THE 90’s
The 1990s collectively refers to the years between and including 1990 and 1999. During this time, the widespread adoption of personal computers, the Internet and the increased economic productivity led to the equity market booms around the world, and caused an influx of wealth to the United States, Europe and Asia.
This decade started with the United States invasion of Iraq, as well as the cementation
of free-market capitalism in many economic system worldwide. During this decade, racial prejudice lost moral acceptance, and the gender roles for women began to increase dramatically in many industrialized countries.

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.
Personal incomes doubled from the recession in 1990, and there was higher
productivity overall. After the 1996 Welfare Reform Act there was a reduction of
poverty, [1] and the Wall Street stock exchange stayed over the 10,000 mark from
1999 to 2001.
After the 1992 booming of the US stock market, Alan Greenspan coined the phrase
"irrational exuberance".

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.
With the creation of the E.U. there is free movement of labor between member
states, such as the 1992 and 1995 free trade agreements. The EU agreed to have a
single currency, and the Euro began circulation in March 1999 in 12 member states.
The Philippines saw great economic development after The People Power revolt. The
economy gains 5% from its deficit until the Asian financial crisis of 1997.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which phases out trade barriers
between the United States, Mexico and Canada is signed into law by U.S. President
Bill Clinton.
From 1990 until 1998 inclusive, the economy of Russia and some former USSR states
was in a severe depression. Eastern European economies struggled after the fall of
communism, but Poland, Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania saw healthy economic
growth rates in the late 1990s.
Except for the United Kingdom and Ireland, much of Europe had serious economic
problems, such as the massive 1995 general strikes in France during its worst
recession since World War II. The French economy mildly rebounds at the end of the
Democracy, economic reform and peace arrive in Latin America, while 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 their best
shape by the late 1990s.

Financial crisis hits East and Southeast Asia in 1997 and 1998 after a long period of phenomenal economic development. Japan was heavily affected, as was Indonesia when the 30-year rule of President Suharto ended in his resignation after widespread
protests in May 1998. See East Asian Tigers.
Significant events that occurred during or after 1990 which would influence the course of history and character of the decade, include:
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 2, 1990.
The German reunification in October 3, 1990 as a result of the fall of the Berlin Wall
The resignation of Margaret Thatcher as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime

Minister of the UK followed by the election and appointment of John Major as her
successor on November 28, 1990.
The Moscow Coup and subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union on December 21,

Significant events that marked the passing of the decade include:
The resignation of President Boris Yeltsin on December 31, 1999 resulting in Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin's succession to the position
World-wide New Year's Eve celebrations on December 31, 1999.

Worldwide concern about possible widespread computer malfunctions resulting from the
Year 2000 problem.


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (IPA: [xolíɬaɬa mandéːla]; born 18 July 1918) is a former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African National Congress and its armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. He spent 27 years in prison, much of it on Robben Island, on convictions for crimes that included sabotage committed while he spearheaded the struggle against apartheid.
Among opponents of apartheid in South Africa and internationally, he became a symbol of freedom and equality, while the apartheid government and nations sympathetic to it condemned him and the ANC as communists and terrorists.
Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, his switch to a policy of reconciliation and negotiation helped lead the transition to multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, he has been widely praised, even by former opponents.
Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.

Mandela has frequently credited Mahatma Gandhi for being a major source of inspiration in his life, both for the philosophy of non-violence and for facing adversity with dignity.


The Pentium processor is developed by Intel.
Explosive growth of the Internet, perhaps caused by a decrease in the cost of computers and other technology.
Advancements in computer modems, ISDN, cable modems and DSL lead to faster
connection to the Internet.

Pagers are initially popular but ultimately are replaced by mobile phones toward the
end of the decade.
Hand-held satellite phones are introduced towards the end of the decade.

CD burner drives are introduced.
Digital SLRs and regular Digital cameras become commercially available.
The DVD media format is developed and popularized along with a plethora of Flash

memory card standards.
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.

