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Millennia: 2nd millenniumCenturies: 19th century- 20th century- 21st centuryDecades: 1960s1970s1980s- 1990s - 2000s2010s2020sYears: 19901991199219931994
19951996199719981999Categories: Births- Deaths- Architecture
Establishments- Disestablishments
For the band, see 1990s (band).

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 made many Americans, Asians, and Western Europeans very wealthy.

This decade starting with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, as well as the cementation of free-market capitalism as the dominant 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.



The Dow Jones Index of 1990's

Despite economic prosperity and democracy, there were problems in the 1990s that became more visible after the decade ended. In Africa a rapid increase in incidence of AIDS contributed to falling life expectancy and zero or negative growth rates. In the former Soviet Union GDP decreased as their economies restructured to produce goods they needed and some capital flight occurred. Financial crises in the developing world after 1994 (i.e. the Asian economic crises of 1997) began to undermine some support for a global economy.

Many countries, institutions, companies, and organizations experienced the 1990s as a prosperous time. High-income countries such as the United States, Ireland, Western Europe, and South Korea experienced steady economic growth for much of the decade.

In many continents, 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. These trends were also fueled by inexpensive fossil energy, with low petroleum prices caused by a glut of oil. Oil and gas were discovered in many countries in the former Soviet bloc, leading to economic growth and wider adoption of trade between nations, but the 15 new nations of the old USSR, plus Russia, struggled to adjust to the new economic reality.

  • US economy ended the decade with a 4% unemployment rate, personal incomes doubled from the recession in 1990, and there was higher productivity overall. After the 1996 Welfare Reform act there was a great reduction of poverty rates, and the Wall Street stock exchange stayed over the 10,000 mark from 1999 to 2001.
  • After 1992 the booming of the US stock market, in reference to which Alan Greenspan coined the memorable 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.
  • Philippines shown a 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 decade.
  • 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.

World-changing events

Significant events that occurred during or after 1990 which would influence the course of history and character of the decade, include:

Significant events that marked the passing of the decade include:


Hubble Space Telescope


Some technologies invented and improved during the 1990s:

Graphic representation of the WWW.


  • 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 capacities.
  • 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.


Computer and video games

  • 3-D graphics become the standard by end of decade. Although FPSs had long since seen the transition to full 3D, other genres begin to copy this trend by the end of the decade.
  • Lara Croft became the first video game sex symbol, becoming a recognisable figure in the entertainment industry throughout the late 1990s.
  • 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 1994 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-late1990s.
  • 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 spin-offs.


Cultural Trends

Toyota Camry was one of the best selling vehicles in the U.S. throughout the 90's. 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, include: "dawg" "homie", "phat", "da bomb", "tight", "word to your mother", "Talk to the hand [because the face ain't listening]", "it's goin' down", "physch!", "You go girl!", "yo", "whatever!", "all that and a bag of chips".
  • Young adult and teenage fiction books become popular due to the efforts of R. L. Stine and Christopher Pike throughout the entire 1990s.
  • Dogme 95 becomes an important European artistic film movement by the end of the decade.
  • 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.


See also: 1990s in fashion

The 1990s in popular culture is typically referred to as the decade of "anti-fashion". In reality, anti-fashion was only one of many trends in fashion in the 1990s. The fashion of the 1990s was characterized by minimalist styles, and many overlapping, often contradictory trends. The most significant event was the rise of grunge fashion in 1992. In the late 1990s there was a move away from grunge. Retro clothing inspired by the 1960s and 1970s was popular for much of the 1990s.



See also: List of years in television#1990s

In Europe, new private channels in Germany: RTL, SAT1, Pro7, VOX, VIVA, France: Canal Plus and Portugal: SIC, TVI. Eastern European television enjoys less government restrictions and carries more American programming.

  • Middle East

Al Jazeera begins broadcasting in 1996, subsidised by a grant from the emir of Qatar and expanded their programming range across the Arabic-speaking world.


  • Beginnings of MP3 music downloading; in 1999 and 2000 the Napster controversy.
  • 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.

International Issues

Politically, the 1990s was an era of spreading democracy. The former countries of the Warsaw Pact moved from totalitarian regimes to democratically-elected governments. The same happened in other non-communist countries, such as Taiwan, Chile, South Africa, and Indonesia. Capitalism made great changes to the economies of communist countries like China and Vietnam, and even Cuba.

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. In 1993, the Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and PLO leader Yasser Arafat shook hands in agreement for peace, at the conclusion of peace talks sponsored by US president Bill Clinton. The outcome of these talks, known as the Oslo Accords, was an agreement by Israel to allow Palestinian self-government.

