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1990s

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Overview

"'90s" redirects here. For decades come on years 90–99 of other decades, see List of decades.
This article is about the decade. For the band, see 1990s (band).
Hubble Space Telescope Gulf War Oslo Accords World Wide Web Dissolution of the Soviet Union Dolly the sheep Death of Diana, Princess of Wales Rwandan Genocide
From left, clockwise: The Hubble Space Telescope floats in space after it was taken up in 1990; American F-16s and F-15s fly over burning oil fields in Operation Desert Storm, also known as the 1991 Gulf War; The signing of the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993; The World Wide Web gains a public face during the start of decade and as a result gains massive popularity worldwide; Boris Yeltsin and followers stand on a tank in defiance to the August Coup, which leads to the Soviet Union's dissolution on 26 December 1991; Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell; The funeral procession of Diana, Princess of Wales, who dies in 1997 from a car crash in Paris, and is mourned by millions; Hundreds of thousands are killed in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.

The 1990s, pronounced "nineteen-nineties" or abbreviated as "nineties", was a decade that began on 1 January 1990, and ended on 31 December 1999.

Culturally, the 1990s was characterized by the rise of multiculturalism and alternative media, which continued into the 2000s. Movements such as grunge, the rave scene and hip hop spread around the world to young people during the decade, aided by then-new technology such as cable television and the Internet.

A combination of factors, including the continued mass mobilization of capital markets through neoliberalism, 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 in 2000–2001.

New ethnic conflicts emerged in Africa, the Balkans and the Caucasus, the former two which led to the Rwandan genocide and Bosnian genocide, respectively. Signs of any resolution of tensions between Israel and the Arab world remained elusive despite the progress of the Oslo Accords, though the Irish Troubles came to a standstill in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement after 30 years of violence.[1]

Politics and wars

Wars

The most prominent armed conflicts of the decade include:

International wars

  • 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 Kosovo War (1998–1999):
    • War between Albanian separatists and Yugoslav military and Serb paramilitary forces in Kosovo begin 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.
Bosnian parliament building burns after being hit by Bosnian Serb artillery. - 1990s
Bosnian parliament building burns after being hit by Bosnian Serb artillery.

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. - 1990s
Rwandan Genocide: Genocide victims in Murambi Technical School. Estimates put the death toll of the Rwandan Genocide as high as 800,000 people.

Coups

Terrorist attacks

  • The 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing leads to awareness in U.S. of domestic and international terrorism as a potential threat.
  • Markale market massacres in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994 involving soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska deliberately targeting Bosniak (then known as "Bosnian Muslims") civilians.
  • Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 involving soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska, members of Serbia's Scorpions paramilitary group, and Greek volunteers in the Srpska army, committing mass murder of Bosniak civilians.
  • The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killed 168. Bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh claimed he bombed the building in retaliation for the 1993 Waco massacre.
  • After the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by Al-Qaeda militants, U.S. naval military forces launch cruise missile attacks against Al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan in 1998.
  • The Omagh bombing in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland which killed 29 civilians and injured hundreds more.
  • Ahmed Ressam, an Islamist militant associated with Al-Qaeda is arrested when attempting to cross from Canada to the United States at the Canada-U.S. 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 U.S. soil since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and marked the beginning of a series of attempted terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda against the U.S. that would continue into the 21st century.
  • On 18 July 1994 an unknown terrorist targeting Argentina's Jewish community plants a car-bomb in the AMIA Headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina 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.

Decolonization and Independence

Prominent political events

  • The 1990s was an era of spreading capitalism.[5] The former countries of the Warsaw Pact moved from single-party socialist states to multi-party states with private sector economies.[5] 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.

Africa

  • The release of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela from jail in February 1990 after thirty years of imprisonment for opposing apartheid and white-minority rule in South Africa. This would resolve with the end of Apartheid in South Africa in 1994, marking the end of the original Civil Rights era of the 20th century.
  • 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.

North America

  • United States President Bill 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 U.S. 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.
  • Jean-Bertrand Aristide becomes the first democratically elected President of Haiti in 1990.
  • Canadian politics is radically altered in the 1993 federal election with the collapse of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, (a major political party in Canada since 1867) from being government to only 2 seats and the New Democratic Party collapsing from 44 seats to 9. The Liberal Party of Canada is the only genuine national political party that remains while the regionally based parties such as the Quebec-based Bloc Québécois and the almost entirely Western Canada-based Reform Party of Canada rise from political insignificance to being major political parties.
  • After the collapse of the Meech Lake constitutional accord in 1990, the province of Quebec in Canada experienced a rekindled wave of separatism by francophone Québécois 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.
  • California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes. The debate over legalization of marijuana in the U.S. goes on today.
  • 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.
  • Abortion reaches historical levels of high popularity in the United States from 1990 to 1996, before falling back again in the late 1990s.[6]

Asia

Europe

  • 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 looses 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.
  • Margaret Thatcher who had been the United Kingdom's Prime Minister since 1979 resigned as Prime Minister on 22 November 1990 after being challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by Michael Heseltine because of widespread opposition to the introduction of the controversial Community Charge and the fact that her key allies such as Nigel Lawson and Geoffrey Howe resigned over the deeply sensitive issues of the Maastricht Treaty and Margaret Thatcher's resistance to Britain joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. Less than two years later on the infamous Black Wednesday of September 1992, the pound sterling crashed out of the system after the pound fell below the agreed exchange rate with the Deutsche Mark.
  • 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 IRA agreed to a truce in 1994. This marked the beginning of the end of 25 years of violence between the IRA and the United Kingdom, and the start of political negotiations.
  • The European Union forms in 1992 under the Maastricht Treaty.

