Learn more about 1996
1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty.
1996 was also the Chinese New Year of the Fire Rat, a year traditionally feared for natural disasters.
- January 5 - Hamas operative Yahya Ayyash is killed by an Israeli-planted booby-trapped cell phone.
- January 7 - One of the worst blizzards in American history hits the eastern states, killing more than 100.
- January 8 - A Zairean cargo plane crashes into a crowded market in the center of the capital Kinshasa - 350 dead.
- January 9 - Art forger Eric Hebborn is assassinated in Rome, Italy.
- January 14 - Jorge Sampaio is elected president of Portugal.
- January 20 - Yasser Arafat is re-elected president of the Palestinian Authority.
- January 22 - Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, resigns due to health problems; a new government forms under Costas Simitis.
- January 23 - The first version of the Java programming language is released.
- January 24 - Polish Premier Jozef Oleksy resigns amid charges that he spied for Moscow.
- January 26 - Whitewater scandal: U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies before a grand jury.
- January 26 - U.S. millionaire John Dupont shoots wrestler David Schultz.
- January 27 - Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara deposes the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane, in a military coup.
- January 28 - The Dallas Cowboys become the first team to win 3 Super Bowls in a span of 4 seasons, as they defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17, in Super Bowl XXX.
- January 29 - President Jacques Chirac announces a "definitive end" to French nuclear testing.
- January 29 - Fire destroys La Fenice, Venice's opera house.
- January 29 - Imia-Kardak crisis: A Greek flag is hoisted on a small rocky island named Imia (Greek) / Kardac (Turkish).
- January 29 - Duke Nukem 3D Shareware is released to the public.
- January 30 - Irish National Liberation Army leader Gino Gallagher is killed in an internal feud, while in line for his unemployment benefits.
- January 30-February 5 - Sarah Balabagan is caned in the United Arab Emirates.
- January 31 - An explosives-filled truck rams into the gates of the Central Bank in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400.
- Mid-January- A major ice storm hits Ottawa and the surrounding areas, leaving thousands of people without electricity.
- February 8 - An IRA ceasefire ends with a 1-ton bomb in London's Canary Wharf District, killing 2.
- February 10 - Chess computer "Deep Blue" defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov for the first time.
- February 15 - In south-west Wales, the Sea Empress oil tanker runs aground, spilling 73,000 tonnes of crude oil.
- February 15 - The U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece comes under mortar fire.
- February 17 - In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Garry Kasparov beats "Deep Blue" in a second chess match.
- February 18 - An IRA briefcase bomb in a bus kills the bomber and injures 9 in the West End of London.
- February 29 - In Lumberton, North Carolina, Daniel Green is convicted of the murder of James Jordan, the father of basketball star Michael Jordan.
- March 1 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi forces refuse UNSCOM inspection teams access to 5 sites designated for inspection. The teams enter the sites only after delays of up to 17 hours.
- March 2 - John Howard is elected Prime Minister of Australia in a landslide, over the Labor Party's Paul Keating.
- March 2 - Ranabima Royal College, Sri Lanka, is established.
- March 7 - Volkswagen is renamed the 'New Beetle' from 'The Concept 1' at the Geneva Motor Show.
- March 13 - The Dunblane Massacre: Unemployed former shopkeeper Thomas Hamilton walks into the Dunblane Primary School in Scotland and opens fire, killing 16 students and 1 teacher before fatally shooting himself.
- March 17 - Sri Lanka wins the Cricket World Cup by storming to a famous victory against the tournament favourite Australia.
- March 19 - Sarajevo becomes a united city again when Bosniak authorities take control of the last district held by Serbs.
- March 20 - In Los Angeles, California, Lyle and Erik Menendez are found guilty of first-degree murder for the shotgun killing of their parents.
- March 20 - The British Government announces that Bovine spongiform encephalopathy has been likely transmitted to people.
- March 23 - The Republic of China on Taiwan holds its first direct elections for president; Lee Teng-hui is re-elected.
- March 25 - An 81-day long standoff between antigovernment Freemen in Jordan, Montana and federal officers begins.
- March 26 - The International Monetary Fund approves a $10.2 billion loan to Russia for economic reform.
- March 28 - Fire breaks out at the Pasar Anyar shopping centre in Bogor, West Java. The first death toll estimate is 78 until rescuers notice that 68 of them are mannequins.
