01 – The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) comes into effect.
01 – American actor Cesar Romero – famous as The Joker from the classic Batman TV series – dies at the age of 86.
02 – In South Mexico, 57 people are killed when battles between rebellious Indians and the army break out.
03 – Hundreds of people are killed in a prison revolt in Venezuela.
06 – Champion figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is attacked by a ‘mystery assailant’ five weeks before the Lillehammer Olympic games. Her skating rival, Tonya Harding, pleads guilty to conspiracy to assault Kerrigan. Though her leg is injured in the attack, she still skates away with the silver medal. Harding comes in eighth.
07 – In Ohio (USA), a United Express commuter plane crash kills 5 people.
11 – The Irish government announces the end of a 20-year broadcasting ban on the IRA and its political arm, Sinn Fein.
12 – Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of activist Malcolm X, is arrested for plotting to murder Louis Farrakhan (formerly known as Louis X). She believed Farrakhan was responsible for her father’s assassination and sought revenge by hiring a killer. A plea bargain is accepted by the government.
13 – Shawn Eric Eckardt (US skater Tonya Harding’s bodyguard) and Derrick Brian Smith are arrested and charged with conspiracy in relation to the attack of Nancy Kerrigan on 6 January.
15 – Queen Elizabeth breaks her left wrist after falling off a horse.
16 – Singer Harry Nilsson dies at the age of 52 at his home in Agoura Hills, near Los Angeles, California.
17 – A massive earthquake strikes Los Angeles, killing 60 people and injuring over 7,000. The quake registers between 6.6 and 6.8 on the Richter Scale and causes at least $15 billion in damage.
25 – Michael Jackson settles out of court in a civil lawsuit that accuses him of molesting 13-year old Jordan Chandler during sleepovers at his California ranch.
26 – Student David Kang fires two blank shots from a starting pistol at Prince Charles in Sydney, Australia.
30 – In Super Bowl XXVIII, the Buffalo Bills are defeated by the Dallas Cowboys 30-13 at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta.
31 – German car manufacturer BMW announces the purchase of Rover from British Aerospace, ending nearly a century of independent mass car production in Britain.
05 – Serbs fire a 120mm artillery shell into the main market square in Sarajevo, leaving 68 dead and more than 200 injured.
07 – Conservative MP for Eastleigh Stephen Milligan is found dead at his home in Chiswick, west London, by his secretary, Vera Taggart. Milligan is hanging from a noose of electrical flex and naked except for a pair of stockings and suspenders (an appearance consistent with auto-erotic sex practices). The coroner records a verdict of death by misadventure.
12 – Thieves take just 50 seconds to climb a ladder, smash through a window of the National Art Museum in Oslo, Norway, and cut The Scream, by Edvard Munch, from the wall with wire cutters and steal it.
14 – Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo is executed by shooting.
17 – An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale in the Northridge area of Los Angeles leaves 57 dead.
24 – Police in Gloucester, UK, begin excavations at the Cromwell Street home of Frederick and Rosemary West. The couple are arrested four days later and charged with 12 murders. Fred West will commit suicide while awaiting trial. His wife receives ten life sentences.
25 – A Jewish settler kills between 30 and 54 Palestinians at a mosque in Hebron after opening fire as people gather for Friday morning prayers. The gunman – US-born doctor Baruch Goldstein, 38 – is found dead in the mosque after the shooting stops. Initially, police believe that Goldstein shot himself but it transpires he had been beaten to death with iron bars.
28 – US warplanes shoot down four Serb aircraft over Bosnia in the first NATO use of force in the troubled area.
03 – The Mexican government reach a peaceful agreement with the Chiapas rebels.
04 – Four Muslim fundamentalists are found guilty of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York. Each is sentenced to 240 years in prison.
05 – Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick is arrested for pointing a shotgun at police at her home in Tiburon, California.
10 – White House officials begin testifying about Whitewater, a controversial real estate transaction by Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary in Arkansas.
12 – A photograph of the Loch Ness Monster by Marmaduke Wetherell is confirmed to be a hoax. It is, in fact, a toy submarine with a head and neck attached.