Conflicts like the Balkan Wars, the Rwandan genocide, the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia and the first Gulf War, as well as the continuation of terrorism, led some to hypothesize a Clash of Civilizations, but the decade was also a time of peace in terror-ridden Northern Ireland when the IRA agreed to a truce in 1994. This marked the beginning of the end of 25 years of violence between the two sectarian groups, Protestant and Catholic, and the start of political negotiations.

In Africa

Rwandan genocide

In Asia

  • 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 2000s, bringing an end to the seemingly unlimited prosperity that the country had hitherto enjoyed. However, the rise of free market economics in China under more socialist regulation had not slowed that country's economic prosperity in the 1990s, and its economic growth continues.
  • Less affluent nations such as India, Malaysia and Vietnam also saw tremendous improvements in economic prosperity and quality of life during the 1990s. Optimism and hopes were high following the collapse of Communism, and 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.
  • South-East Asia economic crisis starting from 1997.
  • The Spratly islands issue became one of the most controversial in Southeast Asia.
  • The Tibetan Freedom Concert brings 120,000 people together in the interest of increased human rights and autonomy for Tibet from China.
  • Portugal hands sovereignty of Macau to the People's Republic of China on December 20, 1999.
  • East Timor breaks away from Indonesian control in 1999, merely a year after the fall of Soeharto from power, ending a twenty-four year guerrilla war with more than 200,000 casualties. The UN deploys a peace keeping force, spearheaded by the Australian and New Zealand armed forces. America deploys US police officers to serve with the International Police element, to help train and equip an East Timorese police force.
  • Great Britain hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997.
  • In May 1999, Pakistan sends troops covertly to occupy strategic peaks in Kashmir. A month later the Kargil War with India results in a political fiasco for Nawaz Sharif, followed by a military withdrawal to the Line of Control. The incident leads to a military coup in October in which the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is ousted by Army Chief Pervez Musharraf.

In Canada

In Europe

In Eastern Europe

In the United Kingdom

  • The United Kingdom, after a recession in 199192 and its withdrawal from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on Black Wednesday, experienced sustained economic growth that stretched into the new millennium.
  • In the UK in 1994, Tony Blair becomes leader of the British Labour Party and begins the "New Labour" project moving the party to the centre of British politics, which in 1997 ends 18 years of government by the Conservative party in a landslide election victory.
  • Peace process begins in Northern Ireland in 1995.

In Latin America

Please help improve this sectionby expanding it.
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In the Middle East

In the United States

In the United States, Bill Clinton was president for much of the decade. Under Clinton, the United States was involved in few foreign wars and saw a resurgence of liberal movements. However, the end of the Cold War dramatically changed the political landscape of the world as the long-standing "Communism vs. Capitalism" conflict essentially came to an end. One result of this was the establishment of political allegiances between many developing countries, and concurrent changes within their own governments. Great strides were made towards Israeli-Palestinian peace in the early part of the decade, due to official PLO recognition of Israel in 1993. However, later in the decade, the peace process became derailed and eventually the conflict escalated once again, especially in the 2000s. Al Qaeda became visible as a terrorist threat against the U.S. after the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Significant events

Other significant events

The Flame of Liberty, which sits above the entrance to the Paris tunnel in which Princess Diana died in 1997, as global mourning accompanied the event.


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Please help improve this list. It may be poorly defined, unverifiedor indiscriminate. (January 2008)

World leaders

Former 1990s US presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in January 2005.