- March 28 - Three British soldiers are found guilty of the manslaughter of Danish tour guide Louise Jensen in Cyprus. Allan Ford, Justin Fowler and Geoffrey Pernell receive life sentences for their crime, which was committed in September 1994.
- March 30 - The Jeff Kennett government is re-elected in Victoria with a 30 seat majority.
- March 31 - The World Wrestling Federation presents WrestleMania 12, whose main event features a 1-hour wrestling match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.
- May - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM supervises the destruction of Al-Hakam, Iraq's main production facility of biological warfare agents.
- May - The Onion launches its satirical news publication on the Internet.
- May 10 - A sudden storm engulfs Mount Everest with several climbing teams high on the mountain, leaving 8 dead. By the end of the month, at least 4 other climbers die in the worst season of fatalities on the mountain to date.
- May 11 - After takeoff from Miami, Florida, a fire started by improperly-handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 on board.
- May 13 - Severe thunderstorms and a tornado in Bangladesh kill 600.
- May 20 - Gay rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules (Romer v. Evans) against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of homosexuals.
- May 21 - The MV Bukoba sinks in Tanzanian waters in Lake Victoria, killing nearly 1,000 in one of Africa's worst maritime disasters.
- May 23 - Swede Göran Kropp reaches the Mount Everest summit alone without oxygen, after having bicycled there from Sweden.
- May 25 - Bradley Nowell, lead singer and guitarist of the rock band Sublime, dies of a heroin overdose in his San Francisco hotel room.
- May 27 - First Chechnya War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin meets with Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiates a cease-fire in the war.
- May 27 - Doctor Who makes its return to British television for the first time since 1989. Paul McGann starred in the US-made movie which pitted the Doctor against Eric Roberts' Master.
- May 31 - id Software releases the first person shooter computer game Quake.
- May 31 - FIFA decides to give the Football World Cup 2002, the first World Cup in Asia, to Japan and South Korea , becoming the first World Cup with co-host countries in the history of the event.
- July - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.N. Inspector Ritter attempts to conduct surprise inspections on the Republican Guard facility at the airport, but is blocked by Iraqi officials.
- July - The Prague Manifesto declares the principles of the Esperanto movement.
- July 1 - The Northern Territory in Australia legalises voluntary euthanasia.
- July 5 - Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, is born at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland.
- July 8 - Martina Hingis becomes the youngest person in history (age 15 years and 282 days) to win at Wimbledon in the Ladies' Doubles event.
- July 17 - Off the coast of Long Island, New York, a Paris-bound Boeing 747 carrying TWA flight 800 explodes, killing all 230 on board.
- July 18 - Howard Hughes is sentenced to life imprisonment at Chester Crown Court for the rape and murder of 7-year-old Sophie Hook at Llandudno 12 months previously. The trial judge recommends that Hughes, 31, should never be released.
- July 19 - The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, is opened by U.S. President Bill Clinton.
- July 21 - Storms provoke severe flooding on the Saguenay River in Quebec, in one of Canada's most costly natural disasters.
- July 27 - The Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics kills 1 and injures 111.
- July 29 - The child protection portion of the Communications Decency Act (1996) is struck down as too broad by a U.S. federal court.
The Detroit of India and port city Madras is renamed Chennai.
- August 1 - Sarah Balabagan returns to the Philippines.
- August 4 - The 1996 Summer Olympics conclude.
- August 6 - NASA announces that the ALH 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, contains evidence of primitive life-forms.
- August 6 - The Australian census is conducted.
- August 6 - The Ramones play their last show ever at Lollapalooza.
- August 7 - Heavy rains kill more than 80 campers near Huesca, Spain.
- August 11 - The British rock band Oasis plays the biggest free-standing concert in UK history at Knebworth, Hertfordshire.
- August 13 - Data sent back by the Galileo space probe indicates there may be water on one of Jupiter's moons.
- August 15 - Bob Dole is nominated for President, and Jack Kemp for Vice President, at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California.
- August 23 - Osama bin Laden writes "The Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places," his first open call for war.
- August 28 - Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales, are formally divorced at the High Court of Justice in London. Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales is restyled Diana, Princess of Wales.
- August 29 - U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore are renominated at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
- August 31 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi forces launch an offensive into the northern No-Fly Zone and capture Arbil.
