It’s over 30 years since we were blessed with the start of the 90s, so unless you were born in the 80s, some of the key events from the beginning of the best decade may have passed you by.

We’ve got out our time machine to look at some of the most memorable worldwide events from the first year of the decade; how many do you remember?

Nelson Mandela Released From Prison

Nelson Mandela – greatly regarded as one of the most revolutionary political leaders in history – was eventually released from prison after a 27 year stay.

Although he was sent to prison on a life term due to his involvement in trying to overthrow a white-only government involved in racial segregation, he was eventually released by then South African president due to international pressure and fears of a civil war.

Since his release, Mandela has received in excess of 250 awards and accolades in recognition for his political work, most notable receiving a Noble Peace Prize.

And to inspire you, here is one of Mandela’s famous quotes:

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others.Nelson Mandela

Margaret Thatcher Resigns as Prime Minister

Sticking with politics for a second, back in the UK, controversial Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher resigns as Conservation party leader and prime minister on 28th November 1990, after her leadership was challenged.

This was mostly due to her unpopular opinions on poll tax and her scepticism in regards to the European community.

She retired just two years later from the House of Commons, but was given a life peerage as a Baroness.

Italia 90

Football fans – especially England fans – will remember the 1990 World Cup purely for the image of Gazza crying.

One of England’s finest ever players received a yellow card, which would mean he would miss the World Cup Final should they have beaten West Germany. They didn’t, so the misery of World Cup disappointment is often remembered by the image of Gascoinge being consoled as his walked off the pitch crying.

West Germany went on to beat Argentina 1-0 in the final, whilst England faced more misery in a 2-1 defeat to hosts Italy in the third place play-off match.

The Mitchell Brothers Join Eastenders

For UK readers, there doesn’t need to be an introduction to the Mitchell brothers – Phil and Grant.

Phil and Grant – played by actors Steve McFadden and Ross Kemp respectively – first joined the BBC soap in 1990, as the sons of Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) and featured in some of the best Eastenders story lines ever since.

Although Phil Mitchell stills appears in the show today, Grant Mitchell had an initial nine year stint on the show, with a couple of comebacks in 2005 and 2016.

There is still time for both characters to appear again together, and we can only hope to see this legendary pair back on our screens causing chaos on the streets of Walford.

Leaning Tower of Pisa is Closed

Since the completion of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in 1372, poor construction and unstable foundation has made this tower iconic for its lopsided appearance.

Although much work was done to stabilise and secure the tower in the 1970s, on 7th January 1990, the tower was closed to the public after fear of an imminent collapse. After construction work that focused on removing the total weight of the tower and reduced the tilt, taking over a decade to complete, the tower was eventually re-opened on 15th December 2001 and has been declared stable for at least another 300 years!

Smoking Banned on U.S Domestic Flights

After an initial smoking ban was introduced on U.S domestic flights lasting less than two hours was introduced in 1988, this was later extended to domestic flights lasting less than six hours in February 1990.

However, it wasn’t until 200 that smoking was banned on all domestic and international flights based in the U.S!

Strangeways Prison Riots

The Strangeways Prison riots were a 25-day riot and protest that occurred in, and on the roof, of Strangeways Prison in Manchester.

Beginning on 1st April 1990, prisoners took control of the prison chapel, and later spread to almost all parts of the prison. The riot was ended when five prisoners were taken off the rooftop, but it resulted in a prisoner death and 147 prison offices and 47 prisoners being injured.

Most of the prison was significantly damaged, and the cost of the repairs totalled £55 million (equivalent to £120 million in 2020).

Although there have been prison riots in the UK since this time, the Strnageways Prison riots remain one of the most famous in UK history.

Official Demolition of the Berlin Wall Begins

The Berlin Wall represents a significant period of history where a guarded concrete barrier was used to segregate West Berlin from East Berlin and Eastern Europe.

Although the initial fall of the Berlin occurred on 9th November 1989, it wasn’t until 13th June 1990 that East German Border Troops started dismantling what remained over the wall, which wasn’t complete until December of the same year.

With such a momentous event in the history of Germany, many anniversary celebrations have since taken place to mark the unification of East and West Germany.

The Most Complete T-Rex Fossil Found

Ending with a less serious story here, August 1990 marked the discovery of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever found. Located by fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson in South Dakota, USA, the specimen has been dubbed Sue after its discoverer and is amazingly 90 complete.

The skeleton is one of the most complete dinosaur fossils ever, with the complete skeleton structure being 13 feet high and 42 feet long, including a skull that weighed 2,000 pounds!