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Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
This is a common year starting on Saturday.
International year of the Family
- January 1 - North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect
- January 6 - Nancy Kerrigan is clubbed on the right leg by an assailant under orders from figure skating rival Tonya Harding.
- January 10 - Lorena Bobbitt goes on trial for severing the penis of her husband John (Manassas, Virginia).
- January 14 - President of the United States Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign the Kremlin accords which stop the preprogrammed aiming of nuclear missiles to targets and also provide for the dismantling of the nuclear arsenal in the Ukraine.
- January 17 - 1994 Northridge Earthquake, magnitude 6.7, hits the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles at 4:31 am.
- January 20 - In South Carolina, Shannon Faulkner becomes the first female student to attend The Citadel but soon drops out.
- January 21 - Lorena Bobbitt is found not-guilty by reason of temporary insanity for severing the penis of her husband John.
- January 26 - A man fires two blank shots at Charles, Prince of Wales in Sydney, Australia.
- January 28 - The first trial of accused murderer Lyle Menendez ends in a mistrial. He and his brother Erik are later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
- February 1 - In Portland, Oregon Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly pleads guilty for his role in attacking figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. He accepts a plea bargain admitting to racketeering charges in exchange for testimony against Harding.
- February 3 - William J. Perry was sworn in as the 19th Secretary of Defense of United States
- February 5 - Byron De La Beckwith is convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
- February 9 - Peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina announced (so called Vance-Owen peace plan)
- February 22 - Aldrich Ames and his wife are charged with spying for the Soviet Union by the United States Department of Justice. Ames would later be convicted to life imprisonment and his wife would receive a 5-years in prison.
- March 4 - Four terrorists are convicted for their roles in the World Trade Center bombing which killed six and injured more than a thousand.
- March 7 - The Supreme Court of the United States rules in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.
- March 12 - A photo by Marmaduke Wetherell, previously touted as 'proof' of the Loch Ness monster, is confirmed to be a hoax.
- March 12 - The Church of England ordains its first female priests
- March 16 - In Portland, Oregon Tonya Harding pleads guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for trying to cover-up an attack on figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. She is fined $100,000 and banned from the sport.
- March 23 - "Shock jock" Howard Stern formally announces his candidacy for the New York governorship under the Libertarian Party ticket.
- March 24 - At an election rally in Tijuana, Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio is assassinated. Mario Aburto Martinez is arrested for the crime and confesses on the same day.
- March 28 - In South Africa, Zulus and African National Congress supporters battle in central Johannesburg killing 18.
- March 31 - The journal Nature reports the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull (see Human evolution).
- April 7 - Massacres of Tutsis begin in Kigali, Rwanda.
- April 26 - South Africa holds its first multiracial elections.
- May 6 - The Chunnel, which took 15,000 workers over seven years to complete, opens between England and France. Travelers can now travel between the two countries in 35 minutes.
- May 9 - Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa's first black president.
- May 10 - Illinois executes serial killer John Wayne Gacy for the murder of 33 young men and boys.
- May 31- Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have dinner at the Granita restaurant in Islington and make a deal on who will become the leader of the Labour Party, and ultimately, the next Prime Minister.
- June - Iraq disarmament crisis: UN weapons inspectors Ritter and Smidovitch learn, through Israeli intelligence reports, that Qusay Hussein, Saddam Hussein's son, is the key player in efforts by the Iraqi government to hide the country's alleged illegal weapons.
- June 13 - NFL star OJ Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered outside Nicole's house in Brentwood, California
- June 15 - The currently second biggest grossing animated film of all-time, The Lion King, opens in theatres nationwide.
- June 17 - NFL star OJ Simpson and his friend Al Cowlings flee from police in his white Ford Bronco. The low speed chase, which unfolds live on television, ends up at Simpson's mansion in Brentwood, California, where he then surrendered to police.
- July - The planet Jupiter is pelted by 21 large fragments of a comet over the course of 6 days.
- July 7 - Aden is occupied by troops from North Yemen.
- July 18 - In Buenos Aires, an explosion destroys a building housing several Jewish organizations killing 96 and injuring many more.
- July 25 - Israel and Jordan sign the Washington Declaration which formally ends the state of war that has existed between the nations since 1948.
- September 3 - Cold War: Russia and the People's Republic of China agree to de-target their nuclear weapons against each other.
- September 8 - A Boeing 737 carrying USAir Flight 427 with 132 people on board, crashes on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport. There are no survivors.
- September 28 - The car ferry MS Estonia sinks in Baltic Sea, killing 852.
- September-October - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq threatens to stop cooperating with UNSCOM inspectors and begins to once again deploy troops near its border with Kuwait. In response, the U.S. begins to deploy troops to Kuwait.
- October 8 - Iraq disarmament crisis: President of the UN Security Council says that Iraq must withdraw its troops from the Kuwait border and immediately cooperate with weapons inspectors.
- October 12 - NASA looses radio contact with the Magellan spacecraft as the probe descends into the thick atmosphere of Venus (the spacecraft presumably burned up in the atmosphere either October 13 or October 14).
- October 15 - After three years of exile in the US, Haiti's president Aristide returned to his country.
