The People History Home

The Year 1996 Major Events, Born This Year, Popular Culture, Prices

What happened in 1996 Major News Stories include Ebay starts online auction website, IBM's Deep Blue defeats Chess Champion Gary Kasparov, Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta Nail bomb, Dunblane Massacre, Dolly the sheep becomes the first mammal to be successfully cloned, Mad Cow Disease BSE kills humans in England, 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.

What Events Happened in 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.

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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.

Major League Soccer

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

>p>The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta during October News Events. 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.

Prince Charles and Diana Divorce

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.

Cost of Living 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

1996 Childrens Toys Page

2 examples from Childrens Toys From The 1996 Page

Buzz Lightyear Costume From The 1990s Buzz Lightyear Costume
Price: $19.99
Description A one-piece body suit printed on the front and back to look like Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.

Tickle Me Elmo From The 1990s Tickle Me Elmo
Manufacturer: Tyco
Price: $27.99
Description Tickle his tummy once to make him giggle, twice to make him laugh longer. Tickle him a third time and he shakes with laughter. This toy was one of the most popular toys for the 1996 Christmas season, with many stores running out of stock and battling crowds trying to get their hands on one.

Other Major Events From 1996

United States -- Mars Global Surveyor

1. NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) on November 7 News Events.

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.

Nintendo 64

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.

Mad Cow Disease

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.

Bangladesh Severe thunderstorms

Severe thunderstorms and a tornado in Bangladesh kills 600.

Alan Greenspan

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan questions whether the stock market is overvalued

Biological Weapons Factory

UN Experts and Iraq Officials dismantle a Biological Weapons Factory in Iraq

India Category 4 Cyclone

Category 4 Cyclone strikes India. The storm surge sweeps fishing villages out to sea, over 2,000 persons die.

U.S. Dow Jones Industrial

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

U.S. Jumbo Jet

Jumbo Jet bursts into flames shortly after takeoff and crashes into the ocean off Long Island

Nigeria Meningitas

Meningitas Epidemic in West Africa

Indonesia ferry sinks

Overloaded ferry sinks in Sumatra, Indonesia,

Rain Forest are destroyed

38 Million Acres of Rain Forest are destroyed annually by timber cutting

Mexico Hurricane Dolly

Hurricane Dolly ( 1996 ) crashes into shanty town of Tampica, Mexico

France Bombing Paris Subway

Bombing on Paris Subway kills 2 and injures 128

UK IRA Bombing Docklands

The IRA plants a bomb that explodes in the Docklands area of London

UK IRA Bombing Arndale shopping centre

The IRA explodes bomb on June 15th in the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester.

Saudi Arabia Bombing

A bomb loaded with high explosives is detonated at a U.S. military housing complex in Saudi Arabia

U.S. Black churches attacked

30 Black churches in Mississippi are burned to the ground the previous 18 months

Williamette Valley Flood

The Williamette Valley Flood, sweeps through the Pacific Northwest

Australia Martin Bryant

Gunman "Martin Bryant" shoot and kills 35 in the tourist town of Port Arthur, Tasmania on April 28th

Lebanon Operation Grapes of Wrath

Israel carries out air strikes on Hezbollah targets in Beirut as part of "Operation Grapes of Wrath"

U.S. Summer Olympics

The Summer Olympics are held in Atlanta United States

U.S. Nail Bomb Centennial Olympic Park

Nail Bomb Exploded on July 27th in Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta

UN Kofi Annan

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.

Wales Sea Empress

The supertanker, the Sea Empress, runs aground on the welsh coast, spilling 70,000 tons of crude oil

Technology 1996

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

Popular Films

Independence Day


Mission: Impossible

Jerry Maguire

101 Dalmatians

The Rock

The Nutty Professor

The Birdcage

A Time to Kill

The English Patient

Star Trek: First Contact

Popular Musicians

Spice Girls First Number 1 "Wannabe"

Mariah Carey

Eric Clapton




Snoop Doggy Dogg




Gravity Kills

Rage Against the Machine


The Wallflowers

Sheryl Crow

Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Smashing Pumpkins

Marilyn Manson

Alanis Morissette

Lenny Kravitz

Foo Fighters

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