four days. In the aftermath of the war, the Kurds in the north of Iraq and the Shiites in the south rose up in revolt, and Saddam Hussein barely managed to hold onto power. Until the US invasion in 2003, Iraq was cut off from much of the world.
The Kargil War (1999) – In May 1999, Pakistan sent troops covertly to occupy strategic peaks in Kashmir. A month later the Kargil War with India results in a political fiasco for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, followed by a Pakistani military withdrawal to the Line of Control. The incident leads to a military coup in October, in which Sharif is ousted by Army ChiefPervez Musharraf. This conflict remains the only war fought between two declared nuclear powers.
The final fighting in Croatian and Bosnian wars ends in 1995 with the success of Croatian military offensives against Serb forces and the mass exodus of Serbs from Croatia in 1995; Serb losses to Croat and Bosniak forces; and finally the signing of the Dayton Agreement which internally partitioned Bosnia and Herzegovina into a Republika Srpska and a Bosniak-Croat federation.
Kosovo War (1998–1999) - the war between Albanian separatists and Yugoslav military and Serb paramilitary forces in Kosovo begins in 1996 and escalates in 1998 with increasing reports of atrocities taking place.
In 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led by the United States launched air attacks against Yugoslavia (then composed of only Serbia and Montenegro) to pressure the Yugoslav government to end its military operations against Albanian separatists in Kosovo due to accusations of war crimes being committed by Yugoslav military forces working alongside nationalist Serb paramilitary groups. After weeks of bombing, Yugoslavia submits to NATO's demands and NATO forces occupy Kosovo and later UN peacekeeping forces to take control of Kosovo.
Civil Wars and guerrilla wars
Rwandan Genocide: Genocide victims in Murambi Technical School. Estimates put the death toll of the Rwandan Genocide as high as 800,000 people.
The Rwandan Genocide – between 6 April 1994 until mid-July 1994 a mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Rwanda's Tutsis and Hutu political moderates occurred by the Hutu dominated government under the Hutu Power ideology. Over the course of approximately 100 days, at least 500,000 people were killed. Estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500,000 and 1,000,000, or as much as 20% of the total population of the country. It resulted in serious criticism of the United Nations and major countries for failing to stop the genocide.
In Algeria a long period of violence in the north African country starts by the cancellation of the first ever held democratic elections by a group of high-ranking army officers.
The Ethiopian Civil War ends in 1991, ending over twenty years of internal conflict. The end of the war coincides with the establishment of a coalition government of various factions.
Oka Crisis takes place in 1990 involving an armed standoff between people of the Mohawk nation (North American indigenous peoples in Canada), and the Canadian military over a dispute involving land held via treaty to the Mohawk people.
A large number of the Zapatista indigenous people of Mexico join the Zapatista Army of National Liberation that begins armed conflict with the Mexican government in 1994 and continues through the 1990s.
The 1992 Los Angeles riots occurred, with 53 deaths and 5,500 property fires in a 100-square-mile (260 km2) riot zone. The riots were a result of the state court acquittal of three White and one Hispanic L.A. police officers by an all-white jury in a police brutality case involving motorist Rodney King, but in 1993, all four officers were convicted in a federal civil rights case.
After the bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by Al-Qaeda militants, United States naval military forces launch cruise missile attacks against Al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan in 1998.
Ahmed Ressam, an Islamist militant associated with Al-Qaeda is arrested when attempting to cross from Canada to the United States at the Canada-United States border on 14 December 1999; it is discovered that he intended to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations. This is the first major attempted terrorist attack by Al Qaeda on United States soil since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and marked the beginning of a series of attempted terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda against the United States that would continue into the 21st century.
AMIA bombing - On 18 July 1994 an unknown terrorist targeting Argentina's Jewish community plants a car-bomb in the AMIA Headquarters in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds, making it the first ethnically targeted and deadliest bombing in Argentine history
on 15 June 1996, the IRA set off a bomb in Manchester, England. The bomb, placed in a van on Corporation Street in the city centre, targeted the city's infrastructure and economy and caused widespread damage, estimated by insurers at £700 million (£1 billion as of 2011). Two hundred and twelve people were injured, but there were no fatalities.
East Timor breaks away from Indonesian control in 1999, merely a year after the fall of Suharto from power, ending a 24-year guerrilla war and genocide with more than 200,000 casualties. The UN deploys a peace keeping force, spearheaded by the Australian armed forces. The United States deploys police officers to serve with the International Police element, to help train and equip an East Timorese police force.
Portugal hands sovereignty of Macau to the People's Republic of China on 20 December 1999.
The 1990s was an era of spreading capitalism. The former countries of the Warsaw Pact moved from single-party socialist states to multi-party states with private sector economies. The same wave of political liberalisation occurred in capitalist countries, such as Taiwan, Chile, South Africa, and Indonesia. Market reforms made great changes to the economies of socialist countries like China and Vietnam.