- October 15 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Following threats by the U.N. Security Council and the U.S., Iraq withdraws troops from its border with Kuwait
- October 26 - Jordan and Israel sign a peace treaty
- October 29 - Francisco Martin Duran fires over two dozen shots at the White House (Duran was later convicted of trying to kill US President Bill Clinton).
- October 31 - An American Eagle ATR-72 crashes in Roselawn, Indiana, after circling in icy weather, killing 64 passengers.
- November 3 - Red Hat Linux 1.0 is released.
- November 5 - A letter by former US President Ronald Reagan is released that announces he has Alzheimer's disease.
- November 8 - Georgia Representative Newt Gingrich leads the United States Republican Party in taking control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in midterm congressional elections, the first time in 40 years the Republicans secured control of both houses of Congress.
- November 13 - Voters in Sweden decide to join the European Union in a referendum.
- November 20 - The Angolan government and UNITA rebels sign the Lusaka Protocol in Zambia, ending 19 years of civil war (in 1995 localized fighting resumed).
- November 25 - Sony founder Akio Morita announces he will be stepping down as CEO of the floundering company.
- November 28 - In Portage, Wisconsin, convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is clubbed to death in by a deranged inmate in the Columbia Correctional Institute gymnasium.
- November 28 - Voters in Norway reject European Union membership.
- December 11 - Boris Yeltsin orders troops into Chechnya
- December 11 - A small bomb explodes on Philippine Airlines Flight 434, killing a Japanese businessman. The bombing was a field test done by Ramzi Yousef to test explosives that would have been used in Project Bojinka, a terrorist attack plan that would be exposed after an apartment fire.
- The Whitewater Scandal investigation begins.
- Homosexual marriages legal in Sweden
- December 19 - A planned exchange rate correction of the Mexican Peso to the US Dollar, becomes a massive financial meltdown in Mexico, unleashing the 'Tequila' effect on global financial markets. This will prompt a USD 50 billion 'bailout' by the US (Bill Clinton's) administration.
Year in topic
- 1994 in film
- 1994 in literature
- 1994 in music
- 1994 in sports
- January - One month before the Winter Olympic Games, ice skater Nancy Kerrigan is attacked by fellow skater Tonya Harding's boyfriend. The man clubbed Kerrigan in the knee. Kerrigan and Harding both competed in the Olympics, but Harding stumbled through her routine. She was later banned from the professional skating world for her connection to the attack.
- 1994 in television
- January - Green Day premieres "Longview" on MTV.
- March 31 - Madonna appears on The Late Show with David Letterman making headlines for her foul mouthed, profanity laced interview. Robin Williams later described the segment as a "battle of wits with an unarmed woman."
- June 17 - OJ Simpson's flees from police in a white Ford Bronco live on television. He later surrenders to police at his mansion in Brentwood, California.
- September 10 - The first episode of the Magic School Bus cartoon series is released
- Friends premieres on NBC.
- January 5 - Thomas P. 'Tip' O'Neill, Speaker of the House
- January 15 - Harry Nilsson, musician
- January 17 - Helen Stephens, American sprinter
- January 22 - Telly Savalas, actor
- January 25 - Stephen Cole Kleene, American mathematician
- January 27 - Claude Akins, actor
- January 30 - Pierre Boulle, author
- February 6 - Jack Kirby, comic book writer
- February 6 - Joseph Cotten, actor
- February 11 - Antonio Martin, Spanish cyclist
- February 11 - Sorrell Brooke, actor
- February 11 - William Conrad, actor
- February 11 - Neil Bonnett, NASCAR driver
- February 14 - Andrei Chikatilo, Russian serial killer (executed)
- February 17 - Randy Shilts, author, AIDS activist
- February 22 - Papa John Creach, musician
- February 24 - Dinah Shore, actress, singer
- February 25 - Jersey Joe Walcott, world champion boxer
- March 4 - John Candy, comedian and actor
- March 22 - Walter Lantz, cartoonist ("Woody Woodpecker")
- March 28 - Eugene Ionesco, playwright
- April 2 - Betty Furness, author
- April 5 - Kurt Cobain (suicide) lead singer of the rock band Nirvana
- April 22 - Richard Nixon, former President of the United States
- April 30 - Roland Ratzenberger, Formula 1 driver
- May 1 - Ayrton Senna, Formula 1 car racing champion
- May 7- Clement Greenberg, art critic
- May 8 - George Peppard, actor
- May 10 - John Wayne Gacy, serial killer (executed)
- May 15 - Gilbert Roland, actor
- May 19 - Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, First Lady of the United States
- May 21 - Johan Hendrik Weidner, Belgian born hero of WW II
- May 29 - Erich Honecker, former leader of East Germany, while in exile in Chile
- June 29 - Kurt Eichhorn, conductor
- July 8 - Kim Il Sung, North Korea's leader
- August 17 - Elias Canetti, buried next to James Joyce
- September 11 - Jessica Tandy, actress
- September 12 - Boris Yegorov, cosmonaut
- September 15 - Alain Berdarin, owner of "Le Crazy Horse Saloon" - Paris
- October 20 - Burt Lancaster, actor
- October 21 - Benoît Régent, French film actor
- November 12 - Wilma Rudolph, American athlete
- November 28 - Jeffrey Dahmer, serial killer
- December 12 - Stuart Roosa, Apollo Astronaut