IBM introduces the 1-inch wide Microdrive hard drive in 170 MB and 340 MB
The first GSM network is launched in Finland in 1991
The first MP3 Player, the MPMan, is released in late spring of 1998. It came with 32Mb
of flash memory expandable to 64Mb.

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 World Wide Web and HTML are created by Tim Berners-Lee and eventually
displace the Gopher protocol.

Microsoft introduces Windows 95 and later Windows 98 to the market, which gain
immediate popularity.
The development of Web browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer
makes surfing the World Wide Web easier and more user friendly.
The Java programming language is developed by Sun Microsystems.
Businesses start to build E-commerce websites; E-commerce-only companies such as, eBay, AOL, and Yahoo! grow rapidly.

E-mail becomes popular; as a result Microsoft acquires the popular
webmail service.

Instant Messaging and the Buddy list becomes popular. AIM and ICQ are two early
The Year 2000 problem (commonly known as Y2K), the computer glitch disaster
expected to happen on January 1, 2000.

Microsoft Windows operating systems become virtually ubiquitous on IBM PCs.

Development of the free Linux kernel is started by Linus Torvalds in Finland.
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
The console wars, primarily between Sega (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
1998 and the Dreamcast in 2001.

Mario finds a rival in Sonic the Hedgehog with the release of the original game on the
Genesis in 1991.

Arcade games rapidly decrease in popularity.
Fighting games like Capcom's //Street Fighter II//, Sega's futuristic //Virtua Fighter// and the
more violent //Mortal Kombat// from Acclaim prompted the video game industry to adopt a
game rating system, and hundreds of knock-offs are widely popular in mid-to
Sony's PlayStation becomes the top selling game console and changes the standard
media storage type from cartridges to compact discs in consoles.

Doom (1993) bursts onto the world scene and instantly popularizes the FPS genre,
and even how games are played, as Doom is among the first games to feature
multiplayer capabilities. It is not until //Quake// (1996), however, that game developers
begin to take multiplayer features into serious consideration when making games.
//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 sets up the first major real-time strategy
competition and popularizes 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. The Civilization franchise is the only TBS franchise that
remains popular.

Final Fantasy first debuted (in North America) in 1990 for the NES, and remains
among the most popular video game franchises, with 12 new titles to date, with
another in development, plus numerous spin-offs, sequels, movies and related titles.
//Final Fantasy VII//, released in 1997, especially popularized the series.

Zelda continues its massive popularity with a series of groundbreaking games,
including //The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time//, released in 1998, which is considered
one of the best and most groundbreaking games of all time.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing games (MMORPGs) see their entrance into
the computer game world with //Ultima Online// in 1997, although they don't gain
widespread popularity until //EverQuest// and //Asheron's Call// in 1999. MMORPGs go on
to become among the most popular genres in the 2000s.

Pokémon entered the world scene with the release of the original Game Boy //Pokémon Red// and //Pokémon Green// games in Japan in 1996, later changed to Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue for worldwide release in 1998. It soon becomes popular in the U.S. and is
adapted into a popular children's anime series and trading card game, among other
media forms. Its popularity remains well into the 2000s with several new games and


Youth culture in the 1990s was characterized by environmentalism and
entrepreneurship. Fashions were often individualistic, 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 outdoor activities that
combined embracing athletics with the appreciation of nature.

Jam bands grew in popularity. Along with these Jam bands came a new popularity of
1960's counter-culture.
Following the 1980s media counter-culture lead by tabloid talk shows popularized by
Oprah Winfrey in 1986, which provided high-impact media visibility for gays, bisexuals,
transsexuals, and transgender people [1] the 1990s saw a further increase in gay
visibility in the mainstream media. In 1990, the World Health Organization removed
homosexuality from its list of diseases. US TV shows featured gay characters. Movies
with gay characters saw mainstream success. U.S. President Bill Clinton generally
held a pro-gay rights viewpoint.

