The People History Home

The Year 1990 From The People History

What happened in 1990 Major News Stories include East and West Germany reunite, Mecca Stampede kills thousands, Iraq Invades Kuwait, Hubble Space Telescope placed in orbit, Tim Berners-Lee publishes formal proposal for the WWW, Strangeways Prison Rioting, Channel Tunnel French and English sides connect together, First in-car Satellite Navigation System goes on sale, Depletion of the Ozone Layer is discovered above the North Pole,

Yemen -- North and South Unite

North and South Yemen, also known as the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, are unified as the Republic of Yemen in May. North Yemen had been a part of the Ottoman Empire prior to its independence in 1918 after the Ottoman collapse. South Yemen had been a part of the British Empire until 1967 when it became an independent socialist republic. In 1990, the two nations decided to merge under the leadership of Ali Salem al Beidh (from South Yemen) and Ali Abdullah Saleh (from North Yemen). After the announcement, the new nation was to go through a 30 month transitional period.

Iran - Manji-Rudbar Earthquake

1. Iran is hit with a 7.4 magnitude earthquake on June 21st.

2. The earthquake hit near the Caspian Sea, northwest of Tehran and near the cities of Rudbar and Munjil.

3. The earthquake effected an area of about 20,000 square miles, destroying thousands of homes. An estimated 400,000 people were left homeless after the disaster.

4. The death toll was estimated between 35,000 and 50,000 people and up to 135,000 people were injured.

Switzerland -- World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee publishes his formal proposal for the World Wide Web during November. Berners-Lee’s proposal outlined a plan for a system that would use hypertext, web pages, browsers, and web servers to share documents across the internet. Berners-Lee had first proposed his idea to colleagues at CERN in Switzerland who then worked with him to develop the system for about two years before it became functional. His original goal was to make the sharing of documents easy and universal for scientists and education purposes around the globe but had acknowledged the potential for commercial involvement. The creation of the World Wide Web has since formed the standard for how we access and use the internet.

United States - Hubble Space Telescope

NASA’s STS-31 mission deploys the Hubble Space Telescope during April. The mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The sophisticated space telescope was carried on the Space Shuttle Discovery and deployed by the five person crew who also filmed the process using IMAX cameras. The Hubble telescope was the first space telescope put into orbit that could be repaired by astronauts when maintenance was needed. The mission lasted five days and successfully returned to Earth, landing at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The most complete skeleton of a T-Rex is found in South Dakota ( Sue ).

More Information and Timeline for Sue the T. Rex.

One of the largest and most well-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossilized skeletons is found by paleontologist Sue Hendrickson near Faith, South Dakota in August of 1990. The skeleton was named “Sue” after the person who discovered it. “Sue” was over 90 percent complete and measured about thirteen feet all and forty feet long. A team of six uncovered the skeleton over about seventeen days to remove “Sue” from the bluff where she was discovered. Chicago’s Field Museum eventually purchased the specimen for over 8 million dollars and spent tens of thousands of hours preserving and assembling one of the most important dinosaur discoveries to ever be seen.

Opposition Parties in South Africa are legalized Nelson Mandella released from prison and becomes leader of the African National Congress ( ANC ).

More Information for Nelson Mandela.

During February of 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa after 27 years of imprisonment. Mandela had been one of the prominent leaders in the anti-apartheid movement. He joined the movement in 1944 and soon became the deputy national president of the oldest black political organization in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC). In 1964, he was imprisoned for his involvement in a paramilitary branch of the ANC that had been retaliating against the government for an attack on peaceful protesters. After Mandela’s release, he became the head of the anti-apartheid movement and helped negotiate its end. In 1994 he became the first black president of South Africa after being elected in the first multiracial elections.

United States - NASA Launches Ulysses Probe

The joint ESA / NASA space probe "Ulysses" was launched.

More Information for Ulysses Probe

1. The Ulysses space craft was launched in 1990 and was a joint effort between the ESA and NASA.

2. The probe’s mission was studying the Sun and solar system’s magnetic field, also known as the heliosphere.

3. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) space probe “Ulysses” reached its southern most latitude in its orbit around the Sun during September of 1994.

4. The Ulysses mission was only expected to last for five years but it continued for about eighteen years and ended in 2009.

Cost of Living 1990

How Much things cost in 1990

Yearly Inflation Rate USA5.39%

Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 2633

Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 10.00%

Average Cost of new house $123,000.00

Average Income per year $28,960.00

Average Monthly Rent $465.00

Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.34

Price for a new Isuzu Rodeo $12,4900.00

IBM PS1 Computer From $999.00 - $1,999.00

Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 72,290

Gallon of Petrol 1.86

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 9.5%

Interest Rates Year End Bank of England 13.88%

FTSE 100 Average 2250

1990 Childrens Toys Page

2 examples from Childrens Toys From The 1990 Page

Atari Lynx Portable Color Entertainment System From The 1990s Atari Lynx Portable Color Entertainment System
Manufacturer: Atari
Price: $169.99
Description Delivers exceptional game play and excitement. High-definition, full color LCD display offers dramatic graphics; built-in 8-directional joypad for maximum control during play; volume control; jack that accommodates standard headphones for private game play; and multi-player capability with Comlynx cable. Function buttons include pause, restart, flip, brightness, and fire button.

New Kids On The Block Play Figures From The 1990s New Kids On The Block Play Figures
Price: $19.99 each
Description They come dressed in their favorite concert fashion outfits. Each includes a fifteen minute cassette tape interview of that particular Kid. Choose from Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jordan, and Jonathan.

The demolition of the Berlin Wall officially begins during June.

More Information for the demolition of the Berlin Wall.

