1997 Gas was $1.22 a gallon in the US and 2 Pounds 70 pence in the UK , Great Britain handed back Hong Kong to China and the Dow was at less than 8000 . The first signs of the dreaded Bird Flu in China where the first documented case of the jump to humans causes Hong Kong to kill 1.25 million chickens. In the UK Tony Blair is the prime minister and Princess Diana dies in a car accident.

Cost of Living 1997

How Much things cost in 1997
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 2.34 % Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 7908 Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 8.50% Average Cost of new house $124,100.00 Average Income per year $37,006.00 Average Monthly Rent $576.00 Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.22 Average cost of new car $16,900.00 Loaf of Bread $1.17 Movie Ticket $4.59 1 LB Hamburger meat$1.38
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 71,248 Gallon of Petrol 2.70 Yearly Inflation Rate UK 3.1% Interest Rates Year End Bank of England 7.25% FTSE 100 Average 4750
From Our 1997 Toys Page
Power Rangers Rescue Megazord From The 1990s Nintendo 64 Game System From The 1990s

Events 1997

France -- Princess Diana Dies

Princess Diana is killed in a car crash on August 31st in Paris, France. The princess was traveling with her friend Dodi Al Fayed who was also killed in the crash, as well as the drive of the vehicle. The vehicle hit a wall after the driver lost control when trying to evade the paparazzi hat was following them. After the crash it was determined that the driver, Henri Paul, was at fault when drugs and alcohol were found in blood tests taken afterwards.

Mars -- NASA Pathfinder Lands

NASA’s Mars Pathfinder lander and rover arrived at Mars during July. It had been launched during December of 1996. The Mars Pathfinder consisted of a rover named “Sojourner” and a lander named the “Carl Sagan Memorial Station.” Pathfinder’s mission was to take photos of the surface, study the composition of rocks, and collect information about the soil, atmosphere, and wind. The rover successfully completed its mission and ceased data transmissions in September.

USA -- Deep Blue Defeats Kasparov

IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing computer defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov during May. The computer won game 6 of the match-up becoming the first computer to defeat the world champion chess player under tournament conditions. At this point in Kasparov’s career, the 34 year old had never lost to a human opponent and the loss to Deep Blue was the first time he had to resign a game in less than 20 moves. Deep Blue’s win marked an important point in the development of artificial intelligence as observers noted it as a point when computers’ development began to outpace human development.

Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from UK rule
  • Israelis pull out of Hebron on West bank
  • 70 people including 60 foreign tourists are gunned down by Islamic extremists in Egypts Valley of The Kings
  • Princess Diana calls for an immediate international ban on land mines
  • Intercity 125 from Swansea to London crashes in Southall, West London killing 6
United States
  • Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State for the first time in United States history.
More Information and Timeline for Madeleine Albright.
Madeleine Albright is sworn in as the United States Secretary of State, becoming the first woman Secretary of State in U.S. History. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton after he won his second term election in late 1996. Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1937 and immigrated to the United States in 1948 after Czechoslovakia was taken over by Communists. She began her political career in the 1970s and notably worked for the National Security Council in President Carter’s administration. In 1993, President Clinton appointed her to be the United States’ permanent United Nations representative. After her appointment to Secretary of State in 1997 she remained in her position until she was replaced by Colin Powell in January of 2001.

United States
  • The Lion King Musical on Broadway debuts.
More Information for The Lion King on Broadway
The Lion King musical makes its debut on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre during November of 1997. Produced by Disney, the musical was based on the hit Disney animation film of the same name from 1994. Using elaborate puppetry, costumes, and choreography the musical retold the film’s story of a royal lion cub reclaiming his throne from his uncle after his father’s death. Julie Taymor, the show’s director, became the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing for The Lion King. Proving to be very popular, the show is still currently running on Broadway.

  • Diana Princess of Wales is killed in a car crash in Paris August 31st
  • Princess Diana's funeral watched by 1.5 billion people around the world
  • Kyoto Protocol Agreed when 150 countries sign up at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan
  • Microsoft becomes the worlds most valuable company valued at $261 billion dollars
  • Heavens Gate Cult Commits Mass Suicides in California
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 7,000 for the first time
  • Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Mother Teresa Dies in Calcutta
  • The Armed Islamic Group (GIA ) continues it's reign of terror killing innocent villagers in an attempt to overthrow the Algerian government and replace it with an Islamic state
  • UN FAO announces that 18 million people die annually in the third world from hunger and undernourishment
  • Tornado hits in Jarrell, Texas killing 27 people
  • Luxemburg is the richest country in the world with an average per capita income of $41,210 followed by Switzerland and Japan
  • Scotland votes to create its own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.
More Information for the Scotland Referendum.
1. During September of 1997 Scottish citizens voted in a referendum to determine whether or not Scotland should create its own parliament and devolve some powers from the United Kingdom.
2. Of the 60.4% of voters who turned out for the referendum, 74.9% voted in favor of the creation of a Scottish-run parliament.
3. Another 63.5% of voters also agreed that a Scottish parliament should be allowed to have tax-varying powers.
4. The parliament of the United Kingdom recognized the referendum results and passed the Scotland Act of 1998, creating a devolved parliament for Scotland.
5. Elections for the new governing body were held in May of 1999 and by July of 1999 the Scottish parliament began full operations.