- August 31 - The Big 12 Conference is inaugurated with a football game between Kansas State University and Texas Tech University in Manhattan, Kansas.
- October 1 - Nirvana releases From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, a live electric album, their second release following the suicide of guitarist/singer Kurt Cobain.
- October 2 - The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments are signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton.
- October 2 - The former prime minister of Bulgaria, Andrei Lukanov, is assassinated.
- October 6 - American singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw marry.
- October 14 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average gains 40.62 to close at 6,010.00, the Dow's first close above 6,000.
- October 23 - The O.J. Simpson civil trial begins in Santa Monica, California.
- October 29 - The New York Yankees defeat the Atlanta Braves in 6 games to win their 23rd World Series title. John Wetteland is named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series.
- October 30 - Fighting erupts when Banyamulenga Tutsis of Laurent Kabila in Zaire seize Uvira and proceed to kill Hutu refugees.
- October 31 - The Katzenreich is founded, also the birthday of the first Katzen queen, Milo I (Saint Milo).
- November - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM inspectors uncover buried prohibited missile parts. Iraq refuses to allow UNSCOM teams to remove remnants of missile engines for analysis outside of the country
- November 5 - U.S. presidential election, 1996: Democrat incumbent Bill Clinton defeats Republican challenger Bob Dole to win his second term.
- November 7 - A devastating category 4 Cyclone strikes Andhra Pradesh, India. The storm surge sweeps fishing villages out to sea, over 2,000 persons die. 95 percent of the crops are completely destroyed.
- November 7 - NASA launches the Mars Global Surveyor.
- November 10 - Rapper Yaki Kadafi, born Yafeu Fula, is shot to death in New Jersey at the age of 19.
- November 12 - Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 has a mid-air collision with Kazakhstan Airlines Il-76, resulting in the loss of 349 lives.
- November 15 - State Street in Chicago is re-opened to pedestrian traffic.
- November 16 - Mother Teresa receives honorary U.S. citizenship.
- November 18 - World-renowned bird expert Tony Silva is sentenced to 7 years in prison without parole for leading an illegal parrot smuggling ring.
- November 18 - Martyn Bryant is sentenced to life imprisonment, 2 weeks after confessing to murdering 35 people in Tasmania earlier this year.
- November 21 - A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store and office building in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 33.
- November 22 - Star Trek: First Contact opens in theaters, and becomes one of the top grossing Star Trek films ever.
- November 23 - The Republic of Angola officially joins the World Trade Organization, as Angola.
It gains 10 days in a row during the month.
- December 2 - U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments.
- December 5 - Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan gives a speech in which he suggests that "irrational exuberance" may have "unduly escalated asset values".
- December 12 - Uday Hussein is seriously injured in an assassination attempt.
- December 17 - The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement takes 72 hostages in the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru.
- December 20 - Steve Jobs and his company NeXT are bought back into Apple, the company he originally founded.
- December 26 - JonBenét Ramsey, a 6-year-old beauty queen, is found murdered in her family's basement in Boulder, Colorado.
- December 27 - Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram air base, which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul.
- December 29 - Guatemala and the leaders of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union sign a peace accord that ends a 36-year civil war.
- December 30 - In the Indian state of Assam, a passenger train is bombed by Bodo separatists, killing 26.
- December 30 - Proposed budget cuts by Benjamin Netanyahu spark protests from 250,000 workers, who shut down services across Israel.
- December 31 - The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway is merged with the Burlington Northern Railroad to form the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, making it one of the largest railroad mergers in U.S. history.