The ethnic tensions and violence in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s create a greater sense of ethnic identity of the nations in the new countries, especially involving increased popularity of nationalism.
Nelson Mandela is elected President of South Africa in 1994, becoming the first black President in South African history ending a long legacy of apartheid white-rule in the country.
During the late 90s a move was made to oust the American president Bill Clinton following the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal. This attempt did not succeed and Clinton continued to serve as the president until the end of his term in January 2001.
The enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on 1 January 1994, creating a North American free trade zone consisting of Canada, Mexico, and the United States
After the collapse of the Meech Lake constitutional accord in 1990, the province of Quebec in Canada experienced a rekindled wave of separatism by francophoneQuébécois nationalists, who sought for Quebec to become an independent country. In 1995, during a referendum on Quebec sovereignty, Quebec voters narrowly reject the vote for independence.
The 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty is held in the predominantly francophone province of Quebec in Canada, a majority anglophone country. If accepted Quebec would become an independent country with an economic association with Canada. The proposal is narrowly rejected by Quebec's voters by 50.4% no, and 49.6% yes.
United States PresidentBill Clinton was a dominant political figure in international affairs during the 1990s known especially for his attempts to negotiate peace in the Middle East and end the ongoing wars occurring in the former Yugoslavia; his promotion of international action to decrease human-created climate change; and his endorsement of advancing free trade in the Americas.
Lewinsky scandal – US president Bill Clinton was caught in a media-frenzied scandal involving inappropriate relations with a White House intern Monica Lewinsky, first announced on 21 January 1998. After the United States House of Representatives impeached Clinton on 19 December 1998 for perjury under oath, following an investigation by federal prosecutor Kenneth Starr, the Senate acquitted Clinton of the charges on 12 February 1999 and he finished his second term.
California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes. The debate over legalization of marijuana in the United States goes on today.
Lee Kuan Yew relinquished prime-ministership of Singapore on 28 November 1990, a position he held since 1959, to Goh Chok Tong. He remained in the cabinet as Senior Minister.
In July 1994, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung died, having ruled the country since its founding in 1948. His son Kim Jong-il succeeded him, taking over a nation on the brink of complete economic collapse. Famine caused a great number of deaths in the late '90s, and North Korea would gain a reputation for being a large source of money laundering, counterfeiting, and weapons proliferation. The country's ability to produce and sell nuclear weapons became a focus of concern in the international community.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy in Burma wins a majority of seats in the first free elections in 30 years in 1990, yet the Burmese military junta refuses to relinquish power, beginning an ongoing peaceful struggle throughout the 1990s to the present by Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters to demand the end of military rule in Burma.
Indonesian president Suharto resigned after ruling for 32 years (1966–1998).
The improvement in relations between the countries of NATO and the former members of the Warsaw Pact ended the Cold War both in Europe and other parts of the world.
German reunification – Germany reunified on 3 October 1990 as a result of the fall of the Berlin Wall and after integrating the economic structure and provincial governments, focused on modernization of the former communist East. People who were brought up in a socialist culture became integrated with those living in capitalist western Germany.
The restructuring of the Soviet Union destabilizes, as nationalist and separatist demagogues gain popularity. Boris Yeltsin, then chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Russia, resigns from the Communist Party and becomes the opposition leader against Mikhail Gorbachev. The Communist Party loses its status as the governing force of the country and is banned after a coup attempt by Communist hardliners attempted to revert the effects of Gorbachev's policies. Yeltsin's counter-revolution is victorious on 25 December 1991 with the resignation of Gorbachev from presidency and the dissolution of the USSR. Yeltsin became president of the successor Russian Federation and presided over a period of political unrest, economic crisis, and social anarchy. On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin resigned leaving Vladimir Putin as acting president.
The Belfast Agreement (a.k.a. the Good Friday Agreement) is signed by U.K. and Irish politicians on 10 April 1998, declaring a joint commitment to a peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute between Ireland and the United Kingdom over Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum, 1998 was held on 22 May 1998. There was a large majority of 'Yes'. A total of 1,738 ballots were spoiled. Turnout, at 81.1% was very high for a developed country where voting is not compulsory. Turnout in the equivalent referendum in the Republic of Ireland was average for a constitutional referendum but returned almost universal approval (94.39%).
The Scottish Parliament established following a referendum in September 1997, the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum was put to the Scottish electorate and secured a majority in favour of the establishment of a new devolved Scottish Parliament, with tax-varying powers, in Edinburgh. An election was held on 6 May 1999, and on 1 July of that year power was transferred from Westminster to the new Parliament.
23 May 1992 – A remote car bomb causes the death of Judge Giovanni Falcone, a hero in the fight against organized crime. Less than two months later, on 19 July, Falcone's co-worker and friend, magistrate Paolo Borsellino was killed by a car bomb in via D'Amelio, Palermo, in front of his mother's house.