See also: 1990s in film

Books and literature

See also: 1990s books

Sports figures

See also: 1990s in sports

American Football 
Troy Aikman
Marcus Allen
Jerome Bettis
Tim Brown
Cris Carter
Randall Cunningham
Terrell Davis
John Elway
Brett Favre
Michael Irvin
Jim Kelly
Howie Long
Ronnie Lott
Dan Marino
Warren Moon
Joe Montana
Junior Seau
Jerry Rice
Warren Sapp
Shannon Sharpe
Bruce Smith
Emmitt Smith
Barry Sanders
Deion Sanders
Lawrence Taylor
Derrick Thomas
Thurman Thomas
Reggie White
Steve Young
Athletics (Track & Field)
Sergey Bubka
Linford Christie
Haile Gebrselassie
Hicham El Guerrouj
Michael Johnson
Australian Rules Football 
Tony Lockett
Rick Aguilera
Roberto Alomar
Jeff Bagwell
Barry bonds
Barry Bonds
Joe Carter
Will Clark
David Cone
Steve Finley
John Franco
Roger Clemens
Andres Galarraga
Tom Glavine
Rickey Henderson
Tom Henke
Trevor Hoffman
Derek Jeter
Randy Johnson
Chipper Jones
Wally Joyner
Barry Larkin
Kenny Lofton
Greg Maddux
Mark McGwire
Tony Gwynn
Paul O'Neill
John Olerud
Rafael Palmeiro
Mike Piazza
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Mariano Rivera
Sammy Sosa
Frank Thomas
Randy Johnson
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Robin Ventura
Omar Vizquel
Larry Walker
John Wetteland
Bernie Williams
Pedro Martínez
Nomar Garciaparra
Charles Barkley
Larry Bird
Kobe Bryant
Tim Duncan
Clyde Drexler
Patrick Ewing
Kevin Garnett
Penny Hardaway
Grant Hill
Allan Houston
Allen Iverson
Magic Johnson
Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
Shawn Kemp
Christian Laettner
Karl Malone
Stephon Marbury
Reggie Miller
Chris Mullin
Shaquille O'Neal
Hakeem Olajuwon
Gary Payton
Scottie Pippen
Mitch Richmond
David Robinson
Dennis Rodman
John Stockton
Felix Trinidad
Julio César Chávez
George Foreman
Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield
Mike Tyson
Roy Jones Jr.
Lennox Lewis
James Toney
Pernell Whitaker
Curtly Ambrose
Allan Donald
Ian Healy
Brian Lara
Glenn McGrath
Muttiah Muralitharan
Sachin Tendulkar
Courtney Walsh
Alec Stewart
Shane Warne
Steve Waugh
Wasim Akram
Waqar Younis
Marco Pantani
Lance Armstrong
Miguel Indurain
Football (soccer)
Gabriel Batistuta
Roberto Baggio
Franco Baresi
David Beckham
Dennis Bergkamp
Didier Deschamps
Marcel Desailly
Jorge Campos
Eric Cantona
Luís Figo
Robbie Fowler
Paul Gascoigne
Ryan Giggs
Gheorghe Hagi
Fernando Hierro
Oliver Kahn
Roy Keane
Jürgen Klinsmann
Jari Litmanen
Paolo Maldini
Steve McManaman
Roger Milla
Manuel Rui Costa
David Seaman
Peter Schmeichel
Alan Shearer
Hristo Stoichkov
Davor Suker
George Weah
Zinedine Zidane
Tiger Woods
Nick Faldo
Payne Stewart
Ice Hockey 
Wayne Gretzky
Mario Lemieux
Pavel Bure
Dominik Hasek
Teemu Selänne
Pat Lafontaine
Eric Lindros
Sergei Fedorov
Jaromír Jágr
Patrick Roy
Mark Messier
Jeremy Roenick
Doug Gilmour
Chris Chelios
Joe Sakic
Motor Sport 
Dale Earnhardt
Jeff Gordon
Tommi Mäkinen
Colin McRae
Michael Schumacher
Ayrton Senna
Jacques Villeneuve
Mika Häkkinen
Peter Brock
Larry Perkins
Professional Wrestling 
Shawn Michaels
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Ultimate Warrior
Triple H
British Bulldog
Mick Foley
Bill Goldberg
The Rock
Kevin Nash
Scott Hall
Ric Flair
Bret Hart
Hulk Hogan
The Undertaker
New World Order
Steve Redgrave
Matthew Pinsent
Rugby Union 
Jonah Lomu
Will Carling
Jeremy Guscott
John Eales
Francois Pienaar
Ben Tune
Michael Lynagh
Sean Fitzpatrick
Michael Jones
Christian Cullen
Waisale Serevi
Rob Andrew
Martin Johnson
Neil Jenkins
Gavin Hastings
Matt Burke
Tim Horan
Jason Little
Martin Johnson
Diego Dominguez
Philippe Sella
David Campese
Andrew Mehrtens
Keith Wood
Jeff Wilson
Fabien Galthie
Fabien Pelous
Olivier Magne
Joel Stransky
Josh Kronfeld
Zinzan Brooke
Os Du Randt
Joe Roff
Rugby League 
Laurie Daley
Mal Meninga
Andrew Johns
Brad Fittler
Andrew Farrell
Ellery Hanley
Allan Langer
Darren Lockyer
Gorden Tallis
Shane Webcke
Matthew Ridge
Michelle Kwan
Nancy Kerrigan
Oksana Baiul
Alpine Skiing 
Alberto Tomba
Picabo Street
Nordic Skiing 
Bjørn Dæhlie
Summer Sanders
Jenny Thompson
Ian Thorpe
Andre Agassi
Pete Sampras
Yevgeny Kafelnikov
Tim Henman
Jennifer Capriati
Steffi Graf
Gabriela Sabatini
Martina Hingis
Anna Kournikova
Monica Seleš
Serena Williams
Venus Williams

See also

External links

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