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1990s

Decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1990

Top 10 1990s related articles

Hubble Space TelescopeGulf WarOslo AccordsWorld Wide WebDissolution of the Soviet UnionDolly the sheepDeath of Diana, Princess of WalesRwandan genocide
From left, clockwise: The Hubble Space Telescope orbits the Earth after it was launched 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 the 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 dissolution of the Soviet Union 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 of Tutsi people are killed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
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The 1990s (pronounced "the nineteen-nineties"; shortened to "the '90s") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1990, and ended on December 31, 1999.

Culturally, the 1990s are characterized by the rise of multiculturalism and alternative media, which continued into the 2000s and 2010s. Movements such as grunge, the rave scene and hip hop spread around the world to young people during that decade, aided by then-new technology such as cable television and the World Wide Web.

A combination of factors, including the continued mass mobilization of capital markets through neo-liberalism, the thawing and end 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 1990s saw extreme advances in technology, with the World Wide Web, the first gene therapy trial, and the first designer babies[1] all emerging in 1990 and being improved and built upon throughout the decade.

New ethnic conflicts emerged in Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, the former two which led to the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides, respectively. Signs of any resolution of tensions between Israel and the Arab world remained elusive despite the progress of the Oslo Accords, though The Troubles in Northern Ireland came to a standstill in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement after 30 years of violence.[2]

Video game consoles released in this decade included the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom, Neo Geo, Atari Jaguar, 3DO, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast; while Portable video game consoles included Game Gear, Atari Lynx and Game Boy Color. Super Mario World was the decade's best selling console video game, while Pokémon Red and Blue was the decade's best selling portable video game; Super Mario 64 was the decade's best selling fifth-generation video game, while Street Fighter II was the decade's highest grossing arcade video game.

1990s Intro articles: 33

Politics and wars

Wars

The most prominent armed conflicts of the decade include:

International wars

The Gulf War.
  • 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 Chechen wars break out in the 1990s:
  • 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 Chief Pervez Musharraf. This conflict remains the only war fought between two declared nuclear powers.
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.
  • 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.[5] Estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500,000 and 1,000,000,[6] 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 Taliban seize control of Afghanistan in 1996.
  • 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.
  • The Somali Civil War (1991 – present) and the Battle of Mogadishu.
  • Severe political deadlock between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Supreme Soviet (Russia's parliament at this time) result in Yeltsin ordering the controversial shelling of the Russian parliament building by tanks in 1993.
  • The Tajikistan civil war, which pits the Tajikistan government against the United Tajik Opposition, lasts from 1992 until 1997 and results in the death of 50,000 to 100,000 people.
  • After over 30 years of fighting, The Troubles in Northern Ireland end on 10 April 1998 when the Good Friday Agreement is signed.

Coups

Terrorist attacks

  • The 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing leads to awareness in United States 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 and members of Serbia's Scorpions paramilitary group committing mass murder of Bosniak civilians.
  • The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killed 168, becoming the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States for that time. Bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh claimed he bombed the building in retaliation for the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff and the Waco siege a year later.[7]
  • 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.
  • 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-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.

Decolonization and independence

Prominent political events

  • The 1990s was an era of spreading capitalism.[8] The former countries of the Warsaw Pact moved from single-party socialist states to multi-party states with private sector economies.[8] The same wave of political liberalisation occurred in capitalist countries, such as Taiwan, Chile, South Africa, India 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

South Africa
  • The release of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela from Robben Island on 11 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.[9]
  • Nelson Mandela is elected President of South Africa in 1994, becoming the first democratically elected President in South African history ending a long legacy of apartheid white-rule in the country.[9]

North America

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During the late 1990s 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.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a former Haitian priest and politician who became Haiti's first democratically elected president. A proponent of liberation theology, Aristide was appointed to a Roman Catholic parish in Port-au-Prince in 1982 after completing his studies to become a priest of the Salesian order.He was born 66 years (July 15, 1953). He made 11 books.Jean-Bertrand Aristide (born 15 July 1953) is a former Haitian priest and politician who became Haiti's first democratically elected president. ... Aristide was later forced into exile in the Central African Republic and South Africa. He finally returned to Haiti in 2011 after seven years in exile.

  • 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 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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. This was 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.
  • John Major replaces Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in 1990.
  • 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 European Union forms in 1992 under the Maastricht Treaty.
  • The Downing Street Declaration 15 December 1993 by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, John Major, and the Taoiseach of Ireland, Albert Reynolds at the British Prime Minister's office in 10 Downing Street. It affirmed both the right of the people of Ireland to self-determination, and that Northern Ireland would be transferred to the Republic of Ireland from the United Kingdom only if a majority of its population was in favour of such a move. It included, as part of the prospective of the so-called "Irish dimension", the principle of consent that the people of the island of Ireland, had the exclusive right to solve the issues between North and South by mutual consent.[10][11] The latter statement, which later would become one of the points of the Good Friday Agreement,[12] was key to produce a positive change of attitude by the republicans towards a negotiated settlement. The joint declaration also pledged the governments to seek a peaceful constitutional settlement, and promised that parties linked with paramilitaries (such as Sinn Féin) could take part in the talks, so long as they abandoned violence.[13]
  • 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.
  • Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister in 1997 following the 1997 United Kingdom general election.
  • 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 1998 Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum 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.[14] Turnout in the equivalent referendum in the Republic of Ireland was average for a constitutional referendum but returned almost universal approval (94.39%).
  • The National Assembly for Wales established following the 1997 Welsh devolution referendum was held on 18 September 1997 in which voters approved the creation of the National Assembly for Wales by a majority of 6,712 votes, or 50.3% of the vote.[15] The following year the Government of Wales Act was passed by the United Kingdom parliament, establishing the Assembly
  • 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.[16] An election was held on 6 May 1999, and on 1 July of that year power was transferred from Westminster to the new Parliament.[17]

South America

World leaders

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1990s Politics and wars articles: 268