April 1993 – The Kuwaiti government claims to uncover an Iraqi assassination plot against former United States President George H. W. Bush shortly after his visit to Kuwait. Two Iraqi nationals confess to driving a car-bomb into Kuwait on behalf of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
31 March 1995 – Tejano pop singer Selena is shot by fan club president Yolanda Saldívar over financial problems and missing records. 2 weeks after death, her birthday is named Selena Day in Texas.
21 April 1996 – Dzhokhar Dudayev, the President of Chechnya, is killed by two laser-guided missiles, after his location was detected by a Russian reconnaissance aircraft, which intercepted his phone call.
2 October 1996 – The former prime minister of Bulgaria, Andrei Lukanov, is assassinated.
13 September 1996 – Rapper/Actor Tupac Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting on September 7, 1996, at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died six days later.
9 March 1997 – Rapper Christopher Wallace also known as The Notorious B.I.G. was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. Wallace's SUV stopped at a red light at the corner of Wilshire Blvd & South Fairfax Ave 50 yards (46 m) from the museum. A dark colored Chevrolet Impala SS pulled up alongside Wallace's SUV. The driver of the Impala, a black male dressed in a blue suit and bow tie, rolled down his window, drew a 9mm blue-steel pistol and fired at the SUV. Four bullets hit Wallace.
15 July 1997 Gianni Versace was shot dead, aged 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. He was murdered by Andrew Cunanan, who used the same gun to commit suicide on a boat several days later. Police have said they do not know why Versace was killed.
Hurricane Georges made landfall in at least seven different countries (Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the United States) and Puerto Rico, a Commonwealth of the United States – more than any other hurricane since Hurricane Inez of the 1966 season. The total estimated costs were in the $60 billion (present day $100 billion).
September 1996 – Hurricane Fran made landfall in North Carolina causing significant damage throughout the whole state.
Hurricane Iniki hits the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands on 11 September 1992, making it one of the costliest hurricanes on record in the eastern Pacific.
Gulf War oil spill – Resulting from actions taken during the Gulf War in 1991 by the Iraq military, the oil spill caused considerable damage to wildlife in the Persian Gulf especially in areas surrounding Kuwait and Iraq.
On 4 October 1992 – El Al Flight 1862, a Boeing 747 cargo airplane heading to Tel Aviv, suffered physical engine separation of both right-wing engines (#3 and #4) just after taking off from Schiphol and crashed into an apartment building in the Bijlmer neighbourhood of Amsterdam while attempting to return to the airport. A total of 43 people were killed, including the plane's crew of three and a "non-revenue passenger". Several others were injured.
Many countries, institutions, companies, and organizations were prosperous during the 1990s. High-income countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and those in Western Europe experienced steady economic growth for much of the decade. However, in the former Soviet Union GDP decreased as their economies restructured to produce goods they needed and some capital flight occurred.
GATT update and creation of the World Trade Organization and other global economic institutions, but opposition by anti-globalization activists showed up in nearly every GATT summit, like the demonstrations in Seattle in December 1999.
The decade is seen as a time of great prosperity in the United States, largely due to the unexpected advent of the Internet and the explosion of technology industries that came with it. The United States economy experiences its longest period of peace time economic expansion during the decade beginning in 1991. Personal incomes doubled from the recession in 1990, and there was higher productivity overall. The Wall Streetstock exchange stayed over the 10,500 mark from 1999 to 2001.
The government of the People's Republic of China announces major privatization of state-owned industries in September 1997.
China entered the '90s in a turbulent period, shunned by much of the world after the Tiananmen SquareMassacre and controlled by hard line politicians who reigned in private enterprise and attempted to revive old-fashioned propaganda campaigns. Relations with the United States deteriorated sharply, and the Chinese leadership was further embarrassed by the disintegration of communism in Europe. In 1992, Deng Xiaoping travelled to southern China in his last major public appearance to revitalize faith in market economics and stop the country's slide back into Maoism. Afterwards, China recovered, and would experience explosive economic growth during the rest of the decade. In spite of this, dissent continued to be suppressed, and CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin launched a brutal crackdown against the Falun Gong religious sect in 1999. Deng Xiaoping himself died in 1997 at the age of 93. Relations with the US deteriorated again in 1999 after the bombing of the Chinese embassy during the bombing of Serbia by NATO forces, which caused three deaths, and allegations of Chinese espionage at the Los Alamos Nuclear Facility.
Financial crisis hits East and Southeast Asia in 1997 and 1998 after a long period of phenomenal economic development, which continues by 1999. This crisis begins to be felt by the end of the decade.
In Japan, after three decades of economic growth put them in second place in the world's economies, the situation worsened after 1993. The recession went on into the early first decade of the 21st century, bringing an end to the seemingly unlimited prosperity that the country had hitherto enjoyed.
