1996 was a big year for many reasons. A Summer Olympics, a cloned sheep, several major political talking points and an unhappy end to a royal wedding. Let’s take a look at some of the major cultural talking points that occurred this year.
1996 World Events
- Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), holds its first presidential elections in March.
- In August, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales, are divorced.
- The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is adopted by the UN on September 10th.
- Ghanain Kofi Annan is appointed as the UN Secretary General in December, replacing Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
- Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Both men had contributed to “a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor”.
U.S. Events in 1996
- January sees the launch of NASA’s STS-72 Space Shuttle mission. The Space Shuttle Endeavour blasts a crew of six into space. They would perform tests integral to the building of the International Space Station, among other things.
- Ali Landry of Louisiana wins the 45th Miss USA pageant in February.
- On March 25th, a new design of the $100 bill is made public.
- In April, the first ever Major League Soccer match takes place between the San Jose Clash and D.C. United.
- “Dream Team III” takes gold at the Atlanta Olympics, beating Yugoslavia 95-69.
- Osama bin Laden issues a declaration of war against the United States on August 3rd, five years before the tragic events of 9/11.
- Tupac Shakur is shot and fatally wounded on September 7th 1996, dying in hospital six days later.
Science and Technology
July 5th 1996 was an historic day in the field of genetics, as scientists in Scotland successfully cloned the first mammal. Dolly the sheep was created from an adult somatic cell using the nuclear transfer method.
Internet Explorer 3 debuted in August, sparking a browser war with the then dominant Netscape Navigator. It was the first commercially available browser to support CSS.
The first internet wagering site launched in November. Intercasino spawned hundreds of copycats, even in places with no gambling tradition, like Qatar and other Middle Eastern territories. Today you can compare the best online casino sites for Qatari players and get help with using a VPN, advise on bonuses and promotions, licenses and the selection of games and payment methods on offer.
Entertainment in 1996
Back in 1996, everyone was doing the Macarena, thanks to Los del Río. The song topped Billboard magazine’s Top Hot 100 songs of 1996 list. One Sweet Day, by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, was second on the list. Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion came third.
In the art world, Scotsman Douglas Gordon became the first ever video artist to win the Turner Prize.
In November, the world’s first DVDs appeared in Japan. Unfortunately, they came too late for the biggest selling release of 1996, which was Will Smith’s Independence Day. Released in July, the movie grossed $306,169,255 at the box office.
June was a big month for video gamers, with the release of Nintendo’s N64. The console was responsible for some of the most celebrated titles of all time, including Super Mario 64 and GoldenEye 007.
Other smash hits of the silver screen included Twister, Mission: Impossible, The Rock, Ransom and The Nutty Professor, starring the influential Eddie Murphy.
Major Sporting Events
In tennis, Boris Becker won the last of his six Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open. Pete Sampras was at his absolute peak in 1996, winning the fourth of his five US Open titles in September.
The 1996 Summer Olympics, held in Atlanta, Georgia, ran from July 26th until August 3rd. A total of 23 medals, including 13 golds, was enough for the USA to top the medals table. Russia were second with a total of 10 (3 golds) and Germany placed third with 7 (3 golds).
Among the highlights were the following:
- Men’s 100m gold: Donovan Bailey (CAN) – World record time (9.84)
- Men’s 200m gold: Michael Johnson (USA) – World record time (19.32)
- Men’s 10,000m gold: Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) – Olympic record time (27:07.34)
- Women’s 100m gold: Gail Devers (USA)