This is a list of important events the occured during 1991. Exact dates
are listed when known.
- Iraq is attacked by UN forces
January 16, 1991 signaled the start of an air campaign against Iraq. February 27, after 100 hours of ground fighting, Kuwait was liberated, and a ceasefire was declared. 200,000 Iraqis were dead, including hundreds of civilians, 148 UN allies were killed.
- Yugoslavia falls apart
June 1991, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic blocked Croatian leader Stipe Mesic from assuming the presidency, Croatia and Slovenia seceded. The Yugoslav army moved into both republics. In July they left Slovenia, but began "ethnic cleansing" in Croatia until January 1992 when a UN supervised ceasefire took place. 25,000 were dead. Macedonia declared independence in September 1991, though Greece requested they find a different name since they also had an area named Macedonia.
- Lithuania , Latvia, and Estonia leave Soviet Union
Lithuania tried to leave the Soviet Union in January 1991, but is attacked by the Soviets. After a coup against Gorbachev failed in August, the Baltic states again declare their independence. This time, the Kremlin acknowledged them as separate countries.
- Albania refugees flee their country
The summer of 1991 saw over 40,000 people leave their country for Italy. Approximately 20,000 were able to stay, most were flown back. As a result of the great exodus, autocrat Ramiz Alia was forced to begin reforming the government.
- The Soviet Union Ends
Yeltsin, president of the Russian republic, lead a revolution against Gorbachev in order to preserve the crumbling Soviet Union power structure. Yeltsin however didn't lose much, after the failed revolt, the 15 separate republics were granted their independence and Yeltsin remained the president of the newly independent republic.
- FDA approves ddl
- USA Sanctions Against South Africa lifted
- First address to US Congress by a British monarch
May 16, 1991 Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech in the US Congress.
- US President Zachary Taylor is exhumed
In order to discover whether his death was caused by arsenic poisoning instead of acute gastrointestinal illness. No arsenic was found.
- Biosphere II is launched
Later the subject of a bad Pauly Shore film, the Biosphere II is sealed with four men and four women in the Arizona desert. The expriment was being conducted in order to determine whether or not a self-sustained ecosystem could be maintained without outside influences. It was a failure, several food crops died, and fresh air needed to be pumped in at one point.
- Earvin 'Magic' Johnson tests HIV positive
Magic retired November 7th after learning of his test results, and became an AIDS spokesperson.
- Tailhook Association Scandal
The 4,000 person convention of top naval fliers is revealed to have been the gathering for rowdy men who groped, pinched, and fondled women and even had some cases of women being stripped by men. The Navy initially tried to discredit the accusations and tried to block an investigation.
- Jeffery Dahlmer is arrested
Over a 13 year period, this serial killer was responsible for at least 17 deaths. He would lure young men home for sex, and would then drug and kill them. He would then continue to have sex with the corpses, and would sometimes dismember and eat his victims. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms, but was killed two years into his sentence by a prison inmate.
- Bank of Credit and Commerce International closed
Banking regulators from 69 countries shut down the BCCI claiming it laundered money, dealt in illegal arms, and was responsible for smuggling, fraud, extortion and bribery. billion was claimed to have disappeared within it's walls. BCCI was responsible for Iran-Contra transfers, providing nuclear weapons technology to Iraq, and secretly buying three American banks.
- Chlorea outbreak in Peru
It was the first outbreak since the 19th century, and it spread to Ecuador and Colombia.
- Robert Maxwell dies, discovered to be a con-man
The British tabloid tycoon disappeared, and turned up dead in the Atlantic Ocean. An investigation into his business turned up that he had stolen nearly $2 billion from the pension funds of his companies. He was also $4 billion in debt. Due to poor lending practices by major international banks, he was able to take out larges loans without anything to back them up.
- Pablo Escobar Gaviria turns himself into jail
The drug lord of Colombia surrendered in June of 1991. Turns out, he was allowed to build his own jail, complete with unsupervised visits. When they tried to crack down on this policy, Escobar fled into the jungles, and was responsible for terrorizing the country, even blowing up a Colombian airliner at one point. He was killed in 1993.
- Clarence Thomas sexual harrasment hearings
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas is accused by Anita Hill of sexual harassment when she worked for him 10 years earlier. He was appointed anyways, 52-48 by the Senate, despite having no real qualifications for the post.
- Rodney King
A videotape of black man (Rodney King) being beaten by four white police officers makes national headlines. It shows King being beaten and kicked, without offering any resistance.
- Rajiv Gandhi assasinated
Rajiv Gandhi former Prime minister of India was killed in a bomb explosion in south India, while campaigning for reelection. His mother, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated in 1984, and his brother, Sanjay, was killed in a plane crash in 1980.
- Harmelin v. Michigan
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Harmelin v. Michigan (501 U.S. 957, 994-997), that a sentence of life imprisonment for drug possession while cruel is not unusual and thus does not violate the 8th Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
- Princess Diana and Prince Charles split.
It is announced from Buckingham Palace that, with regret, the Prince and Princess of Wales have decided to seperate. They have no intention to divore and will both continue to have an active role in their boys' lives.
- Mt Pinatubo Volcano Erupts
Volcanic eruption in Philippines. Clark Air Base is evacuated and then abandoned. World weather patterns effected.
- Reba Mcentires Band Members Die In Plane Crash
Country singer looses 8 band members in a fiery plane crash on march 16th 1991
- The Word Wide Web Is Available
On August 6th, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee releases files describing his idea for the "World Wide Web"
- Lauda Air Crashed In 1991
Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand
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