Toyota Camry was one of the best selling vehicles in the U.S. throughout the 90's.
The 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of America in 1992 was
popularly observed, despite controversy and protests against Columbus' expeditions
victimization of Native Americans. The holiday was labeled by some as racist, in view
of Native American experiences of colonialism, slavery, genocide and cultural

Douglas Coupland publishes the novel //Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture//,
popularizing the term Generation X as the name of the generation born in the late
1960s and early 1970s (then college-age).
The Grunge trend explodes, with several Grunge bands gaining mainstream success,
and the attendant fashion caught on widely.

Reality television began on MTV; this would grow in iportance into the 2000s.
Blood and gore in television and video games rose dramatically, along with language
and sexual content, especially during the latter half of the decade; a Parental Ratings
system for television was introduced in 1997 because of related complaints.

Video games became more advanced and popular, with several makes becoming big
sellers. Simulation and God games rose in popularity in the mid-late 1990s.

Extreme sports reached a new height in popularity, and by 1995, were given their own
annual tournament on US cable network ESPN.

Extended alcohol sales are implemented in the US to reduce alcohol abuse.
The exploitation of the collectability of comic books results in a trend of "gimmick"
packaging and storylines (most notably The Death of Superman). The comic book
industry collapses as interest in print comics decreases among younger generations
and casual readers. Comic books disappear as a familiar sight at the newsstands. As
comics, including Japanese manga and other graphic novels become more available
in bookstore chains, the role of the comic book store as a source for comics and social
gathering wanes. The domination by industry giants Marvel Comics and DC Comics
ends as various independents produce popular titles. The era of comic book collecting
for speculative investment ends. Webcomics by amateur cartoonists become popular.

Conversion to Block scheduling became a trendy initiative for United States schools.

The Ford Explorer, which sparked the SUV craze among families in the '90s.
Due to the success of the Ford Explorer, Sport Utility Vehicles became very popular
among families, and effectively replaced the station wagon and minivan as the
stereotypical family vehicle.
Major 1990s slang words/phrases, mostly related to hip hop culture, included "Talk to

the hand."
Dogme 95 becomes an important European artistic film movement by the end of the

Eurodance music dominates discotheques and has numerous major mainstream hits
in European (and to a lesser extent, North American) music charts.
Mainstream "Techno", as it is dubbed by the media, became hugely popular in Europe
and the U.S. From the early raves of 1990 to about 1996, electronic music gradually
gained widespread recognition as a new genre in its own right. This trend reached a
head in the latter part of the decade as underground parties were largely replaced by
massive commercially sponsored parties, and as music media such as MTV began
coverage of it.

Breakdancer in Ljubljana, Slovenia when hip-hop music swept the globe in the 1990s.
Media consolidation leads to increased segmentation in styles of music.
24-hour CNN coverage during the Gulf War leads to increased awareness and
coverage of world events and Infotainment shows.

Hip-hop culture grows; by the end of the decade hip hop gained more and more

Tupac Shakur of Death Row Records and The Notorious BIG of Bad Boy Records,
wage a cultural war in the hip hop music scene, leading to the murder of both Shakur
in 1996 and BIG in 1997.

Professional wrestling experiences a huge rise in popularity.
Electronica is hugely popular on Top 40 radio from 1990 to present and up to 1996 or
1997 in the U.S.

Alternative rock overtakes Grunge in popularity around 1995. Nu metal, a genre
popularized by the 1994 self-titled album by Korn, becomes a major genre of rock
around the year 1997 along with post-grunge and "indie rock".

Indie/hipster culture appears during the mid-1990s. Emo and "scene" culture flourishes
in the late 1990s, most likely around the later part of 1998.

Teen pop makes a comeback in the mid-1990s
Christian music peaks in the mid to late 1990s.

R&B Music and hip-hop influenced R&B are big in the 1990s.