South America

Assassinations

The 1990s were marked by several notable assassinations and assassination attempts:

Disasters

Natural disasters

The 1999 İzmit earthquake which occurred in the northwestern of Turkey killed 17,217 and injured 43,959. - 1990s
The 1999 İzmit earthquake which occurred in the northwestern of Turkey killed 17,217 and injured 43,959.
  • The most prominent natural disasters of the decade include: Hurricane Andrew striking South Florida in August 1992, the crippling super storm of March 1993 along the Eastern Seaboard, the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, the Great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, Japan in January 1995, the Blizzard of 1996 in the eastern U.S., the US drought of 1999, the deadly Hurricane Mitch which struck Central America in October 1998, and the destructive Oklahoma tornado outbreak in May 1999, the August 1999 İzmit earthquake in Turkey, and the September 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan.
  • A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit the Philippines on 16 July 1990 and killed around 1000 people in Baguio City.
  • July 1995 – Midwestern United States heat wave – An unprecedented heat wave strikes the Midwestern United States for most of the month. Temperatures peak at 106 °F (41 °C), and remain above 94 °F (34 °C) in the afternoon for 5 straight days. At least 739 people died in Chicago alone.
  • 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.
  • A flood hits the Red River Valley in 1997 becoming the most severe flood since 1826.

Non-natural disasters

The crash site of El Al Flight 1862 in 1992. - 1990s
The crash site of El Al Flight 1862 in 1992.

Economics

  • Many countries, institutions, companies, and organizations were prosperous during the 1990s. High-income countries such as the United States, 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 anti-globalization protests at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999 in Seattle, Washington began on 30 November 1999. This marks the beginning of a steady increase in anti-globalization protests which occurred in the first decade of the 21st century as well as increasing hostility to neoliberalism.

North America

The Dow Jones Index of the 1990s. - 1990s
The Dow Jones Index of the 1990s.

Asia

  • The government of the People's Republic of China announces major privatization of state-owned industries in September 1997.
  • China started the '90s in a bad way, shunned by much of the world after the Tiananmen Square Massacre 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.
  • South-East Asia economic crisis starting from 1997.
  • 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.
  • The Philippines saw great economic development after the People Power Revolution. The economy gains 5% from its deficit until the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
  • 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.
Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton share a laugh in October 1995. - 1990s
Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton share a laugh in October 1995.

Europe

  • 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 deacde 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.

South America

  • 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

Technology

The 1990s were an incredibly revolutionary decade for digital technology. Cell phones of the early 1990s and earlier 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[9] and by 2001, more than 50% of some Western countries had Internet access, and more than 25% had cell phone access.

Electronics and communications

The World Wide Web project historic logo designed by Robert Cailliau. - 1990s
The World Wide Web project historic logo designed by Robert Cailliau.
The logo created by The President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion, for use on Y2K.gov - 1990s
The logo created by The President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion, for use on Y2K.gov
  • On 6 August 1992, CERN, a pan European organization for particle research, publicized the new World Wide Web project.[10] 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.
  • Y2K spread fear throughout the United States and eventually the world in the last half of the decade, particularly 1999, about possible massive computer malfunctions on 1 January 2000. As a result, many people stocked up on supplies for fear of a world wide disaster. After significant effort to upgrade systems on the part of software engineers, no failures occurred when the clocks rolled over into 2000.
  • Advancements in computer modems, ISDN, cable modems, and DSL lead to faster connection to the Internet.
  • The Pentium processor is developed by Intel.
  • E-mail becomes popular; as a result Microsoft acquires the popular Hotmail webmail service.
  • Instant messaging and the Buddy list becomes popular. AIM and ICQ are two early protocols.
  • Businesses start to build E-commerce websites; E-commerce-only companies such as Amazon.com, eBay, AOL, and Yahoo! grow rapidly.
  • 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 32Mb of flash memory expandable to 64Mb. By the mid-2000s, the Mp3 player would overtake the CD player in popularity.
  • The first GSM network is launched in Finland in 1991.
  • Digital SLRs and regular digital cameras become commercially available. They would replace film cameras by the mid-2000s.
  • IBM introduces the 1-inch (25 mm) wide Microdrive hard drive in 170 MB and 340 MB capacities.
  • Apple introduces the iMac 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 unabated to this day.
  • CD burner drives are introduced.
  • The CD-ROM drive became standard for most personal computers during the decade.
  • The DVD media format is developed and popularized along with a plethora of Flash memory card standards.
  • Pagers are initially popular but ultimately are replaced by mobile phones by the early 2000s.
  • Hand-held satellite phones are introduced towards the end of the decade.
  • The 24 hour news cycle becomes popular with the Gulf War in late 1990 – 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.[11]
  • 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.