Less affluent nations such as India, Malaysia, and Vietnam also saw tremendous improvements in economic prosperity and quality of life during the 1990s. Restructuring following the end of the Cold War was beginning. However, there was also the continuation of terrorism in Third World regions that were once the "frontlines" for American and Soviet foreign politics, particularly in Asia.
By 1990, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms were causing major inflation and economic chaos. A coup attempt by hard-liners in August 1991 failed, marking the effective end of the Soviet Union. All its constituent republics declared their independence in 1991, and on Christmas, Gorbachev resigned from office. After 73 years, the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. The new Russian Federation was headed by Boris Yeltsin, and would face severe economic difficulty. Oligarchs took over Russia's energy and industrial sectors, reducing almost half the country to poverty. With a 3% approval rating, Yeltsin had to buy the support of the oligarchs to win reelection in 1996. Economic turmoil and devaluation of the ruble continued, and with heart and alcohol troubles, he stepped down from office on the last day of 1999, handing power to Vladimir Putin.
Russian financial crisis in the 1990s results in mass hyperinflation and prompts economic intervention from the International Monetary Fund and western countries to help Russia's economy recover.
The first McDonald's restaurant opens in Moscow in 1990 with then-President of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR and future Russian President Boris Yeltsin attending, symbolizing Russia's transition towards a capitalist free market economy and a move towards adopting elements of western culture.
Oil and gas were discovered in many countries in the former Soviet bloc, leading to economic growth and wider adoption of trade between nations. These trends were also fueled by inexpensive fossil energy, with low petroleum prices caused by a glut of oil. Political stability and decreased militarization due to the winding down of the Cold War led to economic development and higher standards of living for many citizens.
Most of Europe enjoyed growing prosperity during the '90s. However, problems including the massive 1995 general strikes in France following a recession and the difficulties associated with German reunification lead to sluggish growth in these countries. However, both the French and German economies improve in the latter half of the decade. Meanwhile, the economies of particularly Spain, Scandinavia and former Eastern Bloc countries accelerate at rapid speed during the decade although unemployment being mild due to many having experienced a deep recession for the start of the decade.
After the early 1990s recession, the United Kingdom and Ireland experience rapid economic growth and falling unemployment that continues throughout the decade. Economic growth would continue until the Late 2000s recession marking the longest uninterrupted period of economic growth in history.
Some Eastern European economies struggled after the fall of communism, but Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania saw healthy economic growth rates in the late 1990s.
With the creation of the EU there is freedom of movement between member states, such as the 1992 and 1995 free trade agreements.
The Euro is adopted by the European Union on 1 January 1999, which begins a process of phasing out national currencies of EU countries.
The sluggish economies of Brazil, by a new emphasis on free markets for all their citizens, and Mexico, under economist president Ernesto Zedillo elected in 1994, were in their best shape by the late 1990s.
Technology and science
The 1990s were a revolutionary decade for digital technology. Between 1990 and 1997, individual personal computer ownership in the US rose from 15 to 35%. Cell phones of the early-1990s and earlier ones were very large, lacked extra features, and were used by only a few percent of the population of even the wealthiest nations. Only a few million people used online services in 1990, and the World Wide Web had only just been invented. The first web browser went online in 1993 and by 2001, more than 50% of some Western countries had Internet access, and more than 25% had cell phone access.
On August 6, 1991, CERN, a pan European organization for particle research, publicized the new World Wide Web project. Although the basic applications and guidelines that make the Internet possible had existed for almost two decades, the network did not gain a public face until the 1990s.
Driven by mass adoption, consumer personal computer specifications increased dramatically during the 1990s, from 512 KB RAM 12 MHz Turbo XTs in 1990, to 25–66 MHz 80486-class processor at the start of the popularization of the World Wide Web mid-decade, to over 1 GHz CPUs with close to a gigabyte of RAM by 2000.
Y2K spread fear throughout the United States and eventually the world in the last half of the decade, particularly in 1999, about possible massive computer malfunctions on January 1, 2000. As a result, many people stocked up on supplies for fear of a worldwide disaster. After significant effort to upgrade systems on the part of software engineers, no failures occurred when the clocks rolled over into 2000.
The introduction of affordable, smaller satellite dishes and the DVB-S standard in the mid-1990s expanded satellite television services that carried up to 500 television channels.
The first MP3 player, the MPMan, is released in late spring of 1998. It came with 32 MB of flash memory expandable to 64 MB. By the mid-2000s, the MP3 player would overtake the CD player in popularity.
The first GSM network is launched in Finland in 1991.
IBM introduces the 1-inch (25 mm) wide Microdrive hard drive in 170 MB and 340 MB capacities.
Apple in 1998 introduces the iMac all-in-one computer, initiating a trend in computer design towards translucent plastics and multicolor case design, discontinuing many legacy technologies like serial ports, and beginning a resurgence in the company's fortunes that continues to this day.
