1998 History Events: What Happened in 1998

The globe began to look forward to a new millennium near the close of the twentieth century. However, before the globe was ready to move on, the events of 1998 provided an opportunity for the world to reflect on the previous century.

In terms of film, the year 1998 was dominated by two films that gave audiences a taste of key historical events from the twentieth century. The first of these films, Titanic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, was released late in 1997 but broke box office records the following year. It was the first picture ever to gross more than one billion dollars in the United States. Saving Private Ryan, a Globe War II epic drama starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, startled the world with its violent and starkly realistic depiction of battle. The film was a huge hit, and it sparked a revived interest in WWII history as well as a fresh sense of respect for the “Greatest Generation’s” sacrifices.

After the first Gulf War, tensions between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Iraq persisted into the 1990s. In December 1998, the United States and the United Kingdom launched Operation Desert Fox, a limited aerial bombing operation against Iraq. The United States and the United Kingdom accused Iraq of failing to comply with weapons inspectors, and their four-day bombing campaign, aimed at weakening Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capability, inflicted significant damage to Iraqi infrastructure. Although the strike knocked Iraqi forces off guard, the operation was met with harsh criticism in the West.

Some analysts questioned whether the operation was sufficient to achieve its goals, while others accused President Bill Clinton of exploiting it to divert attention away from his impeachment. Clinton’s romance with Monica Lewinsky was first revealed by the Drudge Report in January 1998, and the scandal continued throughout the year, culminating in the House of Representatives submitting articles of impeachment against Clinton to the Senate in December. Clinton was the second president of the United States to be impeached, with Andrew Johnson being the first.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1998.


(January 23, 1998)
Mozilla is announced by Netscape, with the purpose of making the Communicator code open source.


(March 23, 1998)
Titanic (1997), directed by James Cameron, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, tying Ben-Hur for the most (1959).

(March 27, 1998)
The medicine Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

(April 23, 1998)
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s killer, James Earl Ray, died in prison in Nashville, Tennessee.

(May 06, 1998)
Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's first iMac, a personal computer that became a tremendous hit and helped the business recover.


(May 14, 1998)
Frank Sinatra, an American singer and actor who became one of the most sought-after artists in the entertainment industry after a long career and a very public personal life, died in Los Angeles.

(May 14, 1998)
The final episode of the television situation comedy Seinfeld aired; purportedly a programme about nothing, it marked a cultural milestone in the United States.

(September 02, 1998)
Swissair Flight 111 crashed off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, killing all 229 people on board; it was later revealed that defective cables ignited the plane's combustible insulation.

(September 04, 1998)
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both Stanford University students, founded the American search engine firm, Google. photo source:


(September 08, 1998)
By hitting his 62nd home run of the season, Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals eclipsed Roger Maris' 1961 record for most home runs in a regular professional baseball season (he finished the season with 70 home runs).

(September 27, 1998)
For the purposes of historical recollection, Google's search engine considers today to be its birthday. photo source:

(October 23, 1998)
With the release of her single...Baby One More Time, American singer Britney Spears became a pop star. The song was backed by a Lolita-like music video. photo source:

(October 29, 1998)
Hurricane Mitch made landfall in northern Honduras, killing over 11,000 people in Central America. It was one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes on record. photo source:

(November 03, 1998)
The discovery of a previously unknown 15.5-mile (25-km) piece of the Great Wall of China in the Hui Autonomous Region of Ningxia on this day in 1998 was announced. The Great Wall of China stretches for around 4,500 kilometres (7,300 km). photo source:


(November 03, 1998)
Bob Kane, the American artist who co-created the Batman and Robin comic book characters with Bill Finger, died in Los Angeles. photo source:

(December 19, 1998)
The United States House of Representatives impeaches President Bill Clinton, making him the second President of the United States to be impeached. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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