10 Defining Moments Of The 1990s

10 Defining Moments of the 90s 10) Dissolution of the Soviet Union The modern world has plenty to be afraid of Terrorism, pandemics, the never-ending wormhole of nightmarish algorithm-built children’s animations that somehow get millions of views on YouTube

Seriously, how is this monetised and we’re not? Regardless, at least in the 21st century we’re free of the spectre of global nuclear war that haunted previous generations For much of the 20th century the world was in the grip of a Cold War that constantly felt like it could go hot It’s terrifying to think how close the world came to oblivion, and just how frequently it got that close The USSR had already become a stuttering, broken monument to the failure of Communism by the 1980s But it wasn’t until the early 90s that the war finally reached its conclusion

Soviet President Michael Gorbechev was forced to break up the USSR, dissolving it into 15 separate nations and calling an end to one of the world’s two superpowers This move not only shifted the global balance of power, and meant a lot more contestants for Eurovision It fundamentally reshaped the European map overnight The world is fundamentally a different place because of the collapse of the USSR and the end of a war that shaped history for decades 9) Dolly the Sheep In 1996, embryologist Sir Ian Wilmut and biologist Keith Campbell made one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in history

Taking the egg cells from a donor sheep, Wilmut and Campbell created a brand new sheep with identical DNA Or top put it another way: they cloned it The sheep was named Dolly in honour of Dolly Parton, because some of the cells used in the cloning process came from the donor sheep’s mammary glands Yep, apparently Sir Ian and Keith didn’t just feel like breaking new scientific ground but also writing bawdy Carry On jokes at the same time Dolly died young, aged only 6

But her legacy has lived through the numerous ways in which the techniques honed on her have been adapted to different scientist fields Scientists believe cloning could be used to bring extinct animals like the mammoth and the dodo back to life It could also be used to create perfect donor organs for transplants And cloning skills have already been used in genetic engineering to create glow-in-the-dark mice or spider-goats that thread silk for use in Kevlar vests 8) Princess Diana Departs Nowadays it feels like every time anyone who so much as appeared in a soap dies, social media insists we all hold a 6-day vigil, pull out our hair and rend our garments

Hell, with the de-aliving of Muhammed Ali, Prince, Bowie, Carrie Fisher and Alan Rickman, the whole of 2016 felt like one long funeral But, that trend of mass mass public-grieving for celebrities really only began in 1997, with the death of Princess Diana Diana, Princess of Wales was a member of the Royal family and the first wife of Prince Charles Her easy charm had the public falling in love with her, even after her dramatic divorce from Charles After leaving the Royal family, Diana devoted her time to charity work: especially with the Landmine Survivors Network

All this made her an icon, and her sudden death at a young age shocked the nation Thousands of flowers were left out for Diana, and the re-written tribute song “Candle in the Wind” sold the most copies in UK chart history For weeks, the country could think of little else, and to this day many people still mourn Diana in the form of commemorative plates, mad conspiracy theories, and terrible fountains 7) Rodney King On March 3rd 1991, Rodney King was pulled over at a police check-point in Los Angeles King didn’t cooperate with the California Highway Patrol and so, this being an American police force we’re talking about, 4 officers dragged him out of his vehicle and beat him to a pulp

Unbeknownst to King and the cops, the incident was caught on camera by a man named George Holliday The footage clearly showed the police stamping, beating and taunting a defenceless man, and became a media sensation overnight The four officers were put on trial but all four were aquitted, much to the fury large communities of African Americans fed up at this clear example of police brutality going unpunished In response to the decision, LA collapsed into 6 days of rioting so severe George H Bush had to call in the National Guard 63 people died and there were 12,111 arrested because of the riots

But the most significant impact of the riots was to highlight to the American people the depth of the racial divide in their country 6) Animation Gets Deep The 90s had a remarkable number of pop culture highlights Seinfeld, the first Harry Potter books, those baggy pants people sometimes wear But perhaps the most surprising was the introduction of funny, smart and satirical animation for adults And no, I don’t mean Space Jam

The Simpsons debuted in December 1989 But it wasn’t until the early 90s that the show became the cultural phenomenon that shaped entertainment forever After Seasons 1 and 2 Simpsons obsession was everywhere, with Bart in particular getting video games, t-shirts, and comic books devoted to him However, even after the initial fad died down, fans were able to appreciate the show for the game-changing comedy it was Nor was The Simpsons alone

