facts about the Titanic

What Happened in 1997?

1997 was a year of big changes in society. From huge political change in the UK to the losses of some of our most beloved public figures, 1997 was also the year of Teletubbies, Tamagotchis, and internet chat rooms.

Whether you were around at the time to experience '97 for yourself or not, we've lined up some of the year's most memorable events to help clue you in on a highly dramatic and iconic 12 months.

In this year

facts about Princess Diana


Princess Diana visited an active landmine area in Angola in early 1997, as part of her ongoing commitment to the cause of removing the weaponry from public fields. She would later visit Bosnia in August as part of her continued campaigning, shortly before her untimely death.

Dolly the test tube sheep


Scientists over in Scotland in February announced the successful cloning of an adult mammal. The animal was a sheep named Dolly, who had been born the previous year. February 22nd, 1997, was a date that changed cloning and biotechnology forever!

heaven's gate cult logo


As of March 26th, 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult were discovered in a mass suicide in California. The group was founded in 1974 by Bonnie Nettles and Marshall Applewhite. Bizarrely, the group’s official telephone line was still in operation only a few years ago, long after the cult’s death.

Old bridge crossing the Mississippi


The Red River Flood of April 1997 caused widespread flooding in the United States and Canada. The flood lasted until May of that same year, and is said to have caused around $2 billion in damage across Minnesota and North Dakota alone.

Tony Blair


Tony Blair officially became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after winning the general election. He remained leader until 2007, when his political rival, Gordon Brown, took the helm. Blair's ascension to power was heralded by some as a break away from decades of Conservative rule. However, his leadership has long been questioned due to certain policies and his part in the Iraq War, and his reputation never fully recovered from his time in office.



Timothy McVeigh was offifically found guilty of the Oklahoma City bombing. The bombing killed 168 people and injured 680 more. He was later executed by lethal injection in 2001, six years after committing the offense. McVeigh was a highly disturbed individual who believed the US Government to have been a "bully."

Facts of Hong Kong


The United Kingdom handed back the sovereignty of Hong Kong to China as of July 1st, 1997. The UK had retained sovereignty over Hong Kong for 156 years. However, since 1997, China has retained its sovereignty – though protests regarding its status have rolled on.

Princess Diana


Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, were killed in a car crash in Paris. The crash took place in the Port de l'Alma tunnel during the early hours of August 31st. The Princess was 36 when she died, and she left behind her two sons, Princes Harry and William.



The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced a ceasefire in Northern Ireland. However, it would not be until a year later that a true ceasefire and agreement for peace would be put into place between the various political parties in Ireland and the Irish and British governments. The Omagh bombing in 1998, undertaken by the Real IRA, would lead to a solid ceasefire regarding the Troubles.

Wall Street - Dow Jones Stock Market Crash


The stock market experienced a significant drop, known as the "October 27th mini-crash." The crash was caused by the Asian contagion, or the Tom Yum Goong Crisis, which was an economic crisis in Asia.

Mary McAleese


Mary McAleese was elected as the first-ever female President of Ireland. She remained president until November 10th, 2011.

Titanic at Belfast docks


“Titanic,” directed by James Cameron, debuted in US theaters ahead of Christmas 1997, quickly becoming one of the biggest-selling movies of all time worldwide. It would make international superstars of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and would arguably create Celine Dion’s biggest pop hit, “My Heart Will Go On.” You couldn’t turn on the radio between 1997 and 1998 without hearing it!

1997 was the year of the…

Chinese Year of the Ox


Like 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 2009, and 2021, 1997 was a year in which people born as "Oxen" were given time to shine. People born in Ox years are very hardworking, independent, quiet, reliable, supportive, and peaceful. The next Ox year won't be until 2033.

This page was last modified on February 1, 2024. Suggest an edit