The 24-hour news cycle becomes popular with the Gulf War between late 1990 and early 1991 and CNN's coverage of Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Though CNN had been running 24-hour newscasts since 1980, it was not until the Gulf War that the general public took large notice and others imitated CNN's non-stop news approach.
Portable CD players, introduced during the late 1980s, became very popular and had a profound impact on the music industry and youth culture during the 1990s.
Macintosh System 7 was released in 1991. For much of the decade, Apple would struggle to develop a next-generation operating system, starting with Copland and culminating in its December 1996 buyout of NeXT and the 1999 release of Mac OS X Server 1.0.
The opening of the Channel Tunnel between France and the United Kingdom saw the commencement by the three national railway companies of Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, respectively SNCB/NMBS, SNCF and British Rail of the joint Eurostar service.
Eurostar logo 1994–2011
On 14 November 1994 Eurostar services began between Waterloo International station in London, Gare du Nord in Paris and Brussels South in Brussels.
In 1995 Eurostar was achieving an average end-to-end speed of 171.5 km/h (106.6 mph) between London and Paris.
On 8 January 1996 Eurostar launched services from a second railway station in the UK when Ashford International was opened. Journey times between London and Brussels were reduced by the opening of HSL 1 on 14 December 1997.
The 1990s began with another recession that dampened car sales. General Motors continued to suffer huge losses thanks to an inefficient structure, stale designs, and poor quality. Sales improved with the economy by the mid-1990s, but GM's US market share gradually declined to less than 40% (from a peak of 50% in the 1970s). While the new Saturn division fared well, Oldsmobile declined sharply, and attempts to remake the division as a European-style luxury car were unsuccessful.
Cars in the 1990s had a rounder, more streamlined shape than those from the 1970s and 1980s; this style would continue early into the 2000s and to a lesser extent later on.
Chrysler ran into financial troubles again as the 1990s started. Like GM, the company too had a stale model lineup (except for the best-selling minivans) that was largely based on the aging K-car platform. In 1992, chairman Lee Iacocca retired, and the company began a remarkable revival, introducing the new LH platform and "Cab-Forward" styling, along with a highly successful redesign of the full-sized Dodge Ram in 1994. Chrysler's minivans continued to dominate the market despite increasing competition. In 1998, Daimler-Benz (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) merged with Chrysler. The following year, it was decided to retire Plymouth, which had been on a long decline since the 1970s. Ford continued to fare well in the 1990s, with the second and third generations of the Ford Taurus being named the best selling car in the United States from 1992 to 1996. However, the Taurus would be outsold and dethroned by the Toyota Camry starting in 1997, which became the best selling car in the United States for the rest of the decade and into the 2000s. Ford also introduced the Ford Explorer, 1991 being the first model year. Fords Explorer became the best selling SUV on the market; out selling both the Chevy Blazer and Jeep Cherokee
Japanese cars continued to be highly successful during the decade. The Honda Accord vied with the Taurus most years for being the best-selling car in the United States during the early part of the decade. Although launched in 1989, the luxury brands Lexus and Infiniti began car sales of 1990 model year vehicles and saw great success. Lexus would go on to outsell Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the United States by 1991, and would outsell Cadillac and Lincoln by the end of the decade. SUVs and trucks became hugely popular during the economic boom in the second half of the decade. Many makes that had never built a truck before started selling SUVs. Car styling during the 1990s became gradually more round and ovoid, the third-generation Taurus and Mercury Sable being some of the more extreme examples. Safety features such as airbags and shoulder belts became mandatory equipment on new cars.
In the United Kingdom, the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep was confirmed by the Roslin Institute, and was reported by global media on 26 February 1997. Dolly would trigger a raging controversy on cloning and bioethical concerns regarding possible human cloning continue to this day.
Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 and revolutionized astronomy. Unfortunately, a flaw in its main mirror caused it to produce fuzzy, distorted images. This was corrected by a shuttle repair mission in 1993.
The Galileo probe orbits Jupiter, studying the planet and its moons extensively.
Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 (formally designated D/1993 F2, nicknamed String of Pearls for its appearance) was a comet that broke apart and collided with Jupiter in July 1994, providing the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision of solar system objects..
The prevention of the destruction of the tropical rainforests of the world is a major environmental cause that first came into wide public concern in the early 1990s, and has continued and accelerated.
The 1990s represented continuing social liberalization in most countries, though coupled with an increase in the influence of capitalism, which would continue until the Great Recession of the late 2000s/early 2010s.
Those born in the 1990s are usually considered part of the Millennial Generation, along with those born in the late 1970s and 1980s. However, dates vary, with many demographers considering those born from 1995 onward as part of Generation Z, the post-Millennial generation.
Record numbers of women are elected to high office in the United States in 1992, the "Year of the Woman".
