facts about Nelson Mandela scaled

What Happened in 1990?

As a new decade began, 1990 had a lot of promise. Yet, no one could have predicted all that this decade would bring! From incredible advancements in technology to political unrest and, of course, all of the incredible fashion trends and iconic entertainment, there's lots to dive into. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's start with the first year of this revolutionary time. Here are some of the biggest events from 1990.

In this year

fun facts about the internet


Although the World Wide Web was a few years away, January 1st, 1990 officially marked the start of the internet revolution, as this was the date at which companies such as EUNet and PSINet started selling internet packages to commercial buyers. What a way to kick off the decade!

interesting facts about Nelson Mandela


Activist and political prisoner Nelson Mandela was released from incarceration in South Africa after 27 years behind bars – following years of protest from citizens pushing for an end to the apartheid he fought against. His release would lead to the downfall of apartheid over the next few years, and he went on to become South Africa’s first democratically elected President.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


The US witnessed its largest-ever art theft on March 18th, 1990, as a vase from the Shang dynasty and 12 paintings were removed by undercover thieves at Boston, MA’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The theft was worth up to $300 million at the time – and to this day, the pieces have never been recovered!

The Hubble Telescope


The Hubble Space Telescope was officially launched into space via the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24th. The plan for the project dates all the way back to the 1940s but took decades to complete. It was recently succeeded by the James Webb Space Telescope.

Jeanne Calment


As of May 12th, 1990, the oldest person known to have lived on record – Jeanne Calment – officially made the record books. Calment was a French national who went on to live to 122 years old – no one living longer has officially been verified.

Color TV invented on this day in history


Believe it or not, HDTV broadcasting dates all the way back to June 8th, 1990! It’s on this date that the FIFA World Cup began in Italy, and matches were broadcast in incredible quality for the first time. However, Europe wouldn’t officially adopt or transmit HDTV fully until 2004.

Flag of Germany


East Germany and West Germany finally reunified to become one Germany. Berlin was reinstated as the country's capital, and a unification treaty was officially ratified by both the Bundestag and the People's Chamber.

gulf conflict


Iraq invaded Kuwait and, in so doing, led to the beginning of the Gulf War. In response, the UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions against Iraq. This month also saw US President George HW Bush send troops to Saudi Arabia to prepare for invasion, while 12 Arab states voted to support Saudi. Iraq, meanwhile, announced that it formally annexed Kuwait.

pizza hut china


September was a pretty big month for fast food lovers out in China! Believe it or not, September 11th, 1990 marked the opening of the very first Pizza Hut in the country – just three years after KFC first opened its doors there. The Americans are coming!

Mikhail Gorbachev


In a truly historic moment for the Soviet Union, then-Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev received the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15th, 1990 – in recognition of his efforts to help reform the nation and reduce Cold War concerns. The Cold War would officially end in 1991 – but, by the end of the year, so would Gorbachev’s premiership, and the USSR itself.

Mary Robinson


Mary Robinson became the very first woman to be elected President of Ireland, beating Brian Lenihan, who was widely assumed to win the vote. She remained President until September 12th, 1997.

Tim Berners-Lee


Tim Berners-Lee completed the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server. In doing so, he effectively created the first webpage! And, yet again, here you are today… thanks, Tim!

1990 was the year of the…

chinese year of the horse


Like 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 2002, and 2014, 1990 was all about celebrating the lives of people deemed as Horses, according to the Chinese zodiac. People born in the horse years are usually very active, energetic, cheerful, and sociable. The next Horse year won't be until 2026, so saddle up!

This page was last modified on February 12, 2024. Suggest an edit