23 – Aeroflot Flight 593 crashes into the Kuznetsk Alatau mountain range in Kemerovo Oblast, killing all 63 passengers and 12 crew members on board. Cockpit voice and flight data recorders reveal the relief captain had his 12-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son in the cockpit of the Airbus A310 and while seated at the controls, the pilot’s son had unknowingly partially disengaged the autopilot. All 75 occupants die on impact.
28 – More than 53 people are killed in an armed Zulu demonstration in Johannesburg, South Africa.
31 – A skull of Australopithecus afarensis, humankind’s earliest ancestor, is found in Ethiopia.
04 – Netscape Communications – one of the big early names of the Internet revolution – is founded.
06 – The presidents of the African states of Rwanda and Burundi are killed in a plane crash near the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Burundi’s Cyprian Ntayamira are among 10 people on the aircraft which some reports say was brought down by rocket fire.
07 – Civil War erupts in Rwanda, Central Africa, between the Tutsi Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel group and government soldiers, helped by Hutu civilians. At least 800,000 – primarily Tutsis and moderate Hutus – will die in the following months fighting, many of them hacked to death with machetes.
08 – The body of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is found at his home in Seattle, Washington. Cause of death is given as a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It’s thought he has lain undiscovered for three days. He was only 27.
08 – Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa resigns.
13 – In Kigali, Rwanda, the Presidential Guard kills 1200 church members, chopping them to death.
15 – Global commerce forum the World Trade Organisation is established.
18 – Former US President Richard Nixon suffers a stroke.
19 – A Los Angeles jury awards $3.8 million to Rodney King for the violation of his civil rights (not to mention being beaten up by police).
22 – Former US President Richard Nixon dies at the age of 81.
22 – 7,000 Tutsi are slaughtered by Hutus in the stadium at Kibuye, Rwanda.
26 – The first multi-racial elections are held in South Africa.
28 – Former CIA agent Aldrich Ames, who gave US secrets to Russia, pleads guilty to espionage and tax evasion and is sentenced to life in prison.
01 – Ayrton Senna, 34, three times world Formula One racing champion, dies after a high-speed crash in the San Marino Grand Prix.
04 – The 34th European Cup Winners Cup is won by Arsenal after they defeat Parma in Copenhagen 1-0.
06 – Channel Tunnel opens between England and France.
07 – Blur‘s Parklife album enters the UK album charts at #1, the start of an 84-week residency.
10 – Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president after more than 300 years of white rule, following the country’s first fully democratic election.
10 – American mass murderer John Wayne Gacy is executed at the age of 52 in Illinois after he was found guilty of murdering 33 young men.
19 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dies in New York, aged 64.
26 – President Clinton signs a law protecting abortion clinics, making it a federal crime to attack or blockade clinics, their operators or their patrons.
27 – Dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn flies back to his native Russia after 20 years of exile in the United States.
02 – An RAF Chinook helicopter carrying 25 of Britain’s top intelligence experts from the police, the army and MI5, crashes on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, killing everyone on board.
06 – Around 1000 people are killed in Toez, Columbia after an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale destroys the area.
13 – Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are found stabbed to death outside Nicole’s condominium in Brentwood, Los Angeles
17 – After a prolonged televised car chase on a California freeway watched by more than 90 million people, former American football star OJ Simpson is arrested and charged with the double murder of his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman. Simpson is found to have been carrying a gun, a passport, thousands of dollars in cash and a fake beard in the car
21 – Colombian soccer player Andres Escobar accidentally scores an own goal in an important World Cup match against the USA, contributing to Colombia’s unexpectedly sudden early exit from the competition. Ten days later he is shot 12 times and killed at home in Medellin, allegedly by a drug cartel who have lost a heavy bet on the match.
25 – Five festival-goers at the normally peaceful Glastonbury Festival in the UK are shot by a crazed gunman.
29 – US reopens Guantanamo Naval Base to process refugees.
01 – Roman Herzog is sworn in as the president of Germany.