Violence against women takes center stage as an important issue internationally. In the United States the Violence Against Women Act was passed, which greatly affected the world community through the United Nations. The law's author, Joe Biden, and UN Ambassador and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Hillary Clinton (see below) become vocal advocates of action against violence against women.
More nations than ever before are led by elected women Presidents and Prime Ministers. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's 1988 victory in Pakistan makes women leaders in Muslim states unextraordinary. In Turkey, Tansu Çiller became the first female prime minister in 1993 (till 1996).
In popular culture, pop group the Spice Girls also played a part in the feminist movement, boosting popularity with their slogan "Girl Power!", while country music superstar Shania Twain declared female dominance in her 1995 hit song "Any Man of Mine."
Additional significant worldwide events
Worldwide New Year's Eve celebrations on 31 December 1999 welcoming the year 2000.
1991 – Soviet Union military troops attack Lithuanian independence supporters in Vilnius. Killed 14 people and wounding 1000.
In Paris, Diana, Princess of Wales and her friend, Dodi Al-Fayed, were killed in a car accident in August 1997, when their chauffeured, hired Mercedes-Benz S-Class crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The chauffeur, Henri Paul died at the scene, as did Al-Fayed. Diana and an Al-Fayed bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, survived the accident. The former Princess of Wales died at a Paris hospital hours later. The bodyguard, Rees-Jones, is the sole survivor of the now infamous accident.
The birth of the "Second Republic" in Italy, with the Mani Pulite investigations of 1994.
The Channel Tunnel across the English Channel opens in 1994, connecting France and England. As of 2007 it is the second-longest rail tunnel in the world, but with the undersea section of 37.9 km (23.5 mi) being the longest undersea tunnel in the world.
The 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas in 1992 was popularly observed in the United States, despite controversy and protests against the victimization of Native Americans by Columbus' expeditions. The holiday was labeled by some as racist, in view of Native American experiences of colonialism, slavery, genocide, and cultural destruction.
Shanda Sharer was murdered on 11 January 1992. She was lured away from her house and held captive by a group of teenage girls. She was tortured for hours and burned alive. She died from smoke inhalation. Those that were found guilty and sentenced to prison were Melinda Loveless, Laurie Tackett, Hope Rippey, and Toni Lawrence. According to Melinda, she was jealous of the relationship that her former partner Amanda Heavrin had with Shanda Sharer.
Karla Homolka was arrested with her husband, Paul Bernardo in 1993. Both sexually tortured and killed their victims. Their first victim was Karla's fifteen-year-old sister Tammy Homolka. The second and third victims were Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. Karla told the investigators that she unwillingly did what Paul told her to do because he was abusive and was given a deal. She was sentenced to only 12 years in prison (10 years for Mahaffy and French but only 2 years for Tammy). Later, investigators discovered videotapes of the crimes which proved that Karla was a willing participant. But by that time the deal had already been made. In 1995, Paul was sentenced to life in prison. Karla was released from prison in 2005.
Polly Klaas (3 January 1981 – October 1993) was kidnapped by Richard Allen Davis from her home during a sleepover party. She was later strangled to death. After her death, her father, Marc Klaas, established the KlaasKids Foundation.
Jonbenet Ramsey (6 August 1990 – 25 December 1996) was a child beauty pageant contestant who was missing and found dead in her Boulder, Colorado, home. The crime horrified the nation and the world. Her parents were initially considered to be suspects in her death but were cleared in 2003 when DNA from her clothes were tested. To this day, her murderer has not been found and brought to justice.
Lorena Bobbitt was charged with malicious wounding for severing husband John Bobbitt's penis after she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Bobbitt, in which he was charged with sexual assault. Both parties were acquitted of their respective charges.
Massive immigration wave of Jews from the Commonwealth of Independent States to Israel – With the end of the Soviet Union, Israel faced a mass influx of Russian Jews, many of whom had high expectations the country was unable to meet. Israel also came under Iraqi missile attack during the Gulf War, but acquiesced to US pressure not to militarily retaliate, which could have disrupted the US-Arab alliance. The US and Netherlands then rushed anti-missile batteries to Israel to defend the country against missile attacks.
The highest-grossing film of the decade was Titanic (1997)
Dogme 95 becomes an important European artistic motion picture movement by the end of the decade. The first full-length CGI movie, Pixar's Toy Story, is released, revolutionizing animated films. Titanic becomes a cultural phenomenon throughout the world, and eventually becomes the highest-grossing film of all time, grossing over $1.8 billion worldwide. It would hold this record for over a decade until 2010 when director James Cameron had another one of his films take the title, that being Avatar.
Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers was publicized in the media in 1991 following an incident involving Steve Lamacq backstage after a live show, in which Edwards carved '4 Real' into his arm. Edwards disappeared in 1995, which was highly publicized. He is still missing, but was presumed dead in 2008.
