1996 In the UK Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales get divorced and Mad Cow Disease hits Britain ( BSE ) causing the mass slaughter of Herds of Cows and new laws to stop beef being sold on the bone. A severe Meningitas Epidemic occurs in West Africa. In technology DVD's are Launched in Japan and the number of users on the Internet exceed 10 million This is also the year Ebay and Ask Jeeves is started and the first ever cloning of a mammal Dolly the sheep.

Cost of Living 1996

How Much things cost in 1996
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 2.93% Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 6448 Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 8.25% Average Cost of new house $118,200.00 Average Income per year $36,300.00 Average Monthly Rent $554.00 Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.22 US Postage Stamp 32 cents Average cost of new car $16,300.00 Loaf of Bread $1.15 Minimum Hourly Wage Raised To $5.15
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 69,453 Gallon of Petrol 2.70 Yearly Inflation Rate UK 2.4% Interest Rates Year End Bank of England 5.94% FTSE 100 Average 3800
From Our 1996toys Page
Buzz Lightyear Costume From The 1990s Sega Saturn CD Game System From The 1990s

Events 1996

Taiwan -- First Presidential Election

The Republic of China, also known as Taiwan, held its first direct presidential election during March. The election was won by Lee Teng-hui, who had already been the President of Taiwan since 1988. Teng-hui was responsible for introducing many democratic reforms to the country including the direct presidential election. He was rewarded by voters when he won with 54 percent of the vote with a 76 percent voter turnout. Teng-hui would remain President of Taiwan until 2000 when he stepped down observing the new constitutional term limits that he helped create.

  • Militant Taliban Forces Capture Kabul and declare Fundamentalist Islamic State of Afghanistan
  • Osama Bin Laden is expelled from Sudan and moves to Afghanistan
  • France halts Nuclear testing in Pacific
  • Divers discover the ancient port of Alexandria
  • US eases sanctions against Cuba
  • Major snowstorm paralyzes Midwestern United States
  • The March 13th Dunblane Massacre Thomas Hamilton opened fire on a class of 5-6 year olds, killing or wounding every person present bar one pupil. Fifteen children and a teacher (Mrs Gwen Mayor) died at the scene.
  • United Nations adopts the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
More Information and Timeline for UN Adopts CTBT
On September 10th of 1996 the United Nations adopts the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty banned all nations from testing nuclear explosions above or below ground for any purpose, military or civilian. The treaty also banned countries from aiding or encouraging other nations to test nuclear technology and created an international monitoring system that would keep track of nuclear explosions across the globe. A total of 183 countries have signed the treaty and of those 159 have ratified it. The United States signed on September 24th, 1996 but has not yet ratified it.

United States
  • Major League Soccer has its first season.
More Information for Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer makes its debut in the United States during April of 1996. The first MLS match was held in San Jose, California between the San Jose Clash and D.C. United, with San Jose taking the league’s first win. MLS was created in 1993 out of a deal made in order for the U.S. to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup but it did not become fully operational until 1996. The league originally began with ten teams and, despite having some financial and organizational difficulties in its early years, it has expanded several times in between 1998 and the present, doubling the number of teams with even more future additions being planned and created.

World -- Kofi Annan Appointed Head of UN

Kofi Annan of Ghana is chosen as the Secretary-General of the United Nations during December of 1996. Annan replaced Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt who had previously served in the post since 1992. Kofi Annan began his term as the seventh Secretary-General in 1997 and would remain in the position until 2006, when he was replaced by South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon. Annan’s term, while not scandal-free, was marked by reform and a revitalization of the U.N., including an increased focus on human rights around the globe.

World -- Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta during October. Carlos Belo was a Catholic bishop and José Ramos-Horta was an activist who worked towards East Timor’s independence from Indonesia. The Nobel Committee hoped that the prize would encourage both sides to pursue peaceful and diplomatic solution to the conflict between East Timor and Indonesia. East Timor became independent in 2002 and José Ramos-Horta became the Prime Minister in 2006 and the President in 2007.


United States -- STS-72 Space Shuttle Mission

NASA launches the STS-72 Space Shuttle mission during January of 1996. The Space Shuttle Endeavour launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with 6 astronauts on board. The goal of the mission was to retrieve the Japanese Space Flyer Unit satellite, deliver and retrieve a number of NASA experiments, and to perform 2 space walks during which they could test tools that would be used to assemble the International Space Station. The mission was successfully completed and after 8 days and 22 hours they returned to Earth.
  • Severe thunderstorms and a tornado in Bangladesh kills 600.
United Kindgom
  • Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales get divorced.
More Information for Charles and Diana
1. Princess Diana and Prince Charles are officially divorced during August of 1996.
2. The couple had married in 1981 as the world watched the extravagant event.
3. In 1982 they had their first son Prince William and in 1984 their second son, Prince Harry, was born.
4. Their early marriage had been painted as a fairy tale but it was also highly dissected in the public eye and the pair were often featured in tabloids.
5. By 1992 the couple had grown apart and were officially separated.
6. Eventually Diana and Charles agreed to settlement terms and at the urging of Queen Elizabeth II they were officially divorced.
7. Diana was stripped of the title “Her Royal Highness” as a result of the divorce but was allowed to keep the name Diana, Princess of Wales.

United States -- Mars Global Surveyor

1. NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) on November 7th.
2. The Mars Global Surveyor was a robotic spacecraft with the mission objective to take high resolution photos of Mars while while mapping the planet from orbit.
3. The MGS arrived at Mars and entered its orbit in September of 1997.
4. It began its mapping mission in March of 1999.
5. This was the first successful Mars mission in about 20 years and was one of the most comprehensive missions, returning large amounts of useful data to NASA.
6. The mission ended in November of 2006.


  • Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan questions whether the stock market is overvalued
  • UN Experts and Iraq Officials dismantle a Biological Weapons Factory in Iraq
  • Nintendo releases their newest gaming system the Nintendo 64 or N64 in Japan.
More Information for the Nintendo 64
The Nintendo 64 gaming console is first released in Japan during June of 1996. Also known as the N64, Nintendo’s new gaming system was praised by critics as one of the best home gaming consoles to have ever been released. The N64 proved to be popular with consumers as well with retailers seeing a high demand for the product within the first year of its release. At the time of its release it had some of the best graphics of any comparable gaming console but was criticized for having very few games available when compared to other systems. However, many of the games that were available for the system were thought of as some of the most popular and influential games of all time, such as, Super Mario 64, GoldenEye 007, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

United Kingdom
  • Mad Cow Disease hits Britain ( Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE ).
More Information and Timeline for Mad Cow Disease.
In May of 1996 the United Kingdom implemented a policy of non cooperation with the European Union in response to an EU ban on worldwide exports of British beef that had been instated in March. The ban had been placed on the beef exports in an effort to lessen the outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or, as it was also known, Mad Cow Disease. Fears over BSE had increased after it was linked to a variant called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that had proven fatal to humans in 1995. The disease was fatal to cows and had been discovered in the UK in the mid-1980s. In order to reduce the spread of BSE, the UK had to cull all at risk cattle and it was not until 1999 that the ban ended.

  • Category 4 Cyclone strikes India. The storm surge sweeps fishing villages out to sea, over 2,000 persons die.
  • The U.S. stock markets, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gains at an incredibly fast pace and ends the year over the 6,000 mark
  • Jumbo Jet bursts into flames shortly after takeoff and crashes into the ocean off Long Island
  • Meningitas Epidemic in West Africa
  • Overloaded ferry sinks in Sumatra, Indonesia,
  • 38 Million Acres of Rain Forest are destroyed annually by timber cutting
  • Hurricane Dolly ( 1996 ) crashes into shanty town of Tampica, Mexico
  • Bombing on Paris Subway kills 2 and injures 128
  • The IRA plants a bomb that explodes in the Docklands area of London
  • The IRA explodes bomb on June 15th in the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester.
Saudi Arabia
  • A bomb loaded with high explosives is detonated at a U.S. military housing complex in Saudi Arabia
  • 30 Black churches in Mississippi are burned to the ground the previous 18 months
  • The Williamette Valley Flood, sweeps through the Pacific Northwest
  • Gunman "Martin Bryant" shoot and kills 35 in the tourist town of Port Arthur, Tasmania on April 28th
  • Israel carries out air strikes on Hezbollah targets in Beirut as part of "Operation Grapes of Wrath"

  • The Summer Olympics are held in Atlanta United States
  • Nail Bomb Exploded on July 27th in Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta
  • Kofi Annan is elected to be the United Nations seventh secretary-general
  • Gunmen kill 17 Greek Tourists outside the Europa Hotel in Cairo
  • Peruvian guerrillas take hundreds of people hostage at the official residence of Japan's ambassador to Peru in Lima.
  • The supertanker, the Sea Empress, runs aground on the welsh coast, spilling 70,000 tons of crude oil


  • DVD's Launched in Japan
  • In 12 months number of Internet host computers goes from 1 million to 10 million
  • Windows NT 4.0 released by Microsoft
  • Internet Explorer 3 web browser released
  • The first version of the Java programming language is released.
  • Duke Nukem 3D Shareware released to public
  • On July 5th Dolly the sheep becomes the first mammal to be successfully cloned
  • Ask Jeeves formed.
  • Global Warming shows a record high
  • IBM's Deep Blue defeats Chess Champion Gary Kasparov for the first time
  • MSNBC ( 24hr News Channel ) a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC is launched
  • Ozone layer over the Arctic continues to be depleted
  • American Pathfinder launched on its 310 million mile mission to Mars
  • The Worlds Largest Container Vessel The Regina Maersk begins operation

Popular Culture 1996

Check out our Television Programmes From The 90s whenever possible we have included a trailer to jog your memory. Series trailers and more information are found on the decade they started.

Popular Musicians

  • Spice Girls First Number 1 "Wannabe"
  • Mariah Carey
  • Eric Clapton
  • Blur
  • Dalida
  • Jamiroquai
  • Snoop Doggy Dogg
  • Oasis
  • Madonna
  • Metallica
  • Gravity Kills
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • 2Pac
  • The Wallflowers
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Foo Fighters
Now check out our newly updated 1990's music page
90's Music

Popular Films

  • Independence Day
  • Twister
  • Mission: Impossible
  • Jerry Maguire
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • The Rock
  • The Nutty Professor
  • The Birdcage
  • A Time to Kill
  • The English Patient
  • Star Trek: First Contact

1996 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders 1996

Australia Prime Minister Paul Keating Till 11 March
Australia Prime Minister John Howard From 11 March

Brazil President Fernando Henrique Cardoso Canada Prime Minister Jean Chrétien

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Jiang Zemin

France President Jacques Chirac

Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl
India Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao Till 16 May
India Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee From 16 May
India Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Till 1 June
India Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda From 1 June

Italy Prime Minister Lamberto Dini Till 17 May
Italy Prime Minister Romano Prodi From 17 May
Japan Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama Till 11 January
Japan Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto From 11 January
Mexico President Ernesto Zedillo Russia / Soviet Union
General Secretary of the CPSU Boris Yeltsin South Africa State President Nelson Mandela United States President Bill Clinton United Kingdom Prime Minister John Major

Political Elections 1996

United States Presidential Election 1996 Bill Clinton (Democratic) Defeats Bob Dole (Republican) and Ross Perot (Reform)