Beginnings of MP3 music downloading; including the Napster controversy in 1999 and
2000. The Internet begins to affect pop culture, beginning around 1996. Most
television stations establish an Internet presence during the later half of the decade.
Earliest examples of Internet film. Bulletin Board System interest decreases heavily
with introduction of the Web. Pornography on the Internet launches and grows rapidly
(one of the few industries to experience growth during the bust of 2000)
A concept of online social ettiquette, "Netiquette" begins to form in 1995.
Online chat debuts in the mid 1990s, along with social networking and teen community
sites such as and Xanga in the late 1990s.

Popular Internet sites such as Newgrounds, Something Awful and The Best Page in the Universe began in the mid to late 90s.

Gun politics in the US over the 1993 Brady Bill had banned or regulated most kinds of
automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons. The law called for a 5-day waiting
period for potential gun-owners to be checked for past crimes before they can
purchase a firearm.

You go, girl! becomes a popular phrase in the media as feminism is more widely
accepted and publicized with The Spice Girls, the WNBA, women's boxing, girl power,
showcasing modern femininity.
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.
In August 1995, NASA scientists announced, then debunked a big "discovery" of
"martian" microscopic life on an asteroid originated from Mars, found in Antarctica and
examined to only find mineral formation, not alien bacteria.

Kenny Everett dies shortly after confirming that he has AIDS.
Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, and Notorious B.I.G. are the most
publicized music-related deaths of the decade, in 1991, 1994, 1996, and 1997
Divorce and scandal rocked the British Royal House of Windsor.
The murder of Selena Quintanilla, Tejano superstar from Texas.

Cindy Crawford becomes the most successful supermodel of the decade.
The movie Titanic becomes a cultural phenomenon throughout the world and
eventually becomes the biggest grossing movie of all time making almost 2 billion
dollars world wide in a span of little over a year.

Major League baseball players went on strike in August 12, 1994, thus ended the
season, canceled the World Series the first time in 90 years, and went on until March

29, 1995 when players and team owners in agreement.
The Vieques controversy.

Crime levels in the U.S. peak in 1991, begin to fall afterwards, reaching the lowest
levels since the late 1960s by end of decade.
In the U.S. drug use reaches an all-time low in 1992 before increasing, reaching its
peak in 1997 before declining again.
Examples of the decade's worst natural disasters: Hurricane Andrew strikes South
Florida in August 1992, the crippling Superstorm 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 deadly Hurricane Mitch which struck Central America in October
1998, and the destructive F-5 Oklahoma City tornado in May 1999, the August 1999

İzmit earthquake in Turkey, and the September 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan.

People are evacuated from the volcanic Caribbean island of Montserrat, a British overseas territory. The Soufirre Hills erupt in 1995 and continued on until 2002.
Mount Pinatubo, a dormant volcano in the island of Luzon in the Philippines erupted in
1991 to decimate nearby towns and an American air force base permanently
abandoned by hot ash fall and under mudslides.

Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize, dies at age 87.
21-year-old Golfer Tiger Woods wins the Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes;
becoming both the youngest and the first American of multiracial descent to win the
The Olympic Park Bombing on July 27, 1996 at that year's Summer Olympics in
Atlanta, Georgia which kills 2 and injures 111.
School violence in the US is brought into the national spotlight with numerous
incidents, such as the Columbine High School massacre.

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.

American cyclist Lance Armstrong wins his first Tour de France in 1999, less than two years after battling testicular cancer.
Debate on assisted suicide highly publicized by Michigan doctor Jack Kevorkian,
charged with multiple counts of homicide of his terminally ill patients through the

Seinfeld becomes highly popular.
Beer keg registration becomes popular public policy in U.S.

California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, to legalize cannabis only for medical
purposes, the debate over legalization of marijuana in the U.S. goes on today.

The Rachel, Jennifer Aniston's hairstyle on the hit show Friends, becomes a cultural
phenomenon with millions of women copying it worldwide.