Controversy surrounded the Prodigy with the release of the track "Smack My Bitch Up". The National Organization for Women (NOW) claimed that the track was "advocating violence against women" due to the lyrics of that song. The music video (directed by Jonas Åkerlund) featured a first-person POV of someone going clubbing, indulging in drugs and alcohol, getting into fist fights, abusing women and picking up a prostitute. At the end of the video the camera pans over to a mirror, revealing the subject to be a woman.
In early 1993, one of the last westerns ever to air on television was Walker, Texas Ranger, a crime drama which also starred Chuck Norris as the title character. Lasting for 9 seasons, the show tackled a wide variety of subjects, and was one of the few shows ever to perform karate.
1993 also saw its debut of the medical–mystery drama, Diagnosis Murder, a comeback vehicle for Dick Van Dyke, who guest-starred on an episode of its sequel, Jake and The Fatman, where the show got off to a rocky start, and became one of television's long-running mysteries, that lasted until its cancelation in 2001.
Beverly Hills, 90210 ran on Fox from 1990 to 2000. It established the teen soap genre paving the way for Dawson's Creek, Felicity, and other shows airing in later years. The show was then remade and renamed simply 90210 and premiered in 2008. Beverly Hills, 90210 spun-off Melrose Place, a popular TV show that dominated throughout the '90s as well. Baywatch, a popular TV show that dominated throughout the '90s, became the most watched TV show in history and influenced pop culture.
Sex and the City's frank portrayal of relationships and sexuality caused controversy and acclaim, leading to a new generation of sexually progressive television shows that would be seen in the 2000s.
Fantasy was popular on television, with CBS airing Touched By an Angel, beginning in 1994. The series was intended as the comeback vehicle of Della Reese, and also launched the career of Roma Downey. It wasn't an immediate hit, and was canceled the following year, but revived the following year, thanks to die hard fans who approached a letter-writing campaign, where it ran for 8 more seasons.
Crime drama and police detective shows returned after soap-operas died down. After the successful debuts of Law & Order, NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Street, Nash Bridges, a comeback vehicle for Don Johnson, lasting 6 seasons (1996–2001) which also dealt with escapist entertainment, rather than tackling issues.
Reality television began on MTV; this would grow in importance in the western world into the next decade.
During the mid-1990s, two of the biggest professional wrestling companies: World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation were in a ratings battle that was dubbed the Monday Night Wars (1995–2001). Each company fought to draw more viewers to their respective Monday night wrestling show. The "War" ended in 2001 when WWE bought WCW. In November 2001, there was a Winner Takes All match with both companies in a Pay-Per-View called Survivor Series. WWF won the match; putting a final end to WCW.
As an animated sitcom, The Simpsons, debuted in December 1989, became a domestic and international success in the 1990s. The show has aired more than 600 episodes and has become an institution of pop culture. It has spawned the adult-oriented animated sitcom genre, inspiring racier shows such as Beavis and Butt-head (1993–1997), Daria (1997–2001), along with South Park and Family Guy, the latter two of which began in 1997 and 1999 respectively and continue to air new episodes through the 2000s and into the 2010s.
American animated children's programs went through a renaissance during the decade with studios producing many critically acclaimed shows. Examples include Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Phantom 2040, Batman: The Animated Series, and Superman: The Animated Series.
The Curtained Haircut increased in popularity in fashion and culture among teenage boys and young men in the 1990s, mainly after it was popularized in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day by the actor Edward Furlong.
The model 1300 Wonderbra style has a resurgence of popularity in Europe in 1992 which kicks off a multinational media sensation, the 1994 re-introduction of "The Wonderbra" brand, and a spike in push-up, plunge bras around the world.
Slap bracelets were a popular fad among children, pre-teens and teenagers in the early 1990s and were available in a wide variety of patterns and colors. Also, popular among children were light-up sneakers, jelly shoes, and shoelace hair clips.
The Grunge hype at the beginning of the decade popularized flannel shirts among both sexes during the 1990s.
The handheld digital pet device Tamagotchi became an especially popular game among children around the world during the decade
Pogs was an especially popular game among children around the world during the decade
In the 90s Dr. Martens shoes became a popular fashionable item heavily influenced by the grunge scene and the prominent grunge musicians whom wore them
Sony's PlayStation becomes the top selling game console and changes the standard media storage type from cartridges to compact discs in consoles. Crash Bandicoot is released on 9 September 1996, becoming one of the most successful platforming series for the Sony PlayStation. Tomb Raider's (PlayStation) Lara Croft became a video game sex symbol, becoming a recognizable figure in the entertainment industry throughout the late 1990s.
3-D graphics become the standard by end of decade. Although FPSs had long since seen the transition to full 3D, other genres begin to copy this trend by the end of the decade. Most notable first shooter games in the 1990s are GoldenEye 007 and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six.
