The 1990’s Culturally, the 1900s was characterized by the rise of multiculturalism and alternative media. New movements quickly spread around the world to young people during the decade

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The 1990’s
Culturally, the 1900s was characterized by the rise of multiculturalism and alternative media.

New movements quickly spread around the world to young people during the decade, aided

by then-new technology such as cable television and the Internet.

Around the world, economic and political power was changing within countries, sometimes

drastically. New conflicts also arose in many countries around the world.

People who were young adults or teenagers during the nineties are grouped together as

Generation X. Members of Generation Y were being born throughout the nineties.
Timeline of Events


-Hubble Telescope first launched into space

-South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela is free after spending 27 years in prison

-The Gulf War begins after Saddam Hussein accuses Kuwait of stealing oil from Iraq. Iraq invades Kuwait, and the United States sends half a million soldiers to defend Saudi Arabia against invasion.

-The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its list of diseases


-The Soviet Union is dissolved, and the 15 separate republics (including Russia) are now independent. Maps will never look the same.

-Basketball player Magic Johnson tests positive for HIV and retires from the NBA.

-South Africa repeals apartheid laws


-Riots erupt in South Central LA following the acquittal of four white police officers who were caught on video beating speeding suspect Rodney King. During the riots, 55 people were killed, 2,300 people were injured and 1,100 buildings were destroyed.


-The World Trade Center was bombed by a group of terrorists from the Middle East using a car bomb in the parking garage.

-The Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, Texas is raided by authorities, leading to a shootout and ending with the compound catching on fire.


-The Channel Tunnel underneath the English Channel opens up,

connecting England and France.

-In the first South African election in which black people are allowed to vote, Nelson Mandela is elected president. He is the first black South African president.

-Former NFL star OJ Simpson is arrested and put on trial. He is accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman. OJ is later found not guilty.

-The Rwandan Genocide was a mass slaughter of 500,000-1,000,000 Rwandans during a 100 day period due to conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups.


-A federal building in Oklahoma City is bombed and 168 people are killed. Later, two anti-government, American terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were convicted of the bombing. Timothy McVeigh has since been executed, and Terry Nichols is serving life in prison.

-California passes Proposition 215 which made marijuana used for medicinal purposes legal.


-A bomb explodes at the Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia. One person is killed, but no one is ever charged in the crime.

-Also in the US, "The Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski is arrested. Kaczynski killed three people and injured many more with mail bombs.

-Britain is hit by an outbreak of Mad Cow Disease.


-Dolly the cloned sheep is born at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. She is the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.

-The Hale-Bopp Comet, which makes its orbit every 4,200 years, was visible for 18 months starting this year.

-Princess Diana dies in a car crash while escaping from the paparazzi.


-United States President Bill Clinton is impeached but not removed from office after the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Paula Jones lawsuit.

-India conducts three atomic tests despite worldwide disapproval. Pakistan stages five nuclear tests in response.

-Construction on the International Space Station begins.


-Two students go on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Colorado killing thirteen people and then themselves.

-Europeans agree on a single currency, the euro.

-Millions feared the end of the world by the Y2K Bug.


The Internet was first developed between the 60’s and 80’s. In the 1970s and 1980s, access was limited to computers that were part of a university or government network. Casual computer users first gained access in 1989 with the invention of the World Wide Web.

Wireless hotspots started appearing in hotels and airports in 1997.The term “wi-fi” was not

used until 1999.

Television & Film

The home-video market became a major factor

in total revenue for a film, often doubling the total income for a film.

DVDs were introduced to the United States in 1997 but did not

begin to replace VHS tapes until 2003 when DVD sales began to outnumber VHS cassette tape rentals.

In 1995, Toy Story became the first full-length CGI (computer-generated images) film.

James Cameron's Titanic became the highest grossest film of all time (until he broke his own record with his film Avatar in 2009).

Top Grossing Films of the 1990’s:

Titanic (1997), Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Jurassic Park (1993), Independence Day (1996), The Lion King (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), The Sixth Sense (1999), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Men in Black (1997), Armageddon (1998)

Sitcoms still remained popular and made up the majority of television shows.

Animated sitcoms started to be produced. Most contained more mature, adult humor which caused a moral panic.

Anime started to rise in popularity with such shows as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, and Digimon.

Nickelodeon began airing its first original animated series with Doug, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Rugrats.

Reality television began pumping out shows such as The Real World and True Life. The Disney Channel also hopped on board with Bug Juice.

Children looked forward to the airing of new Disney Channel Original Movies. Most of these movies never made it to home video.


MTV (which stands for Music Television) started to drift away from its original purpose of showing music videos.

Radio stations started to cater to specific genres of music.

The most common way of listening to music on the go was with a portable CD player.

The first mp3 player, the MPMan was invented in 1998.

The teen pop genre from the 80’s continued to grow with such acts as Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, 98 Degrees, Hanson, and Destiny’s Child.

Dr. Dre's 1992 album The Chronic paved the way for modern

gangsta rap and hip-hop.

The 90's were dominated by many female artists and groups such as Queen Latifah, Salt-n-Pepa, Lil Kim, and Foxy Brown.

The rap genre was divided between East Coast and West Coast rappers.

To celebrate entering the new millennium, many artists went retro by including sampling in many of their songs.

Contemporary R&B started to rise in popularity with artists such as

Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Boyz II Men.

Mariah Carey's melismatic vocal style would kickstart a trend which would continue to influence female artists.

The grunge scene formed as a rebellion against the glam metal genre which became popular in the 80's.

Most of the bands had their roots in the Northwestern states of Washington and Oregon.

The genre started to fade in popularity after the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in 1994.

Country music exploded during the 1990's. Along with this came the rising popularity of line dancing.

Other Popular Acts of the 90's

U2, The Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns n Roses, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, No Doubt, Beastie Boys, Alanis Morissette, Blink-182, Beck, Celine Dion, Spice Girls, Modest Mouse
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