South Park, King of the Hill, Family Guy, and Futurama all had their start in the 90s These shows influenced the way an entire generation viewed entertainment comedy, with The Simpsons in particular bringing the public a fast, joke-heavy style of satire that was revolutionary in an era where sitcoms were still restricted by the laugh track 5) Nelson Mandela It’s often easy to forget just how recently South Africa’s policy of racial segregation ended Starting in 1948, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 90s that South African President F W De Klerk started working to put an end to the policy of apartied Before that, black South Africans were banned from activities like voting and forced to live in separate neighbourhoods to white citizens

Mixed race marriages were also forbidden In 1990 a series of negotiations opened between the National Party, led by Klerk-y D, and the African National Congress, headed by Nelson Mandela The parties discussed the best way to transition South Africa into an equal society The segregationist policies were phased out through the early 90s, with the nation’s first election with universal suffrage taking place in 1994 That election was a landslide for the African National Congress, with 63% of the vote going to the ANC

Mandela became the first black President of South Africa, and continued to lead his country towards equal rights 4) The Gulf War Strange as it may seem now that Iraq is a developed liberal democracy with solid gold streets and free ice cream for everyone, but there was once a time when the US was at war in The Middle East Arguably the start of America’s decades-long legacy of direct intervention in the Middle East, the Gulf War began in response to Saddam Hussain’s invasion of Kuwait A 35-nation coalition led by the United States expelled Iaqi forces from Kuwait, and restored the balance of power in the region As many as 50,000 Iraqi soldiers died in the conflict, along with 292 coalition soldiers and over 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians

The war itself was short, but set a precedent of Western intervention in the Middle East that lasted to this day Perhaps the longest impact of the Gulf War was the introduction of live news reporting from war zones So next time CNN takes you on a tour of a devastated Aleppo while gunshots ring in the background, you have the Gulf War to thank 3) Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky Bill Clinton did a lot of… iffy things in office Exploded the prison population

Deregulating Wall Street Flying to Arkansas to personally preside over the execution of a man with the mind of a child But weirdly, the scandal that stuck to him was having relations with another adult Okay, to be fair: it’s a little more than that In 1998, it was revealed that President Clinton had spent two years sleeping with 22-year-old White House intern Monika Lewinski

Worse than that, he’d lied about it to the American people and claimed “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” The Republicans pushed for impeachment, meaning the entire country was treated to months of lurid details involving the leader of the free world, an intern’s dress, and one very soggy cigar The incident helped launch the careers of several right-wing politicians including Newt Gingrich, who pushed for Clinton to be impeached Despite being one of the biggest news events of the 90s, the incident did little to hurt the President’s poll numbers Popular support for Clinton actually went up during the scandal

2) The OJ Simpson Trial OJ Simpson was once a beloved public figure He was the first player to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a season, made goofy appearances in Naked Gun and was so widely liked that major magazines even went and published headlines like this That all changed on June 17th 1994, when OJ took to his now infamous Ford Bronco and fled the police in what has to be the world’s slowest car chase The cops caught him and charged Juice with the murder of his wife What followed is probably the most famous court case in history

In an extraordinary trial, watched by 95 million people, OJ’s defense team of Johnnie Cochran and Robert Kardashian pulled all sorts of shenanigans such as the famous “if the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit” moment And in one of the most surprising verdicts in legal history, OJ Simpson was found not guilty Simpson was set free, America lost a national icon, and history remembers the trial as the worst thing thing Robert Kardashian ever did Well, apart from creating the Kardashians 1) Launch of the Internet We’ve had some pretty major moments on this list already

From the end of the Cold War to the start of cloning, the 90s were a decade of major events that are still affecting our world today However, nothing can be argued as having a bigger impact on the culture today than the popularisation of the internet Although the World Wide Web was first invented in 1983 by Tim Berners-Lee, it wasn’t until the 90s that computers started finding their way into the home and the workplace By 1995, 16 million people were already on the internet and that number grew fast By 1999, 248 million were online, all because Matt Perry and Jennifer Anniston helped us understand Windows 95

The 90s set the stage for our internet-drenched modern world More than half the population of the Earth now use the internet for everything from work, to shopping, to watching amazing Top 10s videos It’s an understatement to say that the world would grind to a halt without the internet In fact we did a whole video on it And you can watch it online while simultaneously bidding for tat online and getting in a social media argument with your grandpa

What a time to be alive

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