The console wars, primarily between Sega (Mega Drive, marketed as the Sega Genesis in North America, introduced in 1988) and Nintendo (Super NES, introduced in 1990), sees the entrance of Sony with the PlayStation in 1994, which becomes the first successful CD-based console (as opposed to cartridges). By the end of the decade, Sega's hold on the market becomes tenuous after the end of the Saturn in 1999 and the Dreamcast in 2002.
Fighting games like Capcom's Street Fighter II, Sega's futuristic Virtua Fighter, and especially the more violent Mortal Kombat from Midway prompted the video game industry to adopt a game rating system. Hundreds of knock-offs are widely popular in the mid-to-late 1990s. Doom (1993) bursts onto the world scene, and instantly popularizes the FPS genre. Half-Life (1998) features the next evolutionary step in the genre with continual progression of the game (no levels in the traditional sense) and an entirely in-person view, and becomes one of the most popular computer games in history.
The real-time strategy (RTS) genre is introduced in 1992 with the release of Dune II. Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994) popularizes the genre, with Command & Conquer and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness in 1995, setting up the first major real-time strategy competition and popularizing multiplayer capabilities in RTS games. StarCraft in 1998 becomes the second best-selling computer game of all time. It remains among the most popular multiplayer RTS games to this day, especially in South Korea. Homeworld in 1999 becomes the first successful 3d RTS game. The rise of the RTS genre is often credited with the fall of the turn-based strategy (TBS) genre, popularized with Civilization in 1991. Final Fantasy debuted (in North America) in 1990 for the NES, and remains among the most popular video game franchises, with many new titles to date and more in development, plus numerous spin-offs, sequels, films and related titles. Final Fantasy VII, released in 1997, especially popularized the series.
The pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing internet service Napster, which was first launched in the fall of 1999, was the first peer-to-peer software to become massively popular. While at the time it was possible to share files in other ways via the Internet (such as IRC and USENET), Napster was the first software to focus exclusively on sharing MP3 files. Napster was eventually forced to shutdown in July 2001 to prevent further copyright violations.
Major League Baseball players went on strike on 12 August 1994, thus ending the season and canceling the World Series for the first time in 90 years. The players' strike ended on 29 March 1995 when players and team owners came to an agreement.
American NBA basketball player Michael Jordan became a major sports and pop culture icon idolized by millions worldwide. He revolutionized sports marketing through deals with companies such as Gatorade, Hanes, McDonald's and Nike. His Chicago Bulls team won six NBA titles during the decade (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998). He was loved outside basketball thanks to his self-portrayal in the film Space Jam with the Looney Tune characters.
In addition to the Pittsburgh Penguins, three other NHL expansion teams went on to earn their first Stanley Cup championships: the New Jersey Devils in 1995, the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, and the Dallas Stars in 1999.
Canadian hockey star Wayne Gretzky announced his retirement from the NHL in 1999. Upon his final game on 18 April, he held forty regular-season records, fifteen playoff records, and six All-Star records. He is the leading point-scorer in NHL history, as well as the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. He played for four teams during his NHL career: the Edmonton Oilers, the Los Angeles Kings, the St. Louis Blues, and the New York Rangers.
The United States hosted the 15th staging of the World Cup in 1994. To this day, it holds the record for largest attendance per game during the World Cup finals (even after the tournament's expansion to 32 teams and 64 matches). Additionally, this led to the creation of the MLS.
In the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins showed promise of continuing their 80s glory by each team winning another Super Bowl at the beginning of the decade; but it was the Dallas Cowboys who made a gradual return to dynasty status, winning three Super Bowls (1992, 1993 and 1995) in a four-year span after a 14-year NFL championship drought.
^ abSorin Antohi and Vladimir Tismăneanu, "Independence Reborn and the Demons of the Velvet Revolution" in Between Past and Future: The Revolutions of 1989 and Their Aftermath, Central European University Press. ISBN 978-963-9116-71-9. p.85.
Peatling, Gary (2004). The failure of the Northern Ireland peace process. Irish Academic Press, p. 58. ISBN 0-7165-3336-7
^Cox, Michael, Guelke, Adrian and Stephen, Fiona (2006). A farewell to arms?: beyond the Good Friday Agreement. Manchester University Press, p. 486. ISBN 0-7190-7115-1
^Clark, Desmond and Jones, Charles (1999). The rights of nations: nations and nationalism in a changing world. Palgrave Macmillan, p. 168. ISBN 0-312-22595-4
^Grossman, Lev (31 March 2003). "How the Web Was Spun". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on 18 July 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2009. Berners-Lee's computer faithfully logged the exact second the site was launched: 2:56:20 pm, 6 August 1991.
^Wolf, Mark J.P. (2008). "Arcade Games of the 1990s and Beyond". The video game explosion: a history from PONG to PlayStation and beyond. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-313-33868-7. OCLC154776597. Retrieved 19 July 2009. The decline of arcade video games would come back in the 1990s, despite attempts to redefine the arcade experience and attract players back to the arcade.
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