Software

Automobiles

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-'90s, but GM's US market share gradually declined to less than 40% (from a peak of 50% in the '70s). 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 of 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 '90s started. Like GM, it 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 '70s. Ford continued to fare well in the '90s, 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.

Science

Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. - 1990s
Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell.

Environment

NASA satellite observation of deforestation in the Mato Grosso state of Brazil. The transformation from forest to farm is evident by the paler square shaped areas under development. - 1990s
NASA satellite observation of deforestation in the Mato Grosso state of Brazil. The transformation from forest to farm is evident by the paler square shaped areas under development.

At the beginning of the decade, sustainable development and environmental protection became serious issues for governments and the international community. In 1987, the publication of the Brundtland Report by the United Nations had paved the way to establish an environmental governance. In 1992 was held the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in which several countries committed to protect the environment, signing a Convention on Biological Diversity.

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 Chernobyl disaster had significant impact on public opinion at the end of the 1980s, and the fallout was still causing cancer deaths well into the 1990s and possibly even into the 21st century.[citation needed] All along the 1990s, several environmental NGOs helped improve environmental awareness among public opinion and governments. The most famous of these organizations during this decade was Greenpeace, which did not hesitate to lead illegal actions in the name of environmental preservation. These organizations also drawn attention on the large deforestion of the Amazon Rainforest during the period.

Global warming as an aspect of climate change also became a major concern, and the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after the Earth Summit helped coordinate efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. From 1995, the UNFCCC held annual summits on climate change, leading to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in December 1997, a binding agreement signed by several developed countries.

Society

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.

Youth culture in the 1990s responded to this by embracing both environmentalism and entrepreneurship. Western world fashions reflected this by often turning highly individualistic and/or counter-cultural, which was influenced by Generation X and Generation Y : tattoos and body piercing gained popularity, and "retro" styles inspired by fashions of the 1960s and 1970s were also prevalent. Some young people became increasingly involved in extreme sports and outdoor activities that combined embracing athletics with the appreciation of nature. Those born in the 1990-1999 range are known to be a part of the Millennials generation, along with those born in the 1980s. The slacker and Valley Girl cultures were prevalent, and the decade was heavily influenced by Californian culture.

In 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of diseases. Increasing acceptance of homosexuality occurred in the western world, slowly starting in the early 1990s.[12]

Third-wave feminism

Women's rights demonstration in Paris, November 1995 - 1990s
Women's rights demonstration in Paris, November 1995

Additional significant world-wide events

  • Worldwide New Year's Eve celebrations on 31 December 1999 welcoming the year 2000.

Europe

  • 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.
  • Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize, dies at age 87.
  • 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 resignation of President Boris Yeltsin on 31 December 1999 resulting in Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's succession to the position.

North America

  • The Columbine High School massacre occurred on 20 April 1999, in Columbine, Colorado when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide, making it the deadliest high school shooting in United States history.
  • O. J. Simpson murder caseO. J. Simpson's trial, described in the U.S. media as the "trial of the century" and enormous U.S. media attention is focused on the trial. On 3 October 1995, Simpson was found "not guilty" of double-murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
  • With help from clinical fertility drugs, an Iowa mother, Bobbie McCaughey, gave birth to the first surviving septuplets in 1997. There followed a media frenzy and widespread support for the family.
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette are killed when Kennedy's private plane crashes off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in July 1999.
  • Debate on assisted suicide highly publicized by Michigan doctor Jack Kevorkian, charged with multiple counts of homicide of his terminally ill patients through the decade.
  • Beer keg registration becomes popular public policy in U.S.
  • The 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas in 1992 was popularly observed, 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.
  • Matthew Shepard is murdered near the University of Wyoming for being gay. This sparks intense national and international media attention and outrage. He becomes a major symbol in the LGBT rights movement and the fight against homophobia.
  • Shanda Sharer (6 June 1979 – 11 January 1992) was a murder victim. 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. This senseless murder shocked the nation.
  • 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.

Canada

  • 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.

Asia

  • 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 Spratly Islands issue became one of the most controversial in Southeast Asia.

Literature

  • The hugely successful Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling debuted in 1997. The series would go on to become the best-selling book series in world history with only seven main novels.
  • Goosebumps by R. L. Stine, the second highest-grossing book series in the world, debuted in 1992 and remained a dominant player in children's literature throughout and after the decade.

See also

Alwyn Turner (2013), A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s, Aurum Press

Timeline

The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:

1990199119921993199419951996199719981999

References

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  4. ^ See, e.g., Rwanda: How the genocide happened, BBC, 1 April 2004, which gives an estimate of 800,000, and OAU sets inquiry into Rwanda genocide, Africa Recovery, Vol. 12 1#1 (August 1998), page 4, which estimates the number at between 500,000 and 1,000,000. 7 out of every 10 Tutsis were killed.
  5. ^ a b Sorin 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.
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