- Jan 3 1st clamshell flip mobile phone, the Motorola StarTAC, goes on sale. Eventually 60 million are sold.
- Feb 10 IBM computer Deep Blue becomes the first computer to win a game of chess against a reigning (human) chess champion, Gary Kasparov
- Jul 3 UK House of Commons announces that the Stone of Scone, aka the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish (and subsequently English and British monarchs), will be returned to Scotland after 700 years in Westminster Abbey
- Aug 6 NASA announces that life may have existed on Mars after examining meteorite ALH84001, thought to be from Mars
- Aug 23 Osama bin Laden issues message entitled "A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places"
- Aug 26 US President Bill Clinton signs welfare reform into law, representing major shift in welfare policy
Four women ordained priests in Jamaica, 1st in 330-year Anglican history
On December 23, 1996