 Unknown date
 Environmental change
- January 2 - Karl Targownik, Hungarian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor (b. 1915)
- January 5 - Yahya Ayyash, Palestinian terrorist (b. 1966)
- January 8 - François Mitterrand, President of France (b. 1916)
- January 15 - Les Baxter, American musician and composer (b. 1922)
- January 15 - Paramount Chief Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho (b. 1938)
- January 17 - Barbara Jordan, American politician (b. 1936)
- January 18 - Leonor Fini, Argentine artist (b. 1908)
- January 20 - Gerry Mulligan, American musician (b. 1927)
- January 25 - Jonathan Larson, American composer and playwright (b. 1960)
- January 28 - Joseph Brodsky, Russian-born poet, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1940)
- January 28 - Jerry Siegel, American cartoonist (b. 1914)
- January 31 - Gustave Solomon, American mathemetician and engineer (b. 1930)
- February 2 - Gene Kelly, American actor (b. 1912)
- February 3 - Audrey Meadows, American actress (b. 1926)
- February 6 - Guy Madison, American actor (b. 1922)
- February 7 - Boris Alexandrovich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer (b. 1925)
- February 11 - Kebby Musokotwane, Prime Minister of Zambia (b. 1946)
- February 11 - Cyril Poole, English cricketer (b. 1921)
- February 11 - Phil Regan, American actor (b. 1906)
- February 11 - Amelia Rosselli, Italian poet (b. 1930)
- February 12 - Bob Shaw, Irish writer (b. 1931)
- February 14 - Bob Paisley, English football manager (b. 1919)
- February 15 - McLean Stevenson, American actor (b. 1929)
- February 16 - Edmund G. Brown, Governor of California (b. 1905)
- February 16 - Brownie McGhee, American musician (b. 1915)
- February 16 - Roger Bowen, American actor (b. 1932)
- February 20 - Tōru Takemitsu, Japanese composer (b. 1930)
- February 21 - Morton Gould, American musician and composer (b. 1913)
- February 25 - Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian actor (murdered) (b. 1940)
- February 26 - Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Polish composer (b. 1919)
- March 3 - Marguerite Duras, French author and director (b. 1914)
- March 4 - Minnie Pearl, American comedian (b. 1912)
- March 9 - George Burns, American actor and singer (b. 1896)
- March 13 - Krzysztof Kieślowski, Polish film director (b. 1941)
- March 16 - Charlie Barnett, American actors (b. 1954)
- March 17 - René Clément, French film director (b. 1913)
- March 18 - Odysseas Elytis, Greek writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1911)
- March 19 - Chen Jingrun, Chinese mathematician (b. 1933)
- March 25 - John Snagge, British radio personality (b. 1904)
- March 26 - David Packard, American engineer (b. 1912)
- March 29 - Frank Daniel, Czech-born writer, director, producer, teacher (b. 1926)
- March 31 - Jeffrey Lee Pierce, American musician (The Gun Club and The Cramps) (b. 1958)
- April 1 - Florence Buchsbaum, theater director and musician (b. 1926)
- April 3 - Carl Stokes, American politician (b. 1927)
- April 4 - Barney Ewell, American athlete (b. 1918)
- April 4 - Larry LaPrise, American songwriter (b. 1912)
- April 6 - Greer Garson, English actress (b. 1904)
- April 20 - Christopher Robin Milne, English author and bookseller (b. 1920)
- April 21 - Dzhokhar Dudaev, Chechen President (b. 1944)
- April 22 - Erma Bombeck, American humorist and writer (b. 1927)
- April 25 - Saul Bass, American graphic designer (b. 1920)
- April 26 - Stirling Silliphant, American screenwriter and producer (b. 1918)
- May 5 - Salli Terri, Canadian mezzo-soprano (b. 1922)
- May 11 - Rob Hall, New Zealand mountaineer (b. 1961)
- May 15 - Charles B. Fulton, American judge (b. 1910)
- May 17 - Kevin Gilbert, American musician, composer, and record producer (b. 1966)
- May 17 - Scott Brayton, American race car driver (b. 1959)
- May 20 - Jon Pertwee, British actor (b. 1919)
- May 24 - Jacob Druckman, American composer (b. 1928)
- May 24 - Joseph Mitchell, American writer (b. 1908)
- May 25 - Brad Nowell, American musician (b. 1968)
- May 31 - Paul Peter Piech, American artist (b. 1920)
- June 2 - Ray Combs, American game show host, and comedian (suicide) (b. 1956)
- June 2 - Leon Garfield, English children's author (b. 1921)
- June 6 - George Davis Snell, American geneticist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1903)
- June 10 - Marie-Louise Von Motesiczky, Austrian painter (b. 1906)
- June 15 - Ella Fitzgerald, American singer (b. 1917)
- June 17 - Thomas Kuhn, American philosopher of science (b. 1922)
- June 19 - G. David Schine, American businessman (b. 1927)
- June 23 - Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1919)
- June 26 - Veronica Guerin, Irish journalist (murdered) (b. 1958)
 Nobel prizes
 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel
 Templeton Prize
 Right Livelihood Award
 Ship events