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1990s

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1990s

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.
Millennium: 2nd millennium
Centuries: 19th century20th century21st century
Decades: 1960s 1970s 1980s1990s2000s 2010s 2020s
Years: 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Categories: BirthsDeathsArchitecture
EstablishmentsDisestablishments

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 The Troubles in Northern Ireland came to a standstill in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement after 30 years of violence.[1]

Contents

  • Politics and wars 1
    • Wars 1.1
      • International wars 1.1.1
      • Civil Wars and guerrilla wars 1.1.2
    • Coups 1.2
    • Terrorist attacks 1.3
    • Decolonization and Independence 1.4
    • Prominent political events 1.5
  • Assassinations 2
  • Disasters 3
    • Natural disasters 3.1
    • Non-natural disasters 3.2
  • Economics 4
  • Technology and science 5
    • Technology 5.1
      • Electronics and communications 5.1.1
      • Software 5.1.2
      • Automobiles 5.1.3
    • Science 5.2
  • Environment 6
  • Society 7
    • Third-wave feminism 7.1
  • Additional significant world-wide events 8
  • Popular culture 9
    • Architecture 9.1
    • Fashion 9.2
    • Film 9.3
    • Music 9.4
    • Sports 9.5
    • Television 9.6
    • Video gaming 9.7
  • Literature 10
  • See also 11
    • Timeline 11.1
  • References 12
  • External links 13

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 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 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.

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.

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

Yasser Arafat during the signing of the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • North Yemen and South Yemen merge to form Yemen in 1991.

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:

  • 9 September 1990 - Samuel Doe, the President of Liberia, is captured by rebels and is tortured and murdered. The spectacle was videotaped and seen on news reports around the world.
  • 19 September 1990 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army tries to assassinate Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Terry at his home near Stafford, England. Hit by at least 9 bullets, the former Governor of Gibraltar survives.
  • 21 May 1991 – In Sriperumbudur, India, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated.
  • 7 August 1991 – Shapour Bakhtiar, former prime minister of Iran, is assassinated.
  • 23 May 1992 – A remote car bomb causes the death of Judge Paolo Borsellino was killed by a car bomb in via D'Amelio, Palermo, in front of his mother's house.
  • 29 June 1992 – A bodyguard assassinates President Mohamed Boudiaf of Algeria.
  • April 1993 – The Kuwaiti government claims to uncover an Iraqi assassination plot against former U.S. President Iraqi Intelligence Service.[7]
  • 1 May 1993 – A Tamil Tigers suicide bomber assassinates President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka.
  • 21 October 1993 - Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye is killed during an attempted military coup.
  • 23 March 1994 - Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta was assassinated at a campaign rally in Tijuana during the Mexican Presidential campaign of 1994.
  • 6 April 1994 - The airplane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira is shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, Rwanda, sparking the Rwandan Genocide and eventually, the First Congo War. The perpetrators have never been identified.
  • 29 August 1995 – head of state, survives an assassination attempt in Tbilisi.
  • 4 November 1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated at a peace rally in Tel Aviv by a radical Jewish militant who opposed the Oslo Accords.
  • 31 March 1995 - Tejano pop singer Selena is shot by fan club president Yolanda Saldívar over financial problems and missing records. 2 weeks after death, her birthday is named Selena Day in Texas.
  • 21 April 1996 - Dzhokhar Dudayev, the President of Chechnya, is killed by two laser-guided missiles, after his location was detected by a Russian reconnaissance aircraft, which intercepted his phone call.
  • 2 October 1996 – The former prime minister of Bulgaria, Andrei Lukanov, is assassinated.
  • 15 July 1997 Gianni Versace was shot dead, aged 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. He was murdered by Andrew Cunanan, who used the same gun to commit suicide on a boat several days later. Police have said they do not know why Versace was killed.
  • 9 February 1998 – head of state, survives an assassination attempt in Tbilisi.
  • 16 February 1999 – In Uzbekistan, an apparent assassination attempt against President Islam Karimov takes place at government headquarters.
  • 23 March 1999 – Gunmen assassinate Paraguay's Vice President Luis María Argaña.
  • 9 April 1999 – Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara, president of Niger, is assassinated.

Disasters

Natural disasters

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.

A magnitude 10.9 hit Central Pyongyang on 16 October 2003 and killed about 10000 people.

Non-natural disasters

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.
  • Seattle in December 1999.
  • The 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.

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.

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.
The logo created by The President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion, for use on Y2K.gov
  • On 6 August 1992, 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.
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