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1990s

Decade of the Gregorian calendar (1990–1999) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The 1990s (pronounced "nineteen-nineties", shortened to "the '90s" and often referred to as simply "the Nineties") was a decade that began on January 1, 1990, and ended on December 31, 1999.

1990s_decade_montage.pngDolly the sheep
From top left, clockwise: The Hubble Space Telescope orbits the Earth after it was launched 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 at the start of the decade and gains massive popularity worldwide; Boris Yeltsin greets crowds after the failed August Coup, which leads to the dissolution of the Soviet Union 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 died in 1997 in a car crash in Paris, and was mourned by millions; hundreds of thousands of Tutsi people are killed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, which would become a factor in initiating the Second Congo War of 1998.

Known as the "post-Cold War decade", the 1990s are culturally imagined by many as the period from the Revolutions of 1989 until the war on terror of the 2000s.[1] The dissolution of the Soviet Union marked the end of Russia's status as a superpower, the establishment of new independent soviet states, the end of a multipolar world, and the rise of anti-Western sentiment. Russia was in economic and political chaos due to neoliberal shock therapy reforms under President Boris Yeltsin until Vladimir Putin came to power in the next decade while China was still recovering from a politically and economically turbulent period under Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.[2] This allowed for the United States to emerge as the world's sole superpower during this decade after the Cold War, creating a time of relative peace and prosperity for many western countries during this decade.

The decade saw greater attention to multiculturalism as well as the advance of alternative media. In the built environment, the McMansion version of postmodern architecture remained strong throughout the decade. Public education about safe sex curbed the spread of the HIV virus in developed countries. Generation X young people often bonded over musical tastes. Humor in television and film was often marked by ironic self-reference mixed with popular culture references. Alternative music movements like grunge, Eurodance, and hip-hop, became popular with young adults worldwide, aided by the rise in popularity of tiered pricing satellite and cable television, and the internet. New music genres such as drum and bass, post-rock, happy hardcore, denpa, and trance emerged in the 1990s. The computer game industry was also booming as well, most notably the rivalry of music and film markets. Video game popularity exploded due to the development of CD-ROM supported 3DCG on platforms such as Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, and PCs.

The 1990s saw advances in technology, with the World Wide Web, the evolution of the Pentium microprocessor in accordance with Moore's Law, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, the first gene therapy trial, and cloning all emerging and being improved upon throughout the decade. The Human Genome Project was formally launched in 1990, building of the Large Hadron Collider commenced in 1998, and Nasdaq (established 1971) became the first stock market in the United States to trade online, using the slogan "the stock market for the next hundred years".[3]

Environmentalism was divided between left-wing green politics, primary industry-sponsored environmentalist front organizations, and a more business-oriented approach to the regulation of carbon footprint of businesses. As more businesses were using information technology, the idea of the paperless office became a realistic long-term goal. The matter of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was an ongoing concern. In 1995, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called for global action to be taken on these "chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment". The Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) then prepared an assessment of the 12 worst chemical substances, leading to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants of 2001.

A combination of factors led to a realignment and consolidation of economic and political power across the world, such as the continued mass-mobilization of capital markets through the wave of neoliberalism, globalization, and the end of the Cold War caused by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Network cultures were enhanced by the widespread proliferation of new media such as the internet, and a new ability to self-publish web pages and make positive connections on a wide variety of professional, political and hobby topics. The new medium was dubbed the information superhighway and soon used by the so-called 'tech savvy'. The digital divide was immediate, with access to the World Wide Web limited to those who could afford it and knew how to operate a home or business computer. The internet also provided a degree of anonymity for individuals skeptical of the government. Online anonymity and the semi-impersonal nature of communication by email and chat rooms led to the words troll and netiquette enter the English language. Online scammers and sex offenders scared many people off the idea of home internet, and traditional mass media continued to perform strongly. However, mainstream internet users were optimistic about its benefits particularly the future of e-commerce. Web portals, (such as AOL, Yahoo!, Yahoo! GeoCities and Lycos), a type of curated bookmark homepage, were as popular as searching via web crawlers. The use of country-specific web portals popularized the phrases netizen and global village. The dot-com bubble of 1997–2000 brought great wealth to some entrepreneurs before its crash of the early-2000s.

Many countries were economically prosperous and spreading globalization during the 1990s. High-income countries experienced steady economic growth throughout the majority of the decade during the Great Moderation (1980s—2000s). Using a mobile phone in a public place was typical conspicuous consumption in the decade. In contrast, the GDP of the states of the former Soviet Union declined, as a result of neoliberal restructuring. International trade increased with the passage of the establishments of the European Union (EU) in 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. The Asia-Pacific economies of the Four Asian Tigers (Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea), ASEAN, Australia and Japan were hampered by the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the early 1990s recession (including the Lost Decades), resulted the May 1998 riots of Indonesia, the 1996 Australian federal election and the trials on Anwar Ibrahim, marked the dawn of the 32-year Suharto dictatorship, the Hawke–Keating government and Mahathirism in Malaysia.

Major wars that began in the 1990s include the First and Second Congo Wars, the Rwandan Civil War and genocide, the Burundian Civil War, the Somali Civil War, the Algerian Civil War, and the Sierra Leone Civil War in Africa; the Yugoslav Wars in Southeast Europe; the First and Second Chechen Wars, and the Tajikistani Civil War in the former Soviet Union; and the Gulf War and 1991 Iraqi uprisings in the Middle East. The Afghanistan conflict (1978–present) and Colombian conflict continued throughout the decade. The Oslo Accords at first seemed to herald an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but these hopes were in vain. However, in Northern Ireland, The Troubles came to a standstill in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement, ending 30 years of violence.[4]

During this decade, the world population grew from 5.3 to 6.1 billion people. There were approximately 1.35 billion births and 525 million deaths.[5]

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