7 November 1991

Magic Johnson announces that he is HIV-positive and retires from the NBA.

Magic Johnson, whose real name is Earvin Johnson Jr., is a former professional basketball player and one of the most iconic figures in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was born on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan, USA. Johnson is known for his exceptional skills as a point guard, his versatility, and his charismatic personality both on and off the basketball court.

College Career: Magic Johnson played college basketball for the Michigan State Spartans under coach Jud Heathcote. He led the Spartans to an NCAA championship in 1979, where he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. His performance at Michigan State helped him become a top prospect for the NBA.

NBA Career: Johnson was selected as the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He made an immediate impact in the NBA, winning the NBA Finals in his rookie season with the Lakers. Johnson was known for his exceptional passing ability, court vision, and versatility, often playing multiple positions on the court.

Showtime Era: Magic Johnson was a central figure in the “Showtime” era of the Lakers during the 1980s. Alongside players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, and Michael Cooper, he helped the Lakers win multiple NBA championships. His style of play and flashy assists made the Lakers one of the most entertaining and successful teams in the league.

Championships: Over the course of his illustrious career, Magic Johnson won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988.

Rivalry with Larry Bird: Magic Johnson’s rivalry with fellow NBA legend Larry Bird, who played for the Boston Celtics, is legendary. The two players faced off in three NBA Finals during the 1980s, and their rivalry is often credited with helping to popularize the NBA.

Versatility and Records: Magic Johnson was known for his versatility, as he could play as a point guard, shooting guard, or even as a forward when needed. He recorded numerous triple-doubles (double-digit statistics in points, rebounds, and assists) throughout his career.

Retirement and Comeback: In 1991, Magic Johnson shocked the sports world by announcing his retirement from basketball due to testing positive for HIV, which was initially believed to be a life-threatening condition. However, he returned to the NBA briefly during the 1995-1996 season.

Business Ventures: After his playing career, Magic Johnson became a successful businessman. He has been involved in various ventures, including owning a share of the Los Angeles Lakers, opening movie theaters, and investing in urban redevelopment projects.

Philanthropy: Johnson has also been actively involved in philanthropy, particularly in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as various other charitable initiatives.

19 September 1991

Ötzi the Iceman is discovered in the Alps on the border between Italy and Austria.

Ötzi the Iceman, also known as the Similaun Man, is the nickname given to one of the most well-preserved ancient human mummies ever discovered. Ötzi’s remains were found in the Ötztal Alps on the border between Austria and Italy in September 1991. His discovery has provided valuable insights into the life of a Copper Age individual who lived around 3,300 BCE, making him approximately 5,300 years old.

Discovery: Ötzi’s mummified remains were discovered by two German hikers, Helmut and Erika Simon, in the Schnalstal/Val Senales Valley in the Italian Alps. The mummy was found at an altitude of approximately 3,210 meters (10,530 feet) above sea level.

Preservation: Ötzi’s remarkable preservation is due to the fact that he was buried in ice shortly after his death, which prevented his body from decomposing. His body was naturally mummified over millennia, aided by the cold and dry conditions of the glacier.

Age and Origin: Ötzi lived during the Copper Age, and radiocarbon dating estimates his age at the time of death to be around 45 years old. His origins have been traced to the region of the South Tyrol, which is now part of Italy but was likely inhabited by a culture of people who spoke a pre-Indo-European language.

Appearance: Ötzi stood approximately 5 feet 2 inches (160 cm) tall and had a wiry build. He had brown hair and a beard, and his clothing was made of animal skins and plant materials. His shoes were constructed from tree bark and grass, and he wore a coat and a cloak made from animal hides.

Tattoos: Ötzi had numerous tattoos on his body, consisting of simple geometric designs and lines. These tattoos are thought to have had a therapeutic or symbolic purpose and provide insight into the medical and cultural practices of his time.

Diet: Analysis of Ötzi’s stomach contents and the remains of his last meal revealed that he had consumed a meal of ibex meat and various plant materials shortly before his death. This suggests that he was likely a hunter and gatherer.

Cause of Death: Ötzi’s cause of death has been the subject of extensive research. Examination of his body revealed an arrowhead lodged in his shoulder, suggesting that he may have been shot by an arrow. Additionally, he had head injuries consistent with blunt force trauma. It is now believed that Ötzi likely died from a combination of these injuries, although the exact circumstances leading to his death remain a topic of debate.

Scientific Insights: Ötzi’s discovery has provided valuable information about ancient human life, including aspects of his diet, clothing, tools, and medical practices. It has also shed light on the genetic history of European populations and has led to advancements in various scientific fields, such as archaeology, anthropology, and forensics.

Museum Display: Ötzi’s mummy and associated artifacts are on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. The museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of this ancient individual.

23 August 1991

The World Wide Web is opened to the public.

The World Wide Web (WWW) was invented by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 while he was working at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland. The Web was developed to help researchers easily share and access information across different computers and locations.

Berners-Lee’s proposal for the World Wide Web outlined the concept of using hypertext to link documents together on a network. He developed three key technologies that are essential components of the modern Web:

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): This is the standard markup language used to create web pages. HTML allows content creators to structure the text, images, links, and other elements on a webpage.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): This is the protocol used for transferring data across the Web. It enables the retrieval of linked resources, such as web pages and images, from remote servers.

URLs (Uniform Resource Locators): URLs provide a standardized way of addressing resources on the Web. They allow users to specify the location of a specific webpage or resource using a unique address.

In addition to these foundational technologies, Berners-Lee also developed the first web browser and web server. The first web browser, called “WorldWideWeb,” allowed users to view and navigate web pages. The first web server, “httpd,” hosted the initial webpages and made them accessible to others over the network.

On August 6, 1991, Berners-Lee posted a summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup, making it publicly available. This marked the beginning of the public’s access to the Web. Over the years, the Web rapidly evolved, leading to the creation of various web browsers, the development of more advanced web technologies, and the expansion of the Internet’s capabilities.

The invention of the World Wide Web revolutionized communication, information sharing, and business practices worldwide, shaping the modern digital age and enabling the interconnectedness we see today.

28 February 1991

The first Gulf War ends.

The first Gulf War, also known as the Persian Gulf War, was a conflict that took place in 1990-1991 between Iraq and a coalition of forces led by the United States. The primary cause of the war was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990.

Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq at the time, claimed that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq and accused it of stealing oil from a disputed border region. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was met with widespread international condemnation, and the United Nations Security Council passed a series of resolutions demanding Iraq’s immediate withdrawal from Kuwait.

When Iraq failed to comply with the UN resolutions, a coalition of 35 countries, led by the United States, launched a military operation called Operation Desert Shield to defend Saudi Arabia, which had been threatened by Iraq, and to force Iraq out of Kuwait. This operation eventually led to the start of the ground war known as Operation Desert Storm, which lasted from January 17 to February 28, 1991, and resulted in the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

15 October 1991

The “Oh-My-God particle”, an ultra-high-energy cosmic ray measured at 40,000,000 times that of the highest energy protons produced in a particle accelerator, is observed at the University of Utah HiRes observatory in Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.