02 – Colombian footballer Andrés Escobar, 27, is shot dead in Medellín. His murder is commonly regarded as retaliation for the own goal Escobar scored in the 1994 FIFA World Cup against the United States.
05 – Jeff Bezos founds Amazon in Bellevue, Washington.
08 – Kim Il-Sung, Supreme Leader of North Korea, dies from a heart attack, aged 82. A ten-day mourning period is declared by his son and successor, Kim Jong-Il.
12 – The Allied occupation of Berlin ends with a casing of the colours ceremony attended by US President Bill Clinton.
17 – Brazil wins the 1994 FIFA World Cup, defeating Italy 3–2 in a penalty shootout in the final (The full-time score was 0–0).
21 – Tony Blair is confirmed as the new leader of the British Labour Party after the sudden death of John Smith. Blair (41) is the youngest leader of the Labour Party since WWII.
23 – An asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter is named ‘Zappafrank’ in honour of late musician Frank Zappa.
25 – Israel and Jordan end the state of war which has existed between the two countries since 1948.
26 – A car bomb explodes outside the Israeli embassy in London injuring 14 people.
The blast, at 1210 BST, causes widespread damage and can be heard over a mile away.
01 – Thousands of historic documents – including manuscripts dating back as far as 1090 – and more than 100,000 books are destroyed in a blaze that rips through Norwich Central Library in Norfolk (England) in the early hours of the morning.
04 – A truck carrying millions of bees overturns in New York.
05 – Singer Billy Idol is admitted to hospital following a drug overdose at his Hollywood Hills home.
10 – Three men are arrested at Munich airport in Germany after being caught smuggling Russian plutonium into the country.
11 – Horror movie veteran Peter Cushing dies in Canterbury, England.
14 – Woodstock ’94 is held at Winston Farm, Saugerties, New York State to mark the 25th anniversary of the original event. The bill includes Santana, Bob Dylan, Green Day, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sheryl Crow and Aerosmith. Torrential rain turns the event into a mudbath.
18 – An earthquake in Algeria results in the deaths of 171 people.
18 – The XV Commonwealth games open in Victoria, Canada.
26 – Arthur Cornhill is given the world’s first battery-operated artificial heart in a pioneering operation in the UK. Unfortunately, he will die in nine months’ time from kidney failure.
28 – Thousands of shops throughout England and Wales open legally on a Sunday for the first time following the legalisation of Sunday trading. Under the new Sunday Trading Act, all shops in England and Wales are free to trade in all goods on Sundays.
31 – A ceasefire is declared by the IRA after 15 years of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.
31 – Russia officially ends its military presence in the former East Germany after half a century.
02 – Much-loved British entertainer, multi-instrumentalist and television presenter Roy Castle dies, aged 62, after a long fight with lung cancer. Castle is a non-smoker and attributes the disease to the years he spent gigging in smoke-filled jazz clubs.
08 – A USAir Boeing 737 plane crashes at Pittsburgh Airport, causing the deaths of all 132 people on board.
09 – The US agrees to accept 20,000 Cuban immigrants every year in return for a promise from Cuba to halt the influx of refugees.
12 – Frank Corder is killed when he crashes a stolen Cessna light aircraft on the South Lawn of the White House.
15 – President Clinton tells Haiti’s military leaders “Leave now or we will force you from power”. A month later they do so, averting a US invasion.
21 – The Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Prosecutors Offices announce that charges will not be laid against Michael Jackson, but the case will remain open until 1999.
28 – The car and passenger ferry MS Estonia sinks in the Baltic Sea on its way from Estonia to Sweden with 950 people on board. Fewer than 100 people survive the disaster.
05 – The bodies of 48 cult members are discovered by Swiss police following an apparent mass suicide in the village of Cheiry, 48 miles north-east of Geneva, by members of the Order of the Solar Temple sect.
09 – The US sends troops and warships to the Persian Gulf in response to Saddam Hussein sending thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks toward the Kuwaiti border.
21 – The US and North Korea sign an agreement to freeze North Korea’s nuclear reactor program.
