Decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1990
Top 10 1990s related articles
- 1 Politics and wars
- 2 Assassinations and attempts
- 3 Disasters
- 4 Economics
- 5 Technology and science
- 6 Environment
- 7 Society
- 8 Additional significant worldwide events
- 9 Popular culture
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
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 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.
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
The most prominent armed conflicts of the decade include:
- The Congo wars break out in the 1990s:
- The First Congo War takes place in Zaire from October 1996 to May 1997, resulting in Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko being overthrown from power, ending 32 years of his rule. Zaire is renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- The Second Congo War starts in August 1998 in central Africa and involves multiple nearby nations. It continued until July 2003.
- 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 First Chechen War (1994–1996) – the conflict was fought between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. After the initial campaign of 1994–1995, culminating in the devastating Battle of Grozny, Russian federal forces attempted to seize control of the mountainous area of Chechnya but were set back by Chechen guerrilla warfare and raids on the flatlands in spite of Russia's overwhelming manpower, weaponry, and air support. The resulting widespread demoralization of federal forces, and the almost universal opposition of the Russian public to the conflict, led Boris Yeltsin's government to declare a ceasefire in 1996 and sign a peace treaty a year later.
- The Second Chechen War (1999–2009) – the war was launched by the Russian Federation starting 26 August 1999, in response to the Invasion of Dagestan and the Russian apartment bombings which were blamed on the Chechens. During the war Russian forces largely recaptured the separatist region of Chechnya. The campaign largely reversed the outcome of the First Chechen War, in which the region gained de facto independence as the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
- 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.
- The Yugoslav Wars (1991–1995) – The breakup of Yugoslavia beginning on 25 June 1991 after the republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia which was followed by the subsequent Yugoslav wars. The Yugoslav Wars would become notorious for numerous war crimes and human rights violations such as ethnic cleansing and genocide committed by all sides.
- Ten-Day War (1991) – a brief military conflict between Slovenian TO (Slovenian Territorial Defence) and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) following Slovenia's declaration of independence.
- Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995) – the war fought in hegh town Croatia between the Croatian government, having declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and both the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and Serb forces, who established the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) within Croatia.
- Bosnian War (1992–1995) – the war involved several ethnically defined factions within Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats as well as a smaller Bosniak faction led by Fikret Abdić. The Siege of Sarajevo (1992–1995) marked the most violent urban warfare in Europe since World War II at that time as Serb forces bombard and attack Bosniak controlled and populated areas of the city. War crimes occur including ethnic cleansing and destruction of civilian property.
- 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. The intervention lacked UN approval, yet was justified by NATO based on accusations of war crimes being committed by Yugoslav military forces working alongside nationalist Serb paramilitary groups. After months of bombing, Yugoslavia accepted NATO's demands and NATO forces (later UN peacekeeping forces) occupied Kosovo.
Civil Wars and guerrilla wars
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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[update]). Two hundred and twelve people were injured, but there were no fatalities.
Decolonization and independence
- Namibia gains independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990. Walvis Bay, initially retained by South Africa, joins Namibia in 1994.
- The republics of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia.
- The Slovak Republic adopts the Declaration of Independence from the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (Czechoslovakia).
- Eritrea gains independence from Ethiopia (1993).
- Palau gains independence from the United Nations Trusteeship Council.
- United Kingdom hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997.
- 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 republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan declared independence from the USSR.
Prominent political events
- 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, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
- 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 in 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.
- Jean-Bertrand Aristide becomes the first democratically elected President of Haiti in 1990.
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.
- In 1990, the ending of the civil war and the return to political normalcy in Lebanon began. With the peace among all factions in Lebanon, the rebuilding of Lebanon and its capital, Beirut, started.
- Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Prime Minister Yasser Arafat agree to the Israeli–Palestinian peace process at the culmination of the Oslo Accords, negotiated by the United States President Bill Clinton on 13 September 1993. By signing the Oslo accords, the Palestine Liberation Organization recognize Israel's right to exist, while Israel permitted the creation of an autonomous Palestinian National Authority consisting of the Gaza Strip and West Bank which was implemented in 1994. Israeli military forces withdraw from the Palestinian territories in compliance with the accord, which marked the end of the First Intifada (a period of violence between Palestinian Arab militants and Israeli armed forces from 1987 to 1993).
- The Palestinian National Authority is created in 1994 in accordance with the Oslo Accords, giving Palestinian Arab people official autonomy over the Gaza Strip and West Bank, though not official independence from Israel.
- In 1994, a peace treaty is signed between Israel and Jordan.
- North Yemen and South Yemen merge to form Yemen in 1991.
- 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.
- In the Philippines two Presidents were elected, Fidel V. Ramos in 1992 and Joseph Estrada in 1998.
- Indonesian president Suharto resigned after ruling for 32 years (1966–1998).
- In India, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on 21 May 1991 by the Tamil Tigers, marking an end to over 44 years of national isolationism.
- 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. The latter statement, which later would become one of the points of the Good Friday Agreement, 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.
- 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. 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. 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. An election was held on 6 May 1999, and on 1 July of that year power was transferred from Westminster to the new Parliament.
- Due to the Internal conflict in Peru and the economic crisis, Alberto Fujimori rises to power in Peru and remains in office for eleven years. His administration is marked by economic development but also by numerous human rights violations (La Cantuta massacre, Barrios Altos massacre), and a rampant corruption network set up by Vladimiro Montesinos.