  • Wales votes in favour of devolution and the formation of a National Assembly

  • El Nino forms in the oceans between Australia causing unstable weather conditions including Hurricanes and drought in the Southern Hemisphere and colder temperatures in the North
  • Stock markets around the world crash because of a global economic crisis scare and in response to a 554.26 point free fall on November 24th , New York Stock Exchange officials invoked the "circuit breaker" rule and put a halt to trading
  • Mike Tyson Bites Evander Holyfield's ear during a match and is suspended from boxing
  • Louise Woodward a British Au Pair found guilty of second degree murder in Boston for killing the baby in her care
  • Woolworths closes its remaining discount stores after more than 100 years of trading
  • A civil jury panel findsOJ Simpson Guilty
  • Hemophiliacs / Aids US Cases From 80's infected blood products Settled
  • Siege of the Japanese embassy ends in Peru when troops storm the embassy and free all but one of 72 hostages held inside
  • Assisi's Medieval Basilica ceiling and important frescoes Damaged In Earthquake

United Kingdom
  • The first successfully cloned mammal is revealed by the Roslin Institute.
More Information and Timeline for Dolly the sheep.
Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland announced that they had successfully cloned a sheep. The sheep, named Dolly, was born in July of the previous year but they had waited to announce the scientific breakthrough until February of 1997 when they could also publish their full research on the process. Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult cell. She was put down in 2003 after suffering from health complications related to a progressive lung disease. Many people believed that the cloning of a sheep was a controversial step in genetic research, thinking it could lead to human cloning. Others heralded the breakthrough with the hope that it could lead to important medical discoveries.

  • A series of settlements between tobacco companies and US states is agreed to cover tobacco-related health costs
Egypt European Union
  • Due to torrential rains many rivers flood in Europe causing mass flooding to villages and towns in many parts of Europe.
  • Tiger Woods at 21 years old became the youngest ever golfer to win the Masters History of Golf
  • Steve Jobs returns to run Apple Computers
  • China deports the pro democracy dissident Wei Jingsheng to the United States
  • Carlos the Jackal, is caught and sentenced by a French court to life in prison
  • French truck drivers form roadblocks around the country at ports, oil refineries and major roads.
  • Andrew Cunanan Commits Suicide after murdering 4 people including fashion designer Gianni Versace
Clothes and Fashions History
  • WorldCom and MCI Communications announce the largest merger in history
United Kingdom
  • The first book in the award winning Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is published "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" released in US in 1998 as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone".
More Information for the first Harry Potter book.
The very first book in the Harry Potter series is published by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom during June of 1997. The book, titled, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was an immediate success in the United Kingdom and was soon released in the United States in September of 1998 under the name “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Written by J.K. Rowling, who had struggled to get it published for years, the seven book series became a well-loved franchise by children and adults. The series was also made into movies beginning in 2001, and inspired the creation of a wizard-themed amusement park in Universal Studios.

Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong kills all the chickens within its territory (1.25 million) to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain known as Avian Flu . Bird flu was thought only to infect birds until the first human cases were seen on May 19th in Hong Kong in 1997


  • Scientists in Scotland reveal the first successful cloning of an adult mammal a sheep named Dolly
  • Microsoft becomes the worlds most valuable company valued at $261 billion dollars
  • Internet Explorer version 4 released

  • Worldwide
    • The comet Hale-Bopp has its closest approach to earth.
    More Information and Timeline for the Hale-Bopp Comet.
    In April of 1997 the Hale-Bopp comet reached its brightest point as it passed at its closest point to the Sun. The comet was discovered in July of 1995 by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp, for whom it was named. It became plainly visible to the human eye in May of 1996 and continued to be visible in the night sky until December of 1997. The Hale-Bopp comet was visible for over eighteen months, which was more than double the time of the previous record-holding comet. It was also considered to be unusually bright which many astronomers credited to the fact that it was abnormally large in diameter compared to most other comets.

  • Microsoft buys minority stake in Apple Computers for $150 million
  • ThrustSSC sets the first supersonic land speed record at Black Rock Desert, Nevada at an average speed of 1,227.985 km/h (763.035 mph).
  • Mars Pathfinder lands on the surface of Mars
  • the weight loss drug Fen-phen is withdrawn from the market due to problems identified with valvular heart disease and pulmonary hypertension
  • Alaska sees more ground ice breaking off due to the greenhouse effect

Popular Culture 1997

  • The Simpsons becomes the longest-running prime-time animated series.
  • Notorious B.I.G. Shot killed in drive by shooting
  • The first book in the award winning Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is published "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" released in US in 1998 as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"

Popular Films

  • Titanic
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Men in Black
  • Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Air Force One
  • As Good as It Gets
  • Liar Liar
  • My Best Friend's Wedding
  • The Fifth Element
  • The Full Monty
  • Batman & Robin
  • The Rainmaker

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

  • Mariah Carey
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • Foo Fighters
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • The Verve
  • Counting Crows
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Céline Dion
  • Daft Punk
  • Sneaker Pimps
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Spice Girls
  • Radiohead
  • Garth Brooks
  • Hanson
  • The Offspring
  • Bryan Adams
  • Aerosmith

Now check out our newly updated 1990's music page 90's Music

1997 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders 1997

Australia Prime Minister John Howard 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 H. D. Deve Gowda Till 21 April
India Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral From 21 April
Italy Prime Minister Romano Prodi

Japan Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto 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 Till May 2nd
United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair From 2 May

Political Elections 1997

Canadian Federal Election 1997 Jean Chrétien ( Liberal ) defeats Preston Manning ( Reform ) and Gilles Duceppe ( Bloc Québécois )
British General Election 1997 Tony Blair ( Labour ) defeats John Major ( Conservative ) and Paddy Ashdown ( Liberal Democrat )