26 – Israel and Jordan sign a peace treaty ending 46 years of war. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan formally make peace at a ceremony in a desert area of Wadi Araba on the Israeli-Jordanian border, witnessed by US President Bill Clinton and watched by 5,000 guests and relayed to the world on TV.
27 – The US Justice Department announces that the prison population has exceeded one million for the first time in American history.
29 – Francisco Martin Duran fires at the White House while standing on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. He is later convicted of trying to kill President Clinton.
05 – Former President Reagan announces that he has Alzheimer’s disease.
05 – George Foreman becomes boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion at 45 when he knocks out Michael Moorer in Las Vegas.
08 – In US congressional elections, the Republican party wins control of the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The election results are thought to be indicative of voter dissatisfaction with the Clinton Administration.
13 – The first passengers travel through the Channel Tunnel.
19 – Launch of the National Lottery in Britain. Seven jackpot winners won around £800,000 each in the first lottery draw.
20 – Musician David Crosby gets a much-needed liver transplant at UCLA’s Medical Center.
23 – Singer/songwriter Tommy Boyce (of Monkees fame) commits suicide, shooting himself at his Nashville home.
28 – Norway votes to reject membership of the European Union in a referendum, for the second time in its history.
28 – Convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is clubbed to death by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver in the gymnasium at the Columbian Correctional Institution in Wisconsin.
30 – Almost 1,000 people are forced to abandon the luxury Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Indian Ocean after it catches fire. Two people die and eight are injured during the transfer of passengers from life rafts to a waiting tanker. The Italian cruise ship finally sinks two days later as a salvage vessel tows it to Kenya.
30 – Rapper Tupac Shakur, still on trial for sex and weapons charges, heads for New York’s Quad Recording Studio in Times Square to record a track. As he enters the Manhattan studio, three men follow him into the elevator and try to rob him. Tupac pulls a gun but is shot in the head, groin and arm. The robbers get away with $45,000 of jewellery, including Tupac’s $30,000 diamond ring. The rapper undergoes surgery on his right leg at Bellevue Hospital but later checks himself out.
04 – Of the 400 UN peacekeepers being held by Bosnian Serbs, 53 are released. The rest are retained as insurance against further NATO air-strikes.
08 – President Clinton fires Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after she tells a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as a part of human sexuality classes.
09 – Representatives of the IRA and the British government begin peace talks.
11 – Russia invades Chechnya. Hundreds of tanks and armoured personnel carriers close in on the territory’s capital of Grozny at first light. A 20-month war between Chechen rebels and Russian forces follows.
13 – Fred West, 53, a builder living in Gloucester, is remanded in custody, charged with murdering 12 people whose bodies are mostly found buried at his house in Cromwell Street. His wife Rose West, 41, is charged with 10 murders.
13 – An American Eagle commuter plane crashes short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina (USA), killing 15 of the 20 people on board.
15 – Former 800m Commonwealth gold-medallist, Diane Modahl, is found guilty of taking a performance-enhancing drug and banned from competing for four years. She is eventually cleared of the charge in March 1996.
15 – The first version of the web browser Netscape Navigator is released.
19 – The Whitewater scandal investigation begins in Washington DC.
26 – French anti-terrorist police storm a hijacked jet at Marseille, killing all four Islamic fundamentalist hostage-takers and freeing 170 passengers and crew.
30 – Two women are shot dead and at least five others injured when a gunman opens fire at two neighbouring abortion clinics in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. Pro-life activist 22-year-old John Salvi is sentenced to a mandatory life sentence for the murders but takes his own life in prison in November 1996.
Also this year . . .
- International Year of Family
- XVII Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway
- In cricket, Australia beat South Africa 2-1 to win the World Series
- Pulp Fiction premieres at the Cannes Film Festival
- Manchester United defeat Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup Final
- The Lion King makes an incredible $185 million on its opening weekend
- In the FIFA World Cup, Columbia are beaten by the United States 2-1 at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, in their first win since 1950
- Friends debuts on NBC