The official demolition of the Berlin Wall begins in June of 1990. The wall had been built in 1961 by the Communist-run East Germany to prevent defectors from traveling over the border to Capitalist-run West Germany. Control of the Berlin Wall ended in November of 1989 when it was announced that East German citizens would be allowed to cross the border with complete freedom. The removal of the wall began in June of 1990 and by October, the reunification of West and East Germany was completed. Demolition on the wall was finished in 1992.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to the public due to safety concerns of it falling over.

More Information and Timeline for the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

In January of 1990 the Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to visitors for the first time due to fears over the safety and stability of the building. Engineers worked on restructuring and stabilizing the building by taking some of the weight out of the tower and straightening it by about eighteen inches. By December of 2001 it was reopened to the public and declared to be stable for at least another few hundred years. The Leaning Tower of Pisa had originally been constructed over a span of about 200 years between the 1170’s and the 1370’s and the tilt began to form almost immediately, caused by the building of a poor foundation on too soft of soil.

Other Major Events From 1990

Iraq invasion of Neighboring Kuwait

Saddam Hussein orders Iraq invasion of Neighboring Kuwait

Operation Desert Shield

Operation Desert Shield Begins as the United States and UK send troops to Kuwait

Poland Lech Walesa

Lech Walesa becomes president of Poland

U.S. Saturn Cars

The Saturn range of cars are launched by GM

Iran Earthquake

Earthquake in Iran kills 50,000

The Simpsons

Americas Favorite animated family "The Simpsons " is aired on Fox for the first time

U.S. Major Recession

The US Enters a Major Recession

Burma Elections

The National League for Democracy NLD wins free elections by a landslide majority, but the military regime has refused to hand over power.

Ban on the Trade of Ivory

A Formal Ban on the Trade of Ivory is introduced

UK Poll Tax

Poll Tax introduced in UK causing mass demonstrations who claimed the tax moved the tax burden from the rich to the poor


Industrialized countries agree to stop dumping waste into the oceans of the world.

John M. Poindexter

John M. Poindexter ( Former national security adviser ) is convicted on multiple felony counts

UK Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher announces her resignation as British PM after John Major is chosen to lead the country and conservative party.

Saudi Arabia stampede Mecca

A stampede of religious pilgrims in a pedestrian tunnel in Mecca on July 2 leaves 1,400 dead

U.S. Happy Land

A fire at an unlicensed social club called "Happy Land" in New York City kills 87

South Africa Nelson Mandella

Opposition Parties in South Africa are legalized Nelson Mandella released from prison and becomes leader of the African National Congress ( ANC )

East and West Germany reunite

East and West Germany reunite including currency and economies

U.S. President George Bush

President George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign a historic agreement to end production of chemical weapons

UK poll tax demonstrations

Throughout the year demonstrations are held in cities in the UK in protest at the new poll tax

Philippines earthquake

Philippines, an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter Scale kills over 1600

Russia Mikhail Gorbachev

Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and reform his nation

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee publishes a more formal proposal for the World Wide Web and the first web page is written

Channel Tunnel

Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 meters beneath the English Channel seabed, establishing the first ground connection between the United Kingdom and the mainland of Europe since the last ice age

Isabella Gardner Museum

Art thieves steal 12 works of art from the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston

Strangeways Riot

Prisoners Riot in Strangeways Prison in Manchester, England keeping control of the prison for 25 days


Namibia Gains Independence From South Africa

Boris N. Yeltsin

Boris N. Yeltsin becomes president of the Russian republic.

1990 World Cup

West Germany Wins 1990 World Cup in Italy


Customs officers seize the barrel ( 130 feet long )of a "Supergun" bound for Iraq

UK heat wave

Great Britain is gripped by a heat wave and the highest recorded temperatures in British History are recorded of 37.1C, or 99F in Nailstone, Leicestershire

Technology 1990's

The Space Shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit revolutionizing astronomy.

Tim Berners-Lee publishes a more formal proposal for the World Wide Web and the first web page is written

Microsoft Releases Windows 3.0

A 16 megabit chip is shown for the first time

The First Known Case of AIDS is traced back to 1959

The Space Probe Voyager launched in 1977 photographed the Solar System at a distance of 3.7 miles from the SUN

18 years after its launch the US Space Probe Pioneer reaches a distance of 46.5 billion miles beyond all planetary orbits

Depletion of the Ozone Layer is discovered above the North Pole

The First in-car Satellite Navigation System is sold by Pioneer

Popular Culture 1990

The Sci/Fi Channel on Cable TV starts transmitting

Twin Peaks premieres on ABC

The Milli Vanilli duo's producer reveals that the Grammy winning pop duo were lip synching in the songs on the album which gained them the award

Popular Films

Home Alone


Dances with Wolves

Pretty Woman

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Hunt for Red October

Total Recall

Die Hard 2

Dick Tracy

Edward Scissorhands,

The Godfather Part III

Popular Musicians

Tears For Fears

Kylie Minogue

Janet Jackson with " Black Cat "

Jon Bon Jovi with " Blaze of Glory "


Maxi Priest

Rod Stewart

Depeche Mode

The Blues Brothers

Garth Brooks

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Billy Joel

Phil Collins

Vanilla Ice with " Ice Ice Baby "

Whitney Houston



Dannii Minogue

Mariah Carey

The B-52's

1990 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders 1990

Australia Prime Minister Bob Hawke

Brazil President José Sarney

Till 15 March

Brazil President Fernando Collor

From 15 March

Canada Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Yang Shangkun

France President François Mitterrand

Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl

India Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh

Till 10 November

India Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar

From 10 November

Italy Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti

Japan Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu

Mexico President Carlos Salinas de Gortari

Russia / Soviet Union General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev

South Africa State President Frederik Willem de Klerk

United States President George H. W. Bush

United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Till 28 November

United Kingdom